May 30, 2010

Memorial day vignettes
— Purple Avenger

When I was a very small boy some of my first memories are of a neighbor, Jake, who was in his 70's. Jake was a WWI vet who'd been mustard gassed in one of those meat grinder battles of WWI. He moved a little slow for a guy in his 70's because he had a collapsed lung and the other one wasn't perfect either due to the Mustard gassing.

My dad was Navy in WWII and worked the electrical maintenance of a LST. He got the all expenses paid tour of North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. He never talked much about the war, but when he did it was still an emotional thing for him 50+ years later.

Apparently, as the Army and Marines pushed forward, Navy guys maintained much of the logistics tail. One story he told on rare occasion was of a 900 mile forced drive across North Africa driving a deuce and a half full of ammo. 3 days, 7x24 with no sleep through treacherous mountains on a twisting one lane dirt road. Any trucks that broke down weren't repaired, they were just shoved off the cliff and the convoy kept moving. Several trucks drove off the cliff accidentally when the drivers could stay awake no longer and fell asleep at the wheel. That convoy affected him so deeply, for the rest of his life my dad had a strong aversion to driving any significant distance.
Another story dad would rarely tell, and always with tears in his eyes, was of a cave near a small vacated town outside Naples. The Army and Marines had pushed forward and he was assigned guard duty at the port. During off hours, the sailors would wander about the countryside seeing what was to be seen. During the German retreat, they'd apparently blown up the mouth of this cave and the ground troops sweeping through never bothered to look inside. My dad and his pals did...and they discovered why the little town was vacant. The contents of the cave was the townspeople...all neatly shot in the back of the head. The Germans had blown the entrance to try and hide the atrocity.

And then there's Nick. Nick was a pilot and flew B29's. One day his bird couldn't make it home and crash landed on a Japanese held island that wouldn't be taken by us for some time. He lived off the jungle during the interim. There were Japanese soldiers hunting him and his crew survivors the whole time. One got too close one day and Nick wound up having to kill the Japanese soldier quietly with a knife. A strange look would come over his face as he told that story and he just shake his head in sorrow...the Japanese "soldier" was only a young boy 15 or 16 years old.

One of the local farmers, a guy named Van, was a friend of my dads. He was a gunner on some sort of bomber and took a round in the leg one day. The fates were with him that day; it was a tracer and cauterized the wound on the way through and he didn't bleed out. The proverbial million dollar wound.

All of these guys are gone now. RIP.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at 09:31 PM | Comments (179)
Post contains 547 words, total size 3 kb.

1 All of these guys are gone now. RIP.

And they all are heroes.  May they have eternal rest. 

God bless our fallen heroes.  May we honor them by not letting the country descend into Hell.

Posted by: Kratos (missing from the side of Mt Olympus) at May 30, 2010 09:37 PM (c0A3e)

2 God bless them all.

My grandfather was infantry in North Africa and Italy. He didn't talk about it much. He showed me a BSA pocket knife once that he said he got off a dead German. My brother has it now. He also used to talk about stealing clothes and boots from local villages because the supply lines were so far behind them. Other than that, he didn't tell me much (of course I was his young granddaughter, he probably shared more with my dad).

He's gone now 15 years and I still miss him.

Posted by: mpur in Texas (kicking Mexico's ass since 1836) at May 30, 2010 09:48 PM (iBTj9)

3 My grandfather was in the Navy during World War II.  Didn't get to see any combat that I know off, but he told me that he got to see the pictures of the Hiroshima (or was it the Nagasaki) bombing before the Admiral did.

He's been gone since 2001.  He didn't live to see the 9/11 attacks, which I'm sure would have finished him off had he still been alive.  He was a wonderful grandfather and I miss him terribly these days.

Posted by: Kratos (missing from the side of Mt Olympus) at May 30, 2010 09:53 PM (c0A3e)

4 One day a year, only one, we pause and take stock of where we are and the people who brought us here.

We reflect on "little" stories like the ones in this post: a father, an uncle, a grandfather. A man who left home to serve, and ended up in a world far from his previous experience. A world where mistakes or just "bad luck" ended up being fatal. A world where an expansive, tolerant, and good-hearted soul was focused and concentrated on the sharp edge of a knife.

There are many monuments to generals around the world, many holidays for conquerors, celebrations for victories or treaties. We Americans have a tomb for unknown soldiers, and Memorial Day.

The founding documents of our country posit an association of free men -- no kings, no lords. I recently read an article where it was noted that British war movies are about the officers, where American war movies are about the enlisted men -- and so they are. Our heroes come from us, the people. We are all part of this American fabric. The day may come where much is demanded from any of us -- even to the point where "we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor" -- it has happened before.

So, on this Memorial Day, let us remember our compatriots, of whatever generation, who have given so much. Let us reflect on the bonds between us, and the duty and honor that strengthen those bonds. And let us brace ourselves to be worthy -- not of gods or prophets, heroes or noblemen -- but worthy of our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and neighbors in years gone by....and brothers, sisters, and cousins serving today.

Posted by: cthulhu at May 30, 2010 10:14 PM (fYgoq)

5 There are many stories of brave sacrifice by forefathers and current serving military personnel. It just makes me even more pissed off when you read about how they gave their lives to obtain and maintain our freedoms and the 52% piss them away for a pot of socialist beans.

Posted by: Vic at May 30, 2010 10:32 PM (6taRI)

6 Just found my space in the blogsphere. AoSHQ is brilliant.

Posted by: H at May 30, 2010 10:49 PM (pb2a8)

7

All of these guys are gone now. RIP

Yes, they are.  And the ones of my generation are growing older too, marching towards that final light.

I wish I had something better scrippted to say for them.

My words fail me.

Posted by: Ed at May 30, 2010 11:20 PM (OCfDT)

8

"My words fail me."

I mean, "my words are inadequate for the moment." 

This ain't about me.

Apologies.

Posted by: Ed at May 30, 2010 11:22 PM (OCfDT)

9 A few years ago I had a five-minute conversation with an old-timer named Henry.  He was originally from eastern PA, and graduated high school in '44.  After Navy boot camp, he chose to be a radioman over all the mechanical schools, since the radioman school was in Maryland (vice Corpus Cristi).

He listed his preferences (dream sheet, I guess) for assignment.  Battleship, first.  Then heavy cruiser.  He asked his buddy George about his third choice, and was told to, "Put DD," for destroyer.

He was assigned to the USS HJ Ellison (DD-864), a brand new destroyer that was headed out for a shakedown in the Caribbean.  One of the veteran radiomen told all the rookies that his last destroyer was cut in half by a Kamikaze.

During the shakedown, the old radioman went out on the deck to observe the firing, yelling at the gunners, "You gotta do better than that!"

Later, all the rookie radiomen were told, "Don't worry about the 5" guns.  When you start hearing the ??mm, start thinkin' about it.  When you hear the .30cal, start prayin'"

Towards the end of our short conversation he told me, "The atomic bomb saved our asses.  We were scheduled to head to Japan for the invasion.  Never made it to the canal."

In fact, he never made it out of the Atlantic.

Showed me the Minerva watch (wind-up) that he bought in Oct '44 after boot camp.  It was still ticking.

After the conversation, I immediately sent myself an e-mail with the details as best as I could remember them.  I couldn't remember the caliber of the second weapon referenced about (??mm) when I typed up that e-mail.

I met Henry a little over four years ago.  He has since passed on.

I only spoke to him for a few minutes, but I'm glad I did.

Posted by: JP at May 31, 2010 12:02 AM (hqvTW)

10

All of these guys are gone now. RIP.

There were stories that Dad would begin to tell, and could never finish. We never pressed for the ending, his sea blue eyes told us all we needed to know.

There are no words to describe how it felt to be at his graveside, to hear Taps, and a volley rounds. We were so proud of him, always, and so proud of his service for our  country.

The one thing that keeps my wondering , to this day, is why he had gotten the Bronze Star. He never knew he had been awarded this. I had his medals replaced after a house fire, and it came when his service ribbons were replaced, no explanation. He always told us he'd thought the Army had made a mistake, I beleive it was a story, he couldn't finish....

May we  honor them always, and never, ever forget them.

Thank an active duty soldier and a veteran, today.

Posted by: pitchforksandpowder at May 31, 2010 12:15 AM (oCgvh)

11 My grandfather was in North Africa, then went into Italy, and then into france. My Mom said that he'd never talk about it. After she got his records, we discovered that he had earned two Bronze Stars.

He died years before I was born, and yet, I miss him.

Posted by: akornzombie at May 31, 2010 12:26 AM (MgnVj)

Posted by: s☺mej☼e at May 31, 2010 12:36 AM (4y0YU)

13 My father did 2 tours in Vietnam. He rarely spoke about what he had been through. His last tour was as an artillery battalion commander. He would never go see the fireworks on the 4th, it reminded him of too much.
He shot himself in '84. He never could find peace.
My 18 year old daughter deploys to Afghanistan in 2 weeks. I feel that dad is watching out for her, I wish he had been around to pin  his jump wing on her when she completed airborne training.

Posted by: TC at May 31, 2010 01:32 AM (4XzsU)

14 7 Just found my space in the blogsphere. AoSHQ is brilliant.

Posted by: H at May 31, 2010 03:49 AM

Welcome to the dark side

Posted by: beedubya at May 31, 2010 02:04 AM (AnTyA)

15 Wifey's father survived five campaigns in WWII. His story can be found here. Glad he is not present to see what fuck stick is doing, making his effort to appear to be in vain.

Posted by: Son of Mr Green Genes at May 31, 2010 02:05 AM (zIUsq)

16 That would be here.

Posted by: Son of Mr Green Genes at May 31, 2010 02:07 AM (zIUsq)

17 My uncle, who I never met was with K Company, 105th Inf., 27th Infantry Division and killed in action on Saipan June 30/July 1, 1944. I've got his 48 star flag, Purple Heart and a pocket Bible with a couple of machine gun holes through it. G-d bless him and all who gave their lives for our freedom. RIP Uncle Harry.

