[UPDATE: Click here to see KHOU Houston interview with Bob Rust]
Bob Rust, an 86-year-old resident at The Village at Gleannloch Farms in Spring, Texas, was only 18 when the young World War II soldier joined one of the US Army’s most elite fighting units—the 517th Regimental Parachute Team. The men of the 517th were some of America’s best, called on to fight their way from the south of France through Italy, Belgium, and finally into Hitler’s Germany. This unit is officially connected to five campaigns, but one event especially stands out in Bob’s memory: an onslaught in the winter of 1944 that became the crucial focus of the war—later known as the Battle of the Bulge.
Ultimately, the 517th was credited with stopping the forward advance of the “bulge” in its tracks, sealing the demise of the Third Reich. Bob’s battalion was honored with the French Croix de Guerre, the Belgian Croix de Guerre, and a special Unit Citation, given only by direct authority of the President of the United States.
“They were very brave men, any of whom would have died for each other without hesitation. They moved forward with dedication and unflinching courage. I was very fortunate to serve with them,” said Rust.
Wounded twice during the Second World War—steel shrapnel from a German artillery shell is still lodged in his back—Bob is now considered technically disabled. A year ago, he came to live at The Village at Gleannloch Farms and “gets around” without any assistance in the independent living part of the community.
Today, Bob’s medals adorn the wall of his apartment: A Bronze Star and Purple Heart with Oak Clusters, among others. He enjoys talking to other veterans at his new home, where he says, “we’re all like one big family.”
Celebrating Memorial Day is a timely opportunity to remember the sacrifices made by Bob Rust, the men of the 517th, and other veterans who fought for our freedom.
The Village at Gleannloch Farms is a LSS senior living community in Spring, TX, offering 123 independent living apartments and cottages for active adults aged 62 and above. In addition, the community offers a continuum of care including 30 assisted living apartments, 18 memory support residences, and 35 private skilled nursing suites. For information: www.villageatgleannlochfarms.com; (877) 312-2140.