Branch: Army ** Served In: WWII
Mel Richesen joined the U.S. Army at Fort Douglas in 1938. He served initially with the 38th Infantry and later volunteered as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. Richesen was with the 82nd from it first operations in Casablanca in May, 1943 through the crossing of the Elbe River in April, 1945. During World War II, the 82nd Airborne fought in six major campaigns encompassing 442 days of combat. Their actions included Sicily, Salerno, Anzio, Normandy, Holland and the crossing of the Elbe. Upon return to the U.S. in January, 1946, the 82nd was honored by an invitation to lead the New York City victory parade.