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Seattle veteran shares his story of fighting in WWII as a young man

World War II veteran Phillip Sulman. (Photo courtesy of Sulman's family)

World War II Veteran Phil Sulman was only 18 years old when he was inducted into the military, and 19 years old when he first went overseas.

Sulman joined the Dori Monson Show on Friday to talk about his experience at war and share his thoughts on the state of the country today.

Sulman fought in the 104th Division for 195 consecutive days.

“We were lucky to miss the Normandy invasion by three months. We were still in training,” Sulman said, adding that they landed in Cherbourg, France, in September 1944.

Shortly after securing the port, he said they went by train to Brussels to relieve a Canadian division fighting on the Belgium-Holland border. There, they cleared a port in Antwerp so supplies would be closer to the front lines.

Sulman choked up when he recalled engaging in the Battle of the Bulge. It’s been 80 years and he has a hard time explaining why he gets emotional other than to say he’s a soft-hearted guy.

“I shouldn’t be here,” Sulman said. “I was too lucky. 195 days of combat — somebody shooting a rifle or a pistol or artillery shells at me and I figured if I could live through the first days of engagement with the enemy, I’m going to make it through.”

And he’ll tell you he was “scared out of [his] pants” as a young man in war.

Sulman said he went to Garfield High School where he won the All-City for the 400-yard dash. He said when he graduated in 1943, he was looking forward to college or starting work before he was drafted.

When he returned from war, Sulman got married and had three kids. He was remarried to the love of his life and they’ve been together for 45 years.

As for what’s going on in America, Sulman said he’s not a fan of the world today. He feels bad for the kids learning online, and he misses restaurants and going out.

“It’s very boring, to be exact, but I’m not the kind of person that needs excitement,” Sulman said. “I’m very happy to be in my home.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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