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Thread: D-Day: 75 years

  1. #31
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    I have mentioned my Uncle before, but he must hold some sort of record. He was a US citizen, but joined the Royal Canadian Air Force before we were in the war. They taught him to fly, and he was sent to London area where he flew for a short time before his group was transferred to the Royal Air Force. He flew Spitfires during the Blitz, and was shot down over the English Channel and rescued by a fishing boat.

    When the US got into the war he was told he would lose his citizenship if he did not transfer into the US Army Air Corps, so he did, flying bomber escort, until he was transferred to somewhere in India, where he flew air
    cover against the Japanese, for convoys going over the Hump.

    At the end of the war he continued the fight flying transport planes for Chiang Kai Shek's Nationalist Army during their fight against Mao Tse Tung's Communist forces. He wrote about bullet holes in the plane received from Ho Chi Minh's forces helping Mao's. Yes, that Ho Chi Minh.

    He went home in '49 , I think, and was reactivated for Korea, where he was a training officer, no combat. He stayed in the AF and served in occupied Germany, where his last excitement was the Berlin Air Lift.

    Four different national militaries, several theaters, three hot wars, and a cold war. That must be some kind of record.

    I was told he was an Ace, but with so many changes, if he was it got lost, as I cannot find any info to support that.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stewie Simpson View Post
    Lets not forget that for the "UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand" WWII commenced on September 1st 1939.
    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    We remember Stewie. The Commonwealth fought long, hard and proudly.
    My Canadian grandfather, who I never met, often wryly joked that the English were very brave and would 'fight to the last colonial'. He spent 4 yrs in the mud of WWI France, fighting Germans, to gain Canada's independence.
    Last edited by Malcolm McLeod; 06-07-2019 at 8:50 AM.
    Molann an obair an saor.

  3. #33
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    My late father in law served in the European theater. The beaches had been cleared prior to his arrival, but he still saw plenty of ugly. He was with an armored company in the Ardennes and in Bastogne Belgium and was involved in the battle of the bulge. He never talked much about it to his family (all girls) but he shared a few things with me after I married his youngest and he grew to trust me. He saw Saving Private Ryan when it came out and was pretty stunned. When my wife asked him about it he started to cry and told her it was pretty real. He saw some terrible things over there and chose to bury the memories deep. Thank you for your service Private Baker.
    It's wood dust. Saw dust would suggest a problem.

  4. #34
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    I saw an interview with a D-day survivor that had become friends, later in life, with one of the German machine gunners from the Pillbox positions at Omaha beach.

    It helped me to understand the feelings my grandfather had overcome in casting aside his own grievances as life went on.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    I saw an interview with a D-day survivor that had become friends, later in life, with one of the German machine gunners from the Pillbox positions at Omaha beach.

    It helped me to understand the feelings my grandfather had overcome in casting aside his own grievances as life went on.
    You know, I've heard and read similar accounts of former enemies becoming friends later in life - infantry, pilots, sailors. I know the phenomena goes back a long time, for example there were joint Blue and Gray reunions after Gettysburg. But I'm sorry to have to say that I just don't understand it. I dont have enough "forgiveness" in me to befriend someone who may have gunned down my buddy. Maybe it comes with the wisdom of old age. Maybe time heals all wounds. Maybe I'm just different than everyone else. I don't know.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    Thank you for your service Private Baker.
    +1. Thank you.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  7. #37
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    My father and his brothers served overseas in WWII, miraculously, all came back. My mother's brothers also came back. I cannot imagine what their experiences were like, none of them would ever talk about them.

    I've read "The Greatest Generation", it's not how I describe my parents, or my friends parents.

    I call them the broken generation. They grew up during the depression, for the most part their childhood, developmental and educational aspects were missing or severely affected by that economic calamity.

    Then they had an all expense paid trip to Europe in 1939 where they saw, and participated in things that would permanently affect their personalities and outlooks on the world, if they were lucky. If they were unlucky they were either killed or came home mangled.

