Manuel "Mel" Raimundo
106th Infantry Division

"The only good part about the Battle of the Bulge is that I was only 20 years old and could take it," member Manuel "Mel" Raimundo said of his experience as a U.S. soldier in Germany during World War II.

Raimundo, 81, of Sacramento was an ambulance driver in the Army's 106th Infantry Division. He was traveling in Bastogne in southeast Belgium when he was captured Dec. 16, 1944, in the infamous Battle of the Bulge.

Though Nazi forces ultimately lost the famous battle, more than 76,000 American soldiers were killed, wounded or missing in action, according to the U.S. Department of Defense Web site.

Raimundo said he was forced to march for six days to a railroad yard and was squeezed into an overcrowded boxcar with about 85 other POWs. He spent several more days traveling without food or water until he arrived at a prison camp in Muhlberg, Germany.

Raimundo said he spent five months in captivity until he was freed by the Russian military on May 1, 1945.

Page last revised 11/27/2006

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