Posted by: J.J. Sefton at May 31, 2010 02:14 AM (9Cooa)

18

My father was with the 101st in Korea during the "conflict"..or whatever the hell they call it. He was with infantry and did reconnaisasance. He had some great pictures of himself with Korean and Chinese POWS (arme around each others shoulders and drinking beer) that he and his guys captured..which really doesn't describe it because these came up to the US troops and laid down their weapons..hoes, machetes, etc...and surrendered. They were really happy to be in custody. They were near starvation. My dad said most of these guys were really soldiers, but just ordinary farm people who were picked up and forced to fight with any of their own tools they had.

My fathers older brother was with the  1st Army and was at Normandy.

All three of my mothers brothers were in the Pacific. To this day, I still do not know which units they were with..or what their experiences were, but my mother said none of them would ever talk about it...but she did say they all three were different people after they came back.

 

Posted by: beedubya at May 31, 2010 02:20 AM (AnTyA)

19

Good story.

 

Did anyone see the video of the Israeli attack on that "aid" ship. I hear ten people were killed.

 

Posted by: Ben at May 31, 2010 02:35 AM (DKV43)

20
A reminder of what Memorial Day is about.


A photo from my visit to the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund's flag field on the Boston Common - a flag for each of the 20,000 Massachusetts resident who have died in a war starting with World War I.


Posted by: H..
Welcome. Here..some Valu-rite Vodka?

Posted by: sickinmass at May 31, 2010 02:41 AM (tamie)

21 Mr. Grace lived on my block when was a kid. I never got a chance to talk to him about his service because I was a typical self absorbed youth. So that is how I missed my opportunity to hear a first hand account of the Spanish American war.

Posted by: tmitsss at May 31, 2010 02:42 AM (dGQul)

22

A few years back I went to the memorial service of a local boy who was KIA in Iraq.

I was amazed at the numebsr of people there..but what really impressed me was the Patriot Guard. There must have neen 70-or 80 of these guys.I saw license plates on some of the bikes that were from states whose nearest borders even were hundreds of miles away.

This was at the time when, because Bush was president, so the fucktards on the left considered it OK to protest at funerals.

A van load of these assholes (about 7 or showed up with signs and began to walk over carrying signs. A couple of the biggest, baddest looking cats I'd ever seen broke ranks from the Patriot Guard line and went over to the fucksticks and said something to them which I couldn't hear. I saw one of them pointing a finger indicating that he wanted them out of there. None of the fucktards said a thing. They just quitely got back in the van and drove off.

I did hear one of the bikers muttering "Not on my watch motherfuckers" as he was walking back

 

Posted by: beedubya at May 31, 2010 02:46 AM (AnTyA)

23 I had a neighbor who served as a nurse. Ethel Guffey Simpson. Sharp as a tack, even now. She is living in the Air Force Home in San Antonio. Hers was one of the first responders on Normandy. She told the story of the broken bodies and how she just had to suck it up and be with the "boys." She loved to talk about her experiences and I hope that her son writes the book.

I have several great uncles who served. One went down on the USS Dorchester, Feb. 1943-same ship where four chaplains gave up their life vests, ...so that others may live. Only Uncle Bob is still here...and he never talked about anything war, still doesn't at 85. God Bless them all.

Posted by: DefendUSA at May 31, 2010 02:47 AM (yIwYC)

24

I was amazed at the numebsr of people there..but what really impressed me was the Patriot Guard. There must have neen 70-or 80 of these guys.I saw license plates on some of the bikes that were from states whose nearest borders even were hundreds of miles away.'

yeah they seem to be made up of Vietnam Vets who don't want what happened to them to happen again.

good people.

Posted by: Ben at May 31, 2010 02:49 AM (DKV43)

25

Three months ago we buried my uncle. He never talked about his experiences in the Pacific until recently...then he would cry. One of his jobs was to make sure Japanese soldiers near American lines were really dead. He'd have to crawl out of his fox hole and stab them so everyone could sleep at night.

How do we begin to repay such a debt?

Posted by: Increase Mather at May 31, 2010 03:02 AM (DezMz)

26 Doubt that I need to remind you all; don't ever forget just who was too "busy" to do his job at Arlington today.

Posted by: Pecos Bill at May 31, 2010 03:04 AM (8WOM0)

27 The only member of my family who ever talked about his combat experiences was someone I've never met: my great-great-grandfather, who was with Sherman's army on his march to the sea. He ended up writing a book on the subject, but nobody seems to have hung on to a copy. Hopefully I'll find it on eBay or Alibris someday, but right now I don't even know the title!

Posted by: Golem14 at May 31, 2010 03:07 AM (2X8VA)

28 Doubt that I need to remind you all; don't ever forget just who was too "busy" to do his job at Arlington today.

No doubt he will be busy screwing Israel over today before he even makes an attempt to find out what went down.

Posted by: Vic at May 31, 2010 03:07 AM (6taRI)

29 Posted by: Golem14 at May 31, 2010 08:07 AM (2X8VA)

Not to worry, I got to here all about it from my Great Grandmother who lived with us until her death in 1962.

Posted by: Vic at May 31, 2010 03:13 AM (6taRI)

30

The only combat story my old man told me (he told many funny stories about his buddies on R&R in Australia) was when his convoy was attacked by kamikazes as they were getting staged for the invasion of Japan.  Frightening and deadly for many.  I asked him how he felt when he heard that the atomic bombs had been dropped on Japan.  "One of the happiest days of my life."  Estimated allied casualties for the Japan invasion was about 1,000,000.

Posted by: gordo at May 31, 2010 03:34 AM (GkYyh)

31 Father (WWII, Korea, anti-aircraft battery with MacArthur), mother (Navy doctor, Korea), grandfather (WWI, WWII, Mexico Incursion;  Battle of the Bulge, Bridge at Remagen), and wife's dad (his paybook says, "Service in France, 9/6/44-...typical British understatement, neglecting to mention crossing the Normandy beach and all) served.  Bless 'em all. 

Posted by: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants at May 31, 2010 03:36 AM (6sKtn)

32
33 Vic

Wow! You're lucky-- apparently one of my own great-grandmothers had a penchant for throwing things away (her husband was kind of a pack rat), which is why we don't have a whole lot of stuff from that time. I do have my other great-great-grandfather's apothecary shelf; he was a dispenser at Shenandoah, and I'm trying to piece together what his Army experience was like from the scattered papers we still have.

Posted by: Golem14 at May 31, 2010 03:39 AM (2X8VA)

33 My dad guarded Japanese prisoners of war on Guam in WWII. He was a very young man, straight out of the mountains of Western Virginia and knew nothing of the world. Every day these prisoners begged him for some way in which they could kill themselves and every day Dad would deny them. He told a story of heading to Guam on a ship which was soon caught up in the middle of a typhoon. He couldn't swim and many of the others couldn't either, so they started talking to God! They survived after being blown far off course. It's no wonder my dad never wanted to take us anywhere near water.

Posted by: Ramblingirl at May 31, 2010 03:42 AM (p88qJ)

34 My grampa was an artillery guy.  He went deaf guarding stupid ol' Seattle.

Posted by: FUBAR at May 31, 2010 03:44 AM (1fanL)

35 Doubt that I need to remind you all; don't ever forget just who was too "busy" to do his job at Arlington today.

Posted by: Pecos Bill at May 31, 2010 08:04 AM (8WOM0)

Tsk, tsk, Bill.  Mustn't let our partisanship blind us to the truth.  GHW and GW also skipped Arlington, and no outcry ensued, so let's be fair.

Excuse me while I pat myself on the back for being so moderate, judicious, middle-of-the-road, and just goshdarned awesome!

Posted by: Ed, HotAir at May 31, 2010 03:46 AM (1fanL)

36 When you go home, Tell them for us and say, For their tomorrow, We gave our today

Posted by: In Memory Of Those Who Will Never Be Coming Home at May 31, 2010 03:48 AM (ITzbJ)

37

Ed, no need to apologize. I wouldn't try to use my own words, but rather use some old ones.  You see, at the other end of my neighborhood there's a smaller brick house with a kitchen window facing the street, and in that window now hangs a small white pennant w/a single Gold Star.  I don't pass it every day, but when I do I recite something I had to memorize for a history class a long time ago:

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

 

May God bless each one in Service to our Nation, Yesterday, Today, and Forever.

Posted by: Jess at May 31, 2010 03:51 AM (ev16V)

38
My first memories of a male in the household was when a strange man came to our our house in '43, and mom said I ably defended the household from the intruder at age three. He left again and returned to his pilot duties in the Pacific, but came home in '45 and I quickly learned what a dad was and that he also lived in the house. 

Like most veterans, he returned to America with little money but grand plans,  and proceeded to build a legacy that stands today.  He passed in '06 at the age of 98.  I miss speaking with dad, but have many mementos like flight wings, and service ribbons to remind me of why his generation of men saved America.

I am a three tour veteran of Vietnam, but my service pales in comparison with my father and the thousands of other brave souls who battled the Japs and Huns during the Big One.

Posted by: Fish at May 31, 2010 03:52 AM (M5t+h)

39 My dad was with the "Bloody 100th" division of the Army Air Corps in England. Never, and I mean never, talked about it while we were growing up, including my mom. My youngest sister was taking a college course in oral history, so she asked him (begged him, really) to please talk about his experiences for her class project and let her tape it. I can't tell you how amazing those tapes are, once he got going he really opened up. They'd go out, 18 planes, one would come back. Watching planes break apart after being hit, seeing people fall to their deaths. He had basically resigned himself  - at 19, these guys were all kids - to the fact he was going to die. And he even talked about some of the wilder things he did, getting drunk and waking up with some English gal who's name he didn't know, demanding the nylons he'd promised her. (My dad was absolutely living the Ace of Spades lifestyle when he was single.) He died in '89, and I'm crying as I type this. I miss him every single day.

