Honoring the Memories and Sacrifices

St. Louis Gateway Chapter  •  Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge WWII  •  Saint Louis, Missouri

WWII Veteran Interviews
Despotis Book Project

World War II represents a critical turning point in the history of the mankind. The freedom of the known world was at stake during this period and it is estimated that 50-60 million people lost their lives as a direct effect of this catastrophic war. This degree of man-made tragedy is unsurpassed and its impact is still being manifested. The military involvement of the United States at a cost of 500-600,000 lives prevailed in preserving freedom throughout the world. The US military during World War II, estimated to have within its ranks 20 million soldiers in uniform, primarily consisted of citizens who embraced the call to action in this most noble crusade.

It has been estimated that, in the United States alone, World War II veterans are dying at a rate of 1000 per day. Since October of 2004, the Despotis WWII Veterans Project (also referred to as the Despotis Book Project), with the approval of the St. Louis Gateway Chapter, Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, has been conducting 60-80 minute videotaped interviews of WW II veterans to preserve their personal accounts about their participation in World War II; a vast majority of these oral histories involve accounts of the Battle of the Bulge. To date we have conducted over 130 interviews with the majority involving veterans within the St. Louis area. A substantial percentage of these videotaped interviews have been transcribed and transferred to computer-based storage media.

The primary goal of this project is to complete as many interviews as soon as possible in order to preserve the personal accounts of these aging veterans to help future generations understand their experiences and sacrifices in the process of preserving our freedom. Along those lines, we are attempting to increase our visibility to identify other WWII veterans who would be interested in being interviewed. We continue to target several reunions (e.g. the National VBOB Reunion in Lincolnshire, Illinois). We believe it is critical to capture these first-hand accounts while we still have the opportunity to do so.

While conducting interviews remains our top priority, we are also in the process of transcribing and editing the completed interviews into manuscript form, which we project publishing in 2008. In addition to this, we intend to transmit this information via other potential mechanisms involving either a DVD publication and/or a web site that would provide universal access. One additional future goal would be for us to compile the first National Database of soldiers killed during the Battle of the Bulge, the largest battle in US history.

Books Available

"Victory Through Valor: A Collection of World War II Memoirs" is available in softcover, 328 pages and was published by Reedy Press of St. Louis. Over 100 Gateway Chapter members and their wives were interviewed as part of the Despotis World War II Veterans Project. Founded in 2004 by Associate Member Dr. George Despotis, the Project has interviewed over 170 veterans and their wives in an effort to preserve their oral histories for future generations.

Order forms are available at the monthly meetings for either pick-up or for delivery via the USPS or you can print the form from the link below and mail it.

PDF Book Order Form   View/Print Book Order Form

As per the January 2012 meeting, the price of our book, Victory Through Valor is $15.00. It is still being signed by a number of the members who are in the book.