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Greatest Generation: Special Assignment

From answering the draft to an elite recruitment,
these veterans willingly accepted their assignments.

Stanley Politowski 

Stanley Politowski

Lakeview Senior Living Lakewood, Colorado

At 99 years old, Stanley Politowski is the oldest Veteran at Lakeview Senior Living.

He was born on November 13, 1916, in Philadelphia. He was drafted into the Army at age 29 — much older than most drafted young men — and became an Army medic.

“When Uncle Sam pointed that finger at you and said ‘I Want You,’ you went no matter how old you were,” he said.

Stanley was in the Army and started his career at Walter Reed Hospital as a medic and spent the first six months training there. He lived all over the United States and spent six months in Germany during his five service years.

Stanley married Ann in Philadelphia in 1947, and the couple was married for 66 years. They had six children, and Stanley is very proud of all of their accomplishments. He has two grandchildren and his kids live all over the country. With no words to describe his deep feelings of love and pride, the sparkle in his eye spoke volumes.

After his years of service, Stanley worked for Sears, Roebuck and Company. He was a manager for two years. Later, he bought a laundromat, which he ran until he retired.

Stanley has lived at Lakeview Senior Living for five years, loves playing bingo, and everyone loves it when O 66 is called because Stan turns it upside down and yells out “99” with a smile. Not sure what he’ll do when he turns 100 in November, but the other residents are looking forward to finding out.

When asked what his secret is to his long life, Stanley simply said with a smile, “Keep breathing, just keep breathing.”

Ty Lovelace 

Ty Lovelace

Crescent Park Senior Living  Eugene, Oregon

After returning to the Philippines from Australia in October 1944 and the U.S. recapturing Manila in early 1945, it became apparent that General Douglas MacArthur needed a military division dedicated to protecting him, his family, his staff members and U.S. and foreign visitors. He needed an Honor Guard, as it would become known, of 2,000 soldiers meeting highly specific criteria. They had to have an exceptional record as combat soldiers; display neatness and thoroughness; maintain a high-quality character and loyalty, and be between 5’10” and 6’2” tall.

Ty Lovelace fits this bill. Lovelace grew up in Westfir and Eugene, Oregon. He graduated from Eugene High School,  where he was an all-state basketball player, in 1946. After a short time playing pre-NBA professional basketball, he joined the Army in 1948.

After basic training in California and serving in Osaka, Japan, during the post-World War II Allied Occupation under MacArthur, Lovelace received a visit from three members of MacArthur’s Honor Guard on a recruitment mission. With the exception of an eight-month stint fighting in the Korean War with the Army’s 1st Raider Company, Lovelace served in the Honor Guard from September 1949 through January 1952. After returning from battle, he served as Sergeant of the Guard for the Honor Guard.

During this time, he met and married his wife Connie who was a civilian employee at MacArthur’s headquarters in Tokyo.

Lovelace recalls spending evenings sitting behind MacArthur watching movies although MacArthur made it his personal policy to not speak to the members of his Honor Guard. Jean MacArthur, the general’s wife, would bring the men lemonade on hot days, and sometimes they would accompany her on shopping trips.

As part of his 24-hour duties as Sergeant of the Guard, Lovelace would check on the men at eight guard posts throughout the compound and then, as a courtesy from the general, was invited to eat lunch in the kitchen within earshot of the table where the general and his wife dined.

 It was there, on April 11, 1951, that he overheard a significant conversation: After a courier entered with some correspondence, Lovelace heard MacArthur tell his wife they would be going home. The correspondence was an order from President Harry Truman firing the five-star general.

After the incident, Lovelace served under General Matthew Ridgway until his discharge the following year. Then he and his wife moved to Eugene, where they would remain for good. The couple raised four children, and Connie died at 86 years old in 2013.