WWII Vets we've been blessed with knowing.

WWII Vets we've been blessed with knowing.

This is a discussion on WWII Vets we've been blessed with knowing. within the Bob & Terry's Place forums, part of the The Back Porch category; With the 75th anniversary of D-Day this past week I've found myself reflecting on some of the WWII Veterans that I have known. While I've ...

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    Distinguished Member Array TSKnight's Avatar
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    WWII Vets we've been blessed with knowing.

    With the 75th anniversary of D-Day this past week I've found myself reflecting on some of the WWII Veterans that I have known.

    While I've known many, there are a few who made great impressions on me.

    Clyde: He spent the war in an Army training camp teaching, in his words, "The Art of The Rifle."
    Watched him make a 1/2 mile shot on a running jackrabbit with a .22lr.
    He took a 12 year old who couldn't see well enough to shoot well and taught him to point shoot with a rifle on moving targets.

    Russ: His own children didn't know where he served until after he was gone.
    He opened old wounds to help a 15 year old deal with his wounds.
    He had met Audie Murphy and felt blessed not to be in his shoes because the fame never allowed him to lay to rest the things he had done/seen.

    T.M.:

    Sorry, will maybe add more later.
    OldVet, redmc, scottync and 8 others like this.
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    VIP Member Array OldVet's Avatar
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    In that line:

    Billie, my best bud's dad. Served on a cruiser in the Pacific that was nearly sunk. Could never shake the demon alcohol that followed him through life.

    Jack, my second father. The best pal a 10-year-old kid could have. Served on an anti-tank crew in Italy. He'd give you the shirt off his back or plow your lower forty if you couldn't, but the demon alcohol made him totally unreliable as a father to his own kids and husband.

    Harry, a Pacific Marine and boyhood pal of my Seabee dad. Died too young, a complication of too much alcohol.

    Buster, a Seabee pal of Dad's. They remained close friends until Buster's death.

    Many of the dads in my neighborhood growing up. A Navy pharmacist mate, a supply truck driver on the Red Ball Express in Europe, an infantryman who would never talk about the war but walked with a permanent limp, and others.
    Retired USAF E-8. Curmudgeon on the loose.
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    Senior Member Array redmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    In that line:

    Billie, my best bud's dad. Served on a cruiser in the Pacific that was nearly sunk. Could never shake the demon alcohol that followed him through life.

    Jack, my second father. The best pal a 10-year-old kid could have. Served on an anti-tank crew in Italy. He'd give you the shirt off his back or plow your lower forty if you couldn't, but the demon alcohol made him totally unreliable as a father to his own kids and husband.

    Harry, a Pacific Marine and boyhood pal of my Seabee dad. Died too young, a complication of too much alcohol.

    Buster, a Seabee pal of Dad's. They remained close friends until Buster's death.

    Many of the dads in my neighborhood growing up. A Navy pharmacist mate, a supply truck driver on the Red Ball Express in Europe, an infantryman who would never talk about the war but walked with a permanent limp, and others.
    I can remember some men as you describe, I also have known some that fought the booze and won. Good men all and left me a 13 year old feeling proud th have known them.

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    VIP Member Array jmf552's Avatar
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    My late father, who dropped out of high school and got my grandmother to sign a waiver so he could join the Navy at 17. He was shore patrol, basically military police, the whole war. He was a natural leader who rose quickly to first class petty officer. He did everything from commanding patrol boats around Hawaii looking for Japanese mini-subs, to breaking up bar fights in Honolulu, to being a top secret courier on a Harley with a Thompson submachine gun, to guarding a Japanese American internment camp.

    Back in civilian life, he became a very successful entrepreneur and even later became one of the few truly honest politicians ever. He was a hard man, but he showed me that you can succeed at anything you truly commit to.
    Attack Squadron 65 "Tigers", USS Eisenhower '80 - '83, peackeeping w/Iran, Libya, Lebanon and E. Europe

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    My father. He died in 2012 at 99 1/2 years old. He was a WWII ace fighter pilot over Europe with 6 kills. I didn't know anything except that he was a pilot until I was an adult, then not many details (except some he told me right before his death). A fine man and father.



    Last edited by Wavygravy; June 9th, 2019 at 07:31 PM.
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    My best friend Ron, who was driving a coal truck with a canvas top and without a heater in Denver, Colorado in the winter of 1931. He said he drove about ten miles and then got out and ran a few laps around the truck to warm up and then drove another ten miles. He decided he needed to change jobs and visited the Navy recruiter. The recruiter told him there was a depression going on and there was a waiting list to get in. As he started to leave, the recruiter said, "Wait, I do have an opening today. It is for a Pharmacist's Mate (later changed to Hospital Corpsman - Medic). It is the easiest job in the Navy, all you do is pass out aspirin."

    Ron joined and was in the Navy from 1931 to 1956. His shellback certificate for crossing the equator was signed by Commander William F. "Bull" Halsey, the executive officer of his ship. He was in the China fleet during the 1930s. He island hopped in the Pacific with the Marines in WWII. He knew Chesty Puller and was friends with Ernie Pyle. He also served in Korea. He retired as a registered nurse and a Warrant Officer Physician's Assistant. He died at ninety-six in 2010. I miss him greatly.
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    Two uncles on my Dad's side, both Marines. One was at Iwo Jima. Wouldn't talk about it. The other saw action at Guadalcanal and spent a lengthy amount of time while serving in the hospital with malaria.

