June 6 1944 Operation Overlord - Page 3

June 6 1944 Operation Overlord

This is a discussion on June 6 1944 Operation Overlord within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I was looking for a "Texas boy" and came upon it. The "Texas boy" buried there happened to have been born on the same day ...

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  1. #31
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    I was looking for a "Texas boy" and came upon it. The "Texas boy" buried there happened to have been born on the same day as my father who served in the Pacific in World War II.
    All of our WW II Veterans should be celebrated everyday. They saved Europe from Hitler, perhaps even the World, if you consider what his scientists had developed.

    My Father did not participate in the invasion, but his division (84th ID) landed on Omaha Beach, 1–4 November 1944, and moved to the vicinity of Gulpen, the Netherlands, 5–12 November and then the Battle of the Bulge, where they successfully held the left flank. They thereafter liberated two Extermination Camps. My Father spoke nary a word of that period of life, other than two funny stories about "liberating" chicken eggs from a barn.

    I only knew he was in the 84th ID when I found a book his mother had given him upon his return from Europe - a history of the 84th in WWII she had dedicated to him. It matched the few bits and pieces I'd overheard.

    He detested the cold, and his feet and hands were always troublesome when cold.
    Last edited by Rock and Glock; June 8th, 2018 at 05:52 PM.
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  2. #32
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    I would have loved to been a "fly on the wall" if your dad had opened up to you about his experiences. That's the way so many of those veterans who were "really there" behaved about talking about it. They just wouldn't.

    In my lending career with banks I interviewed a lot of loan applicants who were World War II veterans. I'd look for birth dates prior to about 1927 on the loan application of prospective customers then pop the question: "What did you do in the War." For that matter I even interviewed some World War I veterans as late as 1991 when a World War I veteran customer cosigned for his granddaughter on a consumer loan. Man! I am geezerly!

    Anyway, one could "read" them pretty well. They followed a pattern. There were the ones who were reticent about telling their tale and deserved the consideration of being left alone, the ones who were willing to share their honest and real tales of derring do, and the ones who looked for any excuse to brag about "eating dead, burnt bodies" or otherwise embellishing their war career as cooks or truck drivers. Not that the military can do without support personnel, or that those who served in such capacities should not be lauded for what they did or should feel somehow diminished, but hey ... some of the stories were way over the top.

    "Son" Wikie and his wife were good friends of my parents. "Son" was a upstanding man in church and in the community, a jovial man with a merry twinkle in his eye who loved clowning around with young boys, which I was at the time. He always had gum in his suit coat pocket for us after church. He'd organize camping, fishing, hunting trips for fathers and sons. My dad and I got to go on some dove hunts with "Son" and my dad went deer hunting with him a few times. He was a talker and he laughed a lot. His service in the U. S. Army was understood to be off limits to any discussion though. I had an interest in history, particularly World War II history from an early age. As I got older he never would talk to me about it though. Later my dad told me that "Son" went ashore on the initial assault at Normandy on D-Day. As they were wading ashore "Son's" best Army bud took a direct hit from an 88 mere yards away from him. "Son" washed his best bud's residue off in the surf before he'd even gained the beach.

    We had an Alvarado, Texas Constable who did 3rd party collections investigations for us at a bank for which I was employed throughout the 1980s, C. E. "Jack" Fannon, also known as "Red" Fannon. He was a very colorful character and had a lot of tales of Army service in the Island-Hopping campaigns of the Pacific Theater. Great tales he told, but they were of horseplay, girls, and buddies he made while in the service. His World War II field career consisted entirely of reworking battlefield pick-up M1 Carbines and of moving from island to island, depot to depot installing the 2nd variation adjustable rear sights on M1 Carbines. Every one of his tales of reworking the rifles, the configuration and material the 2nd variation sights were made of, rang true with reference works I later acquired on the M1 Carbine. After getting the books on the subject I appreciated his eye for detail about the Carbine and the accuracy of his memory. I felt like I knew stuff about the M1 Carbine and its wartime upgrades long before I read anything about it because of Red.
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  3. #33
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    I had to almost pry stories out of my WWII Seabee dad. A late one was that he helped build the two pits used to load the atomic bombs on the Enola Gay and Bocks car.

    Another was when on either Saipan or Tinian, some guys in his unit found a small distillery with a small "water" tower filled with sake. He said it was all fun and games until two days later one of the guys looked inside and found a very bloated Japanese soldier floating inside.

