This 96-Yr Old WWII Vet...Tells It Like It Is!
“The fighter plane opened fire and I could see the muzzle flashes above, and the snowy road getting chewed up in front of me.”
“It was a German Messerschmitt on a strafing run and we were squarely in his crosshairs.”
“Private, you keep this vehicle moving forward!” the general shouted. He was one of those no-bullsh*t commanders that didn’t let bullets slow him down.
“I didn’t have a death wish! So I rolled out of the jeep onto the pavement and took cover in the left ditch. The jeep careened off into the ditch on the opposite side of the road. I could hear my commander yelling that he was going to court martial me for abandoning our vehicle.”
“But it didn’t matter when I got back to the jeep. A 30mm cannon round had passed right through the driver seat. After that, he was quiet for the rest of the drive. I never got charged with anything. We both knew if I had stayed in that jeep, I would have been shot dead!”
Stories From WWII Seem All the More Relevant Today
The story above is just one of the many memories from WWII that my grandpa has shared.
At 96 years old, he’s still incredibly sharp, independent (he lives by himself with his dog Trooper), and he has a creative sense of humor.
Growing up, I never knew when he was serious and when he was just joking. And he plays the same tricks on my kids — his great-grandkids — whenever we go see him.
Apparently, he had the same weird sense of humor as a private in the Army during the war as well.
Grandpa still laughs when he tells us about driving “General Cliff” through the European Alps. (It was Grandpa’s job to chauffeur his superiors between command posts and the front lines.)
This particular commander didn’t have much respect among the rank and file. It seemed the closer his division got to Berlin, the more General Cliff focused on collecting souvenirs instead of actually fighting the Germans. Every time the division liberated a city or town, General Cliff would fill a crate with Nazi guns, icons or other valuables and ship them back to the U.S.
“It was the only thing he really cared about,” Grandpa told me. “That’s why no one really liked General Cliff and we all tried to make life tough on him whenever we could.”
“So one day, I had to drive him through the mountains to a forward command post. The road was totally exposed to German guns, but by the time they saw our jeep, they couldn’t actually catch up to us with their shells — as long as we drove fast enough.”
“I had been on the road plenty of times before and I knew exactly how far behind the German shells would be. So instead of flooring it, I eased off the gas a little bit.
“Boooyyy you should have seen him jump when that first shell exploded behind us! He completely panicked and started yelling ’Faster, Faster, FASTER!!!’
“The lookout at the forward post saw what was going on and gave me a big smile when we pulled in. I think General Cliff had to go change his trousers after that!” Grandpa laughed.
The Serious Side of Grandpa
Although my Grandpa is about the most jovial guy you’ll ever meet, the somber reality of war was not lost on him.
I still see tears in his eyes when he talks about some of his friends that didn’t make it home.
And he braved some horrible conditions along the way.
“It was so cold in Switzerland, you just couldn’t believe it!” Grandpa said.
He told me that he and his buddies would take the tops off their jeeps at night to make a sort of tent to sleep under.
“When the snow piled up, it added insulation. It was just about the only time I felt warm that winter.
“But you had to make sure to put the top between two trees. Otherwise, when the snow piled up, friendly tanks wouldn’t see you. They could roll over you and crush you in your sleep!”
Perhaps my favorite story Grandpa told me was about a day when he was marching towards the front line, and his platoon passed a line of German POW’s marching towards the rear.
Grandpa happened to look up and lock eyes with a German soldier with “Scheidt” written on his helmet. (My Grandpa is Herschel C. Scheidt).
The two relatives paused and shared a moment. Grandpa didn’t speak German. The POW didn’t speak English. But both knew that this war had divided family lines, changing history forever.
“I still wonder what happened to him that day,” said my Grandpa quietly…
The Threat of War is Real
Grandpa is on my mind this fall as we wade through a tumultuous time on the world’s political theater.
The threat of war is certainly a very real possibility that we as investors need to be aware of. Like him or hate him, you have to recognize that Trump is stirring the pot when it comes to a number of different tense international relationships.
And while Kim Jong-Un hasn’t fired off a rocket in the last two weeks, I certainly don’t think we can assume that the tension has eased between him and President Trump.
While I hope I’m wrong, I think the chances are pretty high that we’ll wind up in a “live-fire” conflict with North Korea. And the conflict could easily spread to other countries as lines are drawn between allies and foes.
Investors in defense contractors like Boeing (NYSE:BA), Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) are all three hitting new highs consistently. An investment in these stocks is a vote of confidence that the U.S. military will continue to spend heavily on defense systems. And this is a trend that I don’t expect to end any time soon.
All three of these stocks are wise choices for investors who want to insulate their portfolios from the threat of war. The only problem is that the prices have moved to very high levels.
Instead of buying large stock positions outright today, I’d recommend buying shares gradually. You could spread some capital out over the next six to twelve months and slowly add to your position over time.
That way, if shares pull back, you’ll get a discount on a portion of your investment. But if shares keep moving higher, you’ll at least get a portion of your shares bought now (so you can profit from the advance).
If you’re working with a large account size, you could also consider selling put contracts for these stocks. This allows you to lock in instant income from these defense contractors, while agreeing to purchase shares at a discount. Just remember that each contract represents 100 shares. So you need to have enough capital set aside to buy 100 shares if the stocks pull back.
(This is the strategy we use in my Income on Demand service — a program designed to help you pull instant cash from the stock market every Tuesday morning. You can find out more about this program here.)
One more thing…
If you know a veteran — or just see one in a store or coffee shop — I hope you’ll stop them and thank them for their service. Regardless of your political perspective, these brave men and women put their lives at risk to defend our freedom and protect many around the world who cannot protect themselves. We owe them our respect and gratitude.
Here’s to growing and protecting your wealth!