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Congresswoman Betty McCollum

Representing the 4th District of Minnesota

McCollum Statement Honoring Mr. Jean DeCurtins

April 5, 2017
Statements For the Record

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to recognize the last surviving member of the Stillwater, Minnesota ``Last Man's Club'' of World War II veterans, Mr. Jean DeCurtins.

At age 98, Mr. DeCurtins is the only survivor of the 180 men who left Stillwater in February 1941 as part of the Minnesota Army National Guard's 34th Infantry Division Red Bulls mobilization for World War II. The A&D Last Man's Club was named for the A and D Army Companies in which members served and in honor of Stillwater's original Last Man's Club of 34 Civil War veterans.

Private DeCurtins served in Company D, the heavy-weapons company of the 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division. He fought in six battles and 14 engagements in North Africa and Italy, including the Battles of Monte Cassino and the Gothic Line. Injured twice during his service, taking shrapnel to his hand at the Battle of Kasserine Pass in Tunisa and in the head at the Anzio beachhead in Italy, DeCurtins returned to the battlefield both times. For his brave service, DeCurtins was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

The day after Christmas in 1944, Mr. DeCurtins returned to his parents' home in Stillwater, a decorated Army Private First Class. He took a job on a line crew for Northern States Power Co. where he worked until he retired in 1981. He still lives in his parents' home with his brother Johnny, also a World War II veteran, a home he has lived in for over 90 years. Still active in his community and an avid reader, DeCurtins visits the Stillwater Public Library twice daily and attends Mass at the Church of St. Michael every Saturday evening.

His humility, perseverance, and sacrifice certainly personifies those known as ``the Greatest Generation,'' and we are proud to recognize him today as we remember all with whom he served. Mr. Speaker, please join me in rising to honor Mr. DeCurtins's courage and commitment to our nation.