Veteran’s couple journey from WWII to Vietnam, a lifetime of service and love

A veteran couple's inspiring journey was relived on Midwest Honor Flight Mission 16 to the US capital after 40+ years of marriage.
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 7:04 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A Chippewa World War II veteran and his wife, a Vietnam War veteran married for over 40 years, have a history that could fill a book many times over.

Some of that history is what they relived when they went to the US capital on Midwest Honor Flight Mission 16.

“Right now?” joked World War II army veteran Albert St. Germaine. “If it wasn’t for this hip, I’d feel good.”

“No! He meant about being here,” laughed Vietnam War army veteran Sharon St. Germaine.

“Oh, hey, I mean, this is really something; it really is something,” expressed Albert St. Germaine.

Albert and Sharon St. Germaine are a couple who’ve been married for over 40 years. But what makes their marriage that much more meaningful is the fact that both are veterans.

“A friend of mine had joined the army, and so I thought that was the easiest way to get out of the trouble I was heading down; the path I was heading down,” expressed Sharon St. Germaine.

“I volunteered. Just four of us guys were just sitting around talking when Richard Anderson said, ‘Albert, let’s go join the service,’ I said, ‘alright, let’s go’ and those other two guys went with us,” shared Albert St. Germaine.

For Albert, growing up on a reservation and having gone through adversity throughout his early years gave him a sense of resentment that was later drowned out by his time in the army starting in 1946.

“Going into the service like that, I met different people from different parts of the country. It made me; really, it made me a better person,” expressed Albert St. Germaine.

Sharon’s experience during the Vietnam War working as an intelligence in the army made her more resilient.

“When I was in uniform, people would throw blood on us; they would throw red paint on us to mimic blood, you know, because this was Vietnam and it was the beginning of Vietnam,” expressed Sharon St. Germaine.

This resilience is seen by not only Sharon but by Albert as well. Making sure that another important lesson that was learned during each of their periods of service is not forgotten.

“I learned a lot about sense of humor when I was in the army. I had to laugh about a lot of things; laugh it off,” explained Sharon St. Germaine.

The married couple lives in Custer and visited Washington, DC, for the first time on Wednesday. The opportunity was given to them via the non-profit organization Midwest Honor Flight as part of the Honor Flight Network.