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Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:20 PM

I'm watching a re-run of the HBO series, "The Pacific" and I never knew why

my dad never talked about The War. Now I know. I can hardly stand to watch it; I can't imagine living through it. I only knew that dad was a Marine who quit high school and joined the Marines 3 days after Pearl Harbor. All he'd say when I asked him was that is was "hotter than hell and wet."

My dad was diagnosed with ALS in January 2000 and spent the last 6 months of his life in a nursing home. My job and my husband were awesome. I would work on Monday & Tuesday then drive the 200 miles to my parent's town to take care of him Wednesday-Sunday. I learned more about my dad in that time than in the 45 years I'd known him. He and his buddies would sit in the sunroom and shoot the breeze, and the war came up. I didn't know my dad was a Marine Raider, 1st Division, and survived Guadalcanal, Peleliu, and other Pacific hell holes. I was walking one of friends out one day and he stopped me and said, "Diane, your dad was the real deal. He was a hero." He'd always been my hero, so it came as no surprise. He contracted Malaria in one of those places and always kept a bottle of quinine water in case it recurred. I found a bottle of it in a cabinet in the shed when we were moving my mom to be closer to us after his death.

Native Americans honor our warriors and this Veteran's Day weekend I wanted to honor my dad, Samuel Ross alexander, 1st Marine Division 1942-1947. Thanks, dad. I love you so much and I miss you every day.

Thanks to all the other veterans how have given their all for us and I am so sorry that they were dragged into Vietnam, Iraq, and all the other bullshit wars politicians have gotten us into since WWII. I know my dad would be horrified by what the GOP has become, but despite being a Marine and a cop for 30 years, he was a Democrat from Kennedy on. He HAD to vote for Ike, lol.

57 replies, 5735 views

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Reply I'm watching a re-run of the HBO series, "The Pacific" and I never knew why (Original post)
catbyte Nov 2012 OP
Raine1967 Nov 2012 #1
dae Nov 2012 #2
lunatica Nov 2012 #3
rppper Nov 2012 #57
jody Nov 2012 #4
catbyte Nov 2012 #5
Posteritatis Nov 2012 #16
Squinch Nov 2012 #6
BlueMTexpat Nov 2012 #7
joesdaughter Nov 2012 #18
BlueMTexpat Nov 2012 #42
joesdaughter Nov 2012 #53
BlueMTexpat Nov 2012 #54
joesdaughter Nov 2012 #55
BlueMTexpat Nov 2012 #56
etherealtruth Nov 2012 #8
UnrepentantLiberal Nov 2012 #9
demmis19566ie Nov 2012 #51
Texasgal Nov 2012 #10
amandabeech Nov 2012 #11
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #12
Kaleva Nov 2012 #13
Posteritatis Nov 2012 #14
Archae Nov 2012 #15
OldDem2012 Nov 2012 #28
Skittles Nov 2012 #17
DollarBillHines Nov 2012 #23
Skittles Nov 2012 #29
Diclotican Nov 2012 #44
USMCMustang Nov 2012 #19
catbyte Nov 2012 #21
USMCMustang Nov 2012 #37
heaven05 Nov 2012 #20
mrsadm Nov 2012 #22
susanwy Nov 2012 #24
Dustlawyer Nov 2012 #25
socalgal58 Nov 2012 #26
renate Nov 2012 #33
grasswire Nov 2012 #27
NoMoreWarNow Nov 2012 #30
pansypoo53219 Nov 2012 #31
1monster Nov 2012 #32
mick063 Nov 2012 #34
catbyte Nov 2012 #39
kickysnana Nov 2012 #35
mimi85 Nov 2012 #36
elbloggoZY27 Nov 2012 #38
cliffordu Nov 2012 #40
discntnt_irny_srcsm Nov 2012 #41
JNelson6563 Nov 2012 #43
ReRe Nov 2012 #45
zonkers Nov 2012 #46
N_E_1 for Tennis Nov 2012 #47
rwsanders Nov 2012 #48
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #52
maui902 Nov 2012 #49
chieftain Nov 2012 #50

Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:22 PM

1. Love. Respect. eom.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:25 PM

2. Great post cat, thank you for sharing.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:27 PM

3. The Pacific is very intense

It made me understand many things about the war. You've done a very nice tribute to your father. Thanks for sharing it.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:07 AM

57. I'm watching the DVD set now...you're right..

Much more so than "band of brothers", but, as the cabbie says to lucky in the last chapter.."we had leave to Paris and London in Europe....you guys had nothing...the ride's on me...." Very telling....Okinawa is a very beautiful island....I had a chance to see several pacific battlefields during my navy stint....Guam, Okinawa, midway island....

