1st Sgt. Clifford "Cliff" Stump - Fortitude Coffee Co

1st Sgt. Clifford "Cliff" Stump

Throughout the last few years, Paul and I have had the great honor of getting to know, love and cherish this incredible WWII hero, Cliff Stump. All made possible by the Best Defense Foundation, we helped escort him to Hawaii in December 2021 for the 80th Commemoration of the Attacks on Pearl Harbor. There we were blessed with getting to know him and his caretaker Ret. LtCol Jerry Jochum who quickly became our friends and ultimately our family. There, we helped Cliff to find the memorial wall where his brother Donald Stump’s name is engraved after being KIA in the Korean War. This was a very moving and important moment for Cliff and I am honored to have been able to help make it happen.

After program, we would keep in touch with him via phone to see how he was, hear of his visits with Jerry and I would send him pictures of our girls and tell him of our family. Our next adventure would take us across the big Atlantic pond to Normandy, France for the 78th Anniversary of D-Day where we attended a week full of remembrance and events honoring Cliff and 28 other WWII veterans. Cliff shared with us his memories and experiences of D-Day all those years ago as a glider with the 82nd Airborne. And our last adventure together was this summer, returning one final time to Normandy for the 79th Anniversary of D-Day. Cliff almost did not attend program, but luckily for all of us, Jerry talked him into it. On program, Cliff would tell Jerry this was the best time of his life. Little did any of us know it would be our last together.

We recently had to say goodbye to our friend at the age of 99 when he passed away in late June. Until Vahalla sweet Cliffy, we will take it from here.

Please take a few minutes to read about the extraordinary life and service of 1st Sgt. Clifford “Cliff” Stump.

Cliff Stump WWII Veteran

Photo taken by Photographer Jeff Reese of Portraits of Honor

Clifford Albert Stump was born in Van Meter, Iowa on June 13, 1924. One month after his high school graduation in 1943, he was drafted into the US Army. Cliff trained in California and Texas before being assigned to E Co., 80th Airborne Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division as a Gliderman. In 1944, this unit was a glider outfit that was providing anti-aircraft and anti-tank defenses to three infantry regiments in 1944.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Cliff landed (or controlled crashed as he would tell you) in a glider behind enemy lines in Normandy, France. This was his first combat landing, but would not be his last. He showed immense bravery during significant World War II battles, including the D-Day invasion, the Battle of the Bulge, and Operation Market Garden. His heroic efforts earned him prestigious honors, such as the Holland Lanyard for his role in saving the Nijmegen Bridge and the Belgium Forgiere for his contributions to the Battle of the Bulge, which took place in the coldest winter of '44

Cliff was in Berlin on VE Day when he heard that the war was over. After that announcement, they had to go house to house to look for weapons to confiscate. He was honorably discharged in 1946, but later served in the Air Force from 1946-1955.

After his military service, Cliff went to school for accounting and started a family. Having three sons, and numerous grandchildren, Cliff cherished making memories with them. Cliff loved to travel the world and to make friends wherever he could. 

At his funeral, everyone who spoke called Cliff their FRIEND and you felt that in your soul. The sheer number of friends is just a true testament to the genuine kind-hearted nature of Cliff, and the positive impact that he has on everyone he met. Clifford Albert Stump will forever be remembered as a beloved father, grandfather, and friend.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a ride!’” -Henry S. Thompson

We hope you are gliding with the angels sweet Cliffy.



To learn more about the Best Defense Foundation and the incredible mission of Taking Care of the Ones Who Took Care of Us, please visit www.bdf.org. In honor of Cliff's memory, if you feel so inclined, donations can be made in his name to the Best Defense Foundation. Checks can be mailed to 249 HWY 101 Suite 312, Solana Beach, CA 92075.

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