Posted by: MaureenTheTemp at May 31, 2010 03:53 AM (KYny9)

40 I was under strict orders from my dad never to ask my uncle about the war, but if he should start talking about it on his own, to just sit quietly and listen.

He had been in ROTC to help pay for college.  He was the first member of the family ever to go.  He started his hitch as a shave-tail in 1940, so he was in for the duration.

He was in Italy as an artillery spotter and did a lot of travelling around in a jeep establishing the exact positions of our artillery.  In this he was aided by a booklet that the Army provided that gave the exact location and altitude of every church steeple in the country: according to him, there was just about no place in Italy where you couldn't see at least 2 church steeples, making the job of locating yourself a fairly elementary trigonometry problem.

I'm pretty sure from some of the things that he said, that he was in the Battle of Monte Cassino, and from what I've read of that battle, not wanting to talk about it makes perfect sense.

His driver was first-generation Italian, and took him to the village where the driver's folks were from.  The people there didn't seem to have much, but they fed my uncle and his driver until they could barely move.

He wrote a letter back to his kid brother - my dad.  Army censors would remove any reference to where someone was, but he did include a remark that the place he was at reminded him of the local butcher's shop.  The shop was famous locally for making it's own brand of bologna, which was my uncle's favorite, so his family was able to figure out that he was somewhere in the vicinity of Bologna.
 
He came back to the States on a month's furlough.  Next up was going to be Operation Olympic - the invasion of Japan.  The atomic bombs dropped while he was still at home.

Posted by: Gen. Sir Harry Flashman, VC at May 31, 2010 03:56 AM (o27BM)

41 Band of Brothers marathon is just starting on Spike channel.

Posted by: Retread at May 31, 2010 04:04 AM (Jf6LL)

42
I think Lincoln said it best:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Posted by: sickinmass at May 31, 2010 04:05 AM (tamie)

43 When I was a kid I used to hang around with this neighborhood old guy who was my buddy's grandfather. He was in Italy I think, he had P-38 and a Kraut helmet we usedto play with. Another neighbor was on the Lexington when it went down. Next door neighbor drove for Patton's 3rd Army. What a neighborhood.

Posted by: 48%er at May 31, 2010 04:14 AM (OThQg)

44

We see these people that so bravely defended our freedom rise to their feet in a town hall meeting and demand answers from our elected officials only to be called teabaggers and portrayed as vitriolic by the press.

What the hell is wrong with this country. It's our turn folks.

Posted by: kingfisher at May 31, 2010 04:20 AM (Rb259)

45 Great stories everyone. My Grandfather never really told any (WW2 Europe) stories, but he did leave a cache of memorabilia that my father, brother and I have planned to go through, but we're never in the same City/ State at the same time, so it's kinda tough. Maybe this summer. OT- Just saw "Israel storms flotilla, kills 10" on the AP wire. Gonna be a long day.

Posted by: LincolnTf at May 31, 2010 04:23 AM (7EDH5)

46

My great-uncle Tom was gassed in WW1 and had a small pension.  He had a fish camp on the river, kept bees and raised a big garden but never did get around to having electricity.  Didn't think he needed it.  His brother, my grandfather, had a tank in WW1 and was accustomed to command, if you know what I mean.  Both are of course long gone.  My grandma's mother was in her nineties when I was growing up.  She swore she could remember "The Yankee War" and maybe so, she would have been a small girl.  Uncle Clarence was Navy in the Pacific, island hopping.  Uncle Richard was killed in Korea.  Nobody I knew growing up would ever talk about war.  The only comments were along the lines of  "We did what we had to".  God bless them all.

Posted by: Mr. Dave at May 31, 2010 04:23 AM (OyI4o)

47 sickimass, if you could clean it up, we're curious as to the just the gist of what you said that caused Ace or Maetenloch to delete a comment that you made on another thread the day before yesterday, apparently to appease the pettiness and the whining of Zimriel and Vic?

Posted by: Atrollpassinthru at May 31, 2010 04:24 AM (ITzbJ)

48 My uncle served in Korea (as did my Dad) and he tells some of the most horrifying and yet fascinating stories of the simple details of life there.  He is every inch an engineer and was in the artillery.  He told of how the weather was so cold they would wipe their noses constantly on a piece of cloth, then smack it against the gun barrel to shatter and dislodge the accumulation and start again. 

He is a very smart man, and one day, while they were waiting for an anticipated Chinese attack, he looked at a topographic map and figured out where the Chinese must be concentrating.   The first shell that he fired apparently hit the Chinese ammunition dump, because the attack never came, but he said they could hear the screams all night long. 

He is from Minnesota, and told me how when he was a boy, there were still a few old Civil War vets around, and he spoke admiringly of how tough those guys were.  I suppose that every generation thinks that about those that came before, although I am in awe of the current crop running around in the desert in full battle gear.  I don't know how that is physically possible.

Posted by: pep at May 31, 2010 04:25 AM (0K3p3)

49 Hey Ace, just to remember: Clint turns 80 today.

Posted by: Da C.I.A. at May 31, 2010 04:29 AM (b47d+)

50 #16, Gosh TC, I am sorry about your Dad.  Thanks to everyone for sharing these awe-inspiring stories, God bless our Republic.

Posted by: dread pirate roberta at May 31, 2010 04:31 AM (U9SuZ)

51 My Dad flew on C-47s delivering supplies over "the Hump" (the Himalayas). No battles. but they were helpless, with no escort and no place to land if they plane got sick. He did put his side arm to the head of a Chinese dude that was blocking a convoy. Quite effective. His best friend fought under Patton. He said they sometimes had no time or people to spare for German prisoners. So they killed them and kept advancing. He ended up an alcoholic and died in his kitchen. Only my Dad gave a shit.

Posted by: eman at May 31, 2010 04:32 AM (kgGdn)

52 2008. What. A. Fake. OBAMA: On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today — our sense of patriotism is particularly strong. What a miracle! The First Fraud can see clear through six feet of dirt!

Posted by: Pecos Bill at May 31, 2010 04:33 AM (8WOM0)

53

My dad, who went across France in WWII (and by the time they met the Russains at the Oder, he had one original guy left besides his first sergeant) and survived the Battle of the Bulge, never went camping after that.

 

He said after one three week stretch in France, sleeping outside, no wash water, nothing, he was never going to sleep outside again.

 

Ever.

 

And he didn't!

Posted by: Barbarausa at May 31, 2010 04:34 AM (gRgC6)

54

Indeed, war is hell. These days one thinks of war such as in Jack Ryan novels, pushing buttons from afar, but the truth is that it is still young men and women fighting those battles. And, they will carry it with them for the rest of their lives. War is a lifetime committment for those who fight it.

God Bless them.

On another note:

In celebration of Memorial Day, as usual, the difference between Bing and Google is obvious. This, after Google just spent several days celebrating the anniversary of Pac Man.

Posted by: jmflynny at May 31, 2010 04:38 AM (AFdck)

55

A story I’d like to share is about my uncle Dave, who did a lot of serving in WWII. He started out in the Coast Guard, and did just one of those trips accompanying a convoy of materiel to The UK. When he got back from that trip, he decided to change what he was doing and joined the Army Air Corps. His fiancé/bride was working at an aircraft factory in Long Island, flew the completed aircraft to England, and caught available transport back home.

Dave got assigned to cargo aircraft, and flew hump missions between Burma and China. If you’re not familiar with that operation, we would transport Chinese recruits, and junior officers to Burma, help supervise their training, and fly them back and weapons and equipment  to China to help in their fight against the Japanese. Dave was an engineer / loadmaster type, so he would fix the plane and take care of the cargo. The ‘hump’ part of this was crossing the Himalayas, which was dicey – not all planes made it. If they were too heavy, or the winds or temperature were off, the pilot would tell Dave, and Dave would translate to the Chinese officer. The Chinese officer would decide how many recruits went out the door to lighten the aircraft. No, no parachutes.

This story is about the second time they got shot down by the Japanese. The first time was apparently no big deal – they landed in a clearing, fixed the damage, and took off again. The second time the landing was more of a crash due to trees. No fixing the airplane, and Dave had a broken leg. The fortunate part was they were actually in China. The hump flyers wore leather jackets with American and Chinese flags side-by-side on the back, and Chinese characters that said protect these men with your lives. So Dave was being helped and carried, moved from village to village in a trip that took a month.

Yes, the Japanese were in pursuit, because there were no dead Americans in the plane. Dave was transported separately from the rest, because his broken leg made him slow. That, plus he got malaria, and the sweats and chills meant he couldn’t always move. His protector was a Chinese woman, and yes, she used her body to warm his chills, and yes, he’s a guy so he reacted to her naked body.

During the month it took the Chinese woman to get Dave to an allied base, the rest of his crew was rescued and Dave was reported as KIA. His family was notified, and they said goodbye. Actually, they took one of Dave’s most personal items, his coin collection (mostly civil war pennies) and split it up among his friends.

When Dave finally made it to the allied base, they took him in and had him on a plane out within the hour. He never had a chance to say goodbye to the woman who saved his life. Yes, he called it love, even though he was married.

Dave’s gone now – the last time I saw him was in ’92 at his mother’s funeral.

Posted by: 141 Driver at May 31, 2010 04:40 AM (DXa7u)

56 58 Google actually has an American flag/yellow ribbon logo on the page. Bing's scene is much better, of course, but I'm surprised Google did anything at all.

