Muskegon Soldier Was Only One To Fight With Both U.S. & Red Army In WW2
Muskegon, Michigan is home to a truly unique soldier from WW2 who has a claim no other soldier from that war can make. Because of unfortunate situations involving being captured multiple times by Nazis, Joseph Robert Beyrle was the only soldier in the war to fight with both the United States AND Red Armies. In fact, he seemingly came back from the dead because when he showed up at the U.S Embassy in Moscow with a Soviet military convoy in February 1945, he learned that he had been reported by the U.S. War Department as killed in action on June 10, 1944. America's Military History recently shared his incredible story:
Joseph Robert Beyrle (1923-2004) was a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne when he was caught by the Germans during the Normandy landings. Eventually, he managed to escape and wandered in the German countryside until he met Russian troops and persuaded their commanders to allow him to fight on the front line. He fought for a month and was wounded. Marshal Zhukov arranged for Beyrle's trip back to the US. Beyrle is the only American who fought the Germans in both the US and Red Armies during WW2.
Over the course of his service, he escaped the German army 3 times, almost being executed at one point when they claimed he was a spy. A year after he returned from the war to Michigan in 1945, he got married to JoAnne Hollowell. Here's the crazy thing though, he got married in the same church, which was led by the same priest who had held his funeral mass two years earlier. How the heck do you manage to do that?
Over the years he was celebrated and honored at the White House by President Clinton in 1994, and after his passing in 2004, NBC Nightly aired a special tribute to him.
Michigan's Involvement in the Civil War, 1860s