Charlie has a small collection of mementos from World War
II, not the least being his Purple Heart and well-worn Bible
By Bob Weaver 2006
When Dink Duskey got a package in the mail in 1944 from the US government, her heart sunk. The Calhoun woman had received word her husband Charlie Duskey, Jr. had been wounded by mortar fire in Anzio, Italy, requiring his leg to be amputated.
"I thought he had died and they were sending me his billfold," she said, "Communications were pretty slow back then." The box contained a Purple Heart.
(Mrs. Duskey died in 2008)
Charlie said they desperately needed replacements on the front lines. "I went straight from basic training to action at Anzio Beach," he said, remembering he was gathering some straw for his trench when the mortar struck him. Most of the front-line fighting happened at night.
Charlie's outfit, attached to the Third Army, suffered a complete turnover because of loss of life.
"It was a vicious time for dying," he said.
"We had shipped across the big water and landed at Casablanca," and from there "I got on troop train with 40 other soldiers and eight mules."
Charlie was taken to a Naples hospital on March 22, 1944, where his leg was amputated. He was 23.
"I couldn't feel a thing, and ask a nurse to tell me if my leg was still there," he said. She replied "Mr. Duskey, I'm sorry to tell you they had to remove it."
Charlie was brought back to the states to Walter Reed, where he received treatment, and was discharged to return to Calhoun County.
The Duskey Boys - Charlie, Jr. (L)
John (R) who was killed in the war
While Charlie was being discharged, his 21-year-old brother John was killed in action, one of 52 Calhoun men killed in World War II, with hundreds of others serving.
John was married and had one son, which he had seen once before his death.
Charlie's dad, Charlie, Sr., was a veteran of World War I. He and his wife Elva Connolly, longtime residents of Mt. Zion, had five sons, Charles, Ron, and Don, with John and Harold deceased.
Charles Duskey, Sr. served in World War I
Charlie and Dink have been married 65 years, having lived in the same Mt. Zion house for 56 years. After his return from the war, he served as a Calhoun Deputy Sheriff, then attended Mt. State Business College and worked as the controller at the Calhoun Super Service for 40 years.
He was county Democrat chairmen two times, and has been ballot commissioner for over 25 years.
He and Dink have a daughter Dixie Duskey Brown of Bluefield.
"I've been blessed," said Charlie, pictured
with his wife Dink at their Mt. Zion home