Posted by: LincolnTf at May 31, 2010 04:42 AM (7EDH5)

57 I don't have any stories and I got exactly what I wanted to read to my family from the brief stories here. My favorite blog delivers time and again. Blessings to all here and to our armed forces and their families.

Posted by: GW McLintock at May 31, 2010 04:51 AM (Gnv1i)

58 My father enlisted in 1937 when all of his books and clothes were stolen from his rooming house in Bloomington (Indiana University).   It was still the Depression,   and his father was on half-pay,  and there was simply no money to replace them.

His first assignment after basic training was Ft. Snelling,  Minnesota,  where they still had horses and paid him with silver dollars.   That is how far behind our military was when we were attacked on December 7, 1941.  My father was due to end his enlistment in a few weeks,  but instead was in for the duration.

He followed the trajectory of so many listed here:  North Africa,  Sicily,  Naples, Rome.   He was in charge of a quartermaster platoon,  having been the "old man" at 24, and was promoted to sergeant.  He had a group of guys under him from all over the country,  based on their skills. (Tailor from New York for tent repair, mechanics from Pennsylvania, carpenters from Minnesota,  etc.) An only child,  these became his close friends and when the unit broke up,   he never got over missing those guys.

He never talked about the bad stuff,  just the mundane things like the mud in Italy (never would go camping because of that) and the smell of North Africa.  He carried his golf clubs all through the war and I have them here.  Played golf at the bombed-out course somewhere in North Africa,  because I have pictures he took of German tanks blocking a fairway. 

He also won 2 Bronze Stars, one for organizing the street people of Naples (he knew Italian from Italian friends here) to help do repair work,  and one for an honest-to-God secret mission he was sent on up into the mountains,  with orders to shoot anyone,  friend or foe,  who tried to stop him.  He picked up a scientist type hiding in a castle and took him to the coast,  where he was picked up by a submarine.  I never could find out any more about this because all of his records were destroyed in that fire in St. Louis back in the 70's.

My dad died almost 15 years ago.  I miss him to this day.  He was a great guy and a super father.  God bless all of these men,  who gave so much.

PS.  He was a great golfer,  but gave it up when all of 5 kids came along...cost too much money.   But years later,  when he was in his 70's,  he played with my husband, brother,  and brother in law.   In bib overalls and farm boots...and he beat them all.  LOL!

Posted by: Miss Marple (redneck teabagger) at May 31, 2010 04:52 AM (xxe/9)

59

#25...

My great-grandfather served in the Spanish-American War. I say "served" rather than "fought" because, God Bless his soul, he set sail for Cuba and arrived there to discover the war was over. Of course, War is never that simple, but an agreement had been reached. He stayed there for some time after that and he died one year and two days before my birth, so I never heard his stories first hand.

Sadly, I never heard his stories second hand either because I was also a self-absorbed kid who just didn't get it until my granmother was gone.

Posted by: jmflynny at May 31, 2010 04:54 AM (AFdck)

60 IP = 113.111.55.190

Spamming in this thread earns you a special place in hell.

God bless our great nation and the men and women who have given their lives to defend her.

Posted by: Tattoo De Plane at May 31, 2010 04:54 AM (mHQ7T)

61

#60...

Not when I clicked there. It's just a typical Google logo.

Posted by: jmflynny at May 31, 2010 04:55 AM (AFdck)

62

Fifteen years ago I attended a trivial country club social event, and found myself sitting next to a quietly composed 80-ish gentleman , apparently a relative of my in-laws.  Somehow talk turned to the Korean War, where my father served as a B-29 bombardier. 

It turned out that my neighbor at the table had flown in the great Ploesti raid of August, 1943, where a bunch of bombers flew all the way from Libya to Romania to drop bombs on a vast oil and chemical refinery.

It was "to Hell and Back" -- except that there was no plan for the B-24's to return to Libya, since they carried insufficient fuel to make a roundtrip.  So the few surviving planes wound up crash-landing in Yugoslavia, if they were lucky.

He was one of the lucky few.

Damn! What sort of men they were who would do such things!

Posted by: effinayright at May 31, 2010 05:03 AM (lQRmV)

63

I got nothin personal today.  My grandfather who died before I was born fought in WWII, but nobody will talk about him.  He's a ghost. 

My other grandfather was in Korea, but again, nobody will talk about it.

Posted by: Truman North at May 31, 2010 05:04 AM (FjC5u)

64 To absent friends!

“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

Posted by: GarandFan at May 31, 2010 05:06 AM (6mwMs)

65 Phew, after reading the first line of the post I thought you were going to talk about some old guy in the neighborhood inviting you in for a cola and then diddling your wiener and putting stuff up your butt.

Posted by: Chris Hansen Jr at May 31, 2010 05:08 AM (hgrJj)

66
"I am a three tour veteran of Vietnam,

Posted by: Fish at May 31, 2010 08:52 AM (M5t+h)"

Thank you.

Posted by: curious at May 31, 2010 05:11 AM (p302b)

67

Thank you Purple, for this post.  Thank you all for sharing your stories.  I am so grateful for all the sacrifice and service of our awesome military.

Yesterday, my husband and I watched a bunch of vidoes of George W. Bush awarding MOH's to the parents of dead servicemen.  We were both humbled and silenced by their sacrifice.  We also couldn't help but notice the deep pain etched on his face and the tears in his eyes. 

Today, we will be attending a Memorial Day Service.  Originally, we were going to go to one that the Nisei Vets have every year until I saw the speaker was going to be Rep. Jim McDermott (yeah, that one--"Bagdhad Jim").  Unbelievable.  So I had to look for another one to attend, and was surprised that there aren't that many in the Seattle area.  The one we are going to is at a cemetary that also has a cemetary for veterans.  There will be a tour of that cemetary after the service, as there are a number (6 or 7 I believe) Medal of Honor recipients buried there.  I'm already digging out a big wad of kleenex to take with me. 

Posted by: runningrn at May 31, 2010 05:11 AM (CfmlF)

68 Happy Memorial Day!

God Bless all of our Troops and their Families past and present.

Posted by: 'Nam Grunt at May 31, 2010 05:15 AM (Lvi2j)

69

"MTA bus driver Yvonne Farrington says she desperately wants to know the name of a sailor she met Friday near 42nd Street and 12th Avenue as she was relieving another driver.

Farrington says he had "the most beautiful smile I had ever seen."

She says she even managed to ask the sailor to take a picture with her. But before she could get his name, her dispatcher told her to get back to work."


This is such a cute story, hope she find him!

Posted by: curious at May 31, 2010 05:17 AM (p302b)

70 Morning 'Nam, whatcha grilling today?

Normally this would be a steak day for me but we are supposed to have thunderstorms beginning here in a couple of hours and going the rest of the day.

Posted by: Vic at May 31, 2010 05:18 AM (6taRI)

71

today I remember Kenneth Janusik he was a great guy I went thur my advanced training with at Damn Neck, Va. in the spring and summer of 1986, he was honest and smart, a guy you could depend on, I liked him very much and I'm a better person for having known him if only for a short time.

he died in his rack onboard the USS Stark May 17, 1987

rest in peace brother.

Posted by: shoey at May 31, 2010 05:19 AM (yCH89)

72 Thank you to all who serve and have served.  It is amazing how ordinary men and women become giants when they have to protect us.

Posted by: curious at May 31, 2010 05:19 AM (p302b)

73 IP = 87.109.160.180

Posted by: spammer at May 31, 2010 05:22 AM (yMPrC)

Posted by: curious at May 31, 2010 05:23 AM (p302b)

75 74,

I put a brisket on about 0500, is it beer time yet Brother?

Posted by: 'Nam Grunt at May 31, 2010 05:23 AM (Lvi2j)

76 Now the damn spam has put in an unclosed red call.

Posted by: Vic at May 31, 2010 05:24 AM (6taRI)

77 #65 - Not when I clicked there. It's just a typical Google logo.


It's there, but it's not part of the logo.  It doesn't show up until you roll your mouse over the screen

Posted by: No One of Consequence at May 31, 2010 05:25 AM (tJBi7)

78 Not quite, sun is still on the East side of the yard-arm. Maybe later this afternoon if the storms aren't too bad and I can go out on the porch.

Posted by: Vic at May 31, 2010 05:25 AM (6taRI)

79

My husband the Minister has known many war vets in his 25 year career and he has found that the guys who actually saw any action will rarely talk about it.

Posted by: katya, the designated driver at May 31, 2010 05:31 AM (wFkN/)

80 OT-ish: Youtube has video of the "activists" attacking Israeli soldiers with clubbing weapons. Interesting times.

Posted by: eman at May 31, 2010 05:31 AM (kgGdn)

81

I think most people who were really in battle share the trait of not talking much about it.

 

My dad only told a few stroies about the actual war--many many more about the occupation afterward, where he was stationed in Austria until 1949/50.

 

The war stories?

 

Finding a place in France with a real washing machine--basically a tub with hot water and a wringer--where he inadvertently truned his prized five-button jump sweater into a pot holder.

 

They hadn't washed or slept indoors for a few weeks, and the platoon took the opportunity to wash what they could.

 

Dad had wangled the jump sweater, which was wool, wicked sweat etc, and VERY hard to get, apparently, if you were just regular infantry, and he washed it in hot water to get it good and clean.

 

No more jump sweater for 6'2'' 180 lb. Dad.

 

Another place where they were indoors for the night, the elderly French people sat up all night in their garden, guarding their asparagus mounds from the GIs.

 

When I told him about getting seasick on a whalewatch, he said "Were you wallowing, no power?  The wallowing gets everybody."  and that's as much of a glimpse at being in a landing craft as I ever heard.

 

My cousin served three tours as a Marine in Viet Nam, and when he came east to visit the memorial (and his high school friends who are inscribed there), that night he told us about a battle with close to a thousand casualties, where he never saw a live enemy.

