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small question - 4/16/2009 2:29:32 AM   
Footslogger

 

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Are there any veterans here from WWII? At my church, theres a guy that was in the 2nd marines in WWII. Didn't 2nd marines take tarawa?
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RE: small question - 4/16/2009 7:37:14 AM   
Yava


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It did 

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RE: small question - 4/16/2009 12:45:42 PM   
rogueusmc


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At my church back home, I know a guy who was with the raiders at Guadalcanal. He was a radioman who took a bullet in the radio.

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RE: small question - 4/16/2009 1:17:55 PM   
John Lansford

 

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I had two uncles in WWII; one fought in an infantry division in Italy and the other was in an artillery unit fighting in the Philippines in 1944.  Unfortunately, neither one has been willing to talk about what they did, so I don't even know what units they were in...

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Post #: 4
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 1:34:59 PM   
AirGriff


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My grandfather was in the army and left in the summer of 1941.  Pearl Harbor happened and "plop", they grabbed him and sent him to the 6th Infantry Division.  He was in New Guinea and the PI.  I never got to talk to him much about the war or anything else.  I was too young when he died.  My dad was 7 or 8 years old when my grandfather came back from the war and he vividly remembers the day he came home.  My dad was coming home from some errand for his mom and saw his dad through a window of some bar tipping a few back before he came home.  My dad told his mom, who didn't believe him because my dad only knew his dad by photo's and plus he said my grandfather was "all yellow".  I guess the malaria pills did that to guys?  Anyway, he was right.  A short time later, in walked my grandfather. 


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Post #: 5
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 1:59:39 PM   
rjopel

 

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Unfortunately both my grandfathers passed away before I was old enough for me to ask the questions and be old enough for them to answer them.  One served as a Marine tanker in 1st Tank Battalion, 1st MarDiv on Peleliu and Okinawa and the other served in North Africa, Italy, Southern France and Germany and earned the Soldiers Medal in France rescuing a pilot who crashlanded near his AA battery.

Wish they were still around.  And not so I could ask them about thier war expierence.

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RE: small question - 4/16/2009 3:00:15 PM   
bjmorgan


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My dad was in the USAAF, flying Beaufighters out of Tunisia.  My uncle was a platoon leader in one of the units involved in the initial Kiska/Attu landings (I don't know which).  My father in-law was a "belly pilot" (i.e., the radioman/gunner/observer) in a TBF on the Princeton.  My step dad was a member of the ground crew for a fighter squadron in England/France (52nd, I think?), P47's then P51's very late in the war.  Another uncle was on a tin can in the N. Pacific (He died before I ever found out which one.  He eventually joined the USCG, became a pilot and flew Albatrosses, mostly in Hawaii, Alaska, and points west from there.) My wife's uncle was a commo chief for a combat engineer bn in Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy.)

In short, I can't think of a single relative that has NOT served either in WWI (both grandfathers), WWII, Korea , Vietnam, or in some peacetime period since.  I did my part way back when, too.  ("Vietnam a Go-Go," we called it.  That and the "Jolly Green Jungle.")  I guess we're just a bunch of stinkin' warmongers.  Sadly, almost all of them are gone now, so no more questions can be asked.  Too bad.  They were all there when we needed them.

< Message edited by bjmorgan -- 4/16/2009 3:01:44 PM >

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RE: small question - 4/16/2009 3:00:29 PM   
stuman


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One of my uncles left the family farm in Arkansas in the late 30's as a teenager and joined the Merchant Marine. He sailed in the Pacific from around 1939 through the end of the war and a bit beyond before settling in San Pedro Calif. He had some pretty wild stories. He told us kids the funny ones; my mother and father have said that he also had a lot of " not so funny stories ".  Ships he sailed on were bombed, strafed, etc. Another thing about which  I need to get more information about from my dad.

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Post #: 8
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 3:17:48 PM   
stuman


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bjmorgan

My dad was in the USAAF, flying Beaufighters out of Tunisia.  My uncle was a platoon leader in one of the units involved in the initial Kiska/Attu landings (I don't know which).  My father in-law was a "belly pilot" (i.e., the radioman/gunner/observer) in a TBF on the Princeton.  My step dad was a member of the ground crew for a fighter squadron in England/France (52nd, I think?), P47's then P51's very late in the war.  Another uncle was on a tin can in the N. Pacific (he died before I ever found out which one.  He eventually joined the USCG, became a pilot and flew Albatrosses, mostly in Hawaii, Alaska, and points west from there.)

