MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) - The Murrells Inlet community celebrated a very special birthday on Thursday.
World War II veteran Bob Le Duc turned 101 years old and was honored with a surprise birthday parade.
The Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District had a truck and ambulance drive by with the lights on. They were followed by several of Le Duc’s friends and neighbors, all with birthday signs and American flags.
“I don’t know that I deserve all this recognition,” said Le Duc. “I’m just an ordinary guy, but it’s very nice to see that people think that much to honor me as much as they are.”
Le Duc spent his first two and a half years in the war in Panama, where he handled aircraft artillery. After that, he went to Europe for nearly a year, where he was in charge of supplying a German prisoner of war camp.
Le Duc never saw any time on the front lines, but he did have to fire a gun when he got a surprising alert order in Panama.
“We had four guns and a battery,” said Le Duc. “I guess we all fired 10 or 15 rounds. They said the shrapnel is falling all around Panama City, everybody was ducking for cover. It turned out, they thought they had a target, but nothing more came of it. That was the extent of my combat.”
One of his final, and most rewarding, experiences was helping to supply a British refugee camp shortly after Germany surrendered.
“They suffered a lot those people,” said Le Duc. “We felt sorry for them. We got them clothed and fed and got them started back home.”
Le Duc has plenty of memories he’ll never forget over the course of the past century.
The Murrells Inlet community hopes the parade will be another memory, of just how much he’s loved.