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 ...
...and lest anyone might forget, your Dad was just as much an integral part of the effort as the 0311 on the front line.
My Grandfather was a Military Engineer in the Heer. He spent most of the war with Army Group North around Leningrad, and was posted for some time with the Finns.
He survived the Great Retreat, Narva, Courland, and was later captured in the West as a Staff officer in a Volksgrenadier Regiment in the Courland Pocket, from where he was sent to a P.O.W. camp in Maine.
His two brothers (both cobblers) had fled Germany (and the Gestapo) in 1936, and settled with the German Catholic Community in Southeast Indiana. One later served as an Interpreter at the Camp Atterbury POW Camp.
My grandfather met the threshold of having a critical skill, and with family already here, was granted residency in 1946, and immediately brought his wife, and my father here.
He donated his papers to the Smithsonian shortly before he died in 1980, and a bit of personal films were used in the PBS series, “WW2”
The finest officers I served under were all prior enlisted!
Good at him!
I picked that up here on FR a few months ago....outstanding.
I know FRiend, the Greatest Generation
My Dad's been gone for 22 years and I can still see his face..:=(
My father was a sergeant in the U.S. Army and served as a tank driver in New Guinea and the Philippines. He was stationed in Japan at the end of the War. He is now in a nursing home. His mind is good, and he dwells on WWII a lot. God bless him and those who served this country well.
My Great Uncle was a Marine and went from Guadalcanal to Okinawa. He got shot in the stomach with a wooden bullet on Okinawa and spent a great deal of time in recovery. He was the last war injury to leave the San Diego Naval Hospital.
While he was training with LVTs in Australia, he witnessed a Japanese submarine engaging a merchant ship with gunfire just off the coast at night. Being the senior man on hand (enlisted) he immediately headed to rescue the merchant sailors and engaged the Jap sub with the LVT’s guns. He was awarded a Bronze or Silver Star for heroism (I’m sad to say, I don’t know which).
My uncle didn't talk about it much. I've heard about it from others.
My wife's father served in China with Stillwell. He had quite a bit to do with evacuating the surrendering Japanese from the mainland.
One of my mother-in-law's brothers received a Silver Star for service in the Battle of Monte Casino. The other served in Army Intelligence and was among the first people to land at the surrender.
Her aunt's husband ran the Army language program at Fort Snelling.
My own father was flying crew chief on what was the predecessor to what became Air Force One ~ out of Bolling Field with First Squadron.
This was a necessary taxi service for the Allied High Command and their General Grade Officers.
If Roosevelt had ever flown a plane he'd flown with my father.
One of my father's brothers appear with some frequency in several documentaries about Infantry in North Africa, Sicily and Italy where he was wounded.
The other brother served toward the end of the war after spending a couple of years building muscle so he was eligible to serve, and I'll tell you that's something you don't often see these days, or even then.
So, that's it in brief. On my father's side 3 eligible, 3 served. On my mother's side, 1 eligible, 1 served, and a fiance dead. On my father in law's side, 2 eligible, 1 served and on my mother in law's side, 2 eligible, 2 served.
From the time my wife or I took our first steps we walked among heroes.
Great story...sounds like a Bill Mauldin cartoon :-)
My dad and all of my uncles served with the exception of one or two who were too young. My dad would NEVER talk about it, but one uncle told me pops was right in the thick of it. Dad was in the Navy and spent all of his time in the Pacific. One uncle served with the 3rd Armored Division and was killed in his tank near Cherbourg, June 29, 1944.
Someone (might have been the VFW?) published a book after the war that listed all of the local servicemen and their war stories, all glossy pages and laid out sort of like a yearbook, with a paragraph or two for each man, telling of his experiences. The really heroic or hair-raising ones got more space. Hundreds and hundreds of stories, with pictures. I used to love browsing through it when I was a kid... Just open to a random page and start reading. Don’t know what happened to that book. Would love to get my hands on a copy today!
My FIL served in the Pacific in the Navy in WW2. I would tell you is stories, but, like many men, he refused to talk about it.
I think many of them wanted to forget.
When I went into the Marine Corps in the summer of '66, my brother's father in law (Guadalcanal) gave me his "lucky" Globe/Anchor emblem -- to be returned upon the end of my safe enlistment -----.
Back then, there were a few old salts left over from the end of WW II, and when they'd spot that on my pisscutter, they'd have two questions:
"Where the HELL did you get that, 'bootcamp'??"
"How much do you want for it?? I want to buy it!"
Yes, yes, war is not pretty!
Thanks for sharing.
I had two uncles and one great uncle who served in WWII. The great uncle earned a Bronze star after landing at Normandy. One uncle was a gunny’s mate in the Navy in the Pacific, the younger was in the Merchant Marine.
I’ll second that with a reply. I met an Indonesian man living in Santa Cruz Ca. who told me that he and his father were taken as slave labor by the Japanese, and that they would both have probably died if the bombs had not been dropped. He emigrated to the U.S. as soon as he was able.
I always took every opportunity to speak with these vets - now that they're gone I'm really glad I did.
My Father was in the Air Force as a mechanic.
Uncle Henry was a Truck Driver in the South Pacific Theater
Uncle Charles was in the in the engineers in Europe.
Uncle George was in the Philippines at the start of the War and was captured on Bataan. He lived through the march but died in the prison camp in August of 1944.
Sorry, I meant he was taken in the Colmar Pocket, not Courland...
My Dad was in the Army Air Corps 41st Photo Recon unit based on Guam. He was a P-38 pilot.
I have a letter he wrote to my Mom the night before they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. It was interrupted and when he resumed he told of a mission that would probably end the war. He had been out taking photos of the devastation there.
I also have photos he took of the Missouri? while they were signing the peace agreement on my second birthday.
Dad stayed in the Air Force reserves until 1980 and retired as a Lt. Colonel. He is still living but says little about the war.
These heros won’t be with us too much longer. They need to tell their stories. I am proud to have had a P-38 named for me! Sure glad he didn’t drive a tank.
My dad served as an intelligence officer with the 509th Composite Bomb Group that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After he came home I asked him what the atomic bomb looked like and he drew an outline of Fatman but seconds later he destroyed the drawing.
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