In short, I can't think of a single relative that has NOT served either in WWI (both grandfathers), WWII, Korea , Vietnam, or in some peacetime period since.  I did my part way back when, too.  ("Vietnam a Go-Go," we called it.  That and the "Jolly Green Jungle.")  I guess we're just a bunch of stinkin' warmongers.  Sadly, almost all of them are gone now, so no more questions can be asked.  Too bad.  They were all there when we needed them.



My brother and I are the first generation in our family's history, going back to before the Revoluntionary war, that have not been in the military. Both he, me, and my male cousins all graduated from high school after the Vietnam War. We have indentified a family member that participtaed in every major conflict except the Mexican War. I came the closest, I was all ready to let the American Taxpayer pay for my law school in exchange for my going the JAG corp route. But by the time I had to make a final decision, the rules had changed. Since I would no longer be joining as a captain ( they had changed it to lieutenant ) I decided to forget it. I have often wondered how different my life would have been I had taken that route.



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Post #: 9
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 3:43:00 PM   
USS America


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My "grandfather", actually my grandmother's husband who is the only grandfather I've had for most of my life, was in the 29th Infantry Division in Europe.  A few months ago, he and I discussed recording all that he can remember from his time serving, but since then, it's been bothering him too much to think about it, so we've called it off. 

He has told some great funny stories, and "high level" versions of some not so great stories, like taking a bayonet in the hedgerows of Normandy.  It saddens me to think of our family not having a good record of his service, but it saddens me even more to not let an old soldier enjoy his later years, with his biggest worry being the prospects of another Orioles losing season.

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Post #: 10
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 4:32:25 PM   
Nomad


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My father was in the Navy during WWII and my mom worked at Douglas Aircraft. He never would talk much about it and now he has passed away. If I pestered him enough, about the only thing he would say was "The war is over and thank God I survived." I know he was at Kwajelien Island, Leyte Gulf, and Okinawa.

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Post #: 11
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 5:19:02 PM   
Joe D.


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When I was taking US History at my local Community College, in lieu of a term paper, my prof gave me the option of exploring the US Veteran's Project and taping a live interview of a vet; I accepted and interviewed my father, a WW II vet of the 643rd TD Reg't.

Dad's gone, but I still have a copy of him on tape; the original interview along w/other related materials and forms were mailed to the VP.

Even back in the 90's, Fort Hood was taping WW II vets during military display shows.

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Post #: 12
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 6:20:39 PM   
Ol_Dog


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Yes

Sgt Jim Stevens of the 2nd Marines fought at 'Canal, Tarawa and was killed on Saipan



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Post #: 13
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 6:30:10 PM   
spence

 

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Even someone who, with parental permission, enlisted at age 16 in 1945, would be 80 years of age now; a rather unlikely denizen of this forum.

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Post #: 14
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 6:38:52 PM   
m10bob


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We had some WW2 vets in the SPWAW forums a few years back.

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Post #: 15
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 8:19:33 PM   
Misconduct


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There's a bar locally to me that has veterans, sort of like a veterans clubhouse except its more of a bar, there are quite a few generations of vets from Korea and on that generally you know where they were by the hats, one would say Vietnam or Panama or Gulf war. However there are these 2 old gents that come in from time to time, always together no less and have generally 2 shots, one day I decided to actually go, and one of the  old Jarheads stopped and asked me if I were a son of someone in the bar, I explained I was a marine and the 2nd gent named Oliver shot up and said "Sound off like you have a pair marine". We talked for good hour at least and both were deployed to late to see any action in WW2, after war they bought a farm together and signed back up for Marines for Korean War. I will never forget both explained the 2nd shot they always had was they were wounded by mortar fire and taken off the line, a couple hours before chosin Reservoir and did not take part of it. They both feel they were cheated and will never forgive themselves of missing the battle. Since then I really haven't gone back to this bar, but I do have a tab setup which pissed both old warhorses off - their tab for rest of their lives will be paid by me in that bar. Every month I put aside $40 so they can go in and drink whatever on me. Might not be a whole lot, but in the eyes of one of the marines he said he would never accept a penny from anyone for his service, but since I was simply buying him his shots and not asking questions about it he feels justifiable. I am not sure if either are still alive, as I bought them the drinks back in October 08', I just hope they are doing alright.