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:27 PM

4. A Slow Salute to your dad from another veteran. nt

 

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Response to jody (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:33 PM

5. Thanks. The one big change in my dad was that as a teen he was an avid hunter.

When he came back he never picked up a gun to hunt again. He said he'd seen enough death to last a lifetime. That's the only inkling I had of what he'd experienced but I didn't appreciate it at the time. Thank you for your service too.

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Response to catbyte (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:13 PM

16. There's an amazing scene late in the series you're watching that touches on that sort of thing.

(And that's all I'll say about that, assuming you may still be watching.)

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:45 PM

6. Damn. You made me cry.

May all our absent heroes feel our gratitude and love today.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:46 PM

7. Thanks for sharing.

I join you in thanking all who have served our nation.

My father served in the US Navy in the South Pacific during WWII. He only began to talk - and write - about those experiences in his late 70s. I found some of his memoirs among his papers after he passed away at the age of 82. I typed those memoirs up and distributed them to my family members. I also gave copies of his war memoirs and other reminiscences to the local history museum in our small town because I believe that it is important to share such memories. They are part of our collective history.

I never even met him until I was almost three. I had gotten used to visualizing him as he was in a snapshot. The reality of him was a shock to me and I was equally a shock to him. Of course, in those days, PTSD wasn't something that was recognized at all. Vets were expected to "suck it up," come back to a land that many had great difficulty relating to given the changes they themselves had undergone, especially if they were fortunate enough to return physically unharmed as he was, and resume their lives as if nothing had happened.

WWII in the Pacific was definitely not a glorious time so far as he was concerned (I'm sure that it wasn't glorious anywhere else either), although some of his favorite memories came from shore leaves in Australia and New Zealand. Even then, even while being under fire from the Japanese, he could never bring himself to hate "The Enemy" - it was more about saving himself and his comrades. He would never let us see the Japanese, or anyone else for that matter, as anything other than fellow human beings.

And yes, he was a good lifelong Democrat. In fact, in our vividly "purple" area of MT, it was one of the things for which he was best known throughout his life.

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Response to BlueMTexpat (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:13 PM

18. Purple MT

What part of MT is purple?

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Response to joesdaughter (Reply #18)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:16 PM

42. I'm not sure whether you have been paying attention.

Not only did Montana re-relect Jon Tester (D) to the US Senate, but ALL the top State offices - with the exception of the Attorney General post - were won by Democratic candidates. If you check the electoral map, you'll see that THE major blue area was my beloved Missoula County and there were many less-populated others where Native Americans came out in force to support Dem candidates. But they were not they only ones.

No, MT didn't go for the Prez this time around, but MT is indeed a "purple" state. Howard Dean knows that. Had the Dean 50-state strategy still been in place, this election would have been a LOT closer there. Had Obama paid a visit or two this cycle, who knows what might have happened? I'm not faulting him for not coming - I understand the EV bit as much as anyone - but I do get a bit pissed at those who dismiss my home state out of hand.

Where, may I ask, do you come from - that you purport to know so much about the state where I was born, grew up and was mostly educated? Yes, there are pockets of crazies in MT and there are too many stupid Rushbots and Faux watchers. But there are also crazies in my voting residence state of MD (which generally votes as "blue" as they get) - just head west or southeast, for instance.

Heck, there are crazies everywhere. I don't even write off those states where the Presidential vote was in the "red" column because I know very well that there are a lot of valiant "blues" there. And it takes even more courage to be "blue" in those areas than it does when one is safely surrounded by those of like mind.

