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Louis Kaverman Army

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Louis Kaverman - 1734 Views
honored by Michael Ford

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Assigned: 351st Infantry Division
Location of Service: Italy
Gender: male
Basic Training: Jackson, South Carolina
From City: Delphos
From State: Ohio
My War Stories
  1952 (Courtesy Michael Ford, Delphos Herald). After World War II, Communism posed a perilous threat to all of Europe. One local man was sent to the Italian port city of Trieste to guard the city against a “red” presence in bordering Yugoslavia. “We were there to protect the border. Yugoslavia was a Communist country at that time. We had trained to go to Korea but when we got our orders, half the company was sent to Korea and the other half to Trieste,” said Louis Kaverman. The 76-year-old was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1951. After basic training in Jackson, South Carolina, he was assigned to the 351st Infantry Division. Though he attended noncommissioned officers school and went on maneuvers a couple times, he spend nearly all of his 18-months in Trieste, which he said the Communists would have liked to have taken control of. “May was election time. The Communists wanted to take over Trieste but it was ran by Christian Democrats and they always outvoted the Communists. We were always on alert in May because it was an active month with all the Communist billboards and posters everywhere,” he said. There never was any hostile activity, Kaverman said. However, he could always tell the difference between the nations on Sunday morning. “When I was stationed in Trieste, we never had any problems. We just weren’t allowed to cross the border. We really didn’t guard the border or anything; we didn’t walk it, we were just present. “All the churches in Trieste had their bells ringing on Sunday morning but right across the border in Yugoslavia, the churches were silent. You could tell they had been shut down,” he said. Some of the most memorable experiences Kaverman had were while traveling Europe en route to Trieste. “When we went overseas, we made several stops. We went to Casablanca and they offered any GIs who wanted to go on a tour. We went over to Italy and down to Naples, then to Pompeii and Athens before we swung back up to the Adriatic Sea and up to Trieste,” he said. Among his memories is a visit to Rome to see the leader of the Catholic Church. “Trieste is close to Venice, so we went there several times. I went on furlough for two weeks and went to Rome. I had two audiences with Pope Pius XII. We were there a week and during the first part of the week, they had the GIs assemble at the USO; Gene Youngpeter from Landeck was in front of me and I tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around and said ‘Louie!’ Then I looked up and saw his priest from Landeck. ‘Small world’ I thought. “I went to Rome several times. I also went to Florence, I saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa; I went to Naples and Athens to see the Parthenon and I went to the Adriatic Sea,” he said. Kaverman was dating his wife, Martha, at the time. He could not help but miss her when in Venice. Many years later, he revisited but was not without her on the return. “We toured Europe in 1992 and Venice was one of the places we stopped. I told Martha, ‘We’re standing on the very spot I stood on in 1952 feeding the pigeons’,” he recalled. Kaverman and his loved ones were relieved when he was ordered to Europe instead of Korea. However, he is very proud of those who did serve in combat, as well as himself for fulfilling his obligation as it was given to him. “Sometimes, because I was never exposed to combat, I think I got lucky. I went because I was called. I could have gone to Korea but I went to Trieste, which was better because a lot of guys were getting killed in Korea. The sacrifice is going when you’re called and you don’t know where they’re going to send you or what you’re going to do. You just do what you’re told,” he said.