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RE: small question - 4/16/2009 9:01:18 PM   
Footslogger

 

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My neighboor's uncle was in the Strawberry Squadron. He flew a PBY and always had a good supply of pencils. (They used pencils to put in place of where the rivits came out and enemy fire as well.) Thank you all for the stories. Its been cool.

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Post #: 17
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 9:05:12 PM   
stuman


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Misconduct

There's a bar locally to me that has veterans, sort of like a veterans clubhouse except its more of a bar, there are quite a few generations of vets from Korea and on that generally you know where they were by the hats, one would say Vietnam or Panama or Gulf war. However there are these 2 old gents that come in from time to time, always together no less and have generally 2 shots, one day I decided to actually go, and one of the  old Jarheads stopped and asked me if I were a son of someone in the bar, I explained I was a marine and the 2nd gent named Oliver shot up and said "Sound off like you have a pair marine". We talked for good hour at least and both were deployed to late to see any action in WW2, after war they bought a farm together and signed back up for Marines for Korean War. I will never forget both explained the 2nd shot they always had was they were wounded by mortar fire and taken off the line, a couple hours before chosin Reservoir and did not take part of it. They both feel they were cheated and will never forgive themselves of missing the battle. Since then I really haven't gone back to this bar, but I do have a tab setup which pissed both old warhorses off - their tab for rest of their lives will be paid by me in that bar. Every month I put aside $40 so they can go in and drink whatever on me. Might not be a whole lot, but in the eyes of one of the marines he said he would never accept a penny from anyone for his service, but since I was simply buying him his shots and not asking questions about it he feels justifiable. I am not sure if either are still alive, as I bought them the drinks back in October 08', I just hope they are doing alright.



Great idea Misconduct ! That is very nice of you.


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Post #: 18
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 9:47:26 PM   
Misconduct


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I just called the bartender and quizzed why none of them would accept it, he said specifically none wanted to feel they "deserve" it. Really that's just to humble, they deserve it no less.

Edited: Now I am going out for few drinks tonight, screw this sad sh$#.

< Message edited by Misconduct -- 4/16/2009 9:49:14 PM >

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RE: small question - 4/16/2009 9:55:27 PM   
Footslogger

 

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What's the name of the bar Misconduct?

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RE: small question - 4/16/2009 10:01:38 PM   
Misconduct


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Tailspins in tampa, FL (I live 30 minutes north in town called lakeland), is there anyone in central FL area?

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Post #: 21
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 10:32:41 PM   
aprezto


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My Grandfather on my Father's side fought in Greece and then in Crete with NZ second Div as a signaller. He was on Hill 107 when the fateful order to evacuate Maleme aerodrome was made. He was still very bitter about that years later - he felt the Kiwis could and should have pushed the Germans off and that it was obvious even to his eyes (he was a sergeant), but that the commanding officer (sorry can't remember his name) was a WW1 vet and carried alot of baggage about the hideous losses there. 
He was captured and spend the rest of the war in Poland after he pinched a dead Italian soldiers 'very fine' boots. The joke was on him though as they were too small and blistered his feet up and got infected. He couldn't walk over the Cretian mountains for evac by the RN.
He was a very good shot, as were most Kiwis - with a large portion of the population being rural. He usually told innocuous stories but he did talk of an incident where he was on a rise with his signal unit and a German paratroop unit pushed up an air mobile artillery piece to hit another unit he couldn't see. Anyway, my Granddad shot two of the gunners and a loader from about 900 yards (he reckoned). The Germans didn't know where the shooting was coming from and after they lost the loader just left the artillery piece and took to cover. Later they over ran and captured the arty and Granddad saw his handiwork.
I don't know if I believe the distance, he never talked of using a scope, but he was obviously proud enough of the shots that he'd tell a story that he usually wouldn't divulge. When he got to the part about seeing the Germans he had this awful look on his face...
My Grandfather on my Mother's side fought in the desert with an ordinance and tooling unit. He would engineer and fix broken tanks and artillery. He never told the story but it was passed on that his truck had driven over a mine killing everyone but him. He had his eardrums ruptured and had trouble with hearing for the rest of his life; and convalessing in Tobruk, when it was still very much contested, and watching a hospital ship that his good mate was on, being divebombed and sunk just outside the harbour killing his mate and many others.

