FRAMINGHAM – Charlie Audet was born in Canada in 1918, the year the first World War ended.
In 1941, he was drafted by the United States and entered the U.S. Army. He was just 5-feet, 2-inches and just 123 pounds. All of his clothes had to be custom made.
He volunteered for the Airborne Paratroopers, jumping out of airplanes. He joined the newly-formed Geronimo 509 squadron. He was assigned to be a runner rifleman.
“Everything was an effort, an extra effort,” said YMCA CEO RickMacPherson last night, talking about Audet. “Men 6-feet tall, had 10 extra inches of step, Charlie said. Determined not to be a slacker, he never dropped out of the height, even at 30 miles. As long as little Charlie could make it, I could too, said all of his buddies.
Seventy-six years ago in November, Audet parachuted into North Africa during World War II.
The 509th saw its final action during the Battle of the Bulge, where the battalion fought a desperate battle in the small village of Sadzot.
Vastly outnumbered, the 509th held their ground earning the units second Presidential Unit Citation.
The battalion entered the battle at full strength (about 750 men), but when the unit was pulled from the action in the end of January, only 48 enlisted men and 7 officers were left.
After that battle, the unit was disbanded.
Audet came home from World War II in June of 1945.
He graduated from Boston University, with an accounting degree.
He married the love of his life in 1953. Eleanor and Charlie moved to Framingham in 1957, and bought a home in the Saxonville neighborhood.
He and his wife served as foster parents, and enjoyed their 24 nieces and 24 nephews. (Eleanor died in 2011.)
In 1986, Audet joined the MetroWest YMCA, where he enjoys swimming laps.
Last night, the MetroWest YMCA honored him and sang an early happy birthday to him at their 13th Annual Gala & Auction at the Verve Crowne Plaza in Natick.
On November 8, 2018 he will celebrate his 100th birthday.
And during the celebration last night Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray made him the honorary coach of the MetroWest Boston Marathon team.
State Representatives Jack Patrick Lewis and Carolyn Dykema offered congrats to Audet last night, too.
Editor’s Note: In full transparency, the MetroWest YMCA is an advertiser with Source.
Photos by Susan Petroni/Petroni Media Company for Framingham SOURCE ©2018. All Rights Reserved.
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