Bill Reid, 92, was 18 years old in 1944 when he was drafted to fight in World War II.
He traveled by train from New Jersey to Fort Bragg for 17 weeks of training before heading off to Europe.
On his first day at Fort Bragg, Reid recalled that he was not impressed with his initial assignment.
"When I asked what kind of outfit it was that we were being trained for, they said, 'Oh, cooks and bakers school,'" he said. "Well, that doesn’t sit very well with a gung-ho hero."
He switched to artillery, learning how to dig-in, aim, load and fire a 105 mm Howitzer.
In January of 1945, Reid boarded a ship headed for Italy, where he spent seven months. By August, the war in Europe was over, but Reid and his fellow soldiers still faced the prospect of fighting on the Pacific front.
On Aug. 15, 1945, Reid and 5,000 other GIs packed into a hangar near Naples to see a show starring the iconic singing trio the Andrews Sisters.
The show was interrupted by someone carrying a note.
"Somebody came out and talked to one of the three (sisters)," Reid said. "We wondered what the hell is going on."
When Patty Andrews announced the war with Japan had ended, bringing World War II to a close, the assembled troops went wild, Reid recalled.
"(I) hollered as loud as I could, grabbed everybody I could and hugged them,” he said. “This was getting your life back."