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Post #: 22
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 10:56:14 PM   
Q-Ball


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My grandfather is the chap in my autosig. He was a pilot-trained artilleryman, which means he got to fly a Piper Cub and spot artillery fire. He also flew liason missions, Colonels and Generals and the like, because the Piper Cub was a good short-range plane.

His uniform in the auto-sig was as Lt. Col. of the University of Illinois ROTC, taken in 1942. He went to Ft. Sill, then flight school, then the Pacific. He trained in flight school in a group of 6; he was the only one who survived the war.

He was a replacement. The 41st Division, like all US Inf Divs, had a TOE of 2 Piper Cubs, attached to the Divisional Artillery. The two guys before him KIA'ed. He was given very specific instructions when he got there to not take any unnecessary risks, because they were short Piper pilots. For much of the war on New Guinea, he was the only pilot in the Division.

He wrote a 100-page memior which I have quoted from occassionally on this forum, for stories and humor. He had 4 brushes with death during the Pacific War:
1. Chased by Zero over Wewak; he dropped to treetop level, and flew over what he knew to be a US AA battery. No more Zero.
2. He totaled his Cub once on a short runway, due to an error on his part, short runway, and beginning of Hepatitus. The broken propeller was saved by his crew cheif, and given to him in a reunion in 1995. I have it in my possession!
3. He got Hepatitis, and spent a few months in a hospital recovering. Very bad.
4. Post-war, he was assigned to the island of Ita Jima, to dispose of a large cache of japanese naval munitions. They worked around the clock on it, and only stopped work for Thanksgiving Day, 1945. Gramps was in command of the island, because the CO flew to the mainland for Turkey dinner. While he was shaving, there was a massive explosion: The Cave blew. No one was hurt, ONLY because they were off that day. He told that story every Thanksgiving since: Thanksgiving miracle.

Gramps stayed in the Reserves, and eventually became a Colonel in the Virginia National Guard.

I could go on, but my gramps died last year, and he is my HERO!

< Message edited by Q-Ball -- 4/16/2009 11:28:30 PM >

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Post #: 23
RE: small question - 4/16/2009 11:30:14 PM   
Q-Ball


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Here is a sample from his memior; it's very well written, 100 pages, sorry if this post is too long:

How to Total a Cub and Not Get Hurt
29 June 1944--After Wakde Island was secured, the 41st Division landed on Japanese occupied Biak Island, about 350 miles further west northwest and 50 miles off the north coast of New Guinea. It too, was a coral island, about 40 miles in diameter. It had two airfields that were to be used to support the invasion of the Philippines. Things did not go well there because there were bluffs with many caves that were not easily taken. As in many cases, the strength of the enemy was badly underestimated.

At Wakde, the 158th Infantry and the 149th Artillery formed the core of the 158th Regimental Combat Team(RCT), the only force availiable after the 163 RCT rejoined the 41st Infantry Division on Biak Island. That required us to pull in the perimeter, and in fact caused one of our batteries to be essentially part of the perimeter, until the 6th Infantry Division arrived on the scene.

When the 6th Division took over responsibility for the area, several things happened. First, a pyramidal tent was erected at the northwest end of the strip. This was an obstacle that wasn't too bad, but a crazy place to put a tent. Second, there was a temptation for vehicles to drive down the strip, so a barrier, consisting of two posts and a 2 x 8 was placed a few feet from the end of the strip. All of these things set the stage for my most serious accident.