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Response to BlueMTexpat (Reply #42)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:47 PM

53. Born and raised in MT

Meant no offense. I just didn't know what part was considered purple, as I am from the hard blue pockets of Deer lodge and Silver Bow counties. The fire engine red eastern part of the state was always pretty frustrating. Family was involved in MT Democratic Party for years. Mike Mansfield dined in our home. Love your passion for the Treasure State.

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Response to joesdaughter (Reply #53)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 03:37 AM

54. I am sorry to have doubted but,

as noted in my post, I hear too many people who have never lived in the West (or the South, for that matter) dismiss and berate whole categories of people simply because there happen to be "red" majorities when there are nonetheless significant pockets of blue in those areas.

Although my last proud years in MT were spent in wonderfully blue Missoula County, I was born in Pondera County and raised in Liberty County, which is about as "red" as it gets. But there are a lot of good people who live there who are as "blue" as it gets - Phil Aaberg for one - and Phil is literally beloved by ALL, although not necessarily for his politics - LOL. So I would say that, despite all appearances from the outside, Liberty is purplish. When I was growing up, the area was usually a reliable pick-up for Dems although there was always a strong - and strident - red faction even then.

President Truman even visited the area once to inaugurate Tiber Dam, whose resulting Lake Elwell is named after a district judge from Havre who was definitely a Dem! While both of my parents knew the wonderful Mike Mansfield well, it was not Mike but his wife Maureen who visited our home for a fund-raiser in my youth. Lee Metcalf even nominated my brother to West Point. As it turned out, my brother didn't attend WP after all but did end up as a Marine officer. When he returned from military service, he and my parents all became as pacifist as Jeannette Rankin in her most radical years. Jeannette, although a Republican, was as you know a whole lot different from that breed today.

Howard Dean had the right of it. We need to identify the Dems, lurking, latent or otherwise, who make such areas purple, give them the courage to be what they can be and get them to run for office, local and otherwise. In the end, that's the way to turn those areas blue. But it will take more than one election, even one with as charismatic a candidate as President Obama.

Enjoy our beautiful state!

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Response to BlueMTexpat (Reply #54)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 07:34 AM

55. Only visit now

Thanks for the response. What struck me in your reply is our similar experience of having the sense that our representatives where more our neighbors than politicos. I am glad I got to touch base with a fellow Montanan.

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Response to joesdaughter (Reply #55)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 10:54 AM

56. Same here! Cheers!

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:49 PM

8. Samuel Ross Alexander, 1st Marine Division 1942-1947

Thank you for honoring this wonderful man ... your father.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:56 PM

9. Great thread.

 

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #9)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:44 PM

51. agreed

 

and great comments from all.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:01 PM

10. Thank you to

Samuel Ross Alexander! You will always be remembered as one the "greatest'!

Thank you catbyte for your post! *hugs*

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:04 PM

11. My favorite uncle was a radioman and tail gunner with the Army Air Force in the Pacific Theater.

He refused to talk about his experiences in the war, too, until it was clear that his time on this earth was limited. Even then, he would only talk about it with my oldest male cousin.

It turns out that there was a book published about the exploits of his unit. My Mom has his copy of it, but I haven't been able to force myself to read it yet even though my Uncle died two years ago.

From what I gather, his unit made dangerous bombing runs from the Philippines to China. They were attacked unmercifully by Japanese fighters. My Uncle was a good shot, and I'm sure that he downed more than his share of Japanese planes. Nonetheless, I'm quite sure that it was terrifying, although the times of danger were more brief than for your very, very brave father.

As an aside, my father, served in the Atlantic/coastal sea lanes theater as a fueler on a light carrier and then ended the war running two naval aviation metal smith shops in Philadelphia.

After the war, he was very active in the local VFW, which is named after William Negake, and American Indian who was the first soldier from the county who gave his life in WWI. I believe that he was a member of the Odawa nation.

