96-year-old veteran remembers his service during WWII

Posted at 2:08 PM, Nov 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-11 14:08:51-05

Charles Dixon worked at a drug store when he was drafted into the army in 1941.

Two months later, he reported to Fort Knox, Kentucky and was sent overseas to serve in World War II.

Over the course of more than three years, Dixon served with the 1st Armored Division in the field artillery battalion.

He traveled across Europe and northern Africa and witnessed five major battles alongside a company that began with 167 soldiers. Sixty-seven men were captured or killed, he said.

Although some of his memories have faded, Dixon can recall seeing both the beauty of distant cities and the horrors of battle during the war. He traveled the world and learned first-hand just how precious life is.

“You didn’t know one day from the next whether you were going to get killed or not,” he said.

In 1945, while preparing for bed in an abandoned train station at Lake Como near the Swiss Alps, Dixon received word that he was going home.

It’s a memory that still brings him to tears, 71 years later.

“I started to cry,” he said. “I’d been over there for 3 ½ years. I lost my mother while I was over there.”

Dixon returned to Baltimore and worked as a refrigeration mechanic after being dispatched. He married his girlfriend, raised two children and moved to Linthicum, where he’s lived for more than 60 years.

These days, the once avid golfer, softball player and woodworker has breakfast with friends regularly at a local Hardees, and looks forward to spaghetti night at the American Legion. He’s lived a good life, he said, but most remembers that fateful day in 1945.

“The best part was when they told me I was going home.”

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