Although we had a tight space, we regularly flew Capt Platz, the Assistant S-3 (Asst. Plans, Operations & Training Officer), who was unquestionably our best air observer. Only trouble, Platz weighed 240 pounds. With the radio, batteries, life raft, survival gear, life vests and a few smoke grenades, we went out about 90 pounds overweight. The southeast trade winds helped with a steady 8 to 10 MPH, but my plane ran off the end of the strip only once! One of the pilots buried his plane's nose and propeller in the sand 29 of 29 landings. The sand was a fine black basaltic, so we did not break any propeller. But the mechanics got much practice cleaning the air filters.


One afternoon, we had a half-inch general rain--not the thunderstorm that occurred frequently. With an overcast, the temperature was cooler. On my reconnaissance mission late in the day, was asked to take Cpl Herbert G. Mumkres from the Fire Direction Center (the section that calculated the data used to point the howitzers with the proper elevation and direction) with me. All went well until the landing. To land on such a short strip we were taught to bring the plane in nose high, just above a stall. We adjusted the rate of descent by changing the power setting. But with the nose high, the cowling on the engine blocked the view of the strip. So we came in with the right wing down and the plane pointed to the right. When we were over the end of the strip and about a foot above it, we chopped the throttle, and the plane stalled out. At the same time, we would kick the rudder to line up with the center of the strip. From then on, we could only see the strip's left edge to guide us to a stop
.
I had early symptoms of hepatitis. The battalion surgeon, Capt. Goldberg, had given me a sulfa, which can affect depth perception. He wasn't aware of the side effect and I had forgotten that they had mentioned this in flight school. As some would say, there was an accident waiting to happen!

The mission completed, the next move was to put L-4B, #43-1166, a modified civilian J-3 Cub with olive drab paint and a bigger greenhouse back on the ground. On the approach, the tent was the first obstacle properly passed. From there on, the rate of descent was a little greater. But no one will ever know if the cooler air made the rate of descent deceptively greater, or if my depth perception suffered, or my lethargy from being sick was the contributing cause.

The right wheel barely ticked the board at the end of the strip and threw the plane to the right. I put full throttle on, only to hit the first pile of sand with both wheels. Again, the speed was slowed, but the plane continued. Next, I hit the second revetment. Again, I got over it, but was slowed even more. The third time was too much, and the plane hit hard on the landing gear, spreading it. The left wing hit the ground, the landing gear folded, and the right wing took a hard lick. But the plane had completed its crazy ride. I asked, "Are you OK Corporal?" He quickly responded, "I think so".

We kind of rolled out on to the ground, and quickly got away from any possible fire. The thing that scared me most was the ground crew members that had scrambled when we were hitting the revetments. Fortunately nobody was in the way of the plane or the propeller.

It was time to take inventory. Neither of us had cuts or bruises. The propeller was shortened on both ends. Both wings were misshapen, but not badly. The landing gear was spread out. The fuselage was bent out of shape a bit. But the tail was ok. One spectator later said, "I don't see how anyone could get out of there alive".
My only thought--I was glad he was completely wrong.

The accident report commended the pilot for skillful flying and not wrecking more planes. The last sentence--"Recommendations for action to prevent repetition of this accident are that all obstructions to a normal landing and takeoff be removed and the strip be lengthened to at least 175 yards."


< Message edited by Q-Ball -- 4/16/2009 11:35:07 PM >

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Post #: 24
RE: small question - 4/17/2009 12:28:20 AM   
stuman


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This is becoming one of my favorite threads ! Great story Q-Ball, feel free to share more

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Post #: 25
RE: small question - 4/17/2009 1:57:17 AM   
LST Express


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I've known a number of WW2 vets over the years and a couple even shared a few of their stories with me. My best friends dad was with the 2nd Rangers at Normandy and we stayed up all night one summer drinking beer and listening to Buddy tell us some of his tales. Thinking back now, I don't think it was as much for our benefit as his.
We have great young men doing our heavy lifting today, but the old breed will surely be missed.

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Post #: 26
RE: small question - 4/17/2009 2:55:52 AM   
Q-Ball


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If anyone would like, I'll send the whole memior. I already have one request. Not to plug Gramps, but he was a good writer, and alot of the stories are light-hearted. I will share with anyone.

