October 30, 2013
World War II Veteran Goes On One Last Goose Hunt
By Phil Bourjaily
When World War II veteran Herman Ratelle, 90, of Edina, Minnesota, returned to the Twin Cities from an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. he and the other veterans were greeted by a crowd holding banners thanking them for their service. Ratelle took it all in, then got ready to go hunting. He had asked his son Stephen to take him on one last goose hunt and they left immediately after they got back from Washington.
Stephen arranged the hunt in northwest Minnesota and, as this report from WDAY.com shows, they had a great day together in the field and shot some geese despite the bluebird weather.
Herman Ratelle enlisted in 1943 and fought along the Rhine, through France and into Germany as a member of the 14th Armored Division. He lost a leg when his Sherman tank was hit on February 1, 1945. After recuperating for a year in the hospital, Ratelle attended the University of Minnesota and graduated with a J.D. in 1949. He practiced law for 50 years in the Twin Cities. On the Honor Flight Ratelle carried a picture of his brother Alex with him. Alex, who died in 2002, flew 52 missions as a B-17 navigator until he too was wounded in 1945.