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OT: Always open the door for your elders because.....

 
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OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/13/2011 3:57:58 PM   
ilovestrategy


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you never know who they may be.

About half an hour when I left McDonald's an elderly man was behind me, and being a gentleman, I held the door open for him. When I saw he had a USMC hat, I told him I was also a former Marine.

He smiled and the next 20 minutes he told me of his exploits in Marine recon in Guadalcanal with his BAR, hiding from the battleship barrages at Henderson Field, thinking he was a dead man during the Japanese charge at Bloody Ridge, 26 days on rice and pork because the Navy got whooped at Savo Island, the taking of Bougainville, Guam and Iwo Jima.

I asked him if he ever got hit and he pointed to several parts of his body where he got hit by shrapnel on Iwo Jima.

Interestingly enough, he said Henderson Field and Iwo Jima were bad but Bougainville "F*$%&*ng sucked." Once a Marine, you never lose that salty language!

I knew of the Japanese charges at Henderson Field, but he told me he endured them at Bougainville too. I never knew they were there too.

I could tell he was getting tired so I shook his hand and told him it was an honor to meet him. And that's no lie, it was. So make sure you open the door for your elders, you never know who you may meet.

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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/13/2011 4:15:46 PM   
sprior


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Nice story. I remember striking up a conversation with a man on a trans Atlantic flight and it turned out he'd been with 29 ID in Normandy.

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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/13/2011 11:06:26 PM   
SgtSwanson


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In Gastonia, N.C. there's a man who wears a hat that says "Last man standing" with the siloete of a DD. Couldn't help it, had to ask, as of that day (5/17/10) he was the last man standing for the USS Ward and the last WW2 vet in/from Gastonia, N.C. (there were 1800 total in WW2).

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93-95 2/502 Inf. 101st Airborne Div.
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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/14/2011 2:51:58 AM   
pnzrgnral

 

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Many years ago as a young soldier, I took a train home for leave in Baltimore. I got a cab and on the ride struck up a conversation with the driver. Turned out he was with the 106th Infantry Division in WWII. Once he stated what division he was in, he stopped talking. Then I asked him, "Were you taken prisoner in the Schnee Eifel during the Battle of the Bulge?" That opened the conversational floodgates. Indeed he was. I hated to leave the cab once he stopped at my parents' house. That was a cab ride I'd have liked to last a day or two. Great guy :)

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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/14/2011 3:52:33 AM   
JeffK


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Last time I went to the Temora air show I sat down on a table with an elderly pair, turns out they were brother and sister.

Started chatting with the old guy, turns out he flew with the RAF in late WW2.

I started rabbiting on about the Spitfires that were flying, how the MkVIII served the war in a crate but the MkXVI saw service over NW Europe etc etc.

After listening politely to me, he then came out with- Yes, I flew that type and in the same squadron as the Museum aircraft, I'll have to check my log book to see if I flew it.

Sadly they left before the end of the display as I was going to get one of the Museum types to arrange an interview to add to their Oral History collections.

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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/14/2011 4:02:34 AM   
Footslogger

 

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This was a couple of years ago...I meet an elderly gentlemen with his wife and he was wearing a hat that siad 17th parachute WWII. So I asked him where he was and he said he was one of the Batterd Bastards of Bostogne. I wish I could of asked him all these questions that I had, but I felt bad for his wife was tired of standing too long.

Can anyone understand why the 17th parachute was in Bostogne?

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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/14/2011 4:19:08 AM   
oldman45


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You are aware that there were many elements of various units in Bastogne. Perhaps he was thrown in there before it was cut off.

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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/14/2011 6:29:48 AM   
JeffK