 

The only live Vietnamese he saw that day were little kids, with trays made out of cardboard boxes and paper cups of flat Coke, along the roads and in the village, saying "GI?  Coke, one dollar!  GI?  Coke!"

 

I think all anybody can ever tell sometimes is the details that don't matter.

 

God bless the people who serve, and God wake up those who are served, to be grateful to them.

Posted by: barbarausa at May 31, 2010 05:32 AM (gRgC6)

82 A Doc at VA told me once that it's good to talk out my experiences in 'Nam, I told him it was none of his business, he was one of many lib Doc's that work at VA and could care less, just like our phony CiC.

Posted by: 'Nam Grunt at May 31, 2010 05:36 AM (Lvi2j)

83 Dad, the P38 crew chief in the Pacific, my uncle in the Navy, also in the Pacific.  One of my Dad's best friends, in the Merchant Marine, everywhere from Murmansk to Guam.  You had to pry the stories out of them and didn't get very much when you did.  Dad and the others - all great, down to earth, rock solid guys.

Flag's up on the front porch.

Posted by: Skookumchuk at May 31, 2010 05:36 AM (btzPD)

84 My father is still around, thank goodness.  He was in the Philippines and the occupation of Japan, but thanks to Oppenheimer and Tibbets was able to walk ashore without anyone killing him. 

He doesn't talk about his wartime experiences much, although he loved occupation duty in Japan.  Once he did mention that a punishment duty in camp in the Philippines was being sent to look for heads in the underbrush.

He never even suggested going camping -- I think he got all the "roughing it" he ever wanted in the Pacific. 

Posted by: Trimegistus at May 31, 2010 05:37 AM (sPvX2)

85 O/T:  Just saw something on bloobmerg about BP and they interviewed the very "British elite ruling class" CEO and what struck me is what he said "no one wants  this over more than me, believe me, I want my life back".....the reporter had just gone over the BP record and fines and it wasn't pretty. 

Are there nothing but "I" men in power these days?

Posted by: curious at May 31, 2010 05:38 AM (p302b)

86 Thanks for the tales, PA.

Posted by: rawmuse at May 31, 2010 05:42 AM (pjZ+1)

87 Are there nothing but "I" men in power these days?

Seemingly.

And yes, now that I think about it, among those of my Dad's generation there was a certain aversion to camping.  Dad would take us to Camp Curry in Yosemite, where the canvas tents had wooden floors and frames, but none of this sleeping on the ground stuff.  Of course, Mom may have influenced that decision...

Posted by: Skookumchuk at May 31, 2010 05:44 AM (btzPD)

88 I'm just the opposite I feel more comfortable in the woods.

Posted by: 'Nam Grunt at May 31, 2010 05:46 AM (Lvi2j)

89

My dad was Navy in WWII and worked the electrical maintenance of a LST.

Holy cow, PA, my dad was an electrician's mate on an LSM.

I almost said "small world" but back then the Navy was very big. He was in the Pacific. Every now and then he talks about Leyte Gulf with anger in his voice. I think he's mad that events made him and his fellow sailors do that to the Japanese.

Posted by: FireHorse at May 31, 2010 05:46 AM (cQyWA)

90 Always use wood to grill, if you are in town buy the wood charcoal NOT the charcoal briquets.

Posted by: 'Nam Grunt at May 31, 2010 05:52 AM (Lvi2j)

91 Both of my Grandpa's were in the Navy in WWII, but they never talked about it all. If it wasn't for the pictures in the photo albums of them in uniform, we'd never have known they served at all.

Posted by: koopy at May 31, 2010 05:54 AM (awinc)

92 When moved to La. from Texas in Jan. I brought almost a 1/2 cord of hickory and mesquite with me, should last quite awhile.

Posted by: 'Nam Grunt at May 31, 2010 05:54 AM (Lvi2j)

93 I feel sorry for the jihadis that might attack Israel over this little dustup they just had.

Posted by: 'Nam Grunt at May 31, 2010 05:56 AM (Lvi2j)

94 except that there was no plan for the B-24's to return to Libya, since they carried insufficient fuel to make a roundtrip.

If you're talking  Operation Tidal Wave, they added bomb bay gas tanks to allow them to get back.

Posted by: Waterhouse at May 31, 2010 05:58 AM (u+34p)

95

I am a three tour veteran of Vietnam,     Posted by: Fish at May 31, 2010 08:52 AM (M5t+h)

Welcome Home Brother.

Posted by: Old Hippie Vet at May 31, 2010 06:03 AM (3IZGh)

96

Normally this would be a steak day for me but we are supposed to have thunderstorms beginning here in a couple of hours and going the rest of the day.

Too bad.  We've got a practically perfect day here in Waterloo, Iowa.

Posted by: katya, the designated driver at May 31, 2010 06:03 AM (wFkN/)

97 Since when do the BO's ever ever "keep a low profile".....?


Posted by: curious at May 31, 2010 06:05 AM (p302b)

98 I'm a two tour "Nam Vet and both were gen-u-wine combat tours, but I spent many years in the Army afterwards so that stopped me from killing hippies.

Posted by: 'Nam Grunt at May 31, 2010 06:06 AM (Lvi2j)

99 I had an uncle in Europe in the Battle of the Bulge.  I had an uncle in the Pacific on Guadalcanal.  Luckily, both survived.  Had another uncle who joined the Navy on his 18th birthday and was mustered out less than six months later when WWII ended.  Then, in 1950, he was drafted and sent to Korea where he was awarded a Bronze Star for fixing a jeep under fire.  He always said it was  better than not fixing it.  Dad was drafted late in 1945 and spent a year guarding MacArthur's communications building in Japan. 

Posted by: huerfano at May 31, 2010 06:07 AM (Updet)

100

Flag's up on the front porch.

Wal Mart has scads of flag apparel for sale.  Including swimwear.  Seems to be more patriotic items for sale this year than usual.  Wonder if it has anything to do with the present attitude of the nation?

Posted by: katya, the designated driver at May 31, 2010 06:08 AM (wFkN/)

101 Well, on Memorial Day 2010 I did lines of coke off the back of a dead thai tranny hooker with Barrack Obama.

Later on that night we were joined by Louis Farrakhan and we took turns having our way with the hooker.

Posted by: Marty Nesbitt at May 31, 2010 06:08 AM (Oe01r)

102 Paying a visit to my closest friend from high school days almost forty years previous, I introduced my Japanese son to my buddy's father, a working guy who had always been nice to me, although a little rough on his own son. None of us ever knew that 'Stosh' spoke Japanese, our shock gave way to astonishment as he welcomed and embraced this Japanese teenager into his own home with his whole heart. It was as if it was a chance to put a good final note on much worse moments. I'm still moved by it. Stosh had been preparing, along with his paratrooper buddies, to make the jump onto the Nippon mainland when the second A-bomb hit. He was too polite to say it made him happy, but he did say he was glad he didn't have to make that jump. Years before that visit, I worked with an older guy named Arnold, he had joined the Navy and served in WWII. He once told me that all of them on the ship, didn't think they'd be coming back. He wasn't bragging, the way he said it, matter-of-fact tone of voice, I realized it was the truth; even when he told me he didn't think it was a big deal: you just do what you have to do. G-d bless these men and women, and G-d bless the American heart: tough as diamonds, big as mountains, and soft as a pillow. G-d bless and protect them. Best regards, Peter Warner. Nagoya

Posted by: Peter Warner at May 31, 2010 06:09 AM (DPQkC)

103 I had a Great Uncle that fought at Belleau Wood, Chateau-Thierry, and Argonne. He was the quietest, most thoughtful man I knew.

Posted by: MjC at May 31, 2010 06:09 AM (vXagV)

104 NG:  We don't have the same hardwoods up here.  It's alder, cedar, maple, firs.  No hickory.  Lots of cedar-planked salmon BBQs, though.

...and then my father in law was a bosun on a destroyer tender while my mother in law was a Marine - back in San Francisco.  They won dance contests when they were dating just before the war began.  It sounded like a pretty wild time whenever his ship came home, which I think was only twice in the war.  Cocktails together at the Top of the Mark.  (Would any person in the service even go there today?)

She would talk about it much more than he would.


Posted by: Skookumchuk at May 31, 2010 06:09 AM (btzPD)

105 109,

Cherry wood is great if you can get it up there.

Posted by: 'Nam Grunt at May 31, 2010 06:12 AM (Lvi2j)

106 Posted by: katya, the designated driver at May 31, 2010 11:08 AM (wFkN/)

Attended several graduations this year.  One ceremony they never presented the flag or the national anthem.  The graduates were furious.  

Another one, they presented the flag, flown by one of their graduates in Iraq, they were uber proud.  the band started playing the national anthem.  I was amazed by two things:  everyone had their hand over their heart and they began to sing the national anthem....the entire place sang it....was very very moving...

Posted by: curious at May 31, 2010 06:14 AM (p302b)

107 My Dad followed his brother into the sub service in WWII. Both went in at seventeen. Both served till the end of the war, both survived. Neither spoke of it much.

Dad's best friend was blown out of a troop landing ship on Utah beach. Got out of the hospital and went right back to another ship. Figured it was what he was supposed to do.

My Uncle was in Korea. Why they stuck him with some french speaking outfit in the UN forces I'll never know. He has never said a word about what went on, but my mom says he came back a lot different.

A close friend was one of the last out of Vietnam, in the Embassy. He was nineteen.

War changes people. We need to honor the living for the price they paid as well.

God bless them all.

Posted by: flashbazzbo, s.e. at May 31, 2010 06:15 AM (i0rVe)

108 I should be able to get cherry maybe from eastern Washington.  I've got some apple wood drying in the shed from three trees I cut down.  (Not enough sun where they were planted).

