Two U.S. World War II veterans visit American Battle Monuments Commission’s sites

American Battle Monuments Commission was honored to welcome two veterans from the Greatest Generation, Eugene “Gene” Kleindl and William “Magic Bill” Hunter both over 100 years old.

William “Magic Bill” Hunter (on the left) and Eugene “Gene” Kleindl (on the right) at Pointe du Hoc Visitor Center. Credits: ABMC. Credits: ABMC

On Oct. 26, 2023, they visited Pointe du Hoc and Normandy American Cemetery with the association that made this trip possible. At Pointe du Hoc, they saw the site including some of the bunkers, its visitor center and they both signed the guest book. Then, they went to Omaha Beach before heading to Normandy American Cemetery. At the cemetery, they attended the flag lowering with a third French veteran, Jean Turco, who was a prisoner of war in Germany, where they were presented the colors.

The two World War II U.S. veterans, William “Magic Bill” Hunter (in the middle) and Eugene “Gene” Kleindl (on the right) with Jean Turco, former French prisoner of war in Germany (on the left) at the flagpole at Normandy American Cemetery after the lowering of the flag. Credits: ABMC.

In 1944, Kleindl entered the war with his brother Clifford. He was a medic in the 358th Infantry Regiment. He landed on June 8, 1944, (D-Day +2) on Utah Beach, Normandy, France, before starting moving northward with his division. Both brothers were injured during World War II but survived it. Kleindl received several awards and citations for his service.

Kleindl also came to Normandy American Cemetery to honor one of his friends, Pfc. Ralph E. Gaddis, who died June 12, 1944, and is buried at this American Battle Monuments Commission’s site plot G, row 1 and grave 21.

Eugene “Gene” Kleindl near his friend’s headstone at Normandy American Cemetery. Credits: ABMC.

Hunter was U.S. Navy and fought in the Pacific. He served as coxswain, assigned to 5” guns and acted as a signalman on merchant ships. He wanted to go to Normandy to see the historic battlegrounds and honor his comrades who lost their lives on the French shores. After the war, Hunter became a professional magician, a skill he still masters nowadays.

The two U.S. veterans also went to Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery Oct. 29, 2023, as Kleindl took part in battles in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Czechoslovakia and Germany.

Honoring veterans such as Kleindl and Hunter is part of American Battle Monuments Commission. For 100 years, American Battle Monuments Commission has ensured that the memories of those who fell abroad defending the U.S. and those they served with, never die. Our promise is unbroken, and our mission is timeless as we enter our second century. ABMC continues to stay true to the mission given by Gen. of the Armies John J. Pershing to ensure that, “Time will not dim the glory of their deeds.”  


Normandy American Cemetery’s team

Public Affairs’ team

Vets Roll, Inc.®

American Legion Wisconsin