By Emma Graves-Fitzsimmons
Nothing prepared Val Martinez for the icy winter night he landed in Marseilles, France, with the 103rd Infantry Division to prepare for combat in World War II. Martinez would spend more than nine months as a tank commander advancing across Central Europe, but says the first night was the coldest he can remember.
His unit and their German adversaries were both under constant fire as each tried to gain ground on the other, he recalls.
"Once we got going, we spent a lot of time chasing them," Martinez said. "Our outfit was a good outfit."