My Dad and his buddy, Murray, were in charge of putting those little flags on the graves of veterans for Memorial Day. My Dad was very diligent in locating graves of every veteran through the VA. His perseverance led him to the grave of a Civil War veteran. He was American Indian and had served as a scout for the north. Unfortunately, his grave was in a very old, abandoned rural Native American cemetery, long forgotten. My Dad hesitated to put the holder and the flag in an abandoned cemetery, but he a native person who agreed to maintain the cemetery. The small flag for that veteran is there every year now honoring his service.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:06 PM

12. You know, my dad was part of the resistance in Eastern Europe

He never, ever opened up to the family about it. He was trying to protect us (and himself).

He fist opened to hubby, because of Hubby's limited combat experience. A year before he passed he spent three days in the hospital and I staid with him...mom was in the other hospital. He told me a few stories. As he put it, I would get them, since I have actually have been on the receiving end of riffle fire, and tended to combat injuries.

Vets, combat vets, usually do not open up. It's true what they say...you really can't get it unless you have been there. Some of the things he had to do do, to keep his family alive, were things he literally lost sleep over for the rest of his life.

My husband and I know how hard it was for him to open up. Your dad was among friends, treasure the snap shots into hell you heard, for hell it is.

Your dad was a Marine, Semper Fi Marine.

The bugle should play now.



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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:09 PM

13. Rec'd. Hats off to your father and all the other men and women who served.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:10 PM

14. That series certainly didn't pull its punches

I found it kind of striking that a few of the episodes and sequences that affected me the most weren't the ones with a lot of limbs-to-and-fro and so on. It really put some effort into the psychological toll as much as the merely physical.

Band of Brothers was produced by the same group of people as well (and somewhat less visceral, somewhat more people-focused). They both do a good job of trying to show stuff as close to how it was as they can get away with, while also showing an incredible degree of respect towards the surviving veterans, all of whom they went well out of their way to consult.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:13 PM

15. My uncle was a top gunner in a B-17 over Europe.

He never told us "war stories," in fact he admitted he was a crewman when I accidentally saw a picture of him with his buddies next to their B-17.

Uncle Hank hated war movies, especially John Wayne ones, and refused to see "Memphis Belle" a couple years before he died.

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Response to Archae (Reply #15)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:22 PM

28. My Dad was a nose-gunner on a B-24 stationed in Italy, and ....

....the first time he talked about his experiences in WWII was when he faced a major health scare at the age of 76. I learned about Dad being able to see civilians running for bomb shelters, clouds of flak, planes being shot down, and counting chutes. I also learned about the time his plane almost had to ditch in the Adriatic when they lost two engines on one of their missions. He also gave me his pictures from the war and the medals he earned.

After doing some research and tracking down a couple of online organizations, I found all of his old crew and and gave Dad their phone numbers. Dad was pretty surprised and called them all within a couple of days. None of them had talked with each other since the day they were discharged....pretty wild.

Dad survived pancreatic cancer and lived another 13 years before he passed away in 2009. I'm grateful for every additional second.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:13 PM

17. in the extras on the DVD set

there are interviews with relatives - one the soldier's kids said in the end, Alzheimer's ravaged him to the point he did not know who his kids were - yet he NEVER forgot he was in the Pacific

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Response to Skittles (Reply #17)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:58 PM

23. Yesterday, I saw a PBR and a Huey at our Veterans' Center

I flashed on visions that I thought were long gone.

Also, I saw the late DUer Redstone (Colin Goff) sitting in the rear center seat like it was happening right in front of me.

I cried.
DBH

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Response to DollarBillHines (Reply #23)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:40 PM

29. ...

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Response to Skittles (Reply #17)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:17 PM

44. Skittles

Skittles

World war two was a demon most soldiers who survived the war never forget - even when Alzheimer got the best on them, they never forgot what they experienced in war... I had a foster father who experienced the war - and even though he sometimes open up the lit to what he had known - it was many dark places he never told about.. And in periods he definitely should have had help, as he had this horrible nightmares about people been killed, burning flesh, the Gestapo and the rest... One of the last times he was in a hospital - he was really sick - he was rather scared - as he truly believed the Gestapo was sitting on the outside of the room, ready to take him to the Gestapo HQ in Oslo... And he wanted my foster mother help him escape out the window - even if it was little difficult as he was in 6th floor at the hospital.. Thankfully, of sorts he died in the end - not of war, but of old age and illness, a man who had to battle his demons for more than 60 year after world war two.. He was a tuff man, stubborn, a man who was kind of "larger than life". Who I believed was never afraid of nothing.. But in the end he was just a human, who was had his own demons to fight...

