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Old 06-20-2012, 09:51 AM   #1
PRH44
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Default WWII Generation.

Our WWII veterans are disappearing fast. MY father will be 90 in September.
1 of 10 children a son of a carpenter/farmer. He was raised on a farm in Kentucky survived the great depression. These hardships created a man of extreme determination. 1943 He enlisted in the military with two brothers just as his father and previous generations. A young man that only knew a world of working hard, trapping. hunting, fishing.
He survived 5 major battles and carries an Oak leaf cluster. His brothers survived also. He returned to the states and continued to work hard. He has done many things mechanic, mill wright, electrician, carpenter, He would spend hours in the garage as I was growing up. He made everything and fixed everything. Always found time to take me fishing,hunting,camping and show me how to do many things. He loved the woods and he was always home there.
He has been an inspiration for many including my self. He was so ageless and appeared younger than he was. He re roofed his home at age 73 decking and all. He retired from the electrical trade at 62 and started building homes for the next 23 years.
finally at 85 his heart was giving him problems. Heart valve replacement was imminent. He survived, but no longer is as active as he would prefer. We lost my Mother in 1997 and both his brothers in the following years

My brother enlisted in the military as our fathers did. However I did not on the request of my father and mother. I always felt I let them down and broke the chain of military service.
We lost my brother in the spring of 2011. The military planted and OAK tree in his memory at lake OKEECHOBEE FL. where he was Chief of operations. maintenance and readiness of South florida operations. My father was very proud as we all were. Rest in peace my brother.
This changed my father and as we hiked with difficulty to our sacred hunting ground for the last time. We talked about my brother and tears flowed from his eyes for only the second time that I can remember. We have never returned to that magical place my brother and I learned how to hunt and fish and become men. He is not physically able anymore and the memories of the place are too emotionally draining for him. He has out lived so many family members. I have been wanting to record his memories of the past electronically as his mind his still very sharp.
This is a special generation and we are not going to have them much longer.
Share your WWII Stories here please. Lets not forget.

Paul

Last edited by PRH44; 06-20-2012 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:02 AM   #2
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

My grandfather passed away about 5 years ago now. Italian, fighting for the allies. He never talked about it too much and I never pushed the issue, he would only talk about how his country was totaled by war. He made it away from the front lines due to his excellent english and ended up as a driver/translator for an American diplomat. My grandmother is still alive. She was in her early 20's with 5 kids and didn't see my grandfather through most of the war. The germans came in and took their home throwing my grandmother on the street with her kids. Then the allies freed her town, then they kicked my family out of their own house once again to turn it into a field hospital. Apparently some of my family hid a crash landed allied pilot from the germans for a short time as well. They survied the hard times hunting pigeons, and anything else they could catch.

My generation is a joke by comparison.

My grandmother is 90, still lives alone in her house, still has a larger vegetable garden, cuts her own grass and shovels the driveway. My wife is 30 and I am not sure if she has ever held a shovel... my grandfather came straight over to New York after the war thanks to the american diplomat, ended up in Canada and brought my grandmother and family over a few years later when he could afford it. My mother came to canada when she was 3 and met her father for the first time. He had left Europe before she was even born.

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Old 06-20-2012, 10:13 AM   #3
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

My grandfather passed away 12 years ago. Fought on the North Caucasian front. There are two medals in a closet back home. That was the last real war.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

My Grandfather died two years ago. He was behind enemy lines on D day. He was one tough SOB. He was 75 cutting stumps out of the woods and cut his knee cap in half, walked to the house went in wrapped a towel around it, made himself coffe and waited for my grandmother to wake up. They truely were "The Greatest Generation"
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

All I can remember were the stories he told of being in the first wave for the invasion of Normandy almost drowning, getting shot, stabbed and blown up *cool scars!* the last which resulted in face skin grafts and reassignment. Not all at the same time..... Then of being in the battle Iwo Jima. A few years later of being in the Korean war.. The U.S. has fought just about every major nation in power at the time I guess. (Didn't we like anybody?) He died at 74 years back from Arterial sclerosis (hardening of the arteries) from smoking and drinking for too long in life. He smoked until the day he died. He dropped my mom off to go shopping and never made it back to pick her up. She called my oldest son to go check and see if he fell asleep at the house. My dad had died on his bed at home. My dad was and still is my hero. I lost one of my younger brothers to the Viet Nam war, I was stationed in Italy because of it and my youngest was stationed stateside. Anyone that served faithfully is a hero in my eyes regardless of their service. Never forget. Thank you to those that have served, and to those serving our great country today to protect our freedoms and the rights we so easily forget are not really so free. All gave some, Some gave all...for that I am truely greatful.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonzer12 View Post
My generation is a joke by comparison.
Don't sell your generation short. There are many good men and women of your generation out there on the pointy edge of this nation's policy who have shed blood and treasure.

This post reminds me of my Uncle Dutch and my Dad. Dutch is the one in the middle in the pic below. Dutch was killed in the battle of Leyte Gulf shooting the wing off the Japanese Kamikaze plane that sunk his ship. My Dad is on the right. He was a Army Air Corps ground crew Staff Sgt. in a Combat Cargo outfit in the CBI theatre. On the left is Walt Shipley, a life long family friend who served as a B-17 ball turret gunner based in England. This photo was taken before they went to war in the early forties. Dad and Walt survived to start families after the war. All are gone now.

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Old 06-20-2012, 10:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

My Uncle is our familys last WWII survivor. He is turning 90 this saturday. He was a Seabee and also fought in the jungles of Guam and the pacific islands. He can barely bring himself to recount his experience and still has night sweats and nightmares. His wife was a "rosie the riviter" here on west coast while he was on active duty. They are both, still, my most honored relatives. They dont complain, worked hard for everything they have and are still, self sufficient. God bless.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

My grandfather was on the younger side of WWII vets, he was born in 1926. After training he was sent to the Philippines and the Japanese surrendered while he was on a troop transport in the pacific! he ended up serving his time on occupation in japan and was discharged in 1946. He worked his whole life, even part time after retirement and passed away in 2004
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:29 AM   #9
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

Does anyone know how many WWII Veterans are left? I know the last WWI Veteran passed away just a few months ago.

Never mind, I just found this:

How many WWII veterans are left living in the United states?

