Skip to comments.VJ Day Open Thread: ‘My Father Served in World War II’(Tell Your Story)
Posted on 08/15/2010 5:59:12 PM PDT by PROCON
Today is the 65th Anniversary of VJ Day, or Victory over Japan Day.
Did your Dad or other relatives serve against Japan in WWII?
(Excerpt) Read more at bigjournalism.com ...
His ship picked up the American POWs and carried them back to an island with a hospital. They gave them shorts and a t shirt and burned the clothes they had been wearing. Many of them died on the short trip, only a day or two after finally being freed. It was an image that he could see and describe clearly even after 50 years.
God and the war then changed his life again. He caught malaria in the Philippines, which disqualified him from his life long goal of becoming a missionary to China.
While he was still in seminary my Dad started his first church under a tree in a small town in Mississippi. It was the first of over 50 he started, most of which are still active and thriving.
My uncle, who was 13 years older, had become a pilot in the Army Air Corps in the late 1930s. He served throughout WWII and Korea and retired a Colonel in the Air Force.
In case you guys didn’t see that video.
h/t to Iowahawk, where I found it
All his and my mom's letters back and forth were saved. My father wrote shortly before Hiroshima that they were looking at his being in active duty until 1948; i.e., 3 more years.
I've got a collection of letters, mostly sailors, from WWII. One served in the Mariana Islands, wrote that he never knew war could be so awful. I found him and called a few years back, had a good life after the war, said they ran a laundry and organized all the island's population to help. He wouldn't have knows the purpose of the airstrip being built just that something was going on and heavy earth moving equipment, think that got censored.
The above sailor wrote constantly about his girlfriend he'd left behind, made plans. It sustained him. I asked if he married her when he returned home. It turns out that he was Catholic and her father Orthodox and threatened to kill her if she married him. So he married another girl and had a happy marriage, lived in one of the nice suburbs of Chicago. Many of the letters had pieces cut out (censorship), and think they didn't need stamps, used the "franking privilege". Most were postmarked APO with the date and time like some still are now.
Another soldier it was interesting, served at the makeshift hospital in Yokohama which had been a school and where Tojo was brought after his suicide attempt, also the names on the mimeographed schedule for that time. I have a card adressed to Tojo as Your Imperial something enclosed with some fruit. The orderly asked if he could have the card, and Tojo nodded yes. Tojo refused to speak English but was polite. One American soldier gave a live transfusion to save Tojo's life. Then we know what happened to him a couple years later.
Most were routine, one wrote way before Pearl Harbor that he couldn't understand why they were painting the ship black and going out at night with the lights off. That was about May, so that tells me somebody expected something.
Another poignant one was from a poor sailor about to invade an island who was panicked, said some words to the effect that he never expected anything to do anything like that.
One common thread among the more mundane ones was so many were in sick bay with reactions to the vaccine(s) they'd been given.
I've known this modest man since 1994, and I only learned of his service when I was reading an archive copy of the June 4th, 1944 issue of The Toledo Blade and saw a story about his DSC. He was called, he served, and he came home to our little town to live out his life in peace, the peace he helped to restore.
These men were a breed apart.
Those guys were a breed apart - even in their old age they radiated strength & good humor. It was an honor to have met some of them.
My late Dad joined the 106th Illinois Cavalry as a buck Private in 1937, when they still had horses. Transferred to the Signal Corps when they took the horses away, got commissioned, transferred to the Engineers, wounded in North Africa, did the Sicily and Italy campaigns, and then up into France. Got chewed out by Patton one memorable time for wearing a knitted sweater in the headquarters area while attempting to scrounge from Third Army (he said that Patton’s face looked really big and really red from two inches away). Wounded again in Korea and retired a full Colonel after 33 years. Not bad for a little Illinois kid. I have a picture of him in breeches, boots, and a field jacket when he was home on his first leave. He was 17 and looks about 13. RIP, Dad.
My uncle (who was captain and QB of his college football team) was a Captain in the Army infantry, at one time involved in 53 straight days of combat in the Philippines. Didn’t talk about it much. He met future MLB pitcher Bobby Shantz in the service, and took me with him when he arranged to reunite with Bobby at a Pittsburgh Pirate game in 1961 (I think it was).
Full story here:
Turns out he was diagnosed with tuberculosis during his induction physicals, so "in the day" she was discharged to care for him in the called-for isolation recuperation.
Footnote - I'm on the cusp this coming week of losing Dad three years ago, and Mom a year and a half later (to the day).