Maybe a halibut BBQ in the rain today...

Posted by: Skookumchuk at May 31, 2010 06:16 AM (btzPD)

109 Dad did 3 or 4 tours in Vietnam with the Navy carrier air wings, most of the time at Yankee Station, with some shore time at Cam Ranh Bay and Da Nang. Never talked much about it, but that was largely because he doesn't talk much in any case. I knew this old P51 fighter pilot that had breakfast every day at the same coffee shop I frequented. He talked a bit about flying in Europe, including his one brief dogfight with a Me262 (one of the first jet fighters). Between the German pilot's skill and the superiority of the 262, he quickly realized that didn't stand much of a chance. He pushed his P51 into a dive to escape, but he'd already been shot up a bit by the jet, so his controls weren't working correctly. Straight down to the ground, until he finally was able to pull out under 1000ft. Bless these veterans.

Posted by: IllTemperedCur at May 31, 2010 06:16 AM (9Lm5R)

110

Thank You ,! to those that fought for our freedom,to those that have lost their lives, and those that came home.

There are no words that can say How much You are thought of on this day and other days.. How fortunate We are that You are there for us, past, present and future.

Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

 

Posted by: willow at May 31, 2010 06:20 AM (HyUIR)

111

#105...

My sister and I were checking those out yesterday.

Made in Guatemala which, I suppose, is better than China.

Posted by: jmflynny at May 31, 2010 06:21 AM (AFdck)

112 You still can get real US-made flags if you are willing to pay a little more and can look hard enough for them.

Posted by: Skookumchuk at May 31, 2010 06:24 AM (btzPD)

113 If you buy a flag always buy the metal staffs, I've had one for years.

Posted by: 'Nam Grunt at May 31, 2010 06:26 AM (Lvi2j)

114 Thanks for posting this PA. Like many of you, I have several relatives who have served. I too, had an uncle at the Bulge.

One of the most interesting men I ever met was a man called Barney Beresford. I only met him once. He was a little old man, I had driven past his house a thousand times with hardly a glance. One day I was summoned to his house on business. Inside that house was a shrine with photos and medals. He was an RAF fighter pilot. I think he was an ace. And as I write this, I am ashamed to say, I can't even remember if he was in WWI or WWII- but I think it was the first one.

I vowed to return to his place,  but alas he passed away.

To every vet and public servant- "Thank you for your service."

Posted by: Something Wicked This Way Comes... at May 31, 2010 06:26 AM (uFdnM)

115 The A-10's just flew by for the annual flight at our town parade.

Posted by: flashbazzbo, s.e. at May 31, 2010 06:30 AM (i0rVe)

116 And let us brace ourselves to be worthy -- not of gods or prophets, heroes or noblemen -- but worthy of our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and neighbors in years gone by....and brothers, sisters, and cousins serving today.

Posted by: cthulhu at May 31, 2010 03:14 AM (fYgoq)

Amen.

My 18 year old daughter deploys to Afghanistan in 2 weeks. I feel that dad is watching out for her, I wish he had been around to pin  his jump wing on her when she completed airborne training.

Posted by: TC at May 31, 2010 06:32 AM (4XzsU)

God bless and keep your daughter.

Posted by: sock puppeh at May 31, 2010 06:36 AM (VcPAo)

117 My Grandpa was conscripted in WWI...made it to Florida to be shipped out and the war ended. I remember his doughboy uniform hanging in the basement.  He farmed till he dropped at 83.

Posted by: torabora at May 31, 2010 06:44 AM (HIsMo)

118 Bidenb is talking and they showed a split screen of two soldeirs placeing the flags on the graves.  They place the flag, step back, stand at attention and salute and then they do something extra, can't figure out what it is but they always smile in the end.  It's very moving.  Had no idea that those flags are placed individually like that

Posted by: curious at May 31, 2010 06:45 AM (p302b)

119 A close friend was one of the last out of Vietnam, in the Embassy. He was nineteen.

He may have done some time on my ship then while I was there.  The last person out of 'Nam (American) was a Marine embassy guard who boarded the helos coming out to my ship.

We flew many loads out and in the end when we had them all we were shoving the helos over the side because we didn't have room for them.

Posted by: Vic at May 31, 2010 06:47 AM (6taRI)

120 My uncle was in the Marines during WW2, he used to keep a jap rifle in a closet in the garage.

When he would get really drunk he would relieve himself on it.

Posted by: Rickshaw Jack at May 31, 2010 06:47 AM (bEU6G)

121 My dad was in the Navy during Vietnam - served on the Enterprise. He very rarely talks about his time in the Navy, although if I ask him specific questions about his experiences he will usually answer. The Carrier documentary may have been a steaming turd but it did provide a springboard to some interesting conversations with Dad. He could only shake his head at how much things have changed in the Navy since he was in - and strongly disapproved of women being on board the carriers.

Thanks, Dad. I know you don't think of yourself as a hero or anything, but the fact remains that you did your part, and did it well.

Posted by: Angry Beaver at May 31, 2010 06:51 AM (XFrSe)

122 My dad was in the Navy during Vietnam - served on the Enterprise.

LOL, you aren't my daughter are you?

Posted by: Vic at May 31, 2010 06:55 AM (6taRI)

123 When a young man or woman stands to attention and raises their right hand to take the oath of enlistment, to solemnly swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic, they are signing a check.

A check that has as its bottom line the sum of their lives to possibly be paid in full in defense of freedom, that we may enjoy our freedom without having ourselves to make that ultimate payment.

We remember those today that paid that price, whose check was stamped paid in full. We thank them, and honor their ultimate sacrifice that we may live our lives in freedom.

God bless these fallen heroes , our servicemen and women, and remember them for all eternity for they are without question the best of us.

Posted by: Unclefacts, AoSHQ Professional Debate Team at May 31, 2010 06:56 AM (erIg9)

124 Great post, PA!  My dad was also in the Navy in WWII, also has never talked about it much, as far as actual "war stories."  Heard a lot of gnarly stuff from a Viet Nam vet friend many years ago, but in general I haven't noticed many combat vets going out of their way to share the gruesome details.  Which, imo, is the manly way.

Thanks to all who served our country, those who came back and those who didn't, and also to those who still serve.  {salutes}

Posted by: Peaches at May 31, 2010 06:56 AM (fwW9R)

125

I'm pasting the following from a commenter at C4P for those who want more information on their ancestors and military service:

I will post this a few times over the Memorial Day weekend. This is the site for all our armed service people buried overseas and is proof that occasionally the US Gov does something correctly. Look up your family names and find the distant cousins who died for our freedom in all wars.  I would encourage all of you to do this. Unless you are an orphan or you are from Rio Linda and your parents are cousins, you have the four last or family names of your grandparents to enter in this search. Maybe you know a few other family names to enter, also.    
Using this, I found that a distant cousin from Maine died in the Pacific and is buried in the Punchbowl in Hawaii. God bless Rudolph Benedix.      
Lonestar and WilsonPickett found success here. Both found relatives that that knew of but did not know where they died, when they died, and where they are buried. May it help you also.     
      
http://www.abmc.gov/home.php     
click WW I or WW II , enter the last name and hit search. Viola.    
     
God bless our troops and God bless you, also.

Posted by: RushBabe at May 31, 2010 06:59 AM (W8m8i)

126

My Dad (now gone 33 years) was in the Army Corps of Engineers, served in a lot of nasty places in the Pacific, almost died of Dengue, and in the end occupied Japan. Saw a lot of terrible hardship among the people where the Japanese had occupied. He was in once place where the kids were literally starving, but terrified of GI's. His unit used to scrape their whole evening meal into the garbage to let the kids pick it over and have something to eat. War is Hell.

His best friend (still alive) flew P-39's and P-63's in close air support against the Japanese.

My uncle (still alive) was in Army Corps of Engineers, part of 3rd Army in Europe. Repaired battle damaged equipment, saw one of the camps, saw the Russians on the Elbe, at Torgau.

A man I once knew (retired General!) flew P-38's in WWII.  He was a helluve funny guy.  He's dead now.

A man I used to work for flew P-51's over the Reich in WWII. Quiet, smart guy.

Thank you Fish and 'Nam Grunt. Thanks for everything.

Posted by: Reader CJ Burch says... at May 31, 2010 07:00 AM (sJTmU)

127

Thank you for this post and to everyone for sharing these stories in tribute to our service men and women.  Freedom is just a little more precious when you hear of the blood and treasure sacrificed to defend and preserve it.

Thanks to all who served our country, those who came back and those who didn't, and also to those who still serve.  {salutes}

Posted by: Peaches at May 31, 2010 11:56 AM (fwW9R)

Ditto.

Posted by: Count de Monet at May 31, 2010 07:06 AM (2g2ex)

128 Just got back from laying flags and flowers on my grandparents graves. Grandfather fought in the pacific with VPB-104 on a B-24 as a ball turret gunner, grandmother drove trucks for the Marines out in California. I'd like to thank each and every man and woman who have served and continue to serve to keep us safe and strong and you morons and moronettes who have done the same. Thank you and god bless you.

Here's a video about The Tomb of Unknowns I found interesting. Talk about dedication to duty.

1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?
21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is
the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?

21 seconds for the same reason as answer number 1

3. Why are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time
and if not, why not?
He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path,he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.


5. How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes,
twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?

For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be
between 5' 10' an d 6' 2' tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30.'

Other requirements of the Guard:

They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb,
live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol
on or off duty for the rest of their lives.
They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and
cannot disgrace the uniform {fighting} or the tomb in any way.
After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb.
There are only 400 presently worn.
The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their
lives or give up the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come
to a halt.

There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform.
Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.

The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery ... A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis {the boxer} and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, {the most decorated soldier of WWII} of Hollywood fame.

Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms
ready for guard duty.

ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD, AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.

