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 ...
My father was with the 24th Infantry Regimental Combat team, one of the historic black regiments -with white officers, (along with the 25th Inf Rgt, and the 9th & 10th Cavalry Rgts.- colloquially known as the Buffalo Soldiers). They deployed to the So. Pacific in early 1943 and remained there throughout the war. Islands where they were used as laborers because the higher brass did not think them sufficiently well trained and reliable to be used as infantry. He returned from the war in October 1945, having spent nearly 4 years there.
An addendum to Seymour Indiana ~ they still hold a VJ DAY PARADE and here’s the latest story on the matter: http://www.tribtown.com/news/war-23663-lead-prisoners.html
I'm regretful of the racism that existed back then!
Your Dad was a hero, in my book!
We here at FR, with few exceptions, REFUSE to look at someone's color, it doesn't matter, just the character of their politics!..:=)
MarineBratDad was on a troop ship headed to invade Japan when the bombs dropped. His exact words were “they dropped the bomb, the war was over, and that was all right with your father.”
I have a Japanese, Arisaka, Type 99, 7.7 mm bolt action rifle that he took as a souvenir of war as a part of the occupation force. He (or the USMC) had snapped the firing pin off to neuter it, and all of us kids played with it when we were growing up.
South Pacific. One of the Founders of the Ford Island memorial. A cousin.
Also, troop transporter. (another one)
Then there are the current or recently separated ones.......
And the pre-American ones, Civil War, etc.
A long line of blue, gray, green and camo.
When WWII started, my dad had a deferment. He was a civilian engineer designing bombers.
But that wouldn’t do. He insisted that the draft board remove the deferment and reclassify him as 1A. As soon as they did, he enlisted.
He served as the landing gear officer on the aircraft carrier USS Wolverine. The Wolverine was based in Lake Michigan and was used to train novice Navy pilots.
I was blessed that he lived into his late 80’s. So I was able to appreciate, as an adult, his stories of the depression and the service years.
As many have mentioned previously, it truly was the greatest generation.
And thanks PROCON for starting this thread.
My father served in the Chemical Warfare Service during WW2 and was prepared to go to Australia to help in CW preparations should the Japanese use them during the invasion of the mainland.
My father-in-law fought at Saipan, Tinian, Eni-Weitok and Iwo (75th JASCO, Army Signal Corp, the only Army assault company there). At least three Purple Hearts plus many other medals during his 20+ years of service).
I was a research journalist, on our side, in SO. Vietnam and Cambodia, Fall 1970.
My son was one of the first American soldiers to cross into Iraq (ahead of the armored units, to mark pathways thru the Iraqi minefields) on 3/20/03. Fought at Objective Peach/Hindinya on the Eurphrates. Various medals including a Presidential Unit citation. No Purple Hearts, thank God.
Other family members served all over the world in WW2 from India to Hong Kong to European Theater.
Glad to learn of all the other great American heroes on this post.
He reported in June 1942 and spent the next year and a half in training. In late 1943 he deployed to the Pacific as a dive bomber pilot in Air Group 15, eventually assigned to the USS Essex. He fought in all of the major campaigns in 1944 and was awarded the Navy Cross for gallantry during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
His Air Group was rotated back to the US at the end of 1944, and he and other experienced pilots were assigned to new squadrons in preparation for the invasion of Japan. He was stationed in the San Diego area when the war ended. Needless to say, he never had anything bad to say about the atom bombs dropped on Japan.
Another one. Chosun Reservoir. Frozen lungs & then, a disability. USMC.
Another. Cousins. Nam.
Iraq I. Iraq II & Afghanistan (field promotion). (others).
I forgot the black & khaki uniforms & jackets. Oops.
I forgot about my mom’s step dad...he landed at Okinawa with the Army and his only comment about it was that it was brutal.
His sister's husband an LT was killed at Normandy about a week after D Day.
Another brother in law was a bomber pilot flew 36 missions over Europe as a B 24 pilot.
Two of my Dad's cousins were Army infantry in the Pacific in MacArthur's island hopping campaign and another cousin was Army Airborne in Europe.
My Mom was 12 in 1945 and she, along with her parents were at a hotel ballroom having dinner in Atlantic City. Many of the hotels had been commandeered for use by troops recuperating after being wounded.
The band leader stopped the music, asked for quiet and then announced that Japan had surrendered. Needless to say pandemonium ensued. My Mother looked over to her Mother who had dropped to her knees beside the table to pray.
Shame on me. I forgot my FIL who passed away on June 1, 2001. He was SeaBee somewhere in the Pacific.
My father served in the 8th Air Force, stationed in England. He flew as a waist gunner in a B-17. Like many of his generation he didn’t talk much about it.
My Dad was one of six kids. 3 boys and 3 girls.