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According to statistics released by the Veteran's Administration, our World War II vets are dying at a rate of 900/day. This means that there were approx 16,000,000 veterans at the end of the war and there are just under 2,000,000 still with us today
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:34 AM   #10
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

Both my grandfathers fought in the war, both have passed. My paternal grandfather was D+2 on Saipan...and fought at Iwo Jima. Didn't talk about it much. Tough old geezer...I aspire to have half as much grit as he did.
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:35 AM   #11
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

My dad was a Navy Corpsman attached to the 1st Marine division. He was part of the second wave on Iwo Jima and was going to be part of the invasion of Japan if Truman hadnít dropped the bomb. You can bet he is still a big fan of Truman to this day!

Heís 88 now and really slowing down. We often talk about all of the things his generation has seen in their lifetimes and how things have changed. I credit the fine examples set by him and the people of that generation that I knew growing up for my own work ethic and sense of honor.
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:51 AM   #12
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

What a great thread. I have to come back with My Dad's story, Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, etc. They WERE the Greatest Generation.
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:54 AM   #13
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

My dad was in England during the war paying soldiers as they returned from the front lines. He paid out 36 million dollars in the course of 4 years over there. He said when they ran out of cash, two of them would hop in a jeep and go get another half million or so, He said sometimes the gun was loaded sometimes it was not. He like so many others have said of their parents was a hero. He was the last one left of the pay group he was in when he died three years ago. He had kept up with most of his war time buds. He was the only non Jew in his group.
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:27 PM   #14
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

My Dad's Dad served the entire war in the CBI theatre. He died of cancer in 1975. That day was the only time I've ever seen my Dad cry.

Dad says Grandpa rarely talked about what he did or saw and they never pressed him on the issue. Dad says Grandpa was much more mellow after he got back from Asia. Said he'd go out of his way not to kill things (animals in the road, critters around the house) and he never hunted any more after he came back.

Before my Grandma died, she gave me a box of his stuff. It was full of ration books, letters from him and photos he took while he was over there. One is him in front of the Taj Mahal. All kinds of stuff she never told anyone she had. I've also got two Japanese battle flags he brought back. Unfortunately, he died so long ago that I never got to learn the stories behind any of the pictures or the flags.
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:50 PM   #15
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzt View Post
That was the last real war.
I'm not going to start a flame war in a thread like this as I come from a long line of US Army infantry (which I served myself) with my Grandfather (RIP. He was going to pin my blue cord- sign of the infantry- on me at graduation but passed while I was in basic training) fighting in WW2 and Korea and father and uncles in Vietnam but that is a very stupid statement. War is war. Period. Just because we don't have thousands being killed in one battle does not mean today's war is any less brutal or honorable. I'm not trying to compare myself or my generation to men like my Grandfather but I am also not going to let people say I didn't fight in a real war. If you meant reason for fighting, forget my comments but reasons for war do not matter when you're taking PKM and RPG fire from the Taliban. I lost several best friends in my platoon and company as you can see from my signature and I can guarantee you they fought and were killed in a real war by a real enemy.
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Old 06-20-2012, 02:11 PM   #16
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Yep. If someone is shooting real bullets at me, it's a real war.
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Old 06-20-2012, 02:34 PM   #17
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by darkk View Post
All I can remember were the stories he told of being in the first wave for the invasion of Normandy almost drowning, getting shot, stabbed and blown up *cool scars!* the last which resulted in face skin grafts and reassignment. Not all at the same time..... Then of being in the battle Iwo Jima. A few years later of being in the Korean war.. The U.S. has fought just about every major nation in power at the time I guess. (Didn't we like anybody?) He died at 74 years back from Arterial sclerosis (hardening of the arteries) from smoking and drinking for too long in life. He smoked until the day he died. He dropped my mom off to go shopping and never made it back to pick her up. She called my oldest son to go check and see if he fell asleep at the house. My dad had died on his bed at home. My dad was and still is my hero. I lost one of my younger brothers to the Viet Nam war, I was stationed in Italy because of it and my youngest was stationed stateside. Anyone that served faithfully is a hero in my eyes regardless of their service. Never forget. Thank you to those that have served, and to those serving our great country today to protect our freedoms and the rights we so easily forget are not really so free. All gave some, Some gave all...for that I am truely greatful.

Your Dad was at D-Day, and at Iwo Jima? Was he Army or Marines?

I'm not calling BS, but this would be the first I've heard of troops being at both. I think I'm well read on WWII, and I haven't heard of this. I know Army troops in Europe were going to transfered to the Pacific theatre after V-E day, but not in the early '45, which was when Iwo Jima was.

Again, I'm just asking to build my knowledge; I'm not being a smart-ass.

My Dad served in the Navy during Korea. He's 80 now. I got him a "Korean War Veteran" hat for Fathers Day. I had 2 uncles who served on a ammo ships in the Pacific during WWII, and an uncle who was on D-Day+1, and fought thru Europe.

I believe they were the Greatest Generation.
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Old 06-20-2012, 02:36 PM   #18
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

My Grand Father was a SeaBee in the Pacific. Built runways and such on a number of islands, including Okinawa. Even spent time in Japan after the war ended helping put things back together.

My Dad was in the Corp for 30 years, we were in Okinawa from '69 thru '73 It was pretty cool talking to my grand father after we got back to the states. We broke out a map and he told me where he built stuff, I showed him places we camped and fish/snorkled.

Thanks for the reminder
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Old 06-20-2012, 02:44 PM   #19
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

My Dad served in US Army in the Europen theater after being drafted along with his brother. He was wounded in combat by a mortar round in his upper right thigh. Thankfully his buddies were able to save him, otherwise I woud not be here.

I remember when I was kid I would ask stupid questions like "Dad, did you ever kill anyone in the war?" He never answered me. After I was older I understood. He did what he was tasked to do, but wasn't really 'proud' of having to take someone's life, even one of our countries sworn enemy. He never talked about the war in that regard. He told stories of basic training, the foul weather conditions he had to endure, and reminded me just how fast he could dig a fox-hole with that little shovel when the shells started falling.

Sadly he passed away in 2010 at the age of 87, two months to the day after my Mom. We had a military funeral to honor his service and they were buried side-by-side.

My wife assembled a shadow box for me that contained my Dad's "US" lapel pins, rifleman's badge, purple heart medal, discharge papers, and the huge piece of shrapnel (sp?) that was removed from his leg. That jagged piece of metal makes a 50 caliber bullet look like a toothpick.