Last tidbit. Someone posted a couple months back about the Brodie device; a kind of net from an LST that could catch planes. Well, gramps knew all about it....and was skeptical....

The Mission That Didn't Happen

As we were preparing for Japan, there was a wild rumor that we were going to have an LST with a Brody device, from which we would fly to observe artillery fire until a suitable site for our planes to operate could be captured. The system seems simple, but even a movie failed to convince me that it would work satisfactorily. Late in August, there were a group of us to go to the Manila area for training. The concept was that we would have two booms over the edge of the LST. Each L-5 was to be equipped with a nylon hoop about 9 feet in diameter. Initially, the planes would be hooked on a dolly, and when the pilot had full power, he would be released. By the time he got to the end of the cable, the dolly would drop the plane. If it had flying speed, all would be well. If not....


The planes could stay up about 6 hours without any auxiliary fuel tanks. There were no rest room facilities in those planes, so anyone can guess how long the pilot and observer could hold out. On completion of the mission, or empty fuel tanks, the planes then had to go back to the ship and hook the nylon hoop on the line. Two things enter my mind. First, the ship would be bobbing somewhat making a catch difficult. Second, if caught, there really wasn't much time to cut the power, although we could have benefit of wind and what speed the ship did have. The L-5 stalled out at about 40 with full flaps and fully drooped alerons. At 8 knots and a 6 mile wind, the ground speed would be about 25 mph. Well, the Japanese called "uncle" before any of us had to practice that kind of flying. Even Major Brent DeVol of Lafayette, Indiana, who flew off an LST at Casablanca and was shot down by the French, thought this was far more hairy.





I am very grateful to my grandfather who not only told his war stories, but took the time to write them down

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< Message edited by Q-Ball -- 4/17/2009 3:11:02 AM >

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RE: small question - 4/17/2009 3:00:00 AM   
Anthropoid


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My grandfather "Bud" Decker, was a gunner in a bomber that flew out of England. B-17 belly gunner I believe. He passed away many years ago, at the age of 78, but I had the chance to talk to him quite a bit about it when I was under about age 14. I'm a pretty inquisitive kid, so despite him being fairly reticent to talk about it I did manage to get some stories and such. I want to say he flew 8 but it might have been as many as 18(?) missions; I'm guessing it must have been before 1943 because he eventually got shot. He had this huge scar on his back where the bullet had gone it (actually might've been flak I guess). It collapsed his lung, and I think they had to remove about half of one of his lungs. I seem to recall that he was in hospital in England for a year!

He told me once that the time he was laying there on the deck of that plane as they flew back to England, laying on one side and coughing up blood to be able to breathe, lapsing in and out of consciousness while one of his buddies kept him awake was one of the longest years of his life.

Another time I asked him, "So Grandpa, was it exciting when you went into battle?" I just remember him looking straight at me very serious-looking, and saying "You damn right it was exciting." and then something about "more exciting that you ever want to know."

The other story I remember him telling was about how the metal cage that his gun and seat were housed in had saved his life. There was evidently a couple of metal plates on either side of the gunners head that formed the rotating thingy that they could spin around in. He said that once after a battle when the plane was all shot up when they got back to the base he noticed that there was this one very large dent in the metal plate where it had stopped a bullet or fragment that wouldve gone right through his skull.

_____________________________

The x-ray is her siren song. My ship cannot resist her long. Nearer to my deadly goal. Until the black hole. Gains control...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkIIlkyZ328&feature=autoplay&list=AL94UKMTqg-9CocLGbd6tpbuQRxyF4FGNr&playnext=3

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RE: small question - 4/17/2009 3:08:08 AM   
AW1Steve


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Misconduct

Tailspins in tampa, FL (I live 30 minutes north in town called lakeland), is there anyone in central FL area?

Bruce Powers is from that area.

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RE: small question - 4/17/2009 10:20:00 AM   
rjopel

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve


quote:

ORIGINAL: Misconduct

Tailspins in tampa, FL (I live 30 minutes north in town called lakeland), is there anyone in central FL area?

Bruce Powers is from that area.



I live in Riverview, but as you can see by my from I'm currently in Baghdad. Maybe when I get home.

(in reply to AW1Steve)
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