Veteran Republican leader Bob Dole dies

TPL | Published: 9:33 AM Dec 6 2021
World Veteran Republican leader Bob Dole dies

Bob Dole, a World War Two veteran who went on to be a long-time Republican senator and US presidential candidate, has died aged 98.

His death was announced in a statement from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation: "It is with heavy hearts we announce that Senator Robert Joseph Dole died early this morning in his sleep. At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years."

Earlier this year Dole had said that he was receiving treatment for lung cancer.

His political career was marked by a decade-long stint as the top Republican in the US Senate, and running unsuccessfully for the White House against Bill Clinton in 1996.

But decades before his bid for the presidency, on 14 April 1945, Bob Dole was lying on a World War Two battlefield in northern Italy, left for dead.

Despite his lack of combat experience, the young 10th Mountain Division lieutenant had been ordered to lead an attack on a German machine-gun post.

Three-quarters of his squad lay strewn on the battlefield.

When he ran to help a fallen soldier, gunfire and enemy shells shattered Dole's right arm and upper back.

He fell unconscious, and an army sergeant rolled him to safety. He gave him a huge dose of morphine and painted an "M" on his forehead - in Dole's own blood - to stop passing medics giving a second, lethal hit.

"I gave him a shot because he's gone," the man told his commanding officer. "At least he'll have some comfort."

That Dole survived was a miracle. That he went on to rebuild his broken body - and become one of the Republican Party's longest-serving senators and a presidential candidate - was a tribute to his determination.

Many believed the survival and determination were linked.


TPL | Published: 9:33 AM Dec 6 2021

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