I was proud of my Dad's service, and what he and the rest of his generation did for our country. I have great respect for all who have served, and those who continue to do so. Sadly, I think most of today's generation has no idea what these people's contribution really was, for what we take for granted every day...freedom.
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Old 06-20-2012, 02:52 PM   #20
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

jzt,

I don't have a problem with comparing wars as long as it's done with respect and in context. While the firefights are more sporadic and shorter today, for example, they are no less intense than they were in WWII. Also, except for special units, most of the fighting during WWII was conducted with traditional fronts and at traditional pace. Yes, alot of metal was exchanged and at mind-boggling rates, and it was hell. In OIF and OEF, the forward edge of the battlespace was/is often everywhere at once, and the inability to identify friend from foe and the element of surprise haunted every waking (and sleeping) moment. So you can't just look at casualties or scale and scope. (And if you wanted to look at numbers, I bet you'd be surprised by some of the statistics.) Horror comes in all different shapes and sizes, and "real" was a terrible word to have chosen to make these kinds of distinctions, if that's what you meant.
----------------------

Great thread.

My dad was a quartermaster in the US Navy during WWII, steering the USS Newman, a destroyer escort (DE-205) in the Pacific. He was one of five brothers who went and came back. He died in 1994 and he was still thee best man I have ever known.

My uncle on my mother's side died on the first day of the Battle of Saipan. He is buried in the Punchbowl in Hawaii. I am the only one in my family to have ever seen his grave.

My Great Aunt (grandmother's sister, who we grew up calling "Sarge") enlisted in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1942, before it became the Women's Army Corps, in 1943. She served at SHAFE HQ in France, a detachment in Italy, and finally at the Port of Embarkation in Bremerhaven during the US occupation. She never left the Army. She was stationed in Okinawa during the Korean Conflict and again during Vietnam, and retired in 1973 after 30 years of service. Most people don't know that WAC's were not allowed to marry or get pregnant, a rule meant to discourage fraternization. Punishment was an immediate discharge. (Remember the ERA was not signed until 1972.) Gives the term "married to the Army" a whole new meaning, and, for most of the old lifers like my great aunt, it was the truth. If anyone is interested, the US Army Women's Museum in Ft Lee, VA, is a great place to visit.
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:08 PM   #21
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

my great grandfather was stationed in alaska during WW2 incase the japanese invaded. he passed away when i was 8 so i dont have too many details, just one story he told about a polar bear harassing their camp. one night him and another shot and killed the bear and by the time they got to it, it was frozen solid. no wonder the japanese were only there for a couple days.

the last six summers i worked at the house of Mr. L. Robert Kimball. who was a bomber pilot in europe. from the time we entered the war in europe all the way through till the end. he was one of the lucky ones who made it back to the states ok. from there he went to penn state for engineering and started his own business, my dad still works there. Mr. Kimball is a great man, one of the nicest ive ever met regardless of his wealth. i believe he is 92 now and his mind is starting to go, he is the Perfect American the way i see it. and a role model to all. his wife is still alive and well at the age of 90.

i just want to thank all of our vets, living or dead! ill buy you a beer anytime! in this life or the next
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:15 PM   #22
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

Unfortunately, my father didn't make it back from WWII, he was a tail gunner on a B-24 and the plane was lost on it's 10th mission. He is buried in the American Military Cemetery in Lorraine, France. I don't have any stories but I do have his mission diary that I'll copy here for you to read.

This is my dad's Combat Mission Diary for Aircraft 42-51215-B. I wrote and spelled everything just as it is in the diary. Some interesting reading. Just a little added information... their plane was a B-24H-30, built by Douglas in Tulsa.


************************************************** *****************
1st Mission
Dec 4th 1944 -- 6 hrs, 35 min -- Belra, Germany - Marshalling yards

Bombed thru clouds at 23,000 ft. No flak or fighters. Escorted by P-51's and P-47's. Strictly a milk run. Didn't know enough to be scared.

************************************************** *****************
2nd Mission
Dec 24th 1944 -- 5 hrs, 55 min -- Shonecken, Germany - Supply Area

Visual bombing at 24,000 ft. No fighters. Flak moderate but very accurate. Bomber on left side blew up, one chute reported. Few engines shot out. One flak hole in left wing. Largest raid in history, over 2,000 heavies took part. Escorted by P-51's. Scared by first sight of flak.

************************************************** *******************
3rd Mission
Dec 30th 1944 -- 5 hrs, 40 min -- Nenwied, Germany - Railroad Bridge

Bombed thru clouds at 25,000 ft. No flak or fighters. Escorted by P-51's. Milk run.

************************************************** ********************
4th Mission
Jan 1st 1945 -- 5 hrs, 30 min -- Koblenz, Germany - Railroad Bridge

No flak or fighters. Did not drop bombs. Gas supply low. Landed on 2500 ft runway near Brussels, Belgium. Spent night there and on pass in town. Field had been strafed 3 hrs before we arrived by G.A.F. Heavy damage had been done. Escorted by P-51's. Arrived back to field the next day. Had good time in Brussels.

************************************************** ********************
5th Mission
Jan 14th 1945 -- 6 hrs, 40 min --
Hallendorf, Germany - Oil Refinery "Goering Reich Works"

Visual bombing at 22,500 ft. No fighters. Flak very intense and accurate. No planes lost but plenty of battle damage. Had four flak holes. One piece came into the waist. Plane crash while coming in for landing. Hit the hell out of the target. Escorted by P-51's.

************************************************** ********************
6th Mission
Jan 17th 1945 -- 6 hrs, 30 min -- Harburg, Germany - Oil Refinery

Visual bombing at 22,500 ft. No fighters. Flak intense and accurate. Two planes shot down at target third reported down at Sweden. 14 flak holes, No 1 engine shot out. Escorted by P-51's and P-47's. Strong head wind coming out. Formation left us. Because of wind out e.t.a. was to be a couple hours late. No 3 using very much gas and leak in bombay transfer pump made us feel doubtful of gas supply. Wind changed off coast of Germany and increased our ground speed about 100 miles per hr. Made it back o-k with gas to spare. Good job done on target. Later learned No 3 super charger was hit. No 4 had but 4 qts of oil left. Learned Feb 5th we had 23 flak holes.

