WWII vet of both the U.S. and the Red Army honored in Moscow





An exhibit opened in Russia on Thursday on the life of an American veteran believed to be one the few soldiers to fight for both the U.S. and the Soviet Union in World War II.

The Russian Museum exhibit, titled "Joseph R. Beyrle — A Hero of Two Nations," presents 260 artifacts from Beyrle's life and military career, including a collection of his medals, uniform and photographs.

His son, U.S. ambassador to Russia John Beyrle, attended the exhibit opening and said that though his father was called a hero by both nations he never considered himself one.

"He always used to say that real heroes were those who never came back from the war," Beyrle said in fluent Russian....

The highly decorated Staff Sgt. Beyrle parachuted into Normandy on D-Day with the U.S. 101st Airborne Division and was captured by the Germans. He escaped and joined a Soviet tank battalion before he was wounded near Berlin and sent home through Moscow. He died in 2004.

The Muskegon, Michigan, native said he raised his hands and shouted the only two words of Russian he knew when he met Soviet troops after his escape from a German POW camp in January 1945. "Amerikansky tovarishch," he called, American comrade.

Beyrle joined Soviet troops and was wounded as his unit approached Berlin. He was treated in a field hospital before being sent back to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, a mission his son now leads....



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