Tech. Sgt. Earnest Braman - World War II Veteran
Ernie was a little guy... only an inch over five feet. He left school to work as a meat cutter when he was 16 years old. When he turned 18 he joined the army, where he was assigned to continue his work as a meat cutter. Small as he was, lifting quarter beefs made him strong and fit... and just what the decision-makers in the army wanted in a meat cutter. Ernie would have none of it. He proved himself to be one of 250 in his outfit who had expert marksmanship. However, he didn’t have the paper to show he’d had the marksmanship training, so he was again assigned to the kitchen once his outfit reached North Africa. It broke his heart, and he convinced the powers-that-decide that he could rise early, complete his kitchen duties and then join the combat troops in battle.
It was a good thing he did. While pushing the Germans north out of Italy, he won the coveted Silver Star on July 9, 1944. An ammunition pile was set afire. Ignoring the heavy concentration of enemy artillery fire, Ernie left the safety of his slit trench to extinguish the fire, saving countless lives without considering his own. Ernie’s concern for his buddies included a specific concern for one of his unit when he returned home. A Mexican-American soldier returned to Mexico after the war. Ernie discovered that the man was nearly indigent and helped him come to Hillsdale. The man worked for Ernie in Ernie’s business, Braman Roofing, for many years, living the American dream thanks to his friend and war buddy.
JoAnne P. Miller