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Sun Oct 28, 2012, 09:23 PM

WWII Vets: Creating A Better Society... My Old Man...

My old man was a journalist before WWII broke out...

He signed up and learned to fly with the Navy (using a stearman)...



Was assigned to the Marines as the Captain of a B-25...



Yet he never talked about it...

And it was only a couple of years ago... decades after his death...

That my mom, in her 80's, told the following story...

As Clint Eastwood's first movie about the Flag at Iwo Jima was about to be released, and there were commercials promoting the film... my mom off-handedly says half indignantly/half prideful...

"Joe Rosenthal... let me tell you something. Your father and Joe had had a few drinks in San Francisco, and decided it would be a good idea to drive to Sacramento and see the State Fair. They drove into a bridge abutment, and I had to go down and bail their asses out!"

And all I'm thinking is... "Dad knew Joe Rosenthal ???"








Point being...

Most of them did not talk much about it when they came home.

And...

The writers/journalists tended to hang out together.

My old man knew Rosenthal, Pierre Salinger (JFK's Press Secretary), The guy that wrote 'In Harms Way' (which is my favorite WWII movie, directed by Otto Preminger, and starring EVERYBODY), and many others including those serving IN THEATER from Hollywood.

And for all the crap and horror they must have witnessed...

they tended not to talk (or brag) about any of it.

And when they got back home, being lucky enough to have survived it in one piece...

They set about creating a better society.



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Reply WWII Vets: Creating A Better Society... My Old Man... (Original post)
WillyT Oct 2012 OP
dflprincess Oct 2012 #1
WillyT Oct 2012 #2
dflprincess Oct 2012 #5
Journeyman Oct 2012 #3
WillyT Oct 2012 #4
dflprincess Oct 2012 #7
WillyT Oct 2012 #9
dflprincess Oct 2012 #10
WillyT Oct 2012 #12
dflprincess Oct 2012 #15
pinboy3niner Oct 2012 #11
OldDem2012 Oct 2012 #6
senseandsensibility Oct 2012 #8
nadinbrzezinski Oct 2012 #13
sapub Oct 2012 #14
WillyT Oct 2012 #16

Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 09:42 PM

1. My dad was on B-25, but in the Army Air Corp

see the bubble at the back of the plane in the picture you posted? That's where my dad, the rear gunner, spent his time.

He never talked about it either.

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Response to dflprincess (Reply #1)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 09:47 PM

2. :hug:






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Response to WillyT (Reply #2)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 10:10 PM

5. Back at ya!





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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 09:58 PM

3. My dad was awarded two Silver Hearts in less than a day at Guadalcanal, and when he returned. . .

he spent the next two decades drinking himself to death.

Anyone who refers to it as the "good war" didn't see or do what my old man endured. It was a necessary war, so my dad believed, but one best forgotten, or at the least dulled in memory with bourbon and beer.

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Response to Journeyman (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 10:09 PM

4. I Understand... And It All Sucks When You Drill Down To It...

But... my mom and dad tended to avoid the many that were haunted by the experience...

Those that did brag about it, or told too many gruesome stories...

All they wanted to do was get on with their lives.

And at least for OUR family, it was a successful mission.



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Response to Journeyman (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 10:19 PM

7. People forget that PTSD is not something new

My dad's mom told me that he said he'd kill himself before he ever went to war again. And I remember reading that when the couseling centers for Vietnam vets finally started opening up the counselors were surprised how many WWII & Korea vets showed up asking if they could get help too.

The big reason (according to my mom) that Pop was an enthusiastic supporter of John Kennedy was because JFK was a combat vet and Pop had more faith in someone who had been there doing his best to keep us out of another war. I don't think he'd be real impressed with a candidate who thinks being a Morman missionary is on a level with going to war.

I'm sorry your dad had such a hard time & I'm sorry for how that must have affected you as well. No one ever really thinks about how war affects those who may not have even been alive during the fighting.


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Response to dflprincess (Reply #7)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 10:31 PM

9. For Years... They Referred To It As "Shell Shock"...

ANY human could be dismantled emotionally by the hell they were forced to witness... and were a part of.


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Response to WillyT (Reply #9)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 10:55 PM

10. Or battle fatigue

After my mom died last spring I found some of my dad's Army papers and there was one from his commanding officer recommending he (Pop) be grounded and sent stateside for R&R as he was showing signs of battle fatigue (after over a year in the Pacific). The commander thought it was early enough that after some rest Dad would be ready to return to theater. I couldn't find anything that told me what happened, but I think he may have been sent to Louisana as he was seemed to have been there when he was discharged in September 1945.

I'm going to write for his records but there's a good chance they were among those destroyed at the fire at the St. Louis center in the 70s.

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Response to dflprincess (Reply #10)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 11:06 PM

12. Same Thing, In My Mind...


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Response to WillyT (Reply #12)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 11:38 PM

15. Oh it is - just the different names it's been given before anyone really admitted to or understood

the psychological affects of war.

I think it was during the Civil War there was a condition called "Soldier's heart" - which probably was a way of explaining it back then as I do know the term referred to depression.

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Response to dflprincess (Reply #7)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 11:02 PM

11. There's a statistic that 25% of all medical evacuations in WWII...

...were psychiatric casualties.

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 10:16 PM

6. My Dad washed out of the Navy program that used the Stearman trainers....

...left the Navy, joined the Army, and ended up as a nose-gunner on a B-24 stationed on an airfield in Italy. Never talked about any of his WWII experiences until he was 76 years old and had a health scare. I did some digging and found all of his former crewmen and gave Dad their phone numbers for his 78th birthday.

One of my Mom's brothers was a radio operator on the unarmed supply planes that flew from Burma over the Himalayan Mountains into China. It was only after he had been passed away for many years that we discovered he had flown on more than 80 missions and was highly decorated. I talked to a guy who had written a book about his experiences "Flying the Hump" to get an understanding of what my uncle went through and why he never talked about it.

One of my wife's uncles was killed in the heavy fighting in Germany's Hurtgen Forest in 1944. Her family never talked about it until I did some research and found out what happened straight from the guys who fought in his unit. That was some terrible stuff, believe me.

I have other relatives who fought in WWII, some in the Pacific and some in Europe. But like you discovered, they rarely talked about what they did unless they were really pressed to do so...and some never did.

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 10:24 PM

8. My father in law enlisted in WWII as a Marine at age 17

and also served in Korea, as well as doing THREE tours of duty in Vietnam. Doesn't talk about any of it. He's still alive, thank God. I know that many here (including me and his son) would not agree with his politics, but he's walked the walk and deserves to have his opinion as the rest of us do. As my husband said, he's seen active duty in three wars, but doesn't run around stockpiling weapons like all the chicken hawks seem to. Doesn't even keep a gun in the house. And, although he is a republican, he once famously commented that he couldn't stand Rush Limbaugh.

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 11:10 PM

13. You know, I wish

They talked MORE about it.

Hubby tells the stories to young kids who think it's all fun and games.

I do as well.

Because you know what? Americans, especially your kids, unless they've served, have no clue. We have glorified war.

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 11:30 PM

14. short but nice

nice story

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Response to sapub (Reply #14)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 11:45 PM

16. Thanks... And Welcome To DU sapub...

There's a lot of American History Here.





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