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    Far too many who are gone now. The first were those who were friends of my fathers in the Corps. It's where I learned that for each generation the 'Old Corps' has always been better - beginning in 1775. I also was fortunate enough to spent time helping run a VAMC Nursing Home Care Unit almost 25 years ago. At that time there were MANY WWII vets that I had the distinct privilege of spending a lot of time listening to and getting to know. I met former POWs, well known names, and just regular Joes. For all that, I even knew a couple WWI Vets who regaled me with stories of "going over there".
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    VIP Member Array OldChap's Avatar
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    My hero.

    My dad, who we lost almost 10 years ago, will always fill first place. He graduated from Texas A&M with a commission in the USAAF as a 2nd Lt. He was sent to flight school in the summer of 1944 and, after graduation, became an instructor pilot flying AT-6 Texan trainers. He then was ordered to the 2nd Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force as a B-17 pilot. From there, he went to North Africa, then to Foggia, Italy. He flew 33 missions over the 3rd Reich. His aircraft was badly shot up by flak in December 1944 over Blechhammer, Germany, and yet he and the copilot managed to nurse the crippled B-17G back as far as Bucharest where they managed to crash land without a single scratch. The flight was harrowing in that they were down to two engines and had to wind through narrow mountain passes at very low altitude. Along the way, they were jumped by a Russian fighter, which they managed to shoot down. After the crash landing, they were picked up by Russian troops and civilians from the village of Nagabanya and taken to a hotel until they were finally repatriated to Italy in early 1945, where they resumed flying combat missions until the war's end. Obviously, they never told the Russians they had shot down one of their fighters! Dad was awarded the DFC for his actions that day. He finished the war as a Captain.

    WWII Vets we've been blessed with knowing.-9224154780_b990655636_o.jpg

    Hole in the right wing from an 88mm anti aircraft round, which didn't explode.

    WWII Vets we've been blessed with knowing.-9244155046_88316bbc17_o.jpg

    DFC and service ribbons.
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    Distinguished Member Array TSKnight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    In that line:

    Billie, my best bud's dad. Served on a cruiser in the Pacific that was nearly sunk. Could never shake the demon alcohol that followed him through life.

    Jack, my second father. The best pal a 10-year-old kid could have. Served on an anti-tank crew in Italy. He'd give you the shirt off his back or plow your lower forty if you couldn't, but the demon alcohol made him totally unreliable as a father to his own kids and husband.

    Harry, a Pacific Marine and boyhood pal of my Seabee dad. Died too young, a complication of too much alcohol.

    Buster, a Seabee pal of Dad's. They remained close friends until Buster's death.

    Many of the dads in my neighborhood growing up. A Navy pharmacist mate, a supply truck driver on the Red Ball Express in Europe, an infantryman who would never talk about the war but walked with a permanent limp, and others.
    Alcohol, that's one I know all too well. Have learned some valuable lessons from Vets who have defeated it's grasp.

    Never got to meet my Uncle Bob. He died the year I was born. Grandma always said he was guilty that he came home and so many of his friends didn't.
    Bob was a SeaBee before they were Seabee's. Came out of the gravel camps during the depression as a heavy equipment operator. He was too old to go in the service, but jumped at the chance to offer his talents when it came.
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    Distinguished Member Array MB53's Avatar
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    Had a chat a while back with an old family friend, Jessie, who shared a glass of Scotch with me along with his account of landing at Iwo Jima. I'd known him many years before he told his story and knew he served, but never knew where or any details of his time in service. Jessie turns 94 this year.

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    VIP Member Array OldChap's Avatar
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    @OldVet and @TSKnight It is a miracle that many more WWII vets didn't suffer from alcoholism. They truly faced some indescribable horrors, and most never talked about it. Alcohol was a plea for help to cope with those horrors - and as we know, most of that great generation simply didn't come home and talk about what they went through.

    I was so fortunate that neither my father, nor my father-in-law had a problem with it. I'll post what I know of my father-in-law's story tomorrow.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits."

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    VIP Member Array jmf552's Avatar
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    I just thought of another interesting guy I knew. When I worked plainclothes security in a department store back in the 70's, there was a kind of melancholy guy who was a salesman in the television and audio department. He and I got to chatting when store traffic was slow, and I discovered to my surprise he had been a B-17 pilot and plane commander over Europe. He went over, flew his required number of missions, came back home and had been selling TVs ever since.

    I was incredulous! I was a student pilot in a Cessna 152 at the time and being in my 20's, all I could see was the heroic aspect of what he had done and the excitement of flying something like a B-17. I asked him why he didn't become an airline pilot, or something like that. He said he had enough excitement, and enough flying, for a lifetime, in the war. He also saw a lot his friends killed and lived that whole time with the idea that, luck of the draw, his next mission might be his last. He said he had never flown again and wouldn't even get on a airliner. He said he was very happy living a very boring life after that. I really think that nowadays he might have been diagnosed with PTSD.

    It's interesting to me that the WWII combat vets I've met very often didn't want to talk much about it. They really wanted to put it behind them, much more so than vets today. Just my observation.
    Attack Squadron 65 "Tigers", USS Eisenhower '80 - '83, peackeeping w/Iran, Libya, Lebanon and E. Europe

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    In the 70's I worked at an auto repair shop. The service manager told us one day, about landing on one of the beaches on D-day.
    He said everyone but one other that he knew died that day.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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    My father, regrettably he died much too young he was only 47 and I was 23. He never talked about his service in Germany until I returned from RVN and even then very little.

    WWII Vets we've been blessed with knowing.-p1010116.jpg
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