It is a some year now since he passed away - but I do remember him, and I will hopefully never forgetting him - and he is maybe one of the reasons I am interesting in history...

Diclotican

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:21 PM

19. Difficult To Watch

 

But we'll done. Your dad was an exceptional man. They truly were the "Greatest Generation." My wife took me to a service on board the U.S.S. Midway museum here in San Diego. I had chills being able to walk up and talk to some of the men that fought in the Battle of Midway. To hear the recount of what they did there and then to see them stand for recognition brought tears to my eyes.

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Response to USMCMustang (Reply #19)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:46 PM

21. When we were preparing mom & dad's house for sale, I ran across a cigar box

in dad's dresser drawer. It was full of medals & campaign ribbons. They're not in a cigar box anymore. They're proudly displayed along with the American flag that draped his casket. I don't have a grave to visit, he wanted his ashes scattered on the summit of Mt. Haleakala, his favorite place on earth. He spent time on Maui duing the war and we visited a often as we could. We scattered his ashes on Christmas Eve 2000 and now he's part of that island he loved so much.

Thanks to all for sharing your stories. We are quite a community.

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Response to catbyte (Reply #21)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:32 PM

37. My Uncle Never Spoke About Korea

 

My brother hardly spoke about Fallujah in 2004. My wife talks little about what she has seen. I just respect it and see them for who they are. All we can do is hope that that period of time and that awful war never be forgotten and we honor those then young men and women who stepped up. WWII is a lesson we can learn from.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:33 PM

20. yeah

funny I just read this as I'm watching WW!! in HD on H2. They are covering Peleliu. It was hell. I salute your dad with highest of esteem.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:57 PM

22. How wonderful for you to ...

Learn about his experience and bravery and be able to appreciate him as a hero.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:00 PM

24. A big thank you to your Dad!

My Dad too never talked much about his experiences in WWII. We bought The DVD of the PACIFIC in part so I could show it to my father's grandsons. My Dad was in the Navy and drove the landing boats that took your Dad to the shores of Peleliu and other battles!

He watched The Pacific when it aired and he came up and talked about Peleliu (he lives with me I take care of him since a major stroke a few years back) and told us (his words) "what cowards those commanders were, sending landing craft after landing craft of young men to their death instead of waiting for bombers to clear the beaches". He talked about how they went in at low tide (under orders) and many landing craft got stuck and were just shelled out of existence. He also brought up a Japanese flight book and bayonet knife he brought back from Peleliu. My mother later told me he NEVER talked about Peleliu and she didn't even know he had brought anything back, literally for 60 years she had no idea! Peleliu was one of the worst battles of the south pacific and had one of the highest deaths of American soldiers. I thank Ken Burns for that moment with my Dad.

My Dad came home from the war a liberal and a pacifistic, vowing never to vote for any politician that would send young men to die with doing everything in their power to find a peaceful solution. He understood the need for WWII, but he never wanted his son's or grandson's to experience what he had, ever. He used the GI Bill and became a teacher and guidance counselor for 30 years.

Cheers to your Dad and mine on this day!