************************************************** ********************
7th Mission
Feb 3rd 1945 -- 7 hrs -- Magdeburg, Germany - Oil Plants

Visual bombing at 24,500 ft. No fighters. Flak moderate and very inaccurate. Our secondary target was Berlin the 1st & 3rd hit it. Feathered No 3 over North Sea, oil trouble. Escorted by P-51's. Received the "Air Medal" after this mission.

************************************************** ********************
8th Mission
Feb 6th 1945 -- 7 hrs, 25 min -- Megdeburg, Germany - Marshalling Yards

Bombed thru clouds at 23,000 ft. No fighters and flak at target was moderate and inaccurate. Not to sure we even hit the target. Lead navigator was lost while coming out and took us over flak areas. Had flak all the way out. Inaccurate and to the right of our sqd. At the coast there was a three gun battery which came closer than any encountered on the whole mission. No battle damage to our plane. Escorted by P-51's and P-47's.

************************************************** ********************

9th Mission
Feb 15th 1945 -- 6 hrs, 30 min -- Magdeburg, Germany - Oil Plants

Bombed thru clouds at 22,500 ft. No fighters and only saw a few bursts of flak low and left of formation. This makes the fifth time for this target and our 3rd, having named it "home town". The whole 2nd Div went after this target today. Escorted by P-51's and P-47's. First mission as toggler.

************************************************** ************

On the 10th mission, Feb 22, 1945, they were doing low level bombing of the marshalling yards at Peine Germany. Going in on the bomb run they were at about 8000 ft when they took a direct flak hit to the open bomb bay.

Just an additional note. I had a set of his gunners wings made into a bracelet that I wear at all times.
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:18 PM   #23
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I'm not going to start a flame war in a thread like this as I come from a long line of US Army infantry (which I served myself) with my Grandfather (RIP. He was going to pin my blue cord- sign of the infantry- on me at graduation but passed while I was in basic training) fighting in WW2 and Korea and father and uncles in Vietnam but that is a very stupid statement. War is war. Period. Just because we don't have thousands being killed in one battle does not mean today's war is any less brutal or honorable. I'm not trying to compare myself or my generation to men like my Grandfather but I am also not going to let people say I didn't fight in a real war. If you meant reason for fighting, forget my comments but reasons for war do not matter when you're taking PKM and RPG fire from the Taliban. I lost several best friends in my platoon and company as you can see from my signature and I can guarantee you they fought and were killed in a real war by a real enemy.
He might mean the last time Congress actually declared war.

My 97 year old Grammy (who just passed on) (and all her siblings) served in WW II.

She served as a photographer taking pictures.

My Wife's Grandpa was a pilot who went down over Japan and was held as a POW for three months. He absolutely detested Rutabaga because of it.

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Old 06-20-2012, 03:26 PM   #24
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My Dad was in the Army and originally sent to Africa on a cruise liner unescorted. Then was in the invasion of Italy and Normandy . He once said that he felt like he walked from Africa to Germany. Never really talked much about his experiences, just bits and pieces. Mom said that when he got out that if they were walking down the street and a car backfired she would look around and he wouldn't be there. He would be in a doorway or behind a car. Told her it was just reflex. If you took the time to think about where to go you'd be dead.
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:33 PM   #25
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Unfortunately, my father didn't make it back from WWII, he was a tail gunner on a B-24 and the plane was lost on it's 10th mission. He is buried in the American Military Cemetery in Lorraine, France. I don't have any stories but I do have his mission diary that I'll copy here for you to read.

This is my dad's Combat Mission Diary for Aircraft 42-51215-B. I wrote and spelled everything just as it is in the diary. Some interesting reading. Just a little added information... their plane was a B-24H-30, built by Douglas in Tulsa......
Chopper, that's amazing. Thanks for posting.
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:34 PM   #26
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

Second that sentiment.
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:48 PM   #27
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I had an Uncle who passed away at 91 a couple years ago. He was a small man in size and a big man in heart and spirit. He worked every day until he "retired" for the third time at 86. We never talked much about the war, but I always knew he piloted a tank in WW2. He was in Anzio. We were talking one day and he told me a couple stories. The best was the time he got really pissed off at the Italians because he lost his tank.
He said " I ran over a land mine and it blew one of my tracks off. The sunofabitch wouldn't do anything but run around in circles. The damn enemy was coming so I had to jump out and haul ass. I lost my damn tank to the sunofabitches!"
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:02 PM   #28
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FIL was in Shermans and lost a couple also. The bad part was that he would get sent to help retrieve/clean out damaged tanks to return to battle.. Sometimes the insides were rather ugly I guess.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:17 PM   #29
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My wife and I were just having coffee and playing cards with my grandfather. He's 90 years old and a decorated Canadian Army vet. He started to get a little distracted and I asked if he was ok, he said he was just remembering some things. I asked what it was, and he said that night was the 67th anniversary of him jumping off a boat and storming a beach in France, that's why he wanted some company that night.

He said that day and the day he was hit by a bouncing betty that his friend stepped on just a few feet to his left, are days that he just can't stand to be alone. I can't wrap my head around the things that he and other members of his generation endured and because of men like him, we have the lives we enjoy today.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:39 PM   #30
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

I was making a reference to the reason behind it. Not calling other wars "unreal" or trying to start a political debate.
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:26 PM   #31
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

I know a customer,her father will not allow a German car in his driveway.She had a grandfather that served in WWII,lost his life there killed by a German soldier during a battle.
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:31 PM   #32
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I really wish my grandparents had put their stories down somewhere for us...

One grandfather - RAF Navigator - Blenheims then Lancasters; ended up in Canada as an instructor

One grandfather - RAF - Lysanders. Wouldn't speak of what he did. Not even with his RAF Buddies at the legion, just that he flew Lysanders. Inquired about getting his service records - they're still sealed. Probably says everything there...

