Pearl Harbor Day! Did you have relatives serve in

tobr24u(z6 RI)December 7, 2012

the war that followed? I had a BIL that served in the Army Air Corps. and became a career pilot...

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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

My father in law was a soldier with the Army Signal Corps and served in the Netherlands.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 7:21AM
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batyabeth

Oh, yes, my dad. December 7th was etched in our memory every year, as he told us, only half jokingly, to watch for nasty surprises from certain ethnic groups - he was clear as to which - and then my mother would kick him sharply under the table and say, "Richard, please!". He walked across Germany, opened the camps, walked across France and was part of the first troops to land in Japan after the bombs. He always told us that however much we children of the 60's abhorred the bombing, he had been among those the generals had designated expendable as the first wave of invasion, and had they not dropped it, he would have died. He was away for 4 years, and served as a combat medic. I'm sure he rarely spoke of what he'd seen, and what he'd done, and I'm also quite sure he suffered from keeping it inside for 40 years afterwards. In those days (still?) a man didn't talk about it, and they were told to just forget it, and move on. As if they could, but he believed it, and it haunted him for his whole life.
On the ship waiting to invade Japan, he did say that he was the organizer and dealer for the officers' crap games, as he'd worked his way through college in Chicago doing much the same thing! He taught my oldest sister raunchy army songs ("Richard, please!"), and never, ever, ever forgot or forgave the Germans, Japanese or French for what he saw.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 7:40AM
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mrskjun(9)

My dad served. Drove a munitions truck. He brought home some souvenirs, like a Nazi flag and dress dagger, but he didn't talk about it much.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 7:56AM
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chase_gw

WWII started long before Pearl Harbour.

My Dad was shot on the beach on D Day, rescued by fishermen, recovered in England and went back to fight in France,

He refused to discuss it.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 7:59AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

My dad was too old to serve but some of his younger cousins did. Several died in North Africa. Dad "volunteered" to be a master steam fitter out of Charleston Navy yard (Boston) trying to save torpedoed ships off the Northeast coast. He too would not talk about his experiences.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:18AM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

Most warriors don't share much outside the circle of other warriors. My son doesn't share much from his 3 experiences in the ME except for the few amusing parts.

We never ask, he never offers.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:39AM
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Elraes Miller

My youngest son was born on Dec. 7. Of all things, I remember the surgical staff and doctors talking about some known experiences of Pearl Harbor.

Both son's are Army vets and have seen war many times. They are also military history buffs. It is common for them to talk about books read, movies, locations visited, other wars. But rarely share anything about their experiences. I have learned not to ask much unless they do say something, which is always with little information. I don't even know what went on at boot camp, much less the many years they were enlisted. They always identify soldiers in any era....their brothers.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:15AM
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ohiomom

My dad served as did my FIL, my two uncles served in WWI .. one was only 16, he lied about his age to follow his brother into "war". The older brother was a POW and subjected to mustard gas (?), he was never "right" afterwards and died in his early 20's.

Dad was in the Philipines (sp?) and contracted malaria, he had recurring bouts of it all his life. FIL served in North Africa.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:30AM
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vgkg(Z-7)

One of my uncles survived the battle of the bulge. He never talked about it and avoided the topic when anyone brought it up. Later died in his mid 50's from cancer back in 1965. RIP Uncle Bernie

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:49AM
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woodnymph2_gw

Yes, several family members. One made the tour to the Virgin Islands, and to the Phillippines. In the Caribbean, his ship was torpedoed and he managed to stay afloat in chilly waters until rescued a long time later on. It's no mystery why he did not enjoy the beach or swimming, after the war ended. His brother contacted malaria and had it all his life. Their father was in WW I, in France, and suffered from poison gas for the rest of his days.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:51AM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

My father was in England, France, Belgium, Germany, and Czechoslovakia.

I think his experiences in WW2 are why he distained guns, hated camping, and liked Ike.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:59AM
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david52_gw

My Dad was at Iwo Jima. Rarely talked about it, although he did credit his experiences in the military for a strong, lifelong distaste of stuffed shirts and meaningless rank.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 10:04AM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

he did credit his experiences in the military for a strong, lifelong distaste of stuffed shirts and meaningless rank.

David's comments sparked a memory. While proud to have served his country, my father had a very low opinion of the army as an institution. He couldn't understand how anyone would choose to be career military.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 10:12AM
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momj47(7A)

No one in my immediate family served in WWII.

My son was born on December 7, 1980, and my roommate at Walter Reed Hospital, when he was born, was American of Japanese heritage. Her family lived in Hawaii, Pearl City, for many generations, and watched, in horror, the Japanese attack. Her son was also born on December 7, 1980.

My SIL just left the army and he has the same opinion as Nancy's father. Proud of his service, especially in Iraq, but as a business, it's a disaster.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 10:53AM
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lionheart_gw

"My Dad was at Iwo Jima."

My father-in-law fought at Iwo Jima too. Marines. He does not talk about it. Whatever we know about his experiences are bits of information he has hinted at over decades. Not a lot to put together.