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US 17th Airborne Division   From Wikipedia
The Battle of the Bulge
On 16 December the Wehrmacht launched an offensive in the ]Ardennes region of Belgium[/link], breaking through Allied lines and rapidly advancing towards Antwerp.[25] On the afternoon of 17 December, Eisenhower decided to commit his theater reserve to the Ardennes in an attempt to halt the German advance; this consisted of the 17th, 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions under the control of XVIII Airborne Corps. The three divisions were to be attached to the US First Army and were ordered to concentrate around the town of St Vith.[26] However, while the other two airborne divisions were able to immediately make their way to the Ardennes as they were already stationed in France, bad weather prevented the 17th from flying in from where the division was stationed in Britain for several days. On 23 December the weather cleared and the division was finally flown to France by emergency night flights. It moved to an assembly area near Rheims.[26] On Christmas Day, the division was attached to the US Third Army and ordered to assume a thirty-mile long defensive position that ran along the Meuse River near Charleville.[27]
By 1 January 1945 the threat to Charleville had eased sufficiently for the division to be transferred to another area of the Ardennes, being transported to an area south-west of Bastogne near the village of Morhet on 3 January; there it relieved the 11th Armored Division which had occupied the village prior to its arrival.[28] On 4 January the division entered combat for the first time when it was ordered alongside the 87th Infantry Division to seize a number of key towns to the west of Bastogne, in order to prevent German forces from encircling the town a second time; it had been relieved by the Third Army on 26 December. With the 87th Infantry Division on its left flank, the division advanced towards German positions with the 194th Glider Infantry Regiment and 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment forming the division's assault element; the 193rd Glider Infantry Unit and 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment moved behind these two regiments to deal with expected German armoured counter-attacks against them.[28] During its initial advance the division engaged German forces, including infantry and armour, in an attempt to secure a narrow, high-rimmed road to the north-west of Bastogne; during a battle that lasted three days the division suffered nearly 1,000 casualties attempting to hold what the division's official historian labeled 'Dead Man's Ridge'.[29] It was during the opening stages of this battle that the division earned its first Medal of Honor. Sergeant Isadore S. Jachman of the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment engaged and destroyed two German tanks with a bazooka that formed part of an armoured column attacking American positions, forcing the column to retreat but simultaneously being killed by machine gun fire.[30] Between 19 and 26 January, the division broke through German lines and captured several towns before linking up with elements of the British 51st Highland Division. After it had captured the town of Espeler on 26 January the entire division was withdrawn from the front and transported by truck to Luxembourg, effectively ending its participation in the Ardennes campaign.[

< Message edited by JeffK -- 9/14/2011 6:31:02 AM >


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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/14/2011 6:53:40 AM   
Commander Cody


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ilovestrategy: Your guy must have been with the 1st or 2nd Marine Div on Guadalcanal, and then transferred to the 3rd Mar Div.

Just checked and 17th Airborne did participate in the Battle of the Bulge, although it was a bit late to the party. If I remember my old Wacht am Rhein game correctly it was a late reinforcement.

Cheers,
CC

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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/14/2011 8:49:50 AM   
Erkki


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This did not happen to me but to a friend of mine a couple of years back, 2007 IIRC. He was in the openings of a new aviation museum up here, and as a part of it, he and others had brought their home PCs to the opening display, where the visitors could fly various flight simulators , WW2 aircraft. He was one of the people guiding the visitors. After a couple of hours, there came the first of the older men who would look at the, mostly younger people and kids, play, and asked my friend if it would be possible for him too to try out. He would sit on the chair and , grab the controllers and ask how to use them. He was explained by my friend what the controllers did and how to take off (it was a mission with a Bf 109 G-2 parked at the end of the runway with some Soviet bombers flying as target drones). Then my friend made a mistake: he told the old gray haired guy to watch out for the gyroscopic & propwash induced yaw once the tail wheel is up. The old man turned to him, smiled, and said, "yeah, I know, I have 250 hours in this very machine, except it was the real one".

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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/14/2011 7:51:11 PM   
ilovestrategy


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To add more to my post, he also remarked on how he was stuck with the Springfield until he got an M-1 a year later. He said he was sick and tired of rice and pork after 26 straight days.

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After 16 years, Civ II still has me in it's clutches LOL!!!
Now CIV IV has me in it's evil clutches!

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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/14/2011 8:45:15 PM   
Footslogger

 

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Ask him if he wants to go to a sushi bar, on you?

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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/14/2011 10:51:04 PM   
HansBolter


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sprior

Nice story. I remember striking up a conversation with a man on a trans Atlantic flight and it turned out he'd been with 29 ID in Normandy.



I slso once met a vet from the 29th. I had designed a local museum and nearing grand opening day the staff arrrived. I struck up a conversation with an elderly gent who was a security guard and learned he had landed at Normandy on D-Day.

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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/15/2011 2:43:20 AM   
Feinder


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I spent a flight back from Boston to Tampa sitting next to RCAF (said he was Canadian, I presume he was RCAF) veteran of the Battle of Britian. He flew Hurricanes. We spent the 3 hours or so chatting. Said he was scared a lot, and didn't really hate anybody and never wanted to kill anybody. But it happened alot. That most of his friends were dead in about 6 months. You could tell he's been carrying the survivor's weight for the past 70 years.

< Message edited by Feinder -- 9/15/2011 2:44:11 AM >


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RE: OT: Always open the door for your elders because..... - 9/15/2011 4:06:36 AM   
Canoerebel


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Regarding the vet in the recon unit at Guadalcanal, I wonder if he was in 1st Raider Battalion (Edson's unit). They held Bloody Ridge during the worst of the fighting, along with part of a 'Chutes Battalion. Raiders were broken up later, of course, and absorbed into various Marine units.

The fight on Bloody Ridge is one of the most remarkable instances of combat I've ever read (read Do or Die Men). It reminds me alot of LZ X-Ray at Battle of Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam.

Any man who fought on Bloody Ridge was a MAN.

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