By Bill Shields

NORWOOD (CBS) – He’s 96 now, but the fall of 1944 still burns brightly for Private Anthony Grasso and the young lieutenant who saved his life.

“Artillery fire, and next thing I knew I was flying through the air,” said World War II Veteran Anthony Grasso.

An 18-year-old Grasso and Lt. Frank DuBose of South Carolina were paired together in the summer of 1944. Grasso was his radio man.

A now 96-year-old Anthony Grasso. (WBZ-TV)

And they were thrust into one of the deadliest regions of the European theatre, the Hurtgen Forest.

“It was unbelievable,” said Grasso. “I don’t know how many soldiers survived.”

The soldiers lived in dirt holes to avoid the Nazi artillery. But it was a howitzer shell that hit Grasso and DuBose, just as DuBose pushed Anthony away to grab the radio.

“He took the brunt of the blow,” said Grasso. “And I can never forget it.”

Frank Dubose (pictured here) saved Anthony Grasso’s life while the two served during WWII. (WBZ-TV)

DuBose is buried in his hometown in South Carolina, and Anthony sits in Norwood, surrounded by family, and two Purple Hearts.

But now, he says he’s running out of time to say thanks, so he’s going to South Carolina.

“He wants to visit this man who saved his life,” said Donna Grasso Dunn, Anthony’s daughter.

So on May 27, Grasso will fly to South Carolina for one last salute to Lt. DuBose. He’d like to take as many family members as he can, so he’s established a GoFundMe page called Saving Private Grasso.

Frank DuBose’s grave. (WBZ-TV)

“I’d like to pay my respects,” Grasso said.

Bill Shields