One Grandmother, WAAC - navigator on ferry flights

One Grandmother RDF in BoB, not sure who she was under (RAF probably?)
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:32 PM   #33
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

my dad would have been 94 this year, he passed away in '78.

my dad and my uncle served together in the 33rd inf div, from '39, when they joined the natl guard, through the end of the war.

late in the war, my dad was wounded for the 2nd time, my uncle saw him running down a hill covered in blood, as he passed his older brother and several others, he tossed his thompson to them and headed down the hill.

he was treated, and sent home on leave just before the war ended.
my uncle didnt know what had happened to him, or if he was dead or alive, until he returned home.

dad never said much about the war, or the military, but i was told by family members that he disliked the military, but did what he had to do.
when i was still young, i was watching some old B&W war movie on tv, a scene of an amphibious landing was showing, dad paused and stared at the tv transfixed for several minutes, all he said was "i did that one time".
like a lot of kids my age "playing army" was a favorite past time, dad took me to an old army navy surplus store one time, he was visibly upset just walking around in the store, and we didnt stay long. i didnt understand it at the time, but i do now.

miss you dad

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Old 06-20-2012, 08:22 PM   #34
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

My Dad never served in WW2 (rheumatic fever as a child).
But I had an Uncle that was a Marine on Iwo Jima. He never talked about it much I guess ,but I was told when he came home it took a long time before he could sleep in a bed . He spent the first year back sleeping on the floor.

My sisters father in law was in the 95th infantry division in WW2, That division earned the nick name of being called the Iron men of Mentz.
I guess the only reason he made it back was because of the poor aim of a German sniper. He took a bullet to his right shoulder vs where the bullet was supposed to go. Like my uncle he also never talked about his war experiences .
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:16 PM   #35
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

i had a total of 6 uncles in ww2
one was on the mighty mo during the signing
one died in pow camp from appendicites,,,,his brother in another pow camp asked red cross if his brother was alive because he heard rumor. was told no,couldn't be your brother. he went to the german officer of camp and he is the one to tell him the news later on

one uncle was a tank driver under patten
one uncle came home full of shrapnel to die,but,lived 40 years or so longer

one uncle was a tail gunner of a shot down plane,survived,ended up in pow camp listed above
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:00 PM   #36
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All of my grandfathers served in WW2. The one that saw the most action was a Marine and was part of the storming of Okinawa. He passed away last year but luckily he wrote down some of his experiences for me a few years ago. I have to say, what an experience. I think it was because of him that several of us grandchildren have served or are serving in the military.

If any of you are interested I just finished "The Old Breed" which talks about a Marine's experiences in the Pacific. Really goes into what he was experiencing and feeling while going through battle.
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:58 PM   #37
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

Both my grandpas served, one joined the army to leave his family farm, but once the army knew he had experiance with horses, that's what he got o do. He went AWOL.

He took his own life before I was born. No one in my family really talks bout him serving.

My other grandpa was in the navy and served in the pacific, sadly he died in 85 when I was 5. My mom and aunts know very little about He did.... I wish I knew more about what they both did.
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:35 AM   #38
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

Just so you guys know, you can request records from the military. You have to have a specific relation. Grandchildren cannot do it unless a special circumstance (no one else or not in contact with other family, etc.) but it can be done. I found this out and had my Dad request it for my Grandpa who fought in WW2 and Korea (career soldier). He didn't know much of his service because he never talked about it. My Dad does have his M1 carbine and 1911 he used in Korea. They were getting overrun and didn't think they would make it out one firefight. My Grandpa carved my Grandma's name in the wood stock. It's still there today.

My Dad received a letter shortly after with a list of his medals and awards. He then filed to receive his DD214 and other info. They are also sending him ACTUAL medals that he earned. Pretty cool, especially since they are pretty pricey. We BOTH found out together my Grandpa was awarded two CIBs (WW2 and Korea), two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars w/ V.

You guys should really do it if you don't know much about their service.
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Old 06-21-2012, 02:48 AM   #39
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

Heres a link for Military records. If I remember correctly, you'll have to have his/her death certificate and ss #. It takes about 6 months for anything to come thru.

http://www.archives.gov/veterans/
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:12 AM   #40
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

Only my grandfather served, I believe.

Landed in Normandy, drove one of those flat boats. Don't really remeber what they're called. He didn't really talk about it, and I didn't bring it up, though I did want to know. He would talk about everything else in the war... just not from his perspective. I wouldn't want to talk about it either.

He passed the day after Christmas when I was 13, I believe he was 85. Last thing I got from him was a little Christmas tree scribbled on a piece of yellowed paper he had lying around, and I'll be damned if I ever lose the thing. RIP.

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Old 06-21-2012, 03:33 AM   #41
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

My parents were children during WWII, my mum was 4 when war broke out in 1939 and my dad 3. My maternal grandfather was too old to be called up having spent the entirety of WWI on the western front as a cavalryman, he spent his time in the evenings as an Air Raid Precautions Warden (telling people to "Put that bloody light out") He died in 1991 and at the time was the last survivor of the first action involving British Troops in WWI.

My paternal Grandfather who died a good ten/twelve years ago now was a quartermaster sergeant, I know he served in Italy so that would suggest 8th Army, he "copped a blighty one" breaking his leg badly falling down the steps of the sergeants mess one night after a few too many apparently!

A colleague of my wifes grandfather recently died and when clearing out his garage they found all the original plans for Tom, Dick and Harry from the Great Escape and a load of other related documents. They knew he'd been involved but not quite how much. It seems he was an RAF meteorologist and was the guy that decided what night they should make the break but he didn't actually get to go through the tunnel.

