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WWII vet, fmr. US Senator Bob Dole dead at 98

Bob Dole at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 15, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Dana Clarke)
December 05, 2021

U.S. Army veteran and former Republican U.S. Senator Bob Dole passed away on Sunday at 98 years of age.

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation tweeted, “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. More information coming soon. #RememberingBobDole.”

Dole served as a platoon leader in the Army’s 10th Mountain during World War II. At 21-years-old, Dole was gravely wounded during fighting in the Italian mountains in April of 1945. According to his website, Dole was struck by enemy fire in his right shoulder and back while trying to pull his radioman to safety. He also lost a kidney as a result of his injuries.

According to the Army, Dole was a two-time recipient of the Purple Heart for his injuries and the Bronze Star with a “V” device for valor his actions during the battle.

Dole would go on to spend the next three years recovering from his wounds. He was discharged from the Army in 1947 at the rank of captain.

Following his recovery, Dole began his political career, first as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, then as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Kansas, before becoming a U.S. senator for the state.

Dole served in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1996. He served on the Senate Agriculture Committee and then the Senate Finance Committee and held the position of Senate Majority Leader on two separate occasions.

Dole also ran as the vice-presidential candidate for President Gerald Ford’s 1976 presidential run.

In 1996, Dole mounted his own presidential campaign but lost to Democrat President Bill Clinton, who won a second term in office.

Following his political career, Dole continued to hold regular television appearances and did commercials for products like Viagra and Visa.

NBC reported, Dole also regularly greeted fellow war veterans who flew into Washington D.C. with the Honor Flight Network. Dole continued to greet veteran travelers well into his 90s.

In February, Dole had announced he was being treated for advanced lung cancer, CNN reported.

Dole is survived by his wife and fellow former Republican U.S. Senator for North Carolina, Elizabeth Dole, who is 85. He is also survived by his daughter, Robin Dole.