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Share your stories of the veterans in your life

Share your stories of the veterans in your life

Old 11-11-2011, 08:39 AM
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I would love to go around and give a big hug to each and every veteran today. But I'm unable to do that. I will, however, reflect on the great men I have known personally who gave their all for this country. My grandfather was a carpenter's mate in the Navy during WWII. His unit landed on Omaha Beach the day after D-Day (D-1). His job was to fix boats that had been damaged the day before. When he got home, he wrote this poem about his unit, Salvage Group 4.

"We Did Our Bit"

Were not a combat outfit, nor fighting men are we.
We are just those sailors, who never go to sea.

We fight the war with saws and wrenches,
We live on the beach in holes and trenches.
Theres never a chance for heroes here,
We just do our bit without any cheers.
No one knows were in the war.
We are the members of Salvage Group 4.

We hit the beach at D-1,
We had no protection, not even a gun.
We went to work as soon as we could,
Repairing the barges made out of wood.
We patched a boat here, and salvaged one there,
We worked when it rained and when it was fair.

We worked day and night, till we had the beach clean,
In fact it was the best I ever had seen.
So our work was all done, and we were ready to leave
When a storm broke out and this is hard to believe.
When the rain had stopped and the wind blew no more
We saw two months more work for Salvage Group 4.

There were ships on the beach both large and small
We never did bother to count them all.
There were VPs and Ms on top of CTs
This mess was all caused by the troublesome seas.
So we worked twice as hard as ever before,
But still it was easy for Salvage Group 4.

One by one the wrecks left the shore
Back to the U.K. to sail once more.
Our job isnt done yet, it wont be long
I say well be home Christmas, I hope Im not wrong.
Then after the war is over and in our parlors we sit,
we can tell our kids about France and how we did our bit.
*** finis ***
Thomas C.B.

I would love to see your stories too, about everyone who did their "bit" for the sake of USA.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:05 AM
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My father served as a motor machinist mate second class on the submarine USS Haddo in WWII. He told the story that their sub had to sneak into the Nagasaki harbor in Japan behind a freightor when the anti-submarine nets were lifted for that Japanese vessel to come in - then, they had to sneak out again the same way. They were in that harbor very shortly before the bomb was dropped and were very fortunate to escape.

I have very mixed emotions about the need for dropping the first bomb - I understand that it might have been very necessary to end that dreadful war in the Pacific and save lives, but one such bomb was enough and I see NO valid reason for the second bomb - the threat of it would have been enough. My father went to college on the GI Bill, made the most of his education and did well in his chosen profession. He has since passed away. RIP, Dad.

Times have changed and I was glad to see the outpouring of support from the US for Japan after the earthquake and tsunami - I made several quilts for the Japan Comfort Quilt effort.

Wars are terrible things and I think we need to do everything we can to support our troops that return from various parts of the world with horrific memories that they cannot shake. God Bless all that serve our country.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:12 AM
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My late DH was a disabled vet. He was the kindest man I knew, next to my Dad who passed when I was very young.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:20 AM
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My Dad was on a ship in the South Pacific in WWII. His ship was torpedoed twice - 2 days apart- and had to be towed in for repairs. While being towed they were used as "bait" for the Japanese. I love and miss him very much.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:29 AM
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My father was a US Navy torpedo man, my brother a lifer US Air Force pilot, and my nephew is a US Navy submarine cook. I really count my blessings that all three remain healthy and whole. My heart aches for families with different outcomes.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:50 AM
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My husband was enlisted in the navy during the Vietnam war. He doesn't talk about it much, would never be a part of parades or really say much about it. I think it took our two sons enlisting, one a Marine(Recon), one in the Navy to finally talk about his Navy tour. I guess I can say I'm very proud of my military men, just as I am so very proud of all our military both past and present. One last thing I would like to say I recently had the honor to thank a veteran in a local restraurant for his service. He was wearing a cap from the Korean war, had a walker and was on oxygen. I shook his hand and he said thank you.
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:19 PM
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I had 3 Navy brothers in the Pacific theater during WWII. They never talked about their horrors. One was the youngest in the navy to make to Chief Petty Officer. He was in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed and heard the men aboard the Arzona tapping that they were still alive. Another landed on Guam. A third saw the horrors of Japanese POW camps. Once, during a lull in the war, one brother was given a 3 hour pass to travel via boat to visit with another brother on another ship in full view of his own ship. Fortunately all 3 came home safely but changed by their experiencs. The last one, at 93, died 2 years ago.
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:45 PM
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My DH was in Viet Nam. He was a door gunner in a helicopter and he was assigned to the motor pool at headguarters. This means they were on the front line but behind the other units who were fighting. DH was technically a mechanic but he was sent into various behind the lines missions. There is no record of alot of this as the hut that had the records were destroyed. He was sent on missions to clean up after the VC bombed orphanages. Kids walking up to our guys were not to be trusted as they were often strapped to bombs. Lots of really bad things happened and I only know the tip of it all. My DH was in a jeep that got blown up and then later a 2 1/2" ton truck (deucenhalf) that was blown up. He was sent home in a body cast and then when he recovered he went back over. He was in a Japanese hospital for a while also. He enlisted and is really proud of that in a time when most were drafted.
Glen had told me he was captured and held for 3 mos and then they escaped and walked out of the jungle. But this is not on any record. When we were arguing one time several years ago he began to have a flashback. He stumbled against the wall and fell down to sit against the wall and the look in his eyes was pure terror. He was cowering and screaming no more no more - he was acting as if he was being electrocuted and in water and then rats running over his legs. It was not fun to watch. I helped him come out of it and he has had other flashbacks but none as bad as that one.

