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Baltimore County WW2 vets recall days in battle

Posted at 4:43 PM, Nov 16, 2017

Inside the walls of the North Oaks Retirement Community, there are men who helped save the world.

Dr. Gil Cullen, 95, and Aaron Seiden, 92, served on opposite sides of the world in World War 2. They say their almost 75 year old experiences still resonate today.

"It was a tough life, but we didn't know it was tough," says Cullen.

After Pearl Harbor, Cullen was pulled out of school and made an Lieutenant in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Towards the end of the war, his USS Mugford was hit by a Japanese kamikaze attack in Leyte that killed five men and knocked out the ship's engine room.

"It looked like you were going to get hit. This plane was flying low," Cullen said. "It flew right into us and hit the stack."

He eventually made it home to Maryland, where he became a Dentist and ran an office in Pikesville for decades.

"Mine were good experiences, but a hell of a lot of people had bad experiences," he said.

While Cullen was in the Pacific, North Oaks resident Aaron Seiden was fighting Axis forces in Europe.

"It was five days before my nineteenth birthday. I did not think I was going to live to see nineteen," Seiden says.

Seiden volunteered to serve and was made an Army infantryman. He wound up landing on Nomandy Beach thirteen days after D-Day and was later surrounded by Germans in the Battle of the Bulge.

"All the Germans had to do was use artillery. Send up shells and the shells would hit the trees, causing the dispersal of more shrapnel in a wider area. I never knew what hit me," Seiden said.

A piece of shrapnel in his chest marked Seiden's second major wound of the war. After that, he got to go home.

Looking back on everything that happened, he says it was never too much to ask.

"This is a great country. Were all children of immigrants. This country opened up its doors, welcomed people," Seiden says. "This is my way of saying, 'Thank you' for bringing my grandparents over and accepting them."