World War II veterans wonders how he survived

Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 02:53 PM.

At 92 years old, Leon Woodrow Kellum looks back on World War II and wonders how he is alive today.

“I know luck has nothing to do with it,” said Kellum, of Jacksonville. “It has to be by the providence of God why I’m here.”

Joining the Army in 1940 at the age of 19, Kellum expected some sort of backlash from his parents but was surprised when he didn’t receive it.

“There wasn’t much going on at the time so I figured why not join, being that I didn’t have a lot of education,” Kellum said. “They didn’t say nothing. Not a word when I brought those papers home. My daddy signed them and I was on my way. I reckon I did it to get as far away from home as possible.”

Kellum recalls basic training as “hell.”

“We always wondered why we did so much training,” Kellum said. “It surely paid off when we got to combat. It kept us alive.”

Stationed in Panama when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor the Army asked for volunteers to join the airborne units. Kellum raised his hand.

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