Former Senator Bob Dole, WWII veteran, dies aged 98

| December 5, 2021

Robert Dole circa 1980s

Devtun sends in the unfortunate news that former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) has passed away. Dole was a US Senator for 27 years and before that a US Representative for eight years. At the expiry of his final re-election he instead ran for President. He was the Republican nominee for President in 1996, ultimately losing to incumbent President Clinton.

Before his decades of public service he was a lieutenant in the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division during World War II. In April 1945 outside Bologna, Italy near Castel d’Aiano he was seriously wounded in the back and right arm from a German shell. Notes from Wikipedia;

“I lay face down in the dirt,” Dole said. “I could not see or move my arms. I thought they were missing.” As Lee Sandlin describes, when fellow soldiers saw the extent of his injuries, they believed all they could do was “give him the largest dose of morphine they dared and write an ‘M’ for ‘morphine’ on his forehead in his own blood, so that nobody else who found him would give him a second, fatal dose.”

Dole was paralyzed from the neck down and transported to a military hospital near Kansas, expected to die. Suffering blood clots, a life-threatening infection and a fever of almost 109 degrees; after large doses of penicillin were not successful, he overcame the infection with the administration of streptomycin, which at the time was still an experimental drug.[13] He remained despondent, “not ready to accept the fact that my life would be changed forever”. He was encouraged to see Hampar Kelikian, an orthopedist in Chicago who had been working with veterans returning from war. Although during their first meeting Kelikian told Dole that he would never be able to recover fully, the encounter changed Dole’s outlook on life, who years later wrote of Kelikian, a survivor of the Armenian genocide, “Kelikian inspired me to focus on what I had left and what I could do with it, rather than complaining what had been lost.” Dr. K, as Dole later came to affectionately call him, operated on him seven times, free of charge, and had, in Dole’s words, “an impact on my life second only to my family”.

He recovered, but lost mobility in his right arm and had life-long numbness in his left. After rehabilitation he was discharged from the Army in 1947 as a captain. In 2019 he was advanced by Act of Congress on the retired list to colonel. “I’ve had a great life and this is sort of icing on the cake. It’s not that I have to be a colonel; I was happy being a captain and it pays the same,” Dole said, jokingly at the time. During the war, Dole received two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star for Valor for attempting to rescue a downed radioman.

Dole’s other list of honors include the Presidential Citizen’s Medal (awarded by President Reagan in 1987). This is the second-highest civilian award of the executive branch. Dole received the highest award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Clinton in 1997 (whom Dole had just lost the presidential election to). In 2018 Dole received the highest civilian honor from the legislative branch, the Congressional Gold Medal. He also received the second highest civil honor from the Government of Albania in 2017, the National Flag Order. He is one of only 22 people or organizations to have received the honor and only the third American.

He died peacefully this morning after having been diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year. He is survived by his wife Former Senator Liddy Dole (R-NC).

Category: Army, Historical, Politics, We Remember

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Hatchet

Thank you Senator Dole. RIP.

*slow*salute*

Roh-Dog

Rest easy, Sir. You’ve earned it in spades!

Thank God such men have lived.

mmcm(sw)nuc

My flag is at half mast.

BennSue

Rest easy. I fear these posts will begin to occur more often, and The Greatest Generation will soon only be a memory for us remaining.

KoB

Godspeed and Rest Easy, Good Sir. We Salute your Service.

AW1Ed

Fair winds and following seas, Colonel Dole.

Sapper3307

RIP.
He retired from office with honor.

SFC D

Rest easy sir, you did your share and more.

George V

Grant unto him eternal rest, O Lord.

Would it be disrespectful to say what a tough sonofagun he was? I knew he’d been seriously wounded but this is the first I’ve read of just how serious his wounds were.

Devtun

Bob once joked that he could have recovered a lot quicker, but that the ‘nurses were just so pretty’.

Also, Norm McDonald’s impression of Dole back in the day was pretty savage at times, and Bob took it in stride. The two were friendly, and Bob tweeted Norm’s passing.

SFC D

Disrespectful? Not at all. Bob Dole was an early prototype of BAMF.

Planet Ord

An OG 10th Mountain officer. Hopefully they name something important after you at Drum. We studied your WW2 service when I was there. And I voted for you! Rest In Peace, sir.

Skivvy Stacker

I never knew how much hell he went through with his wounds. It raises my respect for the man immeasurably. If anyone deserves to rest in peace it would be Bob Dole.

Poetrooper

Would that we had such a man leading this nation right now instead of that corrupt, incompetent, lying sleazebag who is going to drive us to disaster.