    He never touched sake again.
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  5. #34
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    OOOooo... pickled indeed.
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  6. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    I had to almost pry stories out of my WWII Seabee dad. A late one was that he helped build the two pits used to load the atomic bombs on the Enola Gay and Bocks car.

    Another was when on either Saipan or Tinian, some guys in his unit found a small distillery with a small "water" tower filled with sake. He said it was all fun and games until two days later one of the guys looked inside and found a very bloated Japanese soldier floating inside.

    He never touched sake again.
    Years ago, I worked at an electrical wholesale store. Several of the men there had been in WWII. Two of them were marines and island hoppers. One was with a machine gun crew and I don't know what the other one did but I know he was on Tinian during the summer of 1945. One the night of August 5, he and a few of his buddies sneaked out of there huts and made it over to a hill overlooking North field. He knew something big was going on because there were still so many marines on the island. He saw all of the lights and people on the field and around a few B29's. He wound up watching the Enola Gay take off.

    In 1988, I visited the Paul Garber facility in Suitland, MD where the Enola Gay was in several large pieces and one of the test dummy bombs was in a crate in front of the fuselage. The plane was still in its raw condition but I did see the shackles in the bombay that held Little Boy in place and the names of the crew on the starboard side of the plane.
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  7. #36
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    When I was a little kid I had a very close friend who's father fought in the European theater. He brought back some very interesting things from the war. A German Mauser, a Luger, a Nazi flag, a German helmet, and a German submachine gun which was either an MP38 or an MP40 (can't remember which one). This friend and I used to play war in his back yard with that submachine gun and thought nothing of it.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

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  8. #37
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    My "Uncle Bill Morgan," the youngest of my great uncles on my mother's side and not much older than my dad, was a Marine BAR-man, island-hopping in the Pacific. Stayed in after the War and made a career out of the Corps. Later settled in Hawaii so I only ever saw him a few times in my life. He and his sweet Japanese wife came to Texas and visited my parents in 1985. Our youngest son just born, had only been home from the hospital three days and the evening spent at my parents' house with Uncle Bill was his first outing. We have snapshots of Uncle Bill holding him. A very rewarding evening was had that day, listening to Uncle Bill relating tales. He was "there" for much of it, start to finish. He enlisted in 1942 at 17. He maintained a philosophical outlook about his wartime experience and related it easily. He told some stirring and harrowing tales. BARmen, well machinegunners in general, were not popular with the enemy. I regret that I didn't make notes or even record it as I should have. I had no idea what he would get into in the discussion of that evening. I'm sorry that I can't recall any of it now.

    Uncle Bill must have pre-programed our son that very night for he never deviated from a desire to commit to military service and when he got out of college he immediately enlisted in the Marine Corps as a ... wait for it ... machinegunner.
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  9. #38
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    My grandfather served as an Army Chaplain in WWI. I know from my grandmother telling me, that he was "gassed" at least 3 times. She said he told her about one attack that was particularly bad as he watched some guys who couldn't get their kit on in time. She was frightened by his descriptions of what he saw, and wouldn't tell me about it.

    Our neighbor down the street was a Marine. He was on Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester and one other island (Peleliu, IIRC) before being shipped home. He had a Japanese bolt action rifle, an Arisaka, which he let us neighborhood kids play with. It had the bolt removed. I still remember the terrible hatred he had for anything Japanese.

    My dad never would talk about the horrors he faced in 30+ raids as a B-17 pilot. He told us funny stuff after they were shot down and crash landed behind Russian lines, but never would speak of the other stuff.

    I was assigned as the Hospice Chaplain to a guy who was one of the medics and a member of Merrill’s Marauders. He had a Silver Star hanging on his bedroom wall. Sadly, he had only a few weeks to live, and he was estranged from his entire family. The nurses, Social Workers, and I became his family. He confessed to me his fear of not going to heaven because there were so many of the soldiers under his care that he could not save. He was genuinely terrified. I talked for hours and prayed for and with him, until he finally had some peace in his heart and mind. He passed away quietly while we held his hand.

    Sad that so many of those who lived through it, have now gone home.

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  10. #39
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    Nope. Not tired at all.
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  11. #40
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    Not tired at all, @OldChap . I just got goosebumps.

