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Happy birthday to one of our Greatest Generation! He fought on D-Day and his 'space device' is in the Smithsonian

How many of us can list those accomplishments? And Stewart Conover is still sharp as a tack! Happy birthday Corporal!

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — "I won't wrestle grizzly bears or something like that," Stewart Conover says with a grin. 

But this 97-year-old veteran says he would tackle just about everything else.

That included invading the Beaches of Normandy on D-Day and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, two of the most bloody and significant battles in World War 2. 

"Steward Conover, Corporal, U.S. Army, 83rd Infantry Division" is how his family says he would like to be identified.

Conover is celebrating his 97th birthday at Clyde E. Lassen Veterans Nursing Home in St. Augustine. He chose a carrot cake and says he stashed an extra piece in his room.

Credit: Conover with his extra slice of carrot birthday cake

Quick with a smile, he changes moods when he talks about the D-Day invasion in June 1944.

"The beach was covered with pieces of bodies," he remembers when he describes Omaha Beach. He says he was "stumbling over the body parts." He can still see the water in his mind's eye. "The water was pink," he says.

Almost 3,000 Americans were killed in that battle, but the Normandy invasion helped stop Hitler's Nazi war machine.

Then only six months later, Conover was in the famous Battle of the Bulge, a catastrophic conflict for the Germans. 

Four months later, they surrendered to the Allies.

Credit: Conover family - Battle of the Bulge recognition

Conover still carries the results of his wound. "I stepped on a land mine," he says, lifting his right pant leg to expose the prosthetic limb he has now.

Still though, would he go right back into combat, if he could?

 "I'd do it all over again," he says with pride.

And his thoughts about our country? Three words and an exclamation point.

"I love it!"

Credit: Conover with his daughter and his birthday cake

And one more note. After the war, he came back home to work and designed a timing device for the space industry. His watch device was used in the Gemini space program.

And --- to his surprise --- he saw his own invention in the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

Credit: Conover --- Conover with his invention at the Smithsonian -- Gemini space program

"I was so proud, I designed that instrument," he says. 

And when he spotted it on display?  "I almost fainted," he says, of course, with that great big smile of his.

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