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MULTIMEDIA GALLERY: 93-year-old veteran shares memories of WWII

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Posted at 12:02 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-01 06:44:47-04

When Kenneth Groenke's daughter found a trunk filled with over 200 letters, old Marine uniforms and plenty of photos, she knew her 93-year-old father would have memories tied to them. After 75 years, the retired Marine corporal walks down memory lane with TODAY'S TMJ4's Elise Preston explaining his time fighting in World War II.

When the war ended and the Japanese surrendered, Corp. Groenke explains how he and his troops celebrated.

After the atomic bomb was dropped in Nagasaki in August 1945, Corp. Groenke and his troops were the first Americans to help the Japanese. He explains how he and his troops built trust with survivors.

In the Mariana Islands, the Japanese feared American soldiers. Atop a cliff on Marpi Point Field in Saipan, the Japanese would jump to their deaths to avoid being captured by Americans. It was one of the most heartbreaking experiences for Corp. Groenke.

As Kamikazes initiated suicide missions by attacking Allied ships, Corp. Groenke explains the scene from aboard a warship.