He also had a head injury in 1977 and that plus the Nam experience has left him with serious problems health wise. He is in a wheelchair part of the time and has seizures and loses the use of his legs and arms from time to time as well as he has paranoia and PTSD which means he is constantly on alert for danger and questions every sound. The doctor says his subconsious is still playing these memories behind the scenes so he is always filtering life through those experiences. I have had a hard time understanding why he can't just ignore things like I do but he can"t

Yes living with a Viet Nam vet is a daily trial. But he remembers a lot of the fun things they did too. They had a pet rat they fed beer to it and coke. He had a shephard that was a point dog to hear anyone moving before the guys did.
They had local girls that were maids and the girls were well trained to give massages.(anything beyond that I didn't want to know! LOL) He learned alot about massage from them. He used to give me great massages but his hands won't let him do it anymore.

I was only 12 when he enlisted at 18 so Viet Nam is a bit hard for me to relate to. But I am very proud of him!
He enlisted in Sep 69 and was honorably discharged May of 72

Another thing was he was engaged when he enlisted and while over there he was one to get a Dear John letter. She decided she didn't want to wait for him. I am so glad she didnt' wait!!! LOL
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Old 11-13-2011, 01:11 PM
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My DH was in Viet Nam. He was a door gunner in a helicopter and he was assigned to the motor pool at headguarters. This means they were on the front line but behind the other units who were fighting. DH was technically a mechanic but he was sent into various behind the lines missions. There is no record of alot of this as the hut that had the records were destroyed. He was sent on missions to clean up after the VC bombed orphanages. Kids walking up to our guys were not to be trusted as they were often strapped to bombs. Lots of really bad things happened and I only know the tip of it all. My DH was in a jeep that got blown up and then later a 2 1/2" ton truck (deucenhalf) that was blown up. He was sent home in a body cast and then when he recovered he went back over. He was in a Japanese hospital for a while also. He enlisted and is really proud of that in a time when most were drafted.
Glen had told me he was captured and held for 3 mos and then they escaped and walked out of the jungle. But this is not on any record. When we were arguing one time several years ago he began to have a flashback. He stumbled against the wall and fell down to sit against the wall and the look in his eyes was pure terror. He was cowering and screaming no more no more - he was acting as if he was being electrocuted and in water and then rats running over his legs. It was not fun to watch. I helped him come out of it and he has had other flashbacks but none as bad as that one.

He also had a head injury in 1977 and that plus the Nam experience has left him with serious problems health wise. He is in a wheelchair part of the time and has seizures and loses the use of his legs and arms from time to time as well as he has paranoia and PTSD which means he is constantly on alert for danger and questions every sound. The doctor says his subconsious is still playing these memories behind the scenes so he is always filtering life through those experiences. I have had a hard time understanding why he can't just ignore things like I do but he can"t

Yes living with a Viet Nam vet is a daily trial. But he remembers a lot of the fun things they did too. They had a pet rat they fed beer to it and coke. He had a shephard that was a point dog to hear anyone moving before the guys did.
They had local girls that were maids and the girls were well trained to give massages.(anything beyond that I didn't want to know! LOL) He learned alot about massage from them. He used to give me great massages but his hands won't let him do it anymore.

I was only 12 when he enlisted at 18 so Viet Nam is a bit hard for me to relate to. But I am very proud of him!
He enlisted in Sep 69 and was honorably discharged May of 72

Another thing was he was engaged when he enlisted and while over there he was one to get a Dear John letter. She decided she didn't want to wait for him. I am so glad she didnt' wait!!! LOL
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Old 11-13-2011, 02:27 PM
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My father was a gunner on the LST808 and it was sunk by a suicide bomber. He and the survivors spent the next 6 weeks on an island with only what they could salvedge from the wreck. There was intense fighting on the other side of the island and they dug into foxholes and waited to be rescued. A lot of the men came back very damaged but dad decided that part of his life was over after the war and never talked about it. I didn't find out about any of it until i went to some of the reunions with him years later. The time we actually toured an LST that was being restored was a day I'll never forget. It gave me more insight into a man I deeply respected and loved with all my heart. He was my hero and it was something to see how they lived on that floating tin can. These brave men who give their all every day deserve the best we can give them when they come home. And if they don't come home we need to take care of the families who will never get over the loss.
My DH was in Viet Nam and he doesn't talk about it either. It was a job that had to be done and he was there to do his part.
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