    Following the above they came home to a rigid, inflexible society that expected men to be men, and just carry on with civilian life as if the previous 5 years didn't exist. No support, no recognition of PTSD, no help in trying to cope with their experiences. They were simply cut loose and discarded once they had done their duty.

    We can glamourize it all we want, that generation was chewed up and spit out by a society that gave them precious little support. I'm amazed that any of them actually managed to cope.

    Now my children have friends that have served in places such as Afghanistan, they've come home damaged as well. At least today there is some support for their mental health, and recognition of how it has affected them. A couple of them are doing well, one is not and I think of him often.

    I am hoping that we provide better support for our military personnel than we did previously.

    Regards, Rod.

  8. #38
    That's an interesting perspective Rod. Thanks for sharing it.

    Yeah, they were expected to just suck it up and get over it when they returned. I read a very sad story last week about an 18 year old medic on one of the beaches. He had many guys die in his arms, while providing what comfort he could. When he came home, those scenes haunted him for 60+ years and he drank to forget them. He finally got help in his 80s and worked through it. He was at last week's ceremonies.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  9. #39
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    Thanks Frederick, every year at the Cenotaph on Remembrance day I think of what my father said about the occasion.

    He wished that I would live to see the day when there were no veterans to attend.................Unfortunately we don't seem capable of achieving that........Regards, Rod.

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    You know, I've heard and read similar accounts of former enemies becoming friends later in life - infantry, pilots, sailors. I know the phenomena goes back a long time, for example there were joint Blue and Gray reunions after Gettysburg. But I'm sorry to have to say that I just don't understand it. I dont have enough "forgiveness" in me to befriend someone who may have gunned down my buddy. Maybe it comes with the wisdom of old age. Maybe time heals all wounds. Maybe I'm just different than everyone else. I don't know.
    Fred,
    I've heard it said that the soldiers in a war are simply victims of another type. If you're going to hold a grudge, the real perpetrators are the politicians who instigate the war.
    The guy that might have gunned down your buddy would have done so following orders, not out of a personal animus. The soldiers don't have much of a choice and in my opinion they pay a heavy price for their patriotism. It's no wonder PTSD is what it is.
    I just don't think forcing human beings to slaughter other human beings is a natural thing to do and I hope our species evolves beyond it one day.
    We should all wish that politicians would treat the act of military aggression as a grim and sacred responsibility, a very last resort.
    Edwin

    Another thought - Maybe the befriending is the soldiers identifying with each other's no-win predicament and not only avoiding taking it personally, but actually bonding because they can relate to each other in a way that nobody else can. If there's any merit to this hypothesis, it's an interesting paradox for sure.
    Last edited by Edwin Santos; 06-14-2019 at 11:31 PM.

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    Another thought - Maybe the befriending is the soldiers identifying with each other's no-win predicament and not only avoiding taking it personally, but actually bonding because they can relate to each other in a way that nobody else can. If there's any merit to this hypothesis, it's an interesting paradox for sure.
    Edwin,
    Everything you said makes good sense. And after reading all of it a couple times, I kept coming back to this thought - it really resonated with me. Thanks for sharing it. I'll think about this today.
    Fred
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 06-15-2019 at 5:12 AM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  12. #42
    There used to be a barber in a city close by here, with a horrible facial scar. More scar than face. A friend told me he was hit in the landing craft on D Day, and did not make it out of the boat.

  13. #43
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    If we were attacked again, I suspect the enlisting rate would be incredible. It always has been when we were attacked.

  14. #44
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    I knew a man, a friend of my father, that was in the paratroopers and jumped into Normandy on D-Day. He never wanted to talk about it other than to say that it was very confusing and very scary. He also jumped into Holland for the Operation Market/Garden. He would talk about that a little, various incidents that happened during the fighting. He was also at Bastogne during the battle of the Bulge. To me the most amazing thing was that in all the battles/fighting he was in, he never got a scratch. (Or at least no battle injuries)

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