Conrad Victor ("Vick") Hooge celebrates his 100th birthday.
He is originally from Louisiana and had a train stop at South Tunnel after basic training for WWII where he met his wife-to- be, Clara Mildred Ramsey. He came back for her after the war.
They moved to Louisiana, but eventually came back to Tennessee in 1959. He worked for the TVA, farmed and did carpenter's work up into his 70's. He still lives in Rockbridge.
Vick had many amazing experiences in WW II, serving in England, France and Germany under General Patton as a tank driver and mechanic. He landed at the Normandy beaches about six days after the June 6, 1944 invasion, having been waiting in England to advance with his tank company.
He said that he prayed for God to "please help this poor farmer" and protect him.
Serving in reconnaissance, his tank company was often 25 miles ahead of American lines and sometimes got ambushed by German troops and had to call in air support. He had his headset shot off from his helmet, met a German soldier as they were each crawling in opposite directions and passed each other and saw his lieutenant and assistant driver killed by snipers as they open the top hatch to look around.
Once he was ordered to take a German prisoner, who kept escaping and being recaptured, to a secluded place and shoot him, but he refused. A soldier from New York who was next given the order actually did it.
When asked what advice he would have for the younger generation, he says to "trust in God" and things will turn out well. He attributes his long life to the coffee he drinks every day and he gave up smoking long ago. He still has a full head of brown hair and although his eyes are dim and his hearing is a little impaired, he is quite healthy for his age.