He was my mother’s first cousin, but he was always Uncle Sonny to me. He was an out doors person who loved horses and riding. He had a golden palomino he used to take me for rides on. Later, as I grew older he let me ride that beautiful horse. Strange horse though, as it would not rein to the right. If you wanted to turn to the right you had to turn him left 270 degrees to make a right turn. As I grew older sometimes he would talk to me about some stories of his military experience. Most of the time he would tell me stories about the funny things that happened to him, but never any of the bad things he experienced. After I grew up and made the military a career the stories changed. While home on leave one year the stories changed. I had spent over three years in south East Asia and I guess he figured I could equate to some of the sad things that happen in a war zone. He was right! Several years later after I had retired and was home on vacation he gave me something. An M-1942-MOD stove. We even fired it up and it worked great. Those things rally get hot in a hurry. He said that he had used it many times but that the best use was for a good hot cup of coffee during the freezing cold weather. That is how I came to own this old stove and needless to say it has a lot of sentimental value to me. I will post pictures of the stove at a later date. Having problems getting it out of the case. It went under water when hurricane Katrina washed our house away in 2005 yarb Below is a write up you may enjoy reading. This 1944 photo shows Cpl. Norman Sandefur kneeling in front of a Jeep in Germany during a rare lull in battle action. Just hours before this photo was taken, he was driving and his head was between both bullet holes in the windshield. Cpl. Norman Sandefur takes a break to get some relief from nearly constant battle action at Metz, Germany, in 1944. Norman Sandefur, one of the "Band of Brothers" made famous in the acclaimed 10-part World War II television miniseries that aired seven years ago, died in a Danville nursing home Saturday age 86. Sandefur was a hero, but like the other members of that special generation of men and women, he never thought of himself that way. He told countless friends and members of his family that he "was just doing my job like everyone else." "Sandy," as he was known to his friends and family, leaves behind a son, Mark; a daughter, Linda; a sister, Dorothy Applaus; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Sandefur wouldn't talk to his family or friends about his war experiences for nearly 35 years. The memories were painful, and he didn't think people cared. But in 1980, his old Army buddies convinced him to attend a reunion, and he discovered that being with other vets helped to ease his pain. In fact, after that initial reunion, he never missed another. Ironically, he found a measure of peace by talking about his war experiences, answering questions and giving presentations at schools, veteran organizations and museums. "A lot of things that hurt at the time became comical to me later," he once told an interviewer. "I was able to look back on the ordeal and share it with others." Sandefur was born and raised in Shelby County. He turned 20 years old the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. Like so many others of that generation, he was anxious to serve. After failing the written exam in his effort to join the Air Corps, he was drafted by the Army in November 1942 and went on active duty a month later. The Army desperately needed medics, and Sandefur had some medical experience. He had treated horses, which was good enough for Uncle Sam. They sent him to basic and surgical technician's training in Texas. "I asked for a transfer to the paratroopers to get out of the medics, but they made me a medic in the paratroopers," he often joked. He went to Georgia and joined Company A of the famous 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. On the dark night before June 6, 1944, or D-Day, he parachuted behind German lines. It was a harrowing experience, as he landed in a swamp, sank to the bottom and tried to fight his way up for air. "I pulled the cord on my life preserver, my "Mae West,' but when it inflated it was so tight I couldn't breathe," he said. "I grabbed a knife from my boot, punctured it and struggled to the bank." When German machine-gun fire strafed his position, he hunkered down in a ditch. After some time had passed, he gathered enough nerve to search for his colleagues, who used metal "crickets' to contact each other. One click was the challenge and two was the response of a friend. He finally joined four of his buddies. Burying his fears Sandefur always credited his jump survival to his training. The weeks of practice and nine-mile walks prepared him and left him in great physical shape. He told friends later, however, that he never got over being afraid and just buried his fears. He did what his training prepared him to do. One of his first actions was to get rid of the Red Cross bands on his arm and helmet. "The Germans shot medics because that destroyed soldiers' morale," he said. "Wearing those arm bands made you a marked man." He carried two heavy medical kits on his hips, and during heated attacks he went from soldier to soldier, applied tourniquets, patched them up and treated their wounds. On one occasion, he threw himself on top of his company captain to protect him from flying shrapnel, receiving a serious arm wound. "While other guys could get in holes for protection, medics couldn't," he said. "They had to scamper out there and help the wounded." During one attack, Sandefur was blown over a hedge row and seriously injured his back and stomach. Appearing lifeless and almost left for dead, he was spotted by a fellow soldier who helped him walk out of the area. He shot himself with morphine and was evacuated to a nearby hospital, but his parachute-jumping days were over. He became a glider medic in Holland and Belgium, where the constant exposure to blood, wounds and death eventually dulled his senses. Honored in Aldbourne Sandefur participated in the liberation of Eindhoven, Holland, in June 1944 and was at Bastogne during the famous Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945, according to his son, Mark Sandefur. "Government officials in the English town of Aldbourne, where he disembarked the day before D-Day, are going to lower their government flags to half-mast in his honor this Sunday," he said. On Thursday morning shortly before noon, Sandefur will be buried with full military honors at Forest Hill Cemetery. He will be eulogized as one of the few remaining original 185 men of Company A who made that parachute jump into Normandy the night before D-Day. His actions during the war earned him a Purple Heart with two oak clusters and a Bronze Star for heroic achievement with two oak clusters. He was also awarded a Presidential Citation, Good Conduct Medal, European Theater Operations Ribbon, four battle stars, a bronze arrowhead and other pins, ribbons and medals, all of which he kept in a display case built by his proud son. "I never did more than anybody else did during the war," he often told people. "I never felt like a hero. The real heroes were the ones who didn't make it back home."