An amazing generation and shrinking fast, I'm currently watching a recent TV series that tells the story of the last year or so of the war from D-Day onwards as told by the veterans themselves, British, American and Canadian, some amazing stories, some amazing men, torn from their families and normal lives and thrown into horrendous situations who really only wanted to get back home, so they did some amazing things to make that happen.
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:39 AM   #42
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My father was a combat engineer in the European Theater... and his battalion were the liberators of Buchenwald.
Dad graduated High School in '41 and wanted to be an Engineer for General Motors, but Pearl Harbor happened and he was drafted in early '42. After the war he became a Machinist in the Space and Defense industry. He was a quiet guy, real mellow. Like most relatives of WWII vets will tell you, he never talked about the war. As a kid I would say, what did you do in the Army dad?", his reply, "we built bridges and blew 'em up, then rebuilt 'em". He never said anything about Buchenwald, not one thing, I dont even think my mother knew. Once, when I was about 10, he showed me 4 medals in nice cases,and being an avid photographer, he pulled out a box with hundreds of pictures he took while he was in the Army. He also pulled out a much smaller box of pictures...Buchenwald Prisoner Camp. As a kid seeing something like this , I kept asking myself, "how can somebody do this to these people?" The ovens, the piles of body's, skinny bodies. I didn't see those pictures or medals again for almost 40 years. According to the Military, the Germans manning the camp knew the American Forces were coming and set bomb's and booby traps and split. B Company (dads) were sent in to find and disarm them. He never said anything about this. After Buchenwald they were assigned to 3rd Army Headquarters (Gen. Pattons HQ) in Munich. Dad would say Patton was the greatest General ever and was very proud he served under him while making they're way thru Europe. As the war with Germany was ended , they were put on a ship headed to the Pacific to fight the Japs when the A-Bombs were dropped.
Dad was one those of guy's that could do anything, cabinet maker, machinist, mechanic, race car builder, you name it. He passed away in '98 and I miss him everyday.
Almost 3 years ago, living in the house that was once was my folks, I decided to clean out the garage. In the back of some shelfs, covered in spider webs and dust I pulled out this box. Inside were the pictures and medals, something I had been looking for since his passing. Looking at the photo's, I was able to identify his Battalion and Company and began doing some research. This led me to a lady in Ohio who's father was in the same Battalion and was starting a web site dedicated to the 1270th. This is when I learned of Buchenwald. She had sent for and received copies of her dads military records and sent me a copy also. I had been waiting for a couple of months now for my fathers records when i received her dads. 3 months later the National Archives sent a letter stating that dads records were destroyed in a major fire in '73 that also destroyed hundreds of thousand's of other WW II soldiers records. This is the website,

http://www.1270thengineercombatbattalion.com/pg2.html
Sgt. George Hornsby
Company B 1270th Combat Engineer Battalion 3 Army
European Theater

This generation went thru the Depression & World War II and still survived with morals intact, truly The Greatest Generation
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:17 AM   #43
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Hats off to every military person. I have what I have today because of them and their sacrifices...
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:54 AM   #44
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My Grandfather (on my mother's side) was in WWI and WWII. In 1917 he was in the battle of Vimy Ridge and survived which is a good thing for me. During WWII he signed up again and was a POW guard in Eastern Canada looking after Axis prisoners.

My Dad signed up for WWII and was a despatch rider in the Canadian Signal Corp. He went for a boat ride on June the 6th from England to France and came ashore on Juno Beach. As a despatch rider he drove his motorcycles (Harleys, BSA's & Matchless) around Northern Europe until the war ended when he was in Belgium. Sadley, he passed away 3 years ago 2 months short of his 90th B'day.

He loved to hang out in the garage with me and my buddies wrenching on my cars while he kept the rum 'n cokes topped up. Dad taught my brother and I how to be sportsmen, drive cars and respect others. Mom passed away 2 weeks ago so it looks like we're orphans now. We miss them both tremendously...enjoy your parents while you can.

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Old 06-21-2012, 07:41 AM   #45
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

They were a great generation! My Dad and Uncle both fought in the South Pacific. I am looking at my Dad's casket flag on the fireplace mantle as I write this. Both of my parents are 1st generation Americans the product of immigrants. Both of my immigrant grandfathers fought in WW-I, one enlisted, one officer. Every male in both families served and or retired from the military.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:16 AM   #46
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

You know normally, when threads reach the point where everyone is telling their own story, I get bored and quit reading. I mean, who cares about other people, right?

But on this thread, I have read every post and hope people keep posting. It's amazing to think about all of these people giving up their lives, handing them over to the service and spending three or four years knee deep in crap.

Keep 'em coming.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:33 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 54FordPanel View Post
Chopper, that's amazing. Thanks for posting.
X3.

I have a friend who's grandfather was also a tailgunner in a B-24. He wrote in a journal about it that I was allowed to read. I felt privileged just to be in his presence while reading it.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:35 AM   #48
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

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Originally Posted by chopper1 View Post
Unfortunately, my father didn't make it back from WWII, he was a tail gunner on a B-24 and the plane was lost on it's 10th mission. He is buried in the American Military Cemetery in Lorraine, France. I don't have any stories but I do have his mission diary that I'll copy here for you to read.

This is my dad's Combat Mission Diary for Aircraft 42-51215-B. I wrote and spelled everything just as it is in the diary. Some interesting reading. Just a little added information... their plane was a B-24H-30, built by Douglas in Tulsa.


************************************************** *****************
1st Mission
Dec 4th 1944 -- 6 hrs, 35 min -- Belra, Germany - Marshalling yards

Bombed thru clouds at 23,000 ft. No flak or fighters. Escorted by P-51's and P-47's. Strictly a milk run. Didn't know enough to be scared.

************************************************** *****************
2nd Mission
Dec 24th 1944 -- 5 hrs, 55 min -- Shonecken, Germany - Supply Area

Visual bombing at 24,000 ft. No fighters. Flak moderate but very accurate. Bomber on left side blew up, one chute reported. Few engines shot out. One flak hole in left wing. Largest raid in history, over 2,000 heavies took part. Escorted by P-51's. Scared by first sight of flak.

************************************************** *******************
3rd Mission
Dec 30th 1944 -- 5 hrs, 40 min -- Nenwied, Germany - Railroad Bridge

Bombed thru clouds at 25,000 ft. No flak or fighters. Escorted by P-51's. Milk run.

************************************************** ********************
4th Mission
Jan 1st 1945 -- 5 hrs, 30 min -- Koblenz, Germany - Railroad Bridge

No flak or fighters. Did not drop bombs. Gas supply low. Landed on 2500 ft runway near Brussels, Belgium. Spent night there and on pass in town. Field had been strafed 3 hrs before we arrived by G.A.F. Heavy damage had been done. Escorted by P-51's. Arrived back to field the next day. Had good time in Brussels.

************************************************** ********************
5th Mission
Jan 14th 1945 -- 6 hrs, 40 min --
Hallendorf, Germany - Oil Refinery "Goering Reich Works"

Visual bombing at 22,500 ft. No fighters. Flak very intense and accurate. No planes lost but plenty of battle damage. Had four flak holes. One piece came into the waist. Plane crash while coming in for landing. Hit the hell out of the target. Escorted by P-51's.