Susan

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:01 PM

25. I gave myself the name "Dustlawyer" because I had spent many years on what is known as

"The Dust Docket." It consisted of tens of thousands of asbestos and silica exposure. I probably presented over 2,000 victims of these diseases for their depositions. These were generally elderly men from WW II era and even some from WW I. These depositions ran through each mans life history, and there was a lot of asbestos exposure in the military back in those days (the asbestos companies knew even then of the harmful affects of asbestos). Many we're reluctant to talk about their time in war. In one two week period I met the 2 most amazing soldiers of my career. One was in the Battle of the Bulge, and numerous others. He had his big toe almost blown off, had them cut a hole in his boot and tape his toe on and wen track out. He then had 6 inches of bayonet shoved into his gut missing all vital organs and went back out. Finally, a 50 cal. took out most of one of his biceps, ending his military career. He had done other great things to earn his Congressional Medal of Honor, but refused to discuss them. The Defense attorneys were mesmerized but knew enough not to press him on the rest. The other man fought in the South Pacific on Iwo Jima. He served with Kaptain Kangaroo (Bob Keshan). I will never forget him saying that they ate, slept, and sh#t in their foxholes b/c there were numerous snipers everywhere. He said he saw a group of guys climbing the side of the mountain and thought they had lost their minds. When he later learned they were planting the flag at Iwo Jima, he said "If I knew then what I know know..." He saved several marines and shot for it. Many amazing stories are sworn to under oath in depositions gathering dust in repositories all over the U.S.A.!

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:14 PM

26. Beautiful story

I too have a father who quit H.S. at 17, joined the marines and served in the 1st Marines at Guadalcanal (wonder if they knew each other). Mine went on to serve in Korea and 2 tours in Viet Nam- he won't discuss any of these wars either and I vividly remember his cries from nightmares he had when he returned from VietNam. He's very outspoken about our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan (he opposes both vehemently) and was overjoyed that Obama was re elected as he has been a democrat for all of his 86 years. He proudly wears his marine corps hat with combat pins and I beam with pride when people shake his hand and thank him for his service. I salute your father and thank him for his service.... I know how proud you are of him. Semper Fi!!!

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Response to socalgal58 (Reply #26)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:59 PM

33. wow... Guadalcanal, Korea, AND Vietnam?!

That's incredible. Many thanks to him for his service, and a welcome to DU for you!



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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:15 PM

27. my uncle was a prisoner of the Japanese on Corregidor

He was a POW from the fall of Corregidor until the liberation -- 3 1/2 years. He was wounded in the initial bombardment, and a U.S. Army surgeon sawed off his leg in the tunnel, to stop the gangrene. He never spoke to us about the war. But he always said "Never forget" and never bought a thing made in Japan. He kept a diary on fish can labels that was submitted to the War Dept when he returned. I have been trying and trying to locate those papers in archives.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:50 PM

30. William Manchester's book "Goodbye Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War"

 

was an amazing, harrowing and haunting account of the horrors of the Pacific war. I deeply respect all those who served in that particular hell.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:52 PM

31. my great-uncles went to europe + the navy.

my grandpa's 2 or 3 cousins served. but bob gumm went to the marines + pacific. he was he most altered by serving.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:55 PM

32. I saw a series on the Pacific War on the History Channel several months ago.

I don't usually watch television at all, but this series caught my interest when my husband was doing his regular flip through the channels.

The sheer insanity of it all kept me glued to the set. I still can't believe the studpidly, incredibly irrationality of the way that war was fought -- on both sides.

For those who don't know: The Japanese took those little islands in the Pacific, some not much more than two miles long or wide and dug in, literally, with camouflaged caves and tunnels running between them. The U.S. forces would land on those islands under devastating fire, and take them inch by inch, sometimes losing 10,000 to 15,000 men in the first day. But take them they did, even though the Japanese fought to the death to the last man.

Insanity.

And in so saying, I do not belittle or denigrate the soldiers who fought those battles. I am in awe, though, that they were able to come back, those who survived, to the USA after the war and live normal lives, helping to build the strongest economy this country has ever seen...

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:01 PM

34. My father and father in law fought in the Pacific

 

Last edited Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:23 PM - Edit history (1)

My father in law was in the Marines and landed at Iwo Jima and Gu-ada Canal.

He had a nasty skin disease from that war until the day he died a couple of years ago. He rarely talked about the war except that he said he caught the skin disease because his legs never stopped being wet for about a month. That is how he met my mother in law as she was a navy nurse that served on a hospital ship. He had a rather long stay, but went back into battle.


He had to leave "Saving Private Ryan". The Normandy landing was too much for him to watch. We had to take him home from the theater.


