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Zawada began as a member of an I&R Platoon in the 99th Infantry Division and participated in the Hammelburg Raid. He grew in Ohio where his father was in real estate. His family fared better than most during the depression. He is of Polish descent and he says that's probably why his family fared well, they lived off of potatoes regularly. He does not remember giving any thought to the war before Pearl Harbor. Zawada was much younger than his classmates because he skipped a grade in school. He was not aware of Pearl Harbor when it happened because he got into a car accident in his father's brand new car that day. The discussions in his house were not about Pearl Harbor, but rather how he wrecked his father's car. He did not know about Pearl Harbor until a week after it happened.
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