************************************************** ********************
6th Mission
Jan 17th 1945 -- 6 hrs, 30 min -- Harburg, Germany - Oil Refinery

Visual bombing at 22,500 ft. No fighters. Flak intense and accurate. Two planes shot down at target third reported down at Sweden. 14 flak holes, No 1 engine shot out. Escorted by P-51's and P-47's. Strong head wind coming out. Formation left us. Because of wind out e.t.a. was to be a couple hours late. No 3 using very much gas and leak in bombay transfer pump made us feel doubtful of gas supply. Wind changed off coast of Germany and increased our ground speed about 100 miles per hr. Made it back o-k with gas to spare. Good job done on target. Later learned No 3 super charger was hit. No 4 had but 4 qts of oil left. Learned Feb 5th we had 23 flak holes.

************************************************** ********************
7th Mission
Feb 3rd 1945 -- 7 hrs -- Magdeburg, Germany - Oil Plants

Visual bombing at 24,500 ft. No fighters. Flak moderate and very inaccurate. Our secondary target was Berlin the 1st & 3rd hit it. Feathered No 3 over North Sea, oil trouble. Escorted by P-51's. Received the "Air Medal" after this mission.

************************************************** ********************
8th Mission
Feb 6th 1945 -- 7 hrs, 25 min -- Megdeburg, Germany - Marshalling Yards

Bombed thru clouds at 23,000 ft. No fighters and flak at target was moderate and inaccurate. Not to sure we even hit the target. Lead navigator was lost while coming out and took us over flak areas. Had flak all the way out. Inaccurate and to the right of our sqd. At the coast there was a three gun battery which came closer than any encountered on the whole mission. No battle damage to our plane. Escorted by P-51's and P-47's.

************************************************** ********************

9th Mission
Feb 15th 1945 -- 6 hrs, 30 min -- Magdeburg, Germany - Oil Plants

Bombed thru clouds at 22,500 ft. No fighters and only saw a few bursts of flak low and left of formation. This makes the fifth time for this target and our 3rd, having named it "home town". The whole 2nd Div went after this target today. Escorted by P-51's and P-47's. First mission as toggler.

************************************************** ************

On the 10th mission, Feb 22, 1945, they were doing low level bombing of the marshalling yards at Peine Germany. Going in on the bomb run they were at about 8000 ft when they took a direct flak hit to the open bomb bay.

Just an additional note. I had a set of his gunners wings made into a bracelet that I wear at all times.

Thank you so much for sharing this chilling recount from your father's personal log of events.

As a retired US Air Force veteran that served in many, many different conflicts around the world (Aircraft Mechanic on F-117 Stealth Fighters) I have always felt a kindred spirit and bond with those that served before me in the Army Air Corps and the later re-badged US Air Force.

They layed the groundwork for the methods we employed while I served and I always felt a great sense of unity, history, and pride to be part of that history they established before us. Hard to explain, but its always been with me...

The daylight precision bombing campaigns brought so many casualties its truly mind boggling when you think about the sense of helplesness they must have felt when they didnt have Fighter escorts and were sitting ducks in broad daylight at 25,000 feet.

They did what they knew they had to do, time after time, mission after mission...

I salute you gentlemen and thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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Old 06-21-2012, 11:23 AM   #49
James E
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

My wife's uncle flew bombers. My FIL (his youngest brother, who served in Vietnam) told me he flew B-25's so I built him a really nice 1:48 scale model and my FIL gave it to him for his birthday. FIL says he cried when he got it and that it was his pride and joy until the cleaning lady dropped it on the floor and trashed it.

Later, I was talking to him and it turns out he only trained in Mitchells. He actually flew B-24's and did his whole tour in Liberators. I asked where he flew and it turned out that he flew at least one of the Ploesti raids. He totally clammed up when I showed extra interest in that and changed the subject.

His kids say he never talks about what he did in the service, only stories about places he went or things he did on leave.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:28 AM   #50
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

5 Stars for this thread.

I had several great uncles that served. One that was blown out of the water a few times in the Pacific. The last time spending around 4 hours floating amongst dead bodies in the debris and oil before he was picked up. This was at night time. I can't imagine what was going through his head.

Like the op said this generation is fast disappearing.

If you really want to honor them call up your local VA medical center and set up a time to visit. Bring your friends and spend at least half a day. You'll meet some amazing characters and believe me you'll never forget the experience.
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:38 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by softailgarage View Post
Heres a link for Military records. If I remember correctly, you'll have to have his/her death certificate and ss #. It takes about 6 months for anything to come thru.

http://www.archives.gov/veterans/
Don't be surprised though if the records are missing/destroyed. There was a fire at the one of the record depots and many were lost. I tried to get my fathers records and that was what I was told.
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:52 PM   #52
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My Dad was in a half tract unit in Africa and Europe. was a boiler maker after that for 42 years. He was still cutting fire wood at 87. He was a boy scout leader, worked for the church, kawntus, rifle club.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:15 PM   #53
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My grandfather on my fathers side(who I am named for) served in the Red Army and was there at the fall of Berlin after the infantry secured the city. He was intelligence and almost never spoke about the war unless it was funny stories (oddly enough). Once everyone made their way over to Canada ,My grandparents didn't want to see my father/uncles live through war so they felt getting out of Europe was the best. Once here he worked as an electrician and crane operator in his later years. He gather with war buddies every month and always sat at the head of the table. He was well respected by his peers. His best friend and right hand man in the war did have a bunch of Nazi medals, SS badges, a couple complete uniforms and a bunch of other stuff he kept as prizes. He also didn't speak about what happen.

He passed away 3 years ago next month.. I tried to get him to speak about his rank/ where he served but he would quickly change subjects or tell me that it was the past. He did have a couple of Lugers and a Mauser. My mothers father died when I was 8 but I remember him showing me bullet wounds from Stalingrad. We have a photo of him in uniform that my mom keeps on her dresser.

