World War II veteran reflects on military service on veterans day

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Missoula's Veterans of Foreign War post 209. It's an organization run by veterans, for veterans, to provide comradery and to help out when needed. 

The VFW provided free breakfast to more than 60 veterans Monday morning. 

Rondo Scharfe was one of those veterans. He moved to Montana in 1975 after working as a firefighter in Chicago for over two decades. Rondo is 92 years old, but at age 16 he joined the U.S. Navy to fight in World War II. 

"Certain things you smell or do bring back the memories right away," Rondo said. 

To this day, Rondo still get flashbacks once or twice a month. 

"It never goes away," he added.

Rondo is a survivor of Iwo Jima, a WWII battle in Japan where 7,000 Americans died and 20,000 were injured

"I lost 17 out of 36 in my boat," he said. 

Rondo said he's lucky to be alive, and even with the terrifying flashbacks he said he would "do it all over again."

After the breakfast, Rondo made his way to the World War I doughboy statue outside the Missoula County courthouse for the Veterans day ceremony. 

Dozens of veterans attended the ceremony, including retired Army Colonel Sam Millett. 

"This ones especially moving for me because my daughter is here dressed in uniform," Col, Millett said. 

He added he's proud of his daughter Tatiana, who will be a third generation Army Officer after she graduates from the University of Montana ROTC program. Tatiana said her father is one reason she joined the Army. 

"Everything that he's done for the Army, for our nation is super inspiring. It's actually part of the reason is why I want to be in the Army and why I signed up," Tatiana Millett-Jauck said. 

On this Veterans day, Rondo has one message. 

"Whenever you see a vet, thank them for what they did," he said. 

The VFW is a non-profit organization that works to helps veterans. If you would like to donate, click here. 

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