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WWII and Korean War Vets.

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  • WWII and Korean War Vets.

    Last month I saw a man wearing a Tuskegee Airman ball cap at the TSA area of Hobby Airport. So I ask him about it. Turns out his grandfather was a member of one of the air crews. This gentleman was very proud of his grandpa and rightly so. I felt privileged just to have met him.

    As a non sequitur after I boarded the Southwest flight the Flight Attendant announced that we had a Marine Korean War Vet onboard. Everyone on that plane gave a their approval with a loud round of clapping and cheers.

    Just Googled this info:
    "According to statistics released by the Veteran's Administration, our World War II vets are dying at a rate of approximately 492 a day. This means there are approximately only 855,070 veterans remaining of the 16 million who served our nation in World War II."

    "Of the approximately 5.7 million veterans who served in the Korean War, about 2.1 million surviving veterans remain, as of 2013."
    Good judgement comes from experience,
    and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.
    Mark Twain

  • #2


    My grandfather in-law died last year. He was an FO at the Battle of The Bulge, and remained after the war with the occupation force.

    At the BOB he lagged behind our retreating troops directing fire on the enemy and he and his team were captured. Just after they were captured the Germans took his team and other soldiers captured in the area to a crossroads in his sector to await a truck to take them to a camp. He knew when his batteries stopped being directed SOP was to begin to fire harassment barrages at several crossroads (where they happened to be standing) every ten minutes. He just kept an eye on his watch, and told the other prisoners (in his thick AL accent), "When those shells start whistling all those Germans are going to hit the deck, and we're going to run for those trees over yonder."

    That's just what happened, and they got lucky and were able to make their own lines before getting recaptured. He said when he made it to his unit he got a cup of coffee, a new jeep, and he and his team went back out and was back directing fire within 20 minutes. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions that day.

    Being ahead of the advancing army he had dozens of pistols he pulled off dead German officers. Multiples of just about every thing they carried. He said he traded many of them, but kept the best ones. Each GI was technically only allowed one with a set of capture papers. When he had finished his time with the occupation force the guys in his platoon asked what he was going to do with his "big bag of pistols", and would he pass them out? He gathered them all together next to the latrine, and said, "What I had to crawl through and what I had to do to get these, you can have any one of them you want." He proceeded to drop them into the latrine one at a time. All of them except one 1922 FN Browning he took off a dead tank commander. My wife's uncle now has it.

    He never spoke about the war before I married his grand daughter, but right when I met him he started telling me stories, and whenever we'd visit I just sat with him and listened to story after story, and we'd look through his big scrap book binders he kept about his service, his buddies, his unit, and the war in general. I started recording his stories a few years before he died.

    At 96, nearly blind, and moving like a turtle he was interviewed by the local PBS about his experiences during the war. At the end of the interview the girl asked him if there was anything he'd like to add. He said, "The war was terrible, I've never been so cold in my life, and I lost a lot of friends, but I really enjoyed killing those Germans. If the government asked me to do it again I'd say, yes." The interviewer just sat there speechless, because she knew he meant it. I though my mother-in-law was going to pass out. That part didn't air.

    He was a tough, old SOB. I miss him.
    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." C.S. Lewis

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    • #3


      In my mind, and maybe mine only. The Korean War vets are the most forgotten vets. We hear a lot about the WWII vets being the best generation and, although forgotten at the time we hear a fair amount about the Vietnam Vets. At least growing up I heard a lot about the WWII guys. A lot of Vietnam vets were friends and relatives. Never heard much about Korea and wasn't exposed to much of it in the 1960s history books either.

      What those guys went through at Chosin reservoir and other locations was as bad or worse than the WWII European Campaign. I think it's a story largely untold. RD
      Every once in a while in life we need a policeman, a lawyer, a doctor and a preacher. We need a farmer three times a day, every day.

      Et Canis Manducare Canis Mundi

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      • #4


        Rockydog wrote:
        In my mind, and maybe mine only. The Korean War vets are the most forgotten vets. We hear a lot about the WWII vets being the best generation and, although forgotten at the time we hear a fair amount about the Vietnam Vets. At least growing up I heard a lot about the WWII guys. A lot of Vietnam vets were friends and relatives. Never heard much about Korea and wasn't exposed to much of it in the 1960s history books either.

        What those guys went through at Chosin reservoir and other locations was as bad or worse than the WWII European Campaign. I think it's a story largely untold. RD
        I total agree

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        • #5


          There's a retired buitcher who lives next to where I deer hunt who is a Chosin Marine. We bring him dinner every season. My friend's dad was at Chosin too. Forgotten by whom?

          I can't quantify or rate suck. I can only sympathize. I sit next to all of them at Legion meetings, from icy, Nork tundra, to burning sand/dust, and none are forgotten to me. If you want to scare me though, tell me how cold it was. All war is hell, but fighting Mother Nature at the same time breaks armies.

          When you see these *******s kneeling on a sports field and disrespecting our flag and what it stands for you know our entire education system is in near total failure. So in that respect I agree.
          “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." C.S. Lewis

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          • #6


            The more I learned about Korea and the conditions our guys endured.
            Korea was a knock down drag out no quarters slug fest.
            It has been almost forgotten by history but it should not have been.
            Tactically it officially ended as a stalemate.
            But strategically it was an overwhelming victory for freedom.
            It ended any hope the Chinese had of dominating the pacific with the use of force.
            They learned through attrition that for every inch of freedom they would take the cost would be astronomically high.
            After the Armistice we had never again seen the Chinese attempt to dictate events with force.


            As for drama... Oh man there are not many conflicts that could compare.
            Just think of all the scenarios we found our selves in.
            From total defeat and the retreat to Pusan. To the undermanned and heroic defense of the Pusan perimeter.

            Then the elation of complete victory at Inchon. The Patton like chase to the Yalu.

            Then the weight of crushing defeat at the Chinese intervention. The retreat to port of Hungnam. The loss of Seoul again.

            Operation THUNDERBOLT and the eventual recapture of Seoul.
            Then attrition warfare not far removed from WW1 type warfare.

            Had it all and we suffered and over came it all.
            "Enabling bad behavior does not bring about good behavior.
            It just dulls the shovel so its harder to dig out when you finally get around to it." Said by Me

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