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Aleutian thread 4

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by garytelecastor, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. garytelecastor

    garytelecastor Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 5, 2006
    On the Bayou in da Tundra
    As most of you know, my father was in the Aleutian Islands in WW2 for the whole campaign. I have told some of the tales about his life up there. I was thinking about this one today with all that is happening on the planet.
    My father told me some of this, but not much as he would barely speak about some of his experiences. He said that on one island they came in on, they had an exceptionally warm welcome from the Japanese. Most of the guys that served up there were from the south, Alabama, Georgia, and Texas. But the Army took a bunch of men from Minnesota and Wisconsin and Iowa as they had experienced snow and winter. So my dad was in a unit that was largely from the south and because of such he came home from the war with a southern accent. My mother always used to laugh about that. So about 2 months before this battle they had a replacement sent in for their 1st Lieutenant. He was an FNG, and was trying to establish his authority, which according to my dad wasn't necessary nor was it earning him any friends. There was a guy in their unit that was a little slow. He had enlisted with a bunch of friends and they had taken it upon themselves to watch over him. Well, because he was a little slow this new officer was really riding him, and this guy was getting sick of it. So were his friends. So they were on the island and this officer had told them to dig fox holes. So this guy, coming from a farm, was done pretty quickly with his hole, so he sat down on the edge of it and lit his pipe. The officer comes out and says, "I ordered you to dig a fox hole. Just what in the name of **** do you think you are doing?!?!" The soldier looked up at him and said, "Well sir, I have finished my hole and I thought I would have a brief smoke before going to chow." The officer said, "The smoking lamp is not lit and that hole looks like ****. Re-dig it." The solder reached down and picked up his rifle and shot the officer dead.
    Now I asked my dad if it was ever followed up on. And he simply said, "What happens in the field stays in the field."
    My father never spoke much about his duty. He was a man whom, and I can be totally honest with you, I may have had 4-5 real heart to heart talks with during his life. I miss that now, and realize that it was really up to me to initiate those and I didn't. He was a quiet guy who worked his tail off with an 8th grade education to support 4 boys and a wife, sometimes 2 jobs at a time. He was the division champ in boxing in the army, and when I was a kid he worked at a foundry. (Quick bit of advice, never try to take on someone who is trained in boxing.) His job was to move huge cauldrons filled with metal that was to be melted. He and another guy would have carry them by themselves. I remember him sitting at the dinner table and all his t-shirts were orange from the rust that had stuck to his body, and then when he would sweat, it would stain his shirt. He never complained to us, maybe to mom. He just followed through on his responsibility. When my wife committed adultery and I first heard of it, I called him. His response was so typical, "Well, that's why your mother and I agreed never to be unfaithful to each other." At the time I was thinking he was talking about my mom and dad and I now realize he was talking about us kids.
    Anyway, every year about this time I think a lot about my dad and the thousands of other dads that are alive or dead and went through that terrible conflict. I remember one of the favorite things he said, "There are life shattering events, and then there are life shattering events". I wonder if he was thinking about that guy on the beach.
    All the best to you. Keep picking.
    uriah1, thunderbyrd and Jupiter like this.
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