Alvin Seaberg often thinks about the time he was buried in snow for nearly 14 hours avoiding crossfire during World War II.
It was during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest in Germany.
“All the time that’s on your mind,” Seaberg, a U.S. Army veteran, said. “Whenever you go to sleep at night, till you wake up it’s still on your mind. You just don’t get it off.”
Seaberg and another soldier were sent on a mission to see how many German soldiers were up ahead. After going out into the field they ran into a German camp.
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“We were in ‘no man’s’ land as we called it,” Seaberg said. “They threw everything at us. It was terrible.”
The two had to dig a hole to get down to avoid gun fire. Seaberg said he and the soldier agreed that if the Germans came after them, the two would pull the pin to the grenade. They didn’t want to be captured.
Fortunately the two didn’t have to do that. Soon American troops came to their aid and they battled through the night.
Seaberg and the soldier had to stay in the snow to avoid the crossfire.
Although buried in snow, Seaberg, 90, was a hero that night. The German troops had set a trap. If he and the other soldier hadn’t found the enemy, the American troops would have walked right into the trap.
We were in ‘no man’s’ land as we called it. They threw everything at us. It was terrible.
Seaberg was then awarded Bronze Star. The Bronze Star is a U.S. decoration awarded to members of the armed forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.
He also received the Purple Heart because he had frost bite to his feet on the same night after being in the snow for so long. The Purple Heart is given to soldiers who were wounded or killed, while serving.
“For me it’s an honor to know him,” his neighbor, Daniel Ellis, who served in Vietnam, said.
“Because if it wasn’t for him and troops like him we may not have the freedom we have today. So they were first in my book. We all fought our wars but he fought a hard war.”
Seaberg served in the military from 1943 to 1945. He was 19 when he was drafted. He and a friend had tried to join when he was just 16. They hitchhiked a ride 25 minutes from a small town called Point Marion in Pennsylvania to Morgantown, West Virginia to talk to recruiters.
“The guy was really something. He said ‘I want you kids to get back in school,’” Seaberg said. “We were still in high school.”
Seaberg said during that time it was popular to be in the military.
Seaberg moved to Johnston County in the ’50s. He worked as a salesman until he retired.
He has two children who live nearby. His wife has Alzheimer’s disease and lives in assisted living home up north with her two children.
He now lives at Bowman Manor Apartments, a senior living apartment on Glen Road. He’s known as the resident candy man passing out candy to other residents. He still drives his two-door Ford Thunderbird to McDonald’s in the mornings.
“My heart doctor don’t like it but I don’t care. He’s not the boss of me,” Seaberg laughed.
The apartment complex recently installed a flag pole in its court yard. And Seaberg was the first to raise it. When asked what it meant to him, Seaberg said, “I love that flag.”