FARGO — Lyle Anderson has the memory of a 20-year-old and is quite the storyteller. A lot of his stories come from his years of serving during World War II, recalling his time with the 2nd Marine Division while serving in the South Pacific.
"They couldn't train all those guys; some of them didn't know the difference between a clutch and a brake," Anderson remembered. "We would go the front lines, but there were always two (people): one with a rifle across his lap and the other did the driving."
Not only did Anderson served in the war, but so did his two brothers. All three served at the same time.
"Mother and dad were very loyal Americans, and not one complaint about us three leaving," Anderson said.
With war raging in the South Pacific, Anderson wrote touching letters back home to family. He still has them.
His two brothers were in Battle of the Bulge.
A few days in the South Pacific are times Anderson will never forget. He walked through Nagasaki shortly after an atomic bomb ended the war.
"Truman was in World War I and when he became president, he got all these reports of the deaths of soldiers and it made him sick and that is why he agreed to (drop nuclear bombs)," Anderson said.
Seeing children following the bombing impacted him the most.
"Sitting there, talking to those kids, I got to thinking, 'We have taken them out of their home', you know," Anderson said.
He is the last surviving member of his war buddies. They had reunions for years and were like family.
As Anderson prepares to celebrate a century of life, the community is grateful for his stories and service.