In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, DC,
our US Senate/House took 2 days off with anticipation of the storm.
On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They respectfully declined the offer, 'No way, Sir!' Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceperson. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.


Posted by: Blazer at May 31, 2010 07:13 AM (t72+4)

129 Saw a military helicopter up close yesterday....neighbors felt it was just a little too close....lol

Posted by: curious at May 31, 2010 07:15 AM (p302b)

130 What happened on post 77....?

Posted by: curious at May 31, 2010 07:17 AM (p302b)

131 Clean up on aisle 77 please.

Posted by: torabora at May 31, 2010 07:26 AM (Y8o0k)

132 My father was a staff sergeant in Korea, the 6167th M&S.  Until a few weeks ago all I knew was that he was in Korea.  He never talked about it, and he passed away a few years ago. On a recent visit to my mom she gave me an old Ikon camera of his.  I don't think she knew that in the case were two AF pins and his discharge orders.  His rank and assignment were about all I could glean from it.


Forgive my ignorance, but "wood charcoal?"  Never seen it stores.  How do you grill with wood?  I'm just assuming that it's more than just lighting a fire and slapping on the steaks...

Posted by: sock puppeh at May 31, 2010 07:32 AM (VcPAo)

133

If you're talking  Operation Tidal Wave, they added bomb bay gas tanks to allow them to get back.

Well all right then --- the old man wasn't a hero!

Thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by: effinayright at May 31, 2010 07:50 AM (lQRmV)

134

Blazer at May 31, 2010 12:13 PM (t72+4)

Nice comment Blazer, but where are you getting this info from?  And are you sure about this "no drinking for the rest of your life"?

 

Posted by: Ed at May 31, 2010 07:52 AM (OCfDT)

135 Uncle Jack was one of the Marines on Tarawa.  He's still with us, and never talked about it at all.  He was never anything but gracious to Mrs D, who is, of course, from Japan.  He is a great guy, and came back to have a wonderful life.  Thanks, to you and dad and all my uncles, and everybody else who served. 

Thanks, Paul, my friend, eternally young and never forgotten by any who knew you.  We always lose the best among us.   

Posted by: MarkD at May 31, 2010 07:54 AM (YhZfg)

136 130 Thanks!  Dad was geeked to find his uncles there. 

Posted by: NotAMolly at May 31, 2010 07:55 AM (ADJFU)

137 Posted by: Vic at May 31, 2010 11:47 AM (6taRI)

Vic, I will email and ask him if he was brought out on the Enterprise.

Oh, and I forgot to mention an uncle who was WWII airborne and parachuted into France, though I'm not sure when. He spent time as a POW.

Posted by: flashbazzbo, s.e. at May 31, 2010 07:57 AM (i0rVe)

138 I found a bunch or Sub history on the web and showed it to my Dad, who never understood how cool the internet could be, until now.

He was on the USS Burrfish #312. I keep a shot of it as my background pic on my home desktop.

Posted by: flashbazzbo, s.e. at May 31, 2010 08:01 AM (i0rVe)

139 Thank you.  Especially those who gave all.

Posted by: Joe at May 31, 2010 08:01 AM (0Gde6)

140

My dad was a WWII veteran, as was his brother and four cousins (that's just counting that side of the family).

I guess the most memorable story I have is from a few years before his death...he didn't talk about the war much, did not really go in for hanging out at the legion hall; if fact, he tried very hard to not remember.  One night he'd been drinking pretty heavily and he opened up a little bit: "you know, once you have blood on your hands, you try to wash it off, and then you try rubbing it off when that doesn't work; one day you realize -- it's never coming off; that blood's always going to stick" (Dad had a nervous tick about rubbing his hands, and staring at them, and then rubbing them again -- he did it when something was bothering him -- it's one of my earliest childhood memories in fact)  and then he asked me: "I'm not ashamed of fighting; I'd do it again in a heartbeat...but answer me, because you're educated and smarter than me -- do you think I stayed a human being?  sometimes I worry, because some awful nasty stuff happened...do you stay a human being throught all that?"  He meant it too -- it bothered him greatly.

So I am alwasy reminded on Memorial Day of the personal torment my dad had to endure for the rest of his days, and that when we think of the sacrifices our military people make for us we tend to think of heroic actions, the wounded, the dead...but we forget sometimes the very unknown and unrecorded wounds our veterans carry around and the pain it causes them.  They had to sacrpay a heavy price to keep us safe -- not just with their lives and limbs.

So may God bless them and see them safely home...and may they be rewarded with some small bit of peace, that in the process of safeguarding ours was stripped away from them.

Posted by: unknown jane at May 31, 2010 08:11 AM (5/yRG)

141 "It turned out that my neighbor at the table had flown in the great Ploesti raid of August, 1943, where a bunch of bombers flew all the way from Libya to Romania to drop bombs on a vast oil and chemical refinery.

...

He was one of the lucky few."

So was my grandfather, who also flew in Korea.  He passed away two years ago, aged 91.  He never talked about any of it.  Thanks, Grandpa, and thanks to all who served.

Posted by: Dave J. at May 31, 2010 08:17 AM (/dqSG)

142 but we forget sometimes the very unknown and unrecorded wounds our veterans carry around and the pain it causes them.

and their families.  My cousin died in Vietnam.  I know that a parent never gets over the death of a child, but my aunt never recovered; she lived out the rest of her life a broken person. 

Posted by: sock puppeh at May 31, 2010 08:18 AM (VcPAo)

143

147 Yeah; even if a person comes home "safe and sound" there's a lot of stress for the families.  It isn't easy being in the military -- and it isn't easy having a family member in the military either.

 

Posted by: unknown jane at May 31, 2010 08:27 AM (5/yRG)

144 LOL, you aren't my daughter are you?

Haha, I doubt my dad would hang out with us degenerates at AoS. I wonder if you knew him, though I doubt it as I think he was the kind of guy who kept to himself a lot. Not to mention those carriers are literally like floating cities with the number of sailors on them.

He was a "nuke" and his training served him well in civilian life. He never finished his college degree but it wasn't so long ago that having graduated from NPS was considered just as good by the civilian nuclear industry.

Posted by: Angry Beaver at May 31, 2010 08:27 AM (XFrSe)

145 My cousin's story is here http://www.virtualwall.org/dt/TwehousGL01a.htm

Posted by: sock puppeh at May 31, 2010 08:31 AM (VcPAo)

146 He was a "nuke" and his training served him well in civilian life. He never finished his college degree but it wasn't so long ago that having graduated from NPS was considered just as good by the civilian nuclear industry.

Even more coincidence that, I was a Nuke as well. I was on the Enterprise from 1972 to 1977.

Posted by: Vic at May 31, 2010 08:37 AM (6taRI)

147 Requiem for a Soldier (Band of Brothers theme music, lyrics below) should play in the background while reading these great stories. We owe more than we can possibly imagine to those we remember today.


You never lived to see
What you gave to me
One shining dream of hope and love
Life and liberty
With a host of brave unknown soldiers
For your company you will live forever
Here in our memory

In fields of sacrifice
Heroes paid the price
Young men who died for old men's wars
Gone to paradise
We are all one great band of brothers
And one day you'll see we can live together
When all the world is free

I wish you'd lived to see
All you gave to me
Your shining dream of hope and love
Life and liberty
We are all one great band of brothers
And one day you'll see - we can live together
When all the world is free

Posted by: Beta Phi at May 31, 2010 08:37 AM (fRnux)

148
As a former Military Brat and the son of a career U.S. Naval Commander, I have nothing but the utmost respect for the men and women who have died in service to our country. It is altogether fit and proper that America sets aside one day each year to honor them.

I hope that we Americans also remember and honor the men and women who have given their lives while serving as Peace Corps volunteers. Of the approximate 200,000 who have served our country, often under hardship conditions, by helping less fortunate people around the world raise themselves from poverty, almost 300 have given their lives during their service. Their families grieve their loss as much as those of our fallen military heroes.

To the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice: please know that you do not grieve your loss alone. It is shared by millions of Americans. Your loved ones served their country with pride, dedication, courage & strength in the discharge their duties. They will never be forgotten. Rest In Peace soldiers. Rest In Peace.

To all the military veterans still with us: Thank you for your exemplary service. America salutes you! You, too, are not forgotten.

To all of our active military personnel here and around the world: You are being remembered today as well. We love you, wish you well and pray for your safe return to your families & loved ones.

To our military men & women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan: an extra special prayer of thanks and for your safe return. You are foremost in our thoughts today and everyday. Please come back to us safely. And PLEASE! keep your heads down! We love you all!

To all Americans everywhere: As you enjoy your BBQ's and ball games today, please take a moment to say thank you to all our service men and women who cannot be with us today. America is still a great country-warts and all-due in large measure to the sacrifices made by those in uniform. Semper FI to ALL branches of our military.

And last but by no means least, to the civilians: Your gratitude is heart-warming and all that is asked in return.
Remember; it's not about the war, but the warrior.

And to Barack Obama: NOBODY wants to hear your BS anymore! IT'S FAILED!!! We have Families to take care of so SCREW YOU!!!

God bless America and all who serve it, especially our brave men and women in the military.

Posted by: sickinmass, proud father of Sgt. Chris at May 31, 2010 08:49 AM (tamie)

149 While cleaning out back room shelves in my HS library, I discovered copies of 11 pages of letters from a 1925 graduate, which were written while he was in a Philippine prisoner of war camp. Even through the censored letters, the inhumane cruelty of the Japanese is clear. He was an army captain. The last letter states that he is being shipped to Japan.  The state historical archieves list his ship as torpedoed.  If anyone has read how the Japanese packed the prisoner cargo ships with our men, the details are horrific.  I plan to send the letters to the local paper for publication, and to a local museum.  God bless all our service men and women.