He hated the Japanese until the day he died. Always called them filthy rats. He once mentioned encountering mutilated bodies. It didn't intimidate him he said. All it did was piss him and everyone else off.

He once told me that an officer pulled out a pistol and held it to the head of a landing craft pilot, telling him that the gate would drop on sand, not water, and no one in the craft was going to drown because of cowardice.


My Father was in the Navy and had many rich story as well. Of course it was those storys that inspired me to enlist in the Navy as well.

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Response to mick063 (Reply #34)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:35 PM

39. When I was in college I almost married a Japanese guy, a brilliant guy who now works

for the U.N. in Geneva. My dad turned ashen gray when I told them, but bless his heart he never said a bad word about him . I think it helped dad because my boyfriend's dad came over from Japan and we all got together. His dad was in the war too. They made peace with each other and ended up hugging after dinner. I think dad was seriously happy when it didn't work out, but dad did say later he was glad I brought Shigehisa home. After learning the hell dad went through, I'm glad he didn't deck him, lol. But that was dad.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:11 PM

35. The absolute best teacher I ever had was a WWII Pacific Marine

He was the only one to come home from his original Regiment. He led the whole class, was totally respected. Nobody was left out of anything and we all pulled together that year. He taught a 3 hour block of English, Socials Studies and History; 8th and 9th grades.

He had risked his life, lost his friends and dedicated his life to making sure the next generations would be able to carry on for those that were lost, knowing what we needed to know not only to succeed in school but in life and it was the first year we were taught history past the Civil War.

I attended a funeral for an 87 year old former Marine this week. Mom's cousin's husband. He had later worked as a Chemical Engineer for 3M. Smart, big hearted guy. His first marriage broke up after the suicide of one of his sons in 1980 over a divorce. He then also embraced Mom's cousin's kids who's Dad had died of cancer. It was a blended family that worked.

One of my Brother-in-laws is a recently retired JAG Marine. He is plenty special too.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:18 PM

36. What a moving thread!

I have tears reading all these very moving posts. My dad was a Lt. Commander in the Navy. He was an LTA (blimp) pilot. He used to take me to El Toro in OC when it was still being used by the military and I got to tour the cockpit. I was so young then that I barely remember some of these things, but I cherish the memories I do have. I have some wonderful pics of him in his leather helmet (he was SO young) and in full dress uniform that I hang proudly on our walls.

When I was very young, he used to fly the blimp over our house in Costa Mesa and flash the lights or whatever the technical term is. On "Bring Your Dad to School Day" (which would be pretty rough these days) he was the most popular of all. So handsome!

Our oldest grandson got his flag after my dad's memorial service. Sure hope he still has it and treasures it. Probably left it with his mom (our daughter). He now lives in San Diego which is kinda fitting, being the old Navy town that it was.

My FIL was a gem and died far too young from a heart attack. He was in the Army and served in Europe where he ended up bringing my beloved MIL home - English war bride. He never talked about his service and my husband never asked which he sorely regrets now. I did find a bunch of stuff including a log about the ship that my MIL and her baby arrived in on Ancestry.com (way too addicting)! That baby is now almost 68, we have exactly the same bday although several years apart.

It is sad that when you're so young you don't give a rat's rear end about stuff like this. I sure wish I'd talked about the past with my parents and grandparents. Too late now.

Thanks to all for your great stories - now you owe me some Kleenex!

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:35 PM

38. The Pacific

 

Some of the most violent combat was in the Pacific Theater during WWII. Just watch "Victory At Sea" and watch the combat footage shown of our sailors and soldiers fighting the Japanese on the Islands and Oceans and I think that I am correct in calling those on the Islands and those on the sea were the real hero's of that historic time in our History.

Many of our young over many years have sacrificed for this Country and really deserve our thanks.


Unfortunately we are way to involved in War's and have spent Billions of Dollars and for what.


Our priorities are definitely screwed up.


What we really need is spending on our own Country and giving the underemployed jobs.

PS Victory At Sea had combat footage of Guadalcanal, Peleliu. I am so sorry that one of my hero's died and he was your Dad.