Dole would have made a far better president than Bill Clinton but he was no match for Clinton’s folksy speaking skills and badboy charm. I told Miz Poe the night Dole won the Republican nomination that we had just lost the general election to that Arkansas snakecharmer.

Sure enough, Clinton ate Dole alive in the debates and it was all downhill from there. Dole was simply and badly outgunned as a campaigner.

Rest well, old warrior; you led a hard but good life of long service…

5JC

Yet again it was Ross Perot who handed the election to the Democrats.

Dole was a great man. He would have made the US a better place to live.

Poetrooper

Even if Dole had received 100% of Perot’s votes, which he wouldn’t have, he’d have still lost by a very small margin in the popular vote and a much larger one in the Electoral College.

The reason Perot ran was because so many conservatives thought Dole was not conservative enough. At least some of those folks would likely have sat out a Clinton-Dole contest.

As ol’ Poe’s been preaching around here for years, that’s the inevitable consequence of being so contrarian in your beliefs that you throw away your vote on a third-party candidate who has no chance of winning.

5JC

Not true. He would have won several more states (such as Florida) that would have reduced increased his electoral votes not decreased them. He could not have lost by a larger margin.

Poetrooper

Well, ol’ Poe’s memory is a long way from what it used to be so he won’t argue the point. His comment above was based on national results and not a state by state breakdown.

David

Probably one of the most mismanaged campaigns of modern times. The Reps essentially let the Dems drive all the issues, and spent most of the campaign on the defensive. Dole didn’t deserve to lose, but his campaign managers did.

Small correction, his wife is LIBBY Dole (from Elizabeth), not Liddy. Many think she would have been a far better candidate for the Presidency than any female who has run since.

David

Had always heard her referred to as Libby. Apparently not correct. Thanks for the correction.

SFC D

She’s pretty badass in her own right. No grandstanding, no showboating, just got shit done.

A Proud Infidel®™

*Slow Salute*

DocV

Another of the Greatest Generation gone. Rest easy CAPT Dole.

xyzzy

Rest In Peace, Sir. Enjoy your new role in the Church Triumphant.

Hondo

Godspeed, Senator Dole.

“May you have been in Heaven half an hour before the Devil knew you were gone.”

26Limabeans

Say hello to my dad Senator. I’m sure you will meet him.

USMC Steve

I have seen a phot of Dole while he was in the hospital. Dude looked like a living skeleton. What actually happened to him on that hillside is that his radio man got hit by an MG42, Dole thought he was still alive (not the case though) and Dole went out into the beaten zone to get his man back. He got stitched by the same MG42, and it nearly killed him.

Old tanker

Rest in Peace Sir, and thank you for our freedom.

ChipNASA

Ok, before I get “too soon!!” My step dad told me this… he worked on the Hill with a lot of these folks, Tip O’Neil, Reagan, Bushes, Dole, Baker etc…
“Older guy in a suit standing there with a black govt Skillcraft pen in his right hand with a dollar bill folded and stuck into the clip part…”
”What’s this?!?”
Bob Dole at a strip club…”
😮🙄😑🤣

Rest easy Sen. Dole. Your time is now. And I heard you laughed at that joke…
🙏

Jay

Requiescat in Pace, Colonel. Truly a man who lived a life of SERVICE to his country.

Devtun

Dang, forgot Bob ran as VP as part of the Ford/Dole ticket in ’76.

The left-tards on certain low rated cable shows are throwing shade on Bob for supporting Trump. Maximum TDS.

Only Army Mom

I heard some of that and almost broke my TV. Ghouls and vultures, talking about “yeah, he was a war hero but he supported Trump”. One went so far as to “wonder” if he was the type of white, privileged, toxic masculinity we should honor, and if doing so says something about us.

That was the point the sibling snatched the remote from my hand.

11B-Mailclerk
Berliner

Found this story about his treatment with streptomycin:

“First the doctors asked his brother Kenny to authorize treatment. Kenny asked what happened to the first two. The first had died and the second went blind, but survived. Kenny asked what Dole’s chances were without the treatment. Without it, he was told, Dole had no chance. Cramer recounts:

So Kenny called home, and [parents] Bina and Doran [Dole] came back to Battle Creek, to sign the form, to watch the treatment. They had Bob tied down in bed, so he’d be still while the new drug took hold. Doctors told them not to expect much. Even if it worked, there was no guarantee he’d know them, be able to move, get the [great] strength back he had before. No one really knew what this drug would do. It was called streptomycin.

So, beginning of March, they put him down on it. Four days later, he sat up in bed, asked Kenny to go downtown and get him a milkshake.”

Rest in peace Bob, we have the watch.

Green Thumb

Rest well, CPT.