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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
One of the oldest surviving POWs from World War II has died. D. Leon Bozeman was a lifetime Montgomery resident and was captured during the Battle of the Bulge in 1945.
"He'd love to talk about it. He'd tear up, he'd cry about it," said Wayne Bozeman, one of Bozeman's three children. "It was one of the things he would get tender about. When he would talk about who passed on, he would tear up about the prisoner of war camp he was in, and some of his buddies that died."
Wayne Bozeman says during the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945, the Germans surrounded his father and his fellow troops. They didn't know there was a German spy among them.
"When he hollered comrade, they held fire," Bozeman said. "And then they took them and interrogated them."
Bozeman was held for four months until the Russians liberated the camp.
"Instead of waiting for a ride from them, he took out on foot with another guy," Bozeman said. "And the first home he got to, the people welcomed him in and gave him that camera."
The German-made camera is a gift the family still possesses. Bozeman had frozen extremities and broken limbs. He was held in the hospital until 1946, but was able to return to work with the L&N Railroad. He was a locomotive engineer with a spotless record.
He died in his sleep over the weekend at age 93, leaving a family grateful that he lived a long full life.
"It's unusual to be 71 years old and still have a man that you call daddy," Wayne Bozeman said. "And that's why it's hit me so hard I imagine."
Bozeman earned three Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts and a Combat Infantryman Badge. He will buried with full military honors at Greenwood Cemetery.