May his Soul Rest in Peace. Salute (United States Navy Veteran)

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:38 PM

40. Well......

Thanks so much for sharing this.

Too many veterans never tell their story. I'm glad you got to hear part of your father's.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:18 PM

41. My thanks for your dad...

...doing what he did. My cousin wouldn't talk about Viet Nam either. As someone I regard well says, "A Veteran, whether active duty, retired, national guard, or reserve, is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America for an amount of up to and including my life."

I had a friend named Harold who served in the 1st during Korea, one of the Chosin Few. After that his feet were in pretty bad shape. He spent the next 50 years disabled.

Robert E. Lee said it best at the Battle of Fredericksburg: "It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it." I'm pretty sure he was referring to politicians with that 'we'.

Thanks again

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:01 PM

43. A splendid tribute!

Beautiful!

Julie

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:18 PM

45. Thanks for sharing

K&R

Anyone who reads this, if you have the opportunity to care for either of your parents in the last months/years before their passing, I highly recommend it. You think you know them, but so much is revealed in their last days. I will never ever regret the precious time I spent with my mother. She, too, lived through those years of WWII. Catbyte, you should consider sitting down and writing all you learned about your father to leave for your children and descendents.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:27 PM

46. Thanks for sharing.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:31 PM

47. A salute to you Sam!

Someday I may open up and tell what it was like in the Viet Nam era.

Suffice to say that most of the Vets I have contact with and that is many, are by and large pacifists.
We have seen and done enough war. War is the basest and most cruel activity man can endure.
We need to end all wars.

Last Friday right before Veterans Day, I was getting my final checkup at my local VA hospital.
I incurred a bone infection after a quadruple bypass. I passed with flying colors, but enuf of me.

I sat in the waiting room with a young man, my oldest sons age, about 30-35. He was EOD.
Explosive Ordinance, same job I had, but many years difference. He cleared the way on the field for his fellow troops.
An IED blew off his arm below the elbow and his leg just above the knee. I never met a man who had a better
understanding of the world. He had a great sense of humor. We exchanged stories of explosives and what we blew up in training.
We laughed, we talked, we cried together in each others arms. I am so humbled by his service.

Most Americans have no idea what wartime soldiers go through. War is hell.

But when walking through hell, just keep walking with a grin on your face and a middle finger for the devil. LOL.

Greg.

Thank You again, Samuel Ross Alexander, your child is a good and compassionate person.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:35 PM

48. If you want to make yourself sick, read "The Imperial Cruise" and see why it didn't have to happen

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Response to rwsanders (Reply #48)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:01 PM

52. That's not even the beginning. It started in 1853, and Commodore Perry's 'visit' to Japan.

Meiji Restoration. Our fault.

Put them on the path to imperialism. So many countries suffered as a result.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:36 PM

49. Reading all the stories about dads who served in WWII made me want to share this story about my Dad

He never served overseas, but treated those who did as an Army doctor at various military hospitals around the country, including Walter Reed Hospital in DC and Brook Army Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, where he met my mother; for more than 30 years, he continued to treat veterans at the VA hospital in Tucson, Arizona. To this day, although less frequently than before, when I introduce myself to folks in Tucson (especially those who were my father's peers), when they hear my last name, they ask if I am the son of the doctor at the VA by the same name; when I answer in the affirmative, the reactions are very much part of why I respected and loved my father so much. It was clear from the reactions that he treated his patients, all of whom were veterans, with the utmost respect and consideration, for the simple reason he believed these men and women had earned it. It always gave me a sense of pride to be his son and to recognize what the bonds that tie men and women of that generation together. God bless you, Dad; I miss you and will always do my best to make you proud of me by serving those who are in need.

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Response to catbyte (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:43 PM

50. My Dad was a proud Marine.

He was wounded on Pelileu, rarely talked about his experiences and for years after would sometimes wake up screaming in the night. He was a strong Democrat to his dying day. My son and I have watched The Pacific and we marvel about what those men did.
Here's to my Dad, your Dad and all of our veterans.

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