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VIDEO | WWII veteran Wally Ritterbusch celebrates turning 100

February 29, 2024 – West Bend, Wi – Neighbors across West Bend, Wi may want to drop a card or stand and salute World War II veteran Wally Ritterbusch as he turns 100 years old on February 29, 2024.
“Yes, I have a birthday coming up,” said Ritterbusch. Relaxing in his leather recliner in his living room on Tamarack Court, Ritterbusch was sharp and a little sassy talking about the big day.
 

“How old am I… old enough to know better,” he joked.

Like a kid, Ritterbusch is enjoying the attention. In true Midwest fashion, he’s celebrating the entire month. Mylar balloons have floated to the ceiling and there’s a banner in the room that lists memorable events from the year he was born 1924, when Calvin Coolidge was President of the U.S.A. and a gallon of gas was 11 cents.

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Born in Cedarburg in 1924, to Albert and Emma, Wally was one of four kids in the family. He remembered growing up near the nail factory, between Grafton and Cedarburg.

Ritterbusch went to high school for two years and then left to work for a farmer. It was in June 1943 when Ritterbusch was 18 that he was drafted into the U.S. Navy.

“I was a petty officer machinist and worked on the Landing Craft, Tanks (LCT),” said Ritterbusch.

Eager to show off a model he made of the ship, we relocate to a back bedroom which features a shadowbox of military memories and the 3-foot replica of the LCT 547.

Wally

Ritterbusch served during WWII and was an integral part of D-Day, June 6, 1944, when the landing craft brought tanks and troops to Omaha Beach during the Normandy Invasion.

Ritterbusch has several framed awards on the wall next to a shadowbox that holds a bronze battle star, honorable discharge medal and an award from Legion Post 486 where Ritterbusch has been a charter member since returning home from service in 1946.

This afternoon Ritterbusch will be recognized by his friends and colleagues from the American Legion.

Please join us in wishing Wally a Happy 100th Birthday.

Wendy Wendorf

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