    My Father spoke nary a word of that period of life, other than two funny stories about "liberating" chicken eggs from a barn.
    @rstickle may shed some light on the veracity of this account, but my Father indicated he and a group of "engineers or what-have-yous" would go out on EOD Disposal sorties at night before attempted advances. I truly don't know or understand the details of what was done, but as he related it, they often stumbled onto / into barns, chicken coops, and the like, and occasionally "liberated" a few eggs or chickens or what have you. As the team consisted of many men, at the end of the night they'd move to the rear, and share the "prizes" of the night with each other.

    One man in particular, however, never shared, never.

    Apparently, after an especially long, hard, or frustrating night, they returned, regrouped, and the selfish guy had a entire helmet full of fresh eggs he was refusing to share. No one else had a single prize.

    Apparently in a real pique, one of the team-mates sauntered over to lovingly gaze at the fresh eggs, and then proceeded to scramble the eggs, shell and all, with the muddy butt of his rifle, tipped over the scrambled contents, scowled at the scofflaw, and sauntered off.

    That story may have been embellished if only to mean more to me, and serve as a reminder to share, but I still remember the idea of a bunch of muddy scrambled eggs, shells and all, going wasted in the worst of circumstances.
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  12. #41
    VIP Member Array OldChap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock and Glock View Post
    That story may have been embellished if only to mean more to me, and serve as a reminder to share, but I still remember the idea of a bunch of muddy scrambled eggs, shells and all, going wasted in the worst of circumstances.
    Might have also served to teach not to put all your eggs in one....basket...pot...er...helmet!

    Great story.

  13. #42
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    One of my old college professors was on one of the ships that was part of the Japanese surrender force fleet.

    According to him they made dock and after the surrender he happened to be on the lucky side of the ship that got liberty. The first thing they managed to do was find an abandoned sake wagon. Don't have to tell y'all the results there. Next they started "finding" trophies. He was the ships bugler and found some Jap bugles.

    They made it back to the ship mostly intact.

    The next day the CO started confiscating all the trophies and piled them on the fore deck in a Huge pile that grew for days. They continued looking for contraband for several days until the CO finally admitted defeat and allowed that everyone would be allowed to keep a trophy but only one and asked them to please turn in the others. My ole prof had polished up his trophies and hung them on his wall with his USGI bugles and they never looked twice at them.

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  14. #43
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    Have been privileged to know a number of WWII veterans. Everyone of them had a story to tell even if they didn't talk.

    The pilot who spent the last year of the war in a Japanese POW camp. The only story he ever told was of watching the mushroom cloud from the first bomb.
    The mechanic from 1st Armor whose closest adventure to combat was 20 miles behind the line in a wrecker getting shot at by some Panzers that weren't supposed to be there. He wouldn't walk through the meat department at the grocery because it brought back visions of the inside of knocked out tanks.
    The Navy corpsman who became a Pediatrician so "...I could continue patching kids back together."

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  15. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock and Glock View Post
    Not tired at all, @OldChap . I just got goosebumps.



    @rstickle may shed some light on the veracity of this account, but my Father indicated he and a group of "engineers or what-have-yous" would go out on EOD Disposal sorties at night before attempted advances. I truly don't know or understand the details of what was done, but as he related it, they often stumbled onto / into barns, chicken coops, and the like, and occasionally "liberated" a few eggs or chickens or what have you. As the team consisted of many men, at the end of the night they'd move to the rear, and share the "prizes" of the night with each other.
    My take on this would be that your Father may have been a Combat Engineer. It sounds like something they would be tasked with. Clearing lanes through mine fields at night in preparation for advances the next morning. Now, Combat Engineers and EOD (Bomb Disposal as they were known back then), were two different jobs, although both had the capability of handling mines and booby traps. But EOD also handled all other types of explosive ordnance... Something the Engineers did NOT do. Also the Engineers usually took the lead in mine field clearance, oddly enough because EOD was considered too valuable to "waste" since there were so few, and took a lot longer to train, since they had to know ALL ordnance (like their lives depended on it. )

    I do know that a couple of EOD units did land on the beaches on D-Day, but as far as I know offhand, none with the first wave. For the rest of the war Army EOD took the lead in all US land based explosive activities except mine field clearance activities. Saying that remember back then "Army" included Army and Air Force, since the split between the two services didn't occur till 1947.
    Rick

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  16. #45
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    ^^^^^^^ That kind of agrees with his stories about chicken coops and "liberating" eggs at night.

    The best part of working at night he said, was returning to the rear in the morning (with or without eggs) and sleeping through the fighting. Said, as usual, in his guarded fashion.

    Thank you, Rick.
    Last edited by Rock and Glock; June 10th, 2018 at 06:33 PM.
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