After Mom's death, we discovered some letters she'd saved from her WAAC buddies....one of which told her about a brother who's gone missing on Bataan - she'd just gotten a letter from the Red Cross that he was captured.....this lady - even at that time - felt that her brother might have been better off KIA given the suspected (at that time), and later proven, Japanese butchery.
Sorry I put my post in twice. I guess people my age should always be supervised when using a computer.
My dad was on the USS Marblehead in the Pacific and later as she was in the North Atlantic and supporting the invasion of France.
>”Whenever daring deeds of the sea are recalled, the saga of the U.S.S. Marblehead commands respect. Mauled by Japanese bombs just after the U.S. entry into World War ll, the ship was saved by her crew and — after a 9,000-mile voyage to safety and a complete refit — returned to the fight. At a time when many mightier warships were left rusting among the Pacific corals, the Marblehead was saved by courageous leadership, desperate toil, and good fortune.
The crew’s exploits were well-known because President Franklin D. Roosevelt had singled them out as the subject of one of his fireside chats. In holding up the Marblehead’s men and those of the Houston (now sunk, fighting to the last shell together with the Australian cruiser Perth) as an inspiration to their countrymen, F.D.R. chose well. In that dark hour their determination, courage, and self-sacrifice shone with extra luster, providing genuine heroes for America.
The bells of Abbot Hall pealed the news to the Town; in time the ship’s bell came to rest in Abbot Hall, but in the meantime the ship which bore the Town’s name had rendered useful service to her country. She emerged from Brooklyn Navy Yard in October 1942, modernized throughout, to patrol the sea lanes off Brazil. Later she escorted North Atlantic convoys and supported the invasion of France, earning two battle stars before being decommissioned in 1945. These three years of outstanding service were made possible by the skill and determination of her indomitable 1942 crew — ordinary men who, impelled by extraordinary circumstances, overcame their limitations and worked as a team to save their ship, regardless of personal risk, dedicated to a common cause.”<
My dad was in the invasion force (Army) of Japan when the bomb was dropped, and served in the occupation in Yokohama. Without the bomb, he’d likely have been an invasion casualty. He wore a cross (Episcopal) that I wore during Vietnam that my son now wears in the USMC. We hope it’s a lucky one.
Seems to be, so far!..:=)
Thanks for your Service!!
Sheesh, I was in Nam too, so long, long ago!
My dad was a Philippine Scout [a branch of the U.S Army under USAFFE (United States Armed Forces in the Far East] during WWII), fought in Bataan, escaped the Death March and became a guerilla under an American commander.
My mother’s boyfriend, now passed on, was torpedoed twice in the Atlantic. He was a navy radioman. He didn’t tell the stories too often but when he did, they were thrilling.
The one I always remember was that when they were in rough seas, the cook would come along and pour water on all the tables. The wet tablecloths kept the dishes from sliding.
Don’t know why that one sticks with me but it takes me to the moment and what it must have been like.
My dad is now 84 yrs young (he still bowls in a league every week) and served in the Navy. He was part of the top secret Project Ivory Soap.....
He served on Aircraft Repair Ship Brig. Gen. Alfred J. Lyon (original name was the Nathaniel Scudder). He was a Gunner’s Mate and boarded the craft in New Orleans. They were stationed in the Phillipines for a time.
Dad’s younger brother also served in the Navy during WWII but I don’t know what he did.
3 of my mom’s 4 brothers served in WWII also. All Navy I believe. Her youngest brother joined the Navy towards the end of the war and served for 4 yrs. When he was discharged he joined the Army and became some sort of a special investigations officer.
My Dad enlisted in 1936 and was at Hickham Field when it was attacked on Dec 7th. Fought through Guadacanel and then in Borneo. Was promoted up through E7 (senior enlisted at the time) and then got a direct commission. Was stationed in Australia when the war ended.
My favorite story of his was that when he walked down his troopship’s gangway in Oakland, he was carrying golf clubs and a tennis racket. He said a marine guard remarked, “Rough war, uh Captain?”
He stayed in until he retired a full Colonel. Every grade from E1 to O6. Quite the ride.
One old guy looked at us with a twinkle in his eye and asked “Hey, you guys feeling lucky?”
“Sure,” we replied. “Why?”
“Because the last three boats I went out to sea on were sank out from underneath me.”
At that point a bunch of dumb 20-somethings grew up a little. We realized we were in the presence of heroes.
May he rest in peace....we're approaching what would have been my Pop's 97th early next week, and then the third anniversary of his death very shortly thereafter.
Same here. I remember my dad saying they were already issuing winter uniforms for the Japanese invasion when the bomb was dropped. He was glad it ended the war. I am too—I might not be here!