Posted by: The Librarian at May 31, 2010 09:04 AM (jSigh)

150 Another story my grandfather told, not related to the war, per se, was when he was on leave in Boston in '42 and was waiting in line to get into a swanky nightclub. The other couple with them didn't want to wait in the long line to get in and left, but his date really wanted to go to this club, as it was all the rage at the time.

The name of the club? The Cocoanut Grove. Fortunately, my grandfather was still outside when it caught fire. But the story he tells is about the aftermath. When the fire and police showed up and once the fire was out, my grandfather and every other man in the crowd who was in uniform was recruited to help carry out the bodies. He said they were stacked like cordwood against the windows and doors inside of the place and he had to help carry them out to the street to be covered by sheets. After it was over, he asked one of the police why they recruited the service men for that job. The answer "Because you guys know how to take orders and get jobs done."

Posted by: mpur in Texas (kicking Mexico's ass since 1836) at May 31, 2010 09:29 AM (iBTj9)

151

It's been a busy day around here, but I wanted to share a small part of the bio I wrote about my dad, who turned 86 last November.  This is an excerpt about his time in the service.

...Time passed and Dad graduated high school with so-so grades, never expecting to work as much more than a laborer, although his love of books made the library a frequent stop. Books showed the wider world of adventure and exotic locales that would soon be his, courtesy of World War II.

All the young men of my dad’s age were anxious to sign up for a particular branch of the military with a recruiter rather than be drafted, including him. After a former classmate buzzed the high school during wartime, Dad was as eager as the rest to become a hotshot pilot. He signed on the dotted line with the Army Air Corps, the forerunner of the Air Force. At 17 he traveled to Texas for basic training. However, VE Day occurred before his training ended. Even though the fighting ceased, the occupation army remained in Europe. All those young men with brand-new commitments shipped out to Europe. Dad landed in Foggia, Italy.

Driving a ton-and-a-half truck on the farm that required double clutching and knowing how to change tires (not as common knowledge as you’d think) found him hauling barrels of gasoline for the crash crew. The Air Corps’ crash crew served as the "fire department" for downed US aircraft. Dad procured the gasoline for the base, which was supposed to be used to set practice fires, but in reality, provided a lucrative black market for the sergeant in charge, who sold it to the locals under cover of darkness.

Although he tired of his sergeant’s illegal antics, the war gave Dad one of his fondest memories, a tour of the Vatican and an audience with Pope Pius XII. Shortly after, Dad volunteered to go to Austria for a paperwork job since he was a high-school grad. On his 20th birthday, he boarded a military transport ship at Bremerhaven, Germany, to return stateside.

The Army of the United States operated on a point system in those days, and impatience with accruing those points had Dad enlist in the RA, or regular army to get out quicker.

As if a whirlwind European trip wasn’t enough excitement, Dad realized that he could use his GI Bill to attend college, even though his buddies couldn’t wait to get on at the local steel mill. They chided him for not going after "the big money," but I always remember him telling us kids that an education is something no one can ever take away from you.

Posted by: RushBabe at May 31, 2010 10:25 AM (W8m8i)

152 There's this picture and then this story and this story.
"Jimmy had a scholarship to go to law school after Duke. Also an offer to work at a financial company. “But he felt like he had a higher calling,”

Posted by: curious at May 31, 2010 10:27 AM (p302b)

153
77

Feel better now?

Posted by: Golem14 at May 31, 2010 10:29 AM (2X8VA)

154 Posted by: curious at May 31, 2010 03:27 PM (p302b)

Maybe his higher calling was influenced by seeing so many of the citizens of his town die on  9/11.  Their cars still parked at the train station days and weeks afterward as grieving widows couldn't bring themselves to move them.

Posted by: curious at May 31, 2010 10:40 AM (p302b)

155

I remember asking my old man what he did in WWII and he told me he did his job, then he told me all the funny they did on the ship. I never asked again because I thought they were just screwing off and didn't do anything important.

A some years ago my kids asked me what I did in Vietnam......................

I told them I did my job and then told them some funny stuff we would do, then I remembered what my old told me, and I understood.

 

RIP Dad

 

Posted by: Old Hippie Vet at May 31, 2010 11:20 AM (3IZGh)

156

re 133, great post, Blazer.

 

My dad's funeral was during Isabel (ceremony just outside DC, but burial elsewhere), and we always figured that the strom was a fitting sendoff for someone as wild as he.

 

Two kids leaving for WWII, four after surviving, plus success in so many ways.

 

I think after surviving that "for the duration", there was nothing he couldn't do.

 

I miss him terribly, and will never forget the funeral:  wild and windy, a peril to the bagpiper's kilt.

 

No power at the reception after, so no food other than what health dept allows under those circumstances (his club kept open in spite of the storm, because it was one of the old guys, the vets).

 

We feted him out with a full bar, and fruit and pastry.

 

Some healthy sugared up single malt drinkers that day in the wind and the rain!

 

He would have been 90, day before yesterday.

Posted by: Barbarausa at May 31, 2010 12:11 PM (gRgC6)

157 I was on the Enterprise from 1972 to 1977.

Vic, if you're reading this thread still, you and my dad are definitely contemporaneous. He was on the Enterprise during the same time frame. He got out in '77, I think, after being in the Navy for 12 years. That's a big chunk of a man's life to never talk about. I hope as he gets older that old age will loosen his tongue.

I should also mention my husband's grandfather who is still a live wire in his late 80s. He's also a Navy man and served in the Pacific during WWII. He still hates the Japanese and after all that he must have seen I can't say that I blame him. He kept in touch with his buddies, and went to ship reunions annually. The last reunion was about 3 years ago and it'll probably be the last - not enough of them left to keep it going. It's a sobering thought. 

Posted by: Angry Beaver at May 31, 2010 12:38 PM (XFrSe)

158 If your dad was on the Enterprise and got out in 1977 and was a Nuke then odds are dollars to donuts that I knew him.

I still wonder if you are my daughter. Hahahaha, but I was only in for 7 years total. 

Posted by: Vic at May 31, 2010 12:46 PM (6taRI)

159 BTW, my nickname then was Grit.  Ask him if he remembers.

Posted by: Vic at May 31, 2010 12:48 PM (6taRI)

160 None of my relatives have ever said much about the war. A great-grandfather was gassed during WWI. Another served in the Navy during WWII, along with his BILs. They later sent him to Korea, & he retired after that.

To Great-Great Uncle Ed.

Posted by: Miss'80sBaby at May 31, 2010 12:56 PM (Yq+qN)

161

Served in the Army (4th  Cav, 1st Infantry Div) from 1957 to 1963.  Didn't see combat so can't claim any great sacrifice, but have always been in awe of those who saw the darkness of wars no matter where.  Thank you to all vets both living and gone. 

Posted by: Rwethereyet at May 31, 2010 02:13 PM (/fcPf)

162 My grandfather was in the Great War. He never said a word about it. My Dad enlisted after Pearl Harbor. Nobody in KC knew where Hawaii was or even if it was ours. He went ashore with the second wave at Normandy and chased Patton across France and Germany. He liked telling the time they were trying to shoot a chicken in a farm yard with an M1 and the German farm wife chasing a bunch of GIs with a broom. She made them wash up and then she fed them.
Then one day the first and second scouts walked through a fence they came on in a forest near a town. Dad walked through the same fence a half hour later.
Ohrdruf: subcamp to Buchenwald
Whenever you encounter a holocaust denying scumbag like i-barfed-on-my-dinner-jacket please stab them in the heart with a dull spoon. /end rant

Upthread somebody mentioned occupying Reid, Austria. My Dad was there after the war guarding prisoners. The Army of Occupation knew how to enforce a curfew and they didn't ask permission from the local genocidal maniacs.

He served in Korea with an artillery unit firing the 'Atomic Cannon'. Other than the antics of the 'Green door' and the theater wide shortage of toilet paper, he never spoke about that conflict either. He also wouldn't touch rice.

Dad died eight years ago. He lived three years without my mother. My sister has the flag and I have his Purple Heart and Bronze Star with V-clasp.

Posted by: Blacksmith8 at May 31, 2010 02:47 PM (+1qNE)

163 75 shooey..OS?

Posted by: 48%er at May 31, 2010 03:09 PM (OThQg)

164

WW2: My maternal grandfather found himself held by armed Americans behind barbed wire, under the provisions of Executive Order 9066. His little brother Satoru managed to evade the feds and enlisted in the 442nd Infantry, at the age of 17 (I've seen pictures of Uncle Sat at that age; he looked like he was 12 - he can't have fooled anybody).

Uncle Sat returned with medals & citations and a prosthetic left leg. I never could get him to talk about the war, and couldn't even elicit any complaints about my grandfather's incarceration. The one occasion that I complained about it in his presence, he advised me not to be "a whiny little pissant." My grandmother was more charitable: she simply waved it off, saying “shoganai” (c’est la vie is probably as accurate a translation as any).

After Uncle Sat died, we mobilized a caravan of pickups to move Aunty Shizu into a condo. A box I was carrying broke open & Uncle Sat's war memorabilia spilled out - including his Silver Star & Purple Heart. I was in my early 30s at the time, and had never seen any of it. Aunty Shizu walked in on me & said "you found the lucky charms!" I looked up (I'm sure I looked confused at the remark). She explained that Uncle Sat could never bring himself to display  his decorations. He felt it would have been "vulgar" to celebrate them, in light of so many of his friends who never returned to their families. The citations, he felt, were nothing more than an indication of his great luck and his friends' even greater misfortunes. Aunty Shizu labeled them "lucky charms" - a private endearment between her and Uncle Sat. To the best of my knowledge, she and Uncle Sat are the only members of the family who ever laid eyes on them before 1997.

Posted by: Sep at May 31, 2010 04:23 PM (JzJt5)

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