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Lynn "Buck" Compton, a former lieutenant with the Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment "Band of Brothers" talks to soldiers and family members over dinner in Illesheim, Germany, on Tuesday. The 85-year-old former California Court of Appeals judge and five of his veteran "Brothers" were in Germany to meet and bid farewell to members of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, who are days away from beginning a 15-month tour in Iraq.

Lynn "Buck" Compton, a former lieutenant with the Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment "Band of Brothers" talks to soldiers and family members over dinner in Illesheim, Germany, on Tuesday. The 85-year-old former California Court of Appeals judge and five of his veteran "Brothers" were in Germany to meet and bid farewell to members of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, who are days away from beginning a 15-month tour in Iraq. (Mark St.Clair / S&S)

European edition, Thursday, May 24, 2007

ILLESHEIM, Germany — Though many Americans might be against the war in Iraq, Lynn Compton doesn’t want to hear about it.

He also would rather people call him “Buck,” as his “girl’s name” means Victoria’s Secret catalogs are regularly in his mailbox.

The 85-year-old World War II veteran and former California Court of Appeals judge was in Illesheim on Tuesday to talk to deploying soldiers and family members of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, who are days away from starting a 15-month rotation in Iraq.

Made famous through his membership in the Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment “Band of Brothers,” and the book by Stephen Ambrose and HBO miniseries of the same name, Compton doesn’t desire popularity. He uses any celebrity he has “to further the cause of duty to country and patriotism — I do that every chance I can.”

Compton was grateful for the chance to talk to soldiers of today, saying that when he was a young man, the choice wasn’t whether to serve, but which service to do it in.

With tears in his eyes, Compton said, “these are the guys who are standing up now. … We were all like this. These guys represent who we were.

“I can’t think what it must be like … to be fighting the evil of this enemy, and this country saying, ‘We don’t support you.’ That’s treason. I have some very strong feelings, obviously.”

One soldier who was glad to meet Compton and the five other veteran “Brothers” was Pfc. Ryan Christian, who at 22 was just 15 when the miniseries aired and remembers watching it on television.

“These guys aren’t the main reason I joined, but they were a big inspiration. The fact that they came here just for us … it’s a great morale booster,” Christian said.

Although Compton mentioned he thought it flattering that soldiers and families would want to hear from a bunch of “old geezers,” to men like Christian and the scores of others waiting in line for pictures or handshakes, a few words from veteran heroes was all they wanted to hear.

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