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Wednesday’s Hero

This week's hero is a good one. Robert Cone is the second Cousin of Wednesday Hero's partner in crime, Greta.

Robert S. Cone
85 years old from Delray Beach, Florida
506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division


Surrounded by family, feted by a U.S. congressman and a Veterans of Foreign Wars color guard, one of the few surviving members of the “Filthy Thirteen” was honored on October 8, 2006 in a backyard on Massapoag Avenue.

Robert S. Cone, 85, now of Delray Beach, Fla., finally received the 13 military medals he was due for his service on D-Day during World War (aff) II, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, POW medal and Presidential Unit Citation.

“To tell you the truth, I never expected it. I'm very honored to get it and really feel good about it,” Cone said.

“He's finding it an honor, and he's a little embarrassed, to be honest,” said Cone's son, Edward R. Cone, 45, who hosted the family barbecue that included a visit from U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch.

Only a few members remain of the 101st Airborne Division's famed “Filthy Thirteen,” an elite parachute and demolition unit that volunteered for a suicide mission on June 5, 1944, the eve of the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

The Filthy Thirteen, who shared a Quonset Hut in England, were a group of “pretty bad boys,” Edward Cone said, renowned for hard-living and fierce fighting. They are believed to be the inspiration for the 1967 movie “The Dirty Dozen,” although none of the Filthy Thirteen was a convict.

The unit's mission was to parachute behind enemy lines on the night before D-Day to blow up bridges and impede the Nazis.

Many were killed on the drop. The survivors found it difficult to reunite on the ground because the pilots had panicked when (aff) the Germans opened fire.

Cone said he spent two days in a hedgerow battle and was shot in the right arm. When (aff) he escaped to a French farmhouse, the owner turned him over to the Nazis and he became a prisoner of war (aff).

His unit and his family thought he was dead. His mother, in Roxbury, received a telegram from the War Department saying he had been killed in action.

Cone spent 11 months in three POW camps in Germany before being liberated by the Russians near the Polish border. He fought alongside the Russians as they made their escape, his son said.

Cone walked to freedom through Poland, Russia and Romania, journeyed by ship to Egypt and was eventually flow to Italy, finally making his way home.

All the medal ceremonies had taken place without him.

Cone married Ida, now his wife of 61 years; became a postal worker and plumber; raised three children in Hull; and spoke very little about the war, Edward Cone said.

About four years ago, Edward Cone decided to find out whether any of his father's Army colleagues were still alive.

He found the Filthy Thirteen's leader, Jake McNiece, in Oklahoma, and put his father in touch by telephone. Their conversation was recorded by the BBC and played on the anniversary of D-Day.

Later, the History Channel filmed its own segment on the pair, which still airs, Edward Cone said.

The group reunited in Taccoa, Ga., the home of their jump school.

“My Dad and I drove from here to Georgia. I heard everything on that trip,” Edward Cone said. “Three were alive from the unit. They talked and drank and told stories for days.”

Three years ago, McNiece published a book, “The Filthy Thirteen: From the Dustbowl to Hitler's Eagle's Nest: The 101st Airborne's Most Legendary Squad of Combat Paratroopers.”

It was McNiece who mentioned that Cone was due a few medals. Edward Cone and his fiance, Kate Guthrie of Leominster, who works at the Statehouse, gathered documentation and contacted Lynch.

The result was the Sunday party, also attended by Cone's daughters, Ronna Townsend of Monroe Township, N.J., and Natalie Gaudet of Hampton, N.H., and most of his seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Cone admits he never talked much about the war before.

“I really didn't,” Cone said. “But they insisted I tell the grandchildren and the great grandchildren. So I talk to them. I tell them stories. I tell them true stories. They all enjoy it.”

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

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Lisa Martin

Lisa Martin

In April 2006, Lisa began blogging to stay connected with distant relatives and friends. As she delved into blogging, she discovered the potential to assist others by sharing her experiences. Lisa has actively engaged in numerous exclusive media ventures. Notable among these are her participation in events such as the Sony Mommy Bloggers Event, the Pampers Mommy Bloggers Event, the Epson Event in Chicago, the Stouffers Event, a memorable yacht excursion with Lands End, collaborations with 1-800-Baskets, an exclusive tour for bloggers by Mrs. Prindable’s, partnerships with Hallmark, PopCap games, Chicago Cubs Mastercard Priceless Events, and Rug Doctor. In addition, she has collaborated with Nutrisystem on a weight loss initiative, teamed up with Buick and Chevy, and served as a brand ambassador for Sprint. Lisa's collaboration portfolio also extends to Disney, where she has participated in press trips for significant movies such as Frozen, Guardians of the Galaxy, McFarland USA, The Good Dinosaur, The BFG, and Cars 3. Notably, for projects like Frozen, The BFG, and Cars 3, she was granted the privilege of walking the red carpet and conducting interviews with celebrities. The impact of Lisa's blog has gained recognition, with The New York Times referencing her content. Moreover, she has been featured in interviews by respected publications such as the Southtown Star, The Chicago Sun Times, and inside.View Author posts