My father, otoh, was in the Navy in the Pacific and never once saw any action, to my knowledge. The ship he was on played a supporting role; no direct combat that I've been able to find. Plus, he was a late joiner. By the time he enlisted and went through basic training, it was probably less than a year before the war was over.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 10:55AM
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labrea_gw

My father was in the 69th regiment he left home for over somewhere then walked back in the house 5 hours later and scared my mother who was crying all day!
He was given a medical deferment and spent the war as a block watcher!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:05AM
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sylviatexas1

no personal connection with Pearl Harbor, but I will always remember an obituary in the Dallas News:

The photo was of a young man in his Navy Whites, very young & innocent & a little cocky looking.

He had died in the 1990's, & the last sentence was something like:
"As he wanted, his cremains were scattered in the ocean above the USS Arizona; our Daddy is at last reunited with his brothers where he felt he belonged."

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:19AM
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Bothell

My father - Navy medical corpman. Served in the Pacific. I don't remember him ever talking about what he saw or experienced. Probably as a result of his service he was less that thrilled when 2 of my brothers & much later a nephew enlisted in the military.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:22AM
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jodik_gw

My father served, in Italy... only talked about a few rather humorous incidents, and a touching one or two... suffered his entire adult life with what we now call PTSD...

My husband's father served... wouldn't utter a word. Suffered the same.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 12:18PM
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chisue

My father ran a 'wartime essential' manufacturing business, but his eldest and youngest brothers served. The youngest contracted malaria in the Pacific; he and his bride lived with us briefly after the war before he took her to live on Kauai. I remember he was sometimes ill due to the malaria. I also remember seeing the couple jitterbugging (to records on the Victrola!) in our living room.

My maternal grandfather enlisted during the Spanish American War. A great-grandfather served with the Fourth Ohio in the Civil War. My 5th-great-grandfather fought with Washington and in the Indian Wars. One relative spent part of WWI stationed near the French-Swiss border that had been home to our immigrant ancestors in the 18th century.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 3:34PM
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funnygirl

My dad was at Utah beach, fought through Europe, helped liberate a camp, rarely discussed it, and always awakened w/a start at the slightest sound. My son and I had an opportunity, while living in Germany, to travel w/him through Germany, stopping at many of the sights he remembered. His last three months were spent in the Bavarian Alps of which he had very fond memories. We stayed at a Gasthaus there and were approached by the proprietor asking if Dad had been there during the war. He said he was a boy when the Americans came through and had fond memories of their kindness and the candy they handed out to the local kids. He presented Dad w/a bottle of liquor:)

His brother tried to avoid the infantry by telling the enlistment personnel he was a photographer. His first photographs, following enlistment, were taken w/the lens cap on:)

My mother joined the Waves and was stationed in Hawaii.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 4:14PM
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duluthinbloomz4

My father was in the chemical corps; started out at the Huntsville Arsenal; 1943 on at Ft. Detrick - center for the biological weapons program.

I had uncles serving in Germany, in the Pacific, one in the Army Air Corps in North Africa - shot down and was rescued by Bedouins who turned him over to the British. Another naval officer uncle who was kept stateside as his wife had a connection to the Manhattan Project.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 5:05PM
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adoptedbyhounds

My dad served in the Navy during WW11.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 5:22PM
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sylviatexas1

"My father served, in Italy... only talked about a few rather humorous incidents"

My father always told stories about laying telephone lines & playing jokes on each other.

I was *so* impatient with him;
I mean, really, he seemed to think WWII was McHale's Navy!

Much later, long after he was gone, I sent for his military records & learned that he was in some of the worst (if any of it can be worse than any of the rest of it):
Anzio, North Africa, Cassino (sp?).

He had not one not two not three not four.
He had five Bronze Stars.

He was cynical & jumpy & sometimes exploded.

Not too long ago, my 3 girl cousins & I were talking, & they told me that they loved their Uncle Buddy;
he played jokes on them & laughed & was a lot of fun.
& then he was in the war, & when he came back, Pat sneaked up on him & goosed him, like she used to do...& he went off on her.

They said he was never the same.

I didn't know;
I only knew him "after";
I never knew the "before" person.

If you have veterans in your family, please ask them for their stories.

& record those stories.

but never, ever believe that all they tell you is all there is.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 10:23PM
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frank_il

My Grandpa on my Mom's side served in a supply company. I had a Great Uncle on my Dad's side that earned a Silver Star in France.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 10:34PM
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steve2416

My father was chief engineer on a crash boat - picture a PT boat without weapons. Stationed near Bar Harbor, Maine. They spent their time picking up downed flyers.
My mom worked in a aircraft plant. I guess she was Eloise the riveter.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:08PM
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heri_cles

5 Uncles served in various theaters against the Axis, three of them in combat roles. I have not had the stomach to purchase a Japaneses or German auto all my life after hearing war stories, watching the news reels and considering the suffering of millions of Jews, Europeans, Russians and others at the hands of the Germans. The cruelty and inhumanity of Germany and the Germans who followed the orders to round up and to slaughter, to rape and to plunder, will never be forgotten and will never be excused.

