By Max Hrenda
George Ammons was a father, a bodybuilder, a farmer, and a soldier, among other things.
While many words could be used to describe Ammons, those who were closest to him know that his life was forever altered after his service in World War II.
“It really changed him, physically and mentally, with everything he went through and everything he saw,” said Debbie Brogdon, Ammons’ daughter.
On Sept. 19, 1944, Pvt. Ammons and the U.S. Glider Infantry were flying over the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. Ammons and his company were participating in Operation Market Garden, which was designed to seize several bridges over the Rhine River, which, in theory, would have allowed easy access to Germany for the Allied Forces.
Ammons and his company parachuted out, ready to repel the Nazi invaders and take the bridges.
Ultimately, the Allies would fail in this objective. While this was unknown to Ammons and his company at the time, it soon became clear to him that the mission would take a sour turn.
“The enemy was waiting on them,” Brogdon said. “He talked about seeing his commanding officer and his other buddies killed while they were parachuting down.”
The Nazis opened fire on the paratroopers as they descended from the glider. Ammons himself was hit in the shoulder as he floated through a hail of gunfire into the waiting arms of German forces.