Mainers who served in WWII blast local neo-Nazi movement

3 weeks ago

News of neo-Nazis setting up camp in Maine, Nazi flags waving at local rallies or chants of “Sieg Heil” echoing against the state capital does not sit well with World War II veterans who fought to suppress Hitler’s troops.

World War II veteran Don Gallupe, 99, of Bangor was startled when he read about a neo-Nazi setting up a training camp in Springfield, he said. 

“We always had these little fires, but these mass gatherings, it’s tough to realize what’s happening,” he said.  

During World War II Gallupe served in the South Pacific as a tech sergeant in the Army Air Corps, the precursor to the U.S. Air Force. He was injured during the war and spent eight months in the hospital, but he chooses not to talk about what happened.

His two brothers, Clifford and Arthur also served in World War II, he said. 

Gallupe’s brother Arthur, a Captain in the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service, 36th Infantry Division, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor but was killed in southern France shortly before Allied Forces liberated it from German Nazi control. 

“My brother was two years older than me, he was 24, and that was a tough thing to get over, ” Gallupe said.  

It’s tough for the men and women who fought the Nazis, who witnessed the horrors of the concentration camps, who experienced the brutality, to see a movement taking root in America. 

The veterans worry about history repeating itself. 

It’s the same for Washburn World War II veteran David McCarthy who is 95.  

“They are copying Hitler, that’s what they are doing,” McCarthy said.”They ought to find a way of prosecuting them and putting them in jail for the rest of their life because they don’t deserve to be in this country.”

Gallupe referenced coverage in the Bangor Daily News about Christopher Pohlhaus, the neo-Nazi and founder of an extremist group, who recently sold a 10.6 acre parcel in Springfield.  

“We know that the unit that was up there in northern Maine, that he sold the piece of land that he had purchased,” Gallupe said. “I don’t really know what he’s planning or doing now,  but I think he’s planning to still be in Maine and try to gather different ones together.”

McCarthy served with the U.S.Naval fleet near the end of World War II. He was 17 and a seaman. He went on to serve two years with the fleet and 10 years with the Seabees as a Chief Petty Officer. 

In early October, McCarthy shared his oral history at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. And then this past week he was invited back to the museum to be part of the opening ceremonies for the museum’s last pavilion about the World War II liberation, according to his daughter Lisa McClay. 

The five McCarthy brothers — David, Philip, Paul, Frank and Robert “Buddy,” — all served in World War II. Philip and Paul were in the D-Day invasion at Normandy. Philip was wounded in the war.

Both Gallupe and McCarthy believe that younger people today do not have any idea what World War II was about and they don’t really understand what being in a war is like. 

McCarthy said Pohlhaus and other neo-Nazis should not be here in Maine. 

“All this garbage that’s going on is uncalled for,” McCarthy said. “I hope they change a hell of a lot more before I pass away. I hope this country straightens itself out, otherwise all my brothers did was for nothing and I’d like to think that it was for something.”