In addition to six million Jews, consider the deaths by country, civilian and military:

COUNTRY CASUALTIES
Soviet Union 23,954,000
China 15,000,000
Germany 7,728,000
Poland 5,720,000
Japan 2,700,000
India 2,087,000
Yugoslavia 1,027,000
Rumania 833,000
Hungary 580,000
France 567,600
Greece 560,000
Italy 456,000
Great Britain 449,800
United States 418,500
Czechoslovakia 345,000
Netherlands 301,000
Austria 123,700
Finland 97,000
Belgium 86,100
Canada 45,300
Australia 40,500
Bulgaria 25,000
New Zealand 11,900
South Africa 11,900
Norway 9,500
Spain 4,500
Denmark 3,200
TOTAL: 63,185,500

The extent of the carnage is just mind boggling to contemplate, certainly too much to ever forget and for many, too much to ever forgive.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:43PM
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elvis

Yes; my parents met and were the first marriage performed at the Army base at Gulfport, Mississippi. Daddy was shipped overseas and served in the motor pool, mostly in France. No bad memories from that experience; he talked about it freely. I guess he got lucky.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:53PM
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TxanGoddess

My late uncle and godfather was in the Navy and had been serving in Hawaii when the Pearl Harbor Attack occurred. He always said he had been having his clothing laundered at the time, and ended up working for three days in his underclothes.

Every boat he was on during the war was sunk at some point after he was already reassigned to another one. Always wondered about how much PTSD and survivor's guilt might have played in the dementia he suffered from throughout the late 90s before he passed.

Edited: because I always double the "a"s in a certain state name instead of the "i"s.

This post was edited by TxanGoddess on Sat, Dec 8, 12 at 0:41

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 12:32AM
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kacee2002

My Father didn't serve. It was before I was born but I think he worked in the Boston shipyards.

My late Father in Law however did serve. He volunteered for the Army shortly before his entire family and a lot of his friends were sent to internment camps including his future wife (still in high school) and her family. Her 3 brothers also volunteered for the Army. They were the first to be sent to the camps from here on our small island. My FiL served in the 442 in Italy. The 442 is considered to be the most decorated infantry regiment in the history of the US Army. Made up almost entirely of men of Japanese descent. Men who's parents were not allowed to become citizens or own land in this country, yet they volunteered and fought bravely.Fought in the mountains of France and Italy and rescued the Lost Battalion from Texas.
None of my husbands family spoke much of their war experiences until about the mid 80's and it became vital as they grew older that their stories be told and not forgotten.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:21AM
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mawheel

My 16 year old brother quit high school and joined the Army after Pearl Harbor. He was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge on Christmas Day, 1943, and was sent to a hospital in England to recuperate, but died on Valentine's Day, 1944. He was buried in England, but three years after the war ended, my Mother had his remains brought home and reburied in the family plot.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 8:01AM
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chisue

Are there estimates of how many American Indians died because our immigrant ancestors wanted everything they had?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 10:51AM
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jodik_gw

Good question...

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 11:49AM
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heri_cles

My friends father, a wonderful Italian-American man, fought with the Marines at Iwo-Jima. He often related stories from the War and spoke in ill terms about Mussolini.

My grandfathers worked in a factory in Chicago that manufactured parts for airplanes and my parents and other members of our family helped support the War effort and provide for those who remained in the States while our boys were away fighting the Germans and Japanese.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:10PM
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heri_cles

Are there estimates of how many American Indians died because our immigrant ancestors wanted everything they had?

That is a good question that should be pondered on Thanksgiving. The pilgrims gave thanks, then they slaughtered their way across the plains and through the West, using guns against the primitive weapons of the native Americans. It was a turkey shoot.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:13PM
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jodik_gw

We could probably find guesstimates, but I think the only records kept would have been of our ancestors' losses... and not those of the slaughtered.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 4:07PM
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demifloyd(8)

Three great uncles--one committed suicide some years later because he couldn't get over his experience.

One was killed in France.

One returned.

My father in law was at Omaha Beach and wouldn't talk about it for years; however, the the last several years he has talked about those experiences to WWII groups, Vietnam Vet groups, Lions Club, social organizations, and church groups.

He said he no longer recognizes the country he fought for
and the values he fought so are no longer honored or important, as they were.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 5:19PM
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chase_gw

Not that unusual for someone in their late 80's ,more likely 90's, to feel that way. We all do as we grow older.

I thank him for his service.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 8:56PM
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adoptedbyhounds

One of my friends had twin uncles who were killed in WW11.

As a result, her dad was not required to serve.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 11:47AM
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Lloyd

Dad served with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, didn't talk about it at all but he did go to a lot of reunions in his later years. In one of his books written about the unit, there is a note at the top of a page "I was here". I didn't get this book until after he passed, wished I would have known more.

One uncle killed in action in Italy and another uncle served as an MP in Germany after the war.

Lloyd

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:08PM
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demifloyd(8)

Posted by chase z6 (My Page) on
Sat, Dec 8, 12 at 20:56

Not that unusual for someone in their late 80's ,more likely 90's, to feel that way. We all do as we grow older.

I thank him for his service.

*

Thank you, I will pass that on when I call today--it's my inlaws' 67th wedding anniversary. I cannot imagine being married that long.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:11PM
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