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Former Kansas Senator Robert J. “Bob” Dole passed away on Sunday at the age of 98, according to a statement by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.
“Senator Robert J. Dole died early this morning in his sleep,” the statement said. “At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years. A statement from the Dole family will be released soon.” Dole was best known as the Republican nominee for president in 1996, running against incumbent Democratic President Bill Clinton, who was at the peak of his popularity after moving to the political center. Though Dole lost in a landslide, his warnings that Clinton could not be trusted were later vindicated by the sexual scandal that led to Clinton’s impeachment.
Born in 1923 in the small town of Russell, Kansas, Dole was a student and athlete at the University of Kansas when World War II broke out. He enlisted a year later in the U.S. Army Reserve Corps and was assigned to active duty in June 1943.
Rotating around several U.S. camps and attending the Officers Candidate School at Fort Benning in Georgia, Dole deployed to Italy as a second lieutenant in the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in late 1944.
But just a few months into that deployment, Dole on April 14, 1945, led an assault on Hill 913 north of Castel D’Aiano, with the soldiers taking heavy artillery and aerial fire. When he saw a fellow soldier go down, Dole went to help pull him into a manhole, and as he scrambled out, he felt a sharp sting in his shoulder.
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