Two WWII veterans in Dubuque have "uniform" tradition - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Two WWII veterans in Dubuque have "uniform" tradition

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WWII veterans Joe Griego, 91, and Al Mescher, 95, honor fallen veterans with their clothes WWII veterans Joe Griego, 91, and Al Mescher, 95, honor fallen veterans with their clothes
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The stories of our nation's veterans give us windows into history.

During World War II, the country's military aviation arm was called the US Army Air Forces, since the US Air Force wasn't established until 1947.

Two US Army Air Forces veterans at Bethany Home in Dubuque have a tradition on Memorial Day.

Al Mescher was a first lieutenant transport pilot in World War II. Every Memorial and Veterans Day, he wears his old uniform.

"Got this on March 17th 1943!" Mescher said, standing proudly in his crisp uniform. After 69 years, it's still in good condition.

Mescher wore it then as a pilot. He wears it now as a memorial.

"A tribute to all the guys at war, died in it," he said.

Joe Griego was a staff sergeant tail gunner in World War II. He wears his flight jacket on special occasions. It marks his 31 bombing missions, including the last one, when the Germans gunned down his plane and he parachuted to the ground.

"I landed in some trees and I couldn't get down," Griego said. "Germans came and took me down and I was a POW."

He was a prisoner of war for just more than one month.

"I was shot down in March the 18th. I was liberated on April the 25th, and the war was over in May," Griego said.

These two men have lived to tell the tales of battle and why they fought.

"It's something we had to do, but we did it for our country," Griego said.

Mescher said he wants people to remember to, "be appreciative of what the veterans have done for them and think about what the veterans fought to hand down to you."

The men had two different experiences but share one uniform tradition.

Griego wrote a book about his war experiences called The Tail End. Information on the book is HERE.

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