This article first appeared on Neighborsgo.com and was written by Kendall Kirkham. Photos by Jenice Johnson.

Lakewood resident Mike Looney never fought in a war, but his father, George Washington Looney, did. In fact, the elder Looney played a key role in one of the biggest battles in World War II – something Mike didn’t realize until many years after his dad died in 1996.

Lt. Looney served in the 196th Field Artillery Battalion in World War II. Throughout his life after battle, Mike’s father only briefly touched on his experience as a war veteran. According to Mike, Lt. Looney only spoke of war stories with happy endings.

The story that went untold, though, was about the battle at Höfen, Germany, otherwise known as the Battle of the Bulge. Dec. 16, 1944, marked the beginning of the Höfen attacks, when the German army launched a massive counteroffensive against Allied forces. The battle was fought over several weeks across a 2,500 square-mile region of the Ardennes forest. The Americans suffered more than 80,000 casualties, including 19,000 deaths.

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