Dad was on a Gunner’s Mate on an LST in the Med. His younger brother was Army. Uncle Len was stitched by a German machine gun at Anzio. Uncle Len survived his wounds. His older brother was a MM, but I am not sure where.
One of his brothers-in-law was an LTC in the Army Signal Corp who ended up with the OSS before the war was over.
I joined the Navy in 1980 and did all of my cruises in the Med. It was a little odd to talk to my Dad about place we both went to....... that we shouldn’t have gone to.
If you haven’t done so, please find a copy of the book “ONE LAST LOOK”, a pictorial of the Mighty Eighth. The men who fought in the air over Europe were astoundingly brave. The flew straight and level and took all the Germans could throw at them and kept on flying. The 8th Air Force took more killed and more wounded than any other unit in WWII. Something like 150% casualties. My wife’s father was shot down on his 13th mission and spent the rest of the war in Stalag 17B. Heroes to a man.
Your dad could have served with one of my brothers as he took the same route and spoke of the Germans floating boats loaded with explosives toward one of those bridges so they would shoot at the boats as they drifted down the river. One night a ricochet off the water killed a officer on the other shore and they had to stop the shooting. I would really like to know what information you have on that unit as I have nothing. That brother died in 1985 of kidney failure from high blood pressure.
When he returned he got a job guarding German POWs who were in a camp in western FResno county where they were picking cotton. The camp wasn’t far from our home and I think I have some photos he took of it. Another brother was shot down over Germany and spent 10 months in Stalag III et al. A sister was a Wac and served in a Army hospital in Long Beach and her husband was in a unit of the 9th air force and they built the first P47 airfield on Normandy and many others.
My Dad saw combat on Okinawa, along with my Uncle, and Iwo Jima. His outfit was being outfitted for the Invasion of Japan when the War ended. The easiest way to make my Father mad was to say that it was wrong to drop the A-bomb on Japan. He would reply, we’ll if they hadn’t dropped it I wouldn’t be here today. He and my Uncle would whisper stories to each other but would only tell us the funny things, though few. My Mother said that he never talked about the war until the nightly news about Vietnam.
He was in the 10th. Mountain division first then was shipped to the Pacific. From 10K feet in Colorado to sea level was quite a change.
My Dad served with the Navy in the Pacific (Solomon Islands).
He dropped out of High School to join the Navy, and as the youngest in his group became the cook.
I thank Harry Truman for his courageous decision.
My uncle who was sick in England on DDay served with Patton into Germany. His best friend became a POW in Germany, yet would never talk about it.
My father fought in WWII (and Korea, and Vietnam, but that’s another story ) As a young Marine fresh from boot camp, his first introduction to the Japanese occurred off the coast of Okinawa.
Lacking a mutual friend to perform the formal introduction, a Kamikaze pilot took it upon himself to do the honors unassisted.
My dad’s job was column operator, clearing spent drum magazines from one of the 20 mm anti-aircraft guns at the base of the #3 turret of the Maryland. It’s very mechanical work, the moment the last round is chambered pull the drum and discard, clearing the way the loader to instantly put on a new one, wait for that one to empty, remove it and repeat. It is not exactly quiet work but it requires rather zen-like focus and concentration. He saw the Nate bomber as it flew down the line of battleships then turned and made its way directly towards him. He saw the tracers from the ship’s guns focus in on it. While keeping is actions focused on caring for the gun, he had what seemed like weeks to contemplate the incoming Kamikaze plane with the 550 lb bomb strapped to its belly. He couldn’t look but he was peripherally aware of that bomb laden plane growing larger and larger, closer and closer.
Then it flashed bare feet over his head and struck the top of the #3 turret. (A few feet lower and I really would be null and void)
The explosion polished the antiaircraft gun crews off of the top of that main gun, instantly killing all the sailors manning those crews, but one. (The survivor managed to get down the ladder and collapse on the deck near my dad. His badly mangled leg had to be removed later that evening) Rivets popped loose and ricocheted inside the turret injuring the men inside. A tire from the Kamikaze bounced down and hit one of the men manning his gun crew, knocking him out cold.
The net results were grim. He recalls the Bosun hanging from a bosun’s chair and having to use his Kabar to cut out the remains of his close friend, the Bosun’s Mate, from between the main mast louvers. He recalls the remains of multiple casualties outside the entrance to the mess hall, covered with tarps prior to proper burial at sea . He recalls, as he so eloquently put it “being puckered for days”. He earned his combat star that evening, before he became a PFC.
He learned a lot more about the Japanese on the beach at Okinawa. (In one of life’s little ironies, he would one day be stationed at NAS Atsugi, the very base that this Nate had departed on his way to greet the Americans)
Today he holds no animosity towards the Japanese, indeed, he rather likes and even respects them.
They really are the Greatest Generation.
(I just read this to him, with typical understatement he said, “That was a scary night”...)