The worst stories I've heard are from my grandmothers that survived German bombings and Blitzkreg..
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Old 06-22-2012, 12:02 AM   #54
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Thanks, I asked my parents to fill out the info for both of my grandpas. Hopefully I can report back in 6 months
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Old 06-22-2012, 12:30 AM   #55
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My maternal grandfather served as an OSS officer in and around Burma. His job was actually to prevent allied soldiers from selling their gear on the local black market! He used to talk about the transports that came through the area, ferrying fuel and equipment over the Himalayas. He passed away about 17 years ago. My brother has his small 48-star American Flag, framed on the wall in his hallway.
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Old 06-22-2012, 12:56 PM   #56
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My grandfather on my fathers side(who I am named for) served in the Red Army and was there at the fall of Berlin after the infantry secured the city. He was intelligence and almost never spoke about the war unless it was funny stories (oddly enough). ..
Thats very common, my grandfather who served in WWI never talked about it other than the odd funny story I remember one about making rice pudding in a german helmet from a sack of liberated rice to go with a stolen tin of jam. Until someone started writing his story I had no idea he was the last man alive to have seen the opening shots of WWI between the British and Germans, that he'd taken part in the opening battle, a cavalry charge on horseback with drawn swords and that he'd survived every major battle on the western front apart from Paschandaele when he was in hospital with wounds.

Red Army was pretty hardcore, from what I've read the commisars had a nasty habit of shooting anyone that tried to retreat.
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:53 PM   #57
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Default Re: WWII Generation.

Dad tried to join up in the spring of '42 at the ripe old age of 20. He was rejected as being to "small" as he only weighed 132 pounds. Not giving up, he found out you were automatically put into the military if you were fired from a defense plant job so he got hired on at the Chattanooga Box and Lumber Company making mortar bomb cases for 17 1/2 cents an hour (great wage......). He waited two weeks, chased the shop foreman around with a 3 pound hammer and was fired. Low and behold, 1 week later he was told to report to the Army....

After basic, dad was placed in an AAAW (Automatic Weapons, Anti Aircraft) battalion as a gunner on a quad .50 mount. After being one of the "over fed, over sexed, over here" GI's in England for a while (and teaching some of the locals to shoot better), his outfit was placed on transport ships heading for Normandy on D Day. One of the transport ships were hit and they lost one of the two companies of 40mm gunners on the way in so the entire outfit was recalled to England. They wound up landing on D Day +17 and started their march across Europe.

They wound up as headquarters company AAAW unit for Patten, were in the battle of the bulge and wound up the war on the banks of the Rhine shooting down escaping German aircraft. Dad wound up with 3 1/2 kills with that quad .50 and stayed on for a bit as part of the occupying forces. By the way, in true GI tradition, he named his machine gun "Diddling Daddy"....... Must have been one hell of a vibrator.....

After the war, he went to Korea, and China during the time the USA was helping establish the 38th parallel, came home and went to Detroit to get a job at the Dodge plant only to get drafted in a short while for service in Korea. He served there as a Combat Engineer, came home and claims he got tired of walking and joined the Air Force for the next 18 years of service. He retired in 1969 on Halloween day after serving thru 3 major conflicts as well as getting married and having my sister and I along the way.

Dad turned 90 on April 1st this year, has two artificial knees, an artificial hip, can't see too well nor hear after all of the shooting but he still gets out and cuts his own grass and keeps his house up with what he can do. The rest he leaves to me now as much as it pains him to rely on someone else.

It seems that ever week or so he is attending the funeral of a friend that was a WWII vet including one yesterday. That generation will never be surpassed in what they did or the sacrifices they made for this country without complaint or question but just because "it needed to be done".

Some kids grew up with astronauts, policemen, firemen and others for hero's but I had the greatest one in the world to me, my dad. He will always be with me and I will never forget the sacrifices his generation made in hardships and their very lifeblood for this country even down to my middle name which came from a fallen friend of dad's that didn't make it at the bulge.

I wish I could give each and every one of a hug and a tearful thank you for everything they did and endured for all of us.
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:24 PM   #58
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Only my grandfather served, I believe.

Landed in Normandy, drove one of those flat boats. Don't really remeber what they're called. He didn't really talk about it, and I didn't bring it up, though I did want to know.
Higgins boats. Those are the flat bottomed landing craft. Most were operated by members of the Coast Guard.

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Old 06-22-2012, 09:54 PM   #59
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Don't be surprised though if the records are missing/destroyed. There was a fire at the one of the record depots and many were lost. I tried to get my fathers records and that was what I was told.
My uncle died in Belgium in April 1945. A while back we requested his service records, and they were charred around the edges from that fire but fortunately the information was intact.

This photo was taken somewhere in Belgium not long before his death.



He's buried in Ardenne cemetery.





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Old 06-23-2012, 01:54 PM   #60
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i lost an uncle over there too. it would be interesting to fine out where he is buried.
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Old 07-11-2012, 02:05 PM   #61
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Upthread I reported that my father was a quartermaster on the USS Newman (DE 205/APD 59) during WW2. For those not up on navy protocol, this meant he steered the ship, a Destroyer Escort that was later re-fitted as an APD (high speed transport), serving in the Pacific in 1944 and 1945, and earning five battle stars, with one submarine kill to its credit.

In his off-duty time, he also provided all the artwork and cartoons for the ship's unofficial "newspaper", a weekly lampoon called THE BARNACLE, which was created and distributed on-board by some of the crew for a brief period (February to July 1945), for their own entertainment. In 1988, at the 40th reunion of the ship's crew, the first and only reunion my father ever attended, they presented him with eight preserved original issues of THE BARNACLE. When he died, I inherited them.

As you can imagine, it was irreverent and funny as hell, and also quite bawdy, filled with the ship's news (a feature called "Bilge Dirt)", running commentary on the war and all things Navy ("One Man's meat"), letters to the editor spoofs, and all kinds of clever riddles, polls, and questions of the week. But what emerges from in between the lines of all the good-natured and often raunchy humor is the story of the war and the ship and some of the ship's more vibrant characters - including two dogs named Salty and Sparky and a monkey they refused to name because the first monkey they took on as a mascot accidentally electrocuted himself behind the main switchboard - making history come alive in a way that books, documentaries, or even movies often don't. What also emerges is that sense of spunk, can-do-ness, invincibilty, and esprit de corps - the hallmarks of 'the Greatest Generation' - that others have discussed above when speaking of their relatives. A subtle fear is being warded off on nearly every page, met squarely with solidarity. Needless to say, THE BARNACLE is a treasure.

Each issue was about 10 pages long, and I wish I could share them all, which would be impossible. Maybe in time I will post a few highlights, but for now, here are a few first pages of each issue, just to give you an idea of what I am talking about...








I also have the original “Ship’s Log” – which was an unofficial summary of their tour of duty (about fifty pages long), written by one of the officers, for which my dad did the cover.

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