Bob Dole, GOP Senator, Presidential Candidate and Decorated WWII Veteran, Dies at 98> US Department of Defense> Defense Department News



Former US Senator Bob Dole, an injured World War II veteran who represented Kansas in the House of Representatives from 1961 to 1969 and in the Senate from 1969 to 1996, has died today. He was 98 years old.

Dole, who served as Republican Senate leader from 1985 to 1996, was the last World War II veteran to run for president of a major party. He was the Republican candidate for the 1996 presidential election and his ticket was lost to incumbent President Bill Clinton. He was also the Republican running mate in the 1976 election, in which President Jimmy Carter defeated President Gerald Ford.

Dole is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, to whom he has been married for 46 years. The senator’s widow served as transport and labor secretary and then headed the Red Cross.

“He was so shy. It was the third call before he invited me out,” Elizabeth Dole said in an NBC interview in February 2019. “I really liked it. I loved his compassionate heart. He loved to feel that every day he could make a difference for at least one person in need. And I loved that he had such a great sense of humor. “

Dole grew up in Russell, Kansas, and was attending the University of Kansas when World War II broke out. In 1942 he enlisted in the Army Enlisted Reserve Corps, and in 1944 he was appointed second lieutenant in the 10th Mountain Division.

He was seriously wounded in action near Castel d’Aiano in the Apennines southwest of Bologna, Italy, by German machine gun fire. He was shot in the upper back and right arm, and he fought during a long recovery at the Percy Jones Military Hospital, now called the Federal Center of Dole-Inouye.

Dole received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with a “V” device for his attempt to help a downed radioman while on duty. The injuries left him with limited mobility in his right arm and numbness in his left arm. He received an honorary promotion to the rank of army colonel in a ceremony in May 2019 held at the WWII Memorial in the nation’s capital.

In his memoir, titled “A Soldier’s Story,” Dole wrote that he and his fellow WWII veterans were not unique in their service to the nation.

“It is often said that my generation is the greatest generation,” he wrote. “This is not a title we claim for ourselves. Truth be told, we were ordinary Americans destined to face extraordinary trials. Every generation of young men and women who dare to face the realities of war – to fight for freedom, defend our country, with a willingness to risk their lives – is the greatest generation. “

After leaving public life, Dole worked at a Washington law firm and became a television spokesperson for commercial products and a political commentator. He also headed the Federal City Council, a group of business, civic and educational leaders interested in economic development in Washington.

He served as national chairman of the WWII Memorial Campaign to raise enough money for the National Memorial, and he also attended and advocated at events for veterans and people with disabilities.

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