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WWII hero of two nations honored in Moscow: Joseph Beyrle-A true American & Russian hero

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posted on May, 7 2010 @ 01:03 PM

Moscow's Museum of Military Glory is holding an exhibition to honour the hero of two nations and the father of the US ambassador to Russia.

Sgt. Joseph R. Beyrle 1943 (England)

The Short Story:

Airborne trooper Joseph Beyrle was captured after parachuting into France and spent 10 months in Nazi POW camps. He escaped in the spring of 1945 and then joined a Russian tank unit. Knowing only two words in Russian: "American" and "comrade," he served with the unit for a month, helping liberate the prisoners at the camp from which he escaped.
And so goes the story, which I will get into a little more. Russia is honoring him. And now his son is the Ambassador to Russia. He said this recently:

“At a time when he was absolutely defenseless they took him in, they gave him a weapon, they fed him – he was starving in the prison camp,” the hero’s son and US Ambassador John Beyrle told RT. “This escaped American soldier was their ally. And he realized that being with them he was in safe hands.”

Source (with video):
I did some looking into Sgt Beyrle and I found out he was one hell of a man. I doubt we could find many like him today. I sure hope I'm wrong on that statement but... well you be the judge:

The Long Story:

Joseph R. Beyrle (August 25, 1923 - December 12, 2004) is thought to be the only American soldier to have served with both the United States Army and the Soviet Army in World War II. Born in Muskegon, Michigan, Beyrle graduated from high school in 1942 with the promise of a scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, but enlisted in the army instead.

Upon his enlistment, Beyrle chose to become a paratrooper, joining the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne's "Screaming Eagles" division, specializing in radio communications and demolition, and was first stationed in Ramsbury, England to prepare for the upcoming Allied invasion from the west. After nine months of training, Beyrle completed two missions in occupied France in April and May 1944, delivering gold to the French Resistance.

On June 6, D-Day, Beyrle's C-47 came under enemy fire over the Normandy coast, and he was forced to jump from the exceedingly low altitude of 120 meters. After landing in Saint-Côme-du-Mont, Sergeant Beyrle lost contact with his fellow paratroopers, but succeeded in blowing up a power station. He performed other sabotage missions before being captured by German soldiers a few days later.

Beyrle as a POW, fall 1944

Over the next seven months, Beyrle was held in seven different German prisons. He escaped twice, only to be recaptured each time. Beyrle and his fellow prisoners had been hoping to find the Soviet army, which was a short distance away. After the second escape (in which he and his companions set out for Poland but boarded a train to Berlin by mistake), Beyrle was turned over to the Gestapo by a German civilian. Beaten and tortured, he was released to the German military after officials stepped in and determined that the Gestapo had no jurisdiction over prisoners of war. The Gestapo were about to shoot Beyrle and his comrades, claiming that he was an American spy who had parachuted into Berlin.
Beyrle's POW ID information

Beyrle was taken to the Stalag III-C POW camp in Alt Drewitz, from which he escaped in early January 1945. He headed east, hoping to meet up with the Soviet army. Encountering a Soviet tank brigade in the middle of January, he raised his hands, holding a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes, and shouted in Russian, 'Amerikansky tovarishch! ("American comrade!"). Beyrle was eventually able to persuade the battalion's commanders to allow him to fight alongside the unit on its way to Berlin, thus beginning his month-long stint in a Soviet tank battalion, where his demolitions expertise was appreciated.

Beyrle's new battalion was the one that freed his former camp, Stalag III-C, at the end of January, but in the first week of February, he was wounded during an attack by German Stuka dive bombers. He was evacuated to a Soviet hospital in Landsberg (now Gorzów Wielkopolski in Poland), where he received a visit from Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov, who, intrigued by the only non-Russian in the hospital, learned his story through an interpreter, and provided Beyrle with official papers in order to rejoin American forces.

Joining a Soviet military convoy, Beyrle arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in February 1945, only to learn that he had been reported by the War Department as KIA on June 10, 1944 on French soil. A funeral mass had been held in his honor in Muskegon, and his obituary was published in the local newspaper. Embassy officers in Moscow, unsure of his bona fides, placed him under Marine guard in the Metropol Hotel until his identity was established through his fingerprints.

Beyrle died in his sleep of heart failure on December 12, 2004 during a visit to Toccoa, Georgia, where he had trained with the paratroops in 1942.


Well, what did I tell you? One heck of a man. I find it amazing his story isn't told more, maybe a movie. Talk about an ice-thawer between nations. I tell you, those people back then... they were different than today. And I think faced much harder times than we have-and came out of it far better than we will, at this rate.

I guess I should include something to justify it being in on a conspiracy board. This story goes to show that the US and Russia can work together and do not have to have the drama, intriuge and conspiracies to exist in this world together. I look forward to your imput. I don't expect to get much but I felt he deserved a littel notice/mention/space/time.

Notice the look on his face while a POW. Shear hate and anger burning inside. As compared to when he was in Englad a year before. Amazing.

MODS: I put this in here as the Russia Memorial is this week.

posted on May, 7 2010 @ 01:24 PM
Wow, I never heard of this story, very cool.

I am really baffled though that there isn't a movie about this.

Let's hope they will one day.

posted on May, 7 2010 @ 01:26 PM
what a brave man, respect to him from the bottom of my heart.

but this pops up a question, what happened to the americans now? bunch of criminals eh?

posted on May, 7 2010 @ 02:16 PM
reply to post by RizeorDie

What do you mean with that question and statement.

Please elaborate a bit more.

posted on May, 7 2010 @ 03:09 PM
Any of our Russia members, are you or could you go to the exhibition in Moscow?

I would love some pics and other info not listed in my thread. Thanks. Feel free to U2U me.

posted on May, 7 2010 @ 09:39 PM
In case you missed it. Yes, I am pumping my own thread on this one.

I fel it is too good of an All-American story that maybe got over looked today. Maybe not.

If I'm wrong, let if drift off the boards.

I think Matt Damon would be a good person to portray him. I know there is a movie in this story.

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