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Stories of WWII Chaplains

Date Saturday - July 20, 2019
Host Ian Punnett
Guests John WukovitsAron Ranen

Military historian John Wukovits joined guest host Ian Punnett (Twitter) to discuss a vast collection of letters, papers, records, and photographs in the archives of the University of Notre Dame, bringing to life 35 nearly forgotten heroes - chaplains and missionaries who, while garnering little acclaim, performed extraordinary feats of courage and persistence during World War II. The job of the chaplain is to be with his unit and take care of all of their religious, social, and personal needs and questions, Wukovits explained, noting chaplains did everything a soldier would do except fight. They were there to ease soldiers through what would have been a very difficult part of life, he added.

"These [chaplains] are going on to the battlefield without weapons, and they're there to help people not hurt people," Wukovits continued. He called them heroic for facing the horrors of combat and doing their chaplain duties, armed with only a bible, while soldiers from the other side were trying to kill them. "A bullet on the battlefield doesn't know you're a chaplain and not a soldier," Wukovits noted. The enemy would try to take out officers and chaplains in order to demoralize the troops, he reported. Wukovits shared the story of Father Sampson who parachuted into Normandy on D-Day, came across a German soldier dying, and stopped to give him last rights. Father Sampson was captured and taken to a wall to be shot when a Catholic officer from Bavaria had the execution stopped, Wukovits revealed.

During the last segment of the final hour, Ian played an audio piece he created in 2013 to honor chaplains.

Moon Landing Hoax

In the first hour, filmmaker Aron Ranen discussed his Moonhoax documentary (Related Material). "I totally believed in the moon landing... as I start making the movie all these weird anomalies start popping up," Ranen said, noting for the making of his movie he had talked to people who were directly involved in the Apollo 11 mission. He questioned the missing original Apollo 11 telemetry tapes, which NASA now claims were erased for budgetary reasons. Ranen also connected Nazis to NASA and the moon program. German rocket engineer and Nazi party member Arthur Rudolph, who would sign death warrants at a forced labor rocket factory, went on to become NASA's head of rocket manufacturing, he revealed.

News segment guest: David Mack

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Saturday July 20, 2019

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