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USPS retiree recalls World War II heroics

veterans day
R.H. Pulliam, a retired rural carrier and World War II veteran, began his 39-year postal career in 1948. Photo: Tennessee Magazine

Like many past and current employees of the Postal Service, 92-year-old R.H. Pulliam will spend Veterans Day reflecting on his military career.

Pulliam, a retired rural carrier in Rossville, TN, served in the Army Air Force during World War II.

While flying a combat mission in 1944, his plane was hit by enemy fire. He was captured and spent more than a year in a German prisoner-of-war camp, where food was scarce.

“We didn’t have enough to eat, but we had enough to live on,” Pulliam told Tennessee Magazine this month.

After the war’s end, Pulliam returned home and began his 39-year postal career. His experience with special deliveries began at the outset of his Army service, however.

When Pulliam was leaving the United States for his first mission in 1944, he realized his flight path would take him near his parents’ Tennessee farm. As the aircraft flew “low and slow,” Pulliam dropped a .50 caliber machine-gun bullet with a handkerchief tied to it so his parents would know it was from him.

“Mother said we knocked leaves off the sycamore tree we were so close,” Pulliam said.

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