At 12, future Air Force master sergeant saves brother's life

Washington, IN

Harris and Mable Amundson had five sons; four of the brothers served in the U.S. Air Force: Gerald, Dorvin, Roger and Dennis. The fifth son, Kenneth, signed up but was rejected for a medical reason.
Jerry saved my life when I was 7 and he was only 12.
My brother, Gerald C. Amundson, was only two months from completing his senior year at the high school in Benson, Minn., in 1952 when he dropped out of school to join the Air Force. After basic training Jerry was deployed to serve our country in the Korean conflict (War).
Jerry served in many parts of the world and retired as a master sergeant after serving over 20 years in the Air Force.
In January l946 Jerry pulled me from the icy cold water of a Minnesota river.
We lived on a small farm in Pope County, Minnesota, about a half-mile west of Lake Emily. School was out for the two weeks of Christmas vacation. It was a beautiful sunny day in Minnesota, and I, one sister and two brothers decided that after the chores were done we should head across the big slew over to the neighbors' place where they also had kids our age. The neighbors were not home, so we continued down the road to where it crossed the river. After exploring the area and throwing rocks out on the ice for a while, I decided to try to retrieve a dead duck that was laying on the ice a few feet from where the current had melted ice and there was a small area of open water. I was trying to reach the duck with a stick I had picked up when the ice gave way and I plunged into the water. With God's help I popped up into the same hole and yelled for help. Without hesitation my big brother came out onto the ice, laid down on his stomach and was able to reach my hands. My other brother and sister lay down and grabbed his ankles and with their help he was able to pull me out of the water and to safety.
At this point we were about a mile from home, and even being a nice January day in Minnesota it was about 15 degrees above. My heavy coat, snow pants, hat and scarf were soaked. By the time we got to the house all my clothes were frozen.
No big deal was ever made of this; my parents and other siblings have talked with me about it, but I can’t recall my big brother ever talking about saving my life.

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