WWII veteran from Alexander Co., IL served side-by-side with Gen. Patton

WWII veteran from Alexander Co., IL served side-by-side with Gen. Patton
(Source: KFVS 12)
(Source: KFVS 12)

OLIVE BRANCH, IL (KFVS) - Every veteran in the Heartland has a unique story of their time in the service and when got home.

One WWII vet and southern Illinois native is no exception, and he's still writing his.

Tucked away in a corner of Horseshoe Lake, Elmer Goskie begins his daily ritual.

"I try to fish every day," Goskie said. "Not that I catch every day."

An impressive commitment for anyone, let alone for a 90-year-old WWII veteran.

"I was drafted when I was 18, yes."

In 1944 as the Allies tried gain ground in Nazi controlled Europe, the U.S. sent Goskie from his family's farm in Alexander Co. to Arkansas for basic training.

"Them days, we worked whatever we could get," he said.

The Army dropped Goskie into Germany later that year as a member of the 102nd Infantry.

That's where he worked closely with one of the most famous generals of the war.

"I was with General Patton all the time," Goskie said.

Goskie was assigned to kitchen duty for General George S. Patton.

"I was training to be a Mess Sergeant."

He helped prepare meals and was in charge of distributing the valuable food rations – sometimes easier said than done.

"One of the colonels came in and wanted - well he didn't want, he demanded - breakfast at 2:30 in the morning," Goskie said. "I gave him a dozen eggs and a pound of bacon and told cook as many as you wanted to. And I was busted right then."

But nothing could prepare Goskie for his first assignment overseas – disposing of bodies of enemy soldiers killed in action.

"We had no choice then," Goskie said. "I tried to forget it all I could."

That was 72 years ago, and since then Goskie has stayed busy.

He married his high school sweetheart Emma Jean, raised two children, David Goskie and Carol Lubbert, and retired as a barge worker to his current home in Olive Branch.

"Even at his age you still learn a lot from him," David said.

David, like the rest of his family, is proud - not just of his father's time in the service, but that they still can say Goskie lives largely independent.

"His grandkids come down a lot, my sister, myself," David said. "He doesn't like people to help him, he still does things on his own."

Goskie has plenty to look forward to between wood working projects, visits from friends, and of course fishing.

"This is what makes him happy," David said.  "He says his goal is to be fishing when he's 100. He'll be there, there's no doubt."

"That's about all I do," Elmer said.

Goskie will be 91 in January.

He says he has no plans of ever moving away from his home on Horseshoe Lake.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved.