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I didn't want to hijack the Vietnam veteran thread, but I wanted to give tribute by remembering the veterans of previous wars. Both my wife and I are of the "Baby Boomer" generation, born between 1944 and 1964. Both our fathers served the war effort as they were destined to do, and both returned to civilian life to become what Tom Brokaw named "the greatest generation."

My father-in-law was Sgt. Thomas E. Roby, one of nine Roby children in rural Watertown, SD. He enlisted with a brother in 1944 and was in the 96th Infantry Division, and endured invasions in Leyte and Okinawa. He took a bullet in the butt during the Okinawa invasion and was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, now in my possession. After the war, he went on to start two businesses, an insurance agency and later a real estate firm which continues to this day. He served multiple terms as mayor of Watertown, was subsequently elected a state Senator, and was for many years on the board of directors for the local nursing home.

My dad was 2nd Lt. Franklin C. Smith (although he went by his middle name, Clark). Working for the Bendix Corporation in Teterboro, NJ, he had a critical occupation deferment until 1943 when he was drafted. As a licensed pilot (due to the government's free Civilian Pilot Training Program) he wanted to fly for the military and wound up being trained to fly transports. Although he never went overseas for combat, in late 1944 his training moved from multi-engine transports to gliders, in preparation for an invasion of Japan (although he didn't know it then). He wrecked two in training! Dad was literally saved by the atom bomb, and years later met the co-pilot of the Enola Gay who moved to our rural town in the lower Hudson valley in NJ.
Similar to my father-in-law, my dad was a volunteer and public-minded citizen, He served two terms as mayor of our little town, and was actively involved with civic organizations such as Lions Club, Rotary International and was on the board of directors for the local hospital.

Just a couple of snippets of guys who served honorably in earlier wars. I proudly salute them both on the eve of Memorial Day, 2020.
 

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I know nothing of my ancestry beyond my grandparents. But I do know my grandfather (Mother's side) was an ambulance drive in WWI and, if I recall correctly, also drove Gen Pershing around. My father was a Seabee in WWII and did the surveying work for the ramp and bomb pits used to load the atomic bombs on the Enola Gay and Bock's Car B-29s. I am amazed that both had reality significant contributions to the war effort, although both would deny it. One of my regrets in life is I did not ask more questions of their service that could somehow be passed on to the future generations.
 

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I didn't ask too many questions growing up, about the service history of my family. What i do know, I know from that Ancestry website, and a bit of family history. I know I had a grandfather, several times removed, in the War of 1812. If memory serves, his son was in the Spanish-American War. Another grandfather was in the Civil War (fought for the North, in an Alabama Cavalry unit, if i read things right)

The man i always knew as my grandfather (mom's stepdad), I assume fought in WWII, as well as Korea, not sure about Vietnam, however. All I know for sure, is that he retired from the Army, then worked for the Post Office, retired from there, then worked at Goodyear until he fully retired.

My father in law, was in the Army during WWII. My understanding is that he was one of the kids that enlisted early, at the age of 15. Fairly certain that he was in the war in the Pacific, although his job was to run a bulldozer. Since that's the case, odds are I walked some of the same ground he did when I was in Guam, Saipan, and Okinawa. I have, over by my recliner, an ashtray he brought back from the war, that says Okinawa. Made out of an artillery shell.
he ran bulldozers for a living until he retired, including some of the construction work for the St Louis Arch, and he passed back several years ago. Asked him once about the war, he wouldn't talk about it, and I didn't ask again.

My dad was Air Force, but I don't have the specific dates. I believe 59-63. Between Parkinson's and Post Polio, his memory is know where near what it used to be. I know that he was on a plane to Vietnam in 63, and that him, and several others got pulled off the plane in Okinawa, and stayed there while the plane went on. I also know, that during the Cuban Missle Crisis, he was in Biloxi, and him and a handful of others got sent north to Memphis, to guard B-52s that had nukes. No preparations were made for them, so they wound up breaking into a barracks to have somewhere to sleep, and broke into a candy machine to be able to eat at one point while there. Said the first weekend they were there (had been there about 5 days at that point), the national guardsmen showed up, running across the flightline, a hooting and a hollering. He said they yelled halt 3 times at those guys, then fired a rou d into the air. Also said he had never seen so many men soil their shorts and/or wet themselves all at the same time, before. (Editted for language).
 

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Both my grandfathers served in WW1. One in the Marines, the other a Lt in the Army. I still have the Lt's M1917 sidearm and the 1915 DWM Luger he took from a captured German officer.

Both of my uncles served in WW2; one Navy, the other AAF. They're both gone now.

My dad was Army infantry and was seriously shredded by shrapnel at The Bulge. He'll be 96 in less than two weeks.

The WW2 generation is quickly fading into memory.

America will not see their like again, I'm afraid.
 

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My Dad's father earned (2) purple hearts in France during WW-I before he became a US citizen! My Mother's Dad was an Officer in the Army Signal Corps during WW-I he didn't get any purple hearts but he did break his leg in a motorcycle crash during the war.
 

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My Dad was a WWII veteran and was on Okinawa. His brother fought in North Africa. I have an uncle and a half brother who were in Vietnam. Also some great grandparents that were in the War of Northern Aggression. My fahter-inlaw was career Army and went in back in 1947.

I am a baby boomer but I turned 18 in 1974 just as tricky Dickie was pulling us out. So I had a draft card and number but I was lucky enough to have served between wars.

Rest in peace my brothers.
 

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My family served in every American war since 1776, although I would have to dig out the family history book to recount their names. God knows each one and I trust they rest in His arms.

My grandfather served in WWI as an Army Chaplain. I haven't been able to track down which unit he was in and I worry that his record is lost to history.

My dad served in the 15th AF, 2 Bombardment Group (Heavy), and 20th Squadron piloting B-17's He flew 33 missions, survived being shot down, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

My father in law enlisted in the Army prior to WWII and served stateside until being shipped to England in early 1944. He served in the 2nd Infantry Division, went ashore on D-Day+1 on Omaha Beach. fought through France, took part in the Battle of The Bulge, and helped liberate several concentration camps. He was awarded 2 Purple Hearts and mustered out a Corporal. He suffered with shrapnel that could not be removed by surgery throughout his life since. I finally found the photos Mrs OldChap had squirreled away:

1940 or 41

20160606_101222 Crop.jpg

Gone but never forgotten.
 

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Mom came from a family of 14 kids back up in a West Virginia holler. Coal mining country, coal mining family. WWII came around and 4 of the boys were old enough to enlist. Actually, one of them had to go home, un-enlisted, and wait a few months for a birthday. Then he went Army and ended up a POW in Germany. One went Navy and two signed up for the Marines and both Marines went to the Pacific. They ran into each other on the beach of Iwo Jima. As the story goes, one had been collecting ears. Who could blame him if it were true? Anyway, they both made it through the first 40 some-odd days on Iwo (wearing the same shot up, bloody uniforms), shipped off the island and time and honorable discharges found them, eventually, back in West Virginia. One went on to have a wonderful wife and family, a life working in the coal mines, a house on the mountain side that he built with his own hands after working his shift digging coal. He was warm and strong and honorable and loved his family mightily and was quietly haunted for his entire life. But he slept under a roof built with his own hands. The other brother was a tragic, country western song and lost every other battle of his life to alcohol, disastrous relationships, crime and jailhouses, drugs, mental health and his inability to fit anywhere on this planet. He often slept under bridges and in the alleys of Charleston, WV. Violence, I believe, was a little cloud of smoke that surrounded him.

Both were incredible, brave men and I've never been able to reconcile how it played out. One was allowed to enter the front door of life, the other was shown out the back door.
 

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My father served in the 5th Army in Italy. He landed at Salerno. My FIL served in Korea. They both survived the wars in which they served, so I remember their service on Veteran's Day in November, as is appropriate. I believe that this day, Memorial Day, is to remember with gratitude those who didn't make it home while serving. Memorial Day, IMO, should be called Decoration Day once again, because it is the day on which we decorate the graves of those who have fallen.
 

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My Father-in-Law Served in the Navy during during WW2. He enlisted at 17 yrs old after Pearl Harbor. He was assigned to the Carrier Yorktown, and was a Flight Deck Stores mate ( Fuel and Ordinance guy) He saw action at the Battle of the Coral Sea and Midway. He was there on the flight deck, when Yorktown sank, and was lucky enough to survive her sinking. He, along with others who survived, insisted they be re-assigned to the new Yorktown (CV-10) and they got their wish. He served out the war, and then was Honorably discharged. He never spoke of the Horrors of what he had witnessed, but always spoke of the gallantry of his Shipmates. He died in Feb 15th 1986 never said anything about his history, but later, when my MIL died, we found all of his Service Records, and letters of Commendations.
 

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A little late, but my family has served in the Military since our break away from Britain, we grew up learning about them before we learn any thing else,
the "Old Man" served most from WW-2 to Vietnam, he was there long enough that we crossed paths and spent a couple of days together on my first tour. my favorite great Uncle served in the Pacific, and then became a member of what is know as Merrill's Marauders, my father in law served as a dispatch rider in WW-2 and was in the 2nd day landings, he always joked about having 2 motorcycles shot out from under him, until he got an Indian. My family is not unusual in the grand scheme of things other families have stepped up and served , THANK YOU TO ALL WHO DID
 
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