CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46) — A local World War II veteran had a lifelong dream to visit West Point, and thanks to a group of generous people, that wish came true.
At 96-years-old, private first-class Harold Frank is believed to be the last living survivor of the 357th infantry company G in WWII.
“I wasn’t no damn dummy. I knew I was going to get it sooner or later,” he said. “I like to think I was the best BAR man they had in the army in WWII. Maybe I wasn’t.”
It’s taken Frank years to talk about what he saw and experienced. Now the stories just pour out.
“I got shot in this left shoulder” he showed. “I found out right quick a horse didn’t kick me when that hot blood went running down my back.”
He fought three major battles in the Normandy invasion and was shot wile leading a night patrol to find fellow soldiers.
“I wear that bullet to remind me how close I come to dying over there,” Frank said. “That German cut that bullet out of me after three months and eight days, so I could use both hands to work with both hands. I couldn’t raise this arm.”
German soldiers cut that bullet out of him without anesthesia so they could force him into labor. Frank was a prisoner of war for 10 months.
He lost 95 pounds and weighed 117 when he was recaptured in 1945.
Now, he wears his POW hat, bronze star, purple heart and that bullet, proudly remembering the sacrifice he made.
“All I wanted to be was a good soldier,” he said.
So when some friends hear he had a lifelong dream to visit West Point, they knew he had to make it happen.
“I said ‘do you know anybody with a plane that might be able to transport me and a couple people up to West Point?’ and he said, ‘my grandfather’s a West Point grad. Absolutely! I have a plane!'”
Former Panthers player and owner of movement mortgage, Casey Crawford gave him the royal treatment. A private plane ride and a water salute from Charlotte Fire.
Frank got his wish. A guided tour of the West Point and a chance to give advice to the cadets.
“Don’t never give up,” he says. “If you think you can’t make another step, force yourself to take another step. I done that a million times in prison camp.”