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Family's war stories.

Discussion in 'Living History' started by OpanaPointer, May 2, 2019.

  1. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I should put this down while I can.

    My mother was born in 1929. She was 12 when the US entered WWII. The family lived near an Italian POW camp "somewhere in Missouri". She used to walk up to the wire and swap fresh veggies and fruit for beautiful hand-carved kitchen spoons and forks. The guards just leaned on their towers. She thought they were happy to be in the US instead of North Africa.

    She told me that getting her siblings to weed the truck garden was her hardest job, they were a lazy lot according to her. Then one morning as she pushed and prodded them out back of the shack they lived in she realized that there wasn't a single weed in the garden. My grandmother was properly impressed, to say the least. This seeming miracle continued for weeks and she finally decided to stay up all night if needed, to find out what was happening out there.

    Of course, being a teenager she fell asleep. She woke up to hear gentle sobbing. There was a man in the garden, on his hands and knees, pulling weeds. She understood instantly. He was terribly sad and longing for his own garden back in Italy. She carefully got up and slipped back into the house. She was met by her mother who was concerned about an empty bed. She was also concerned about something else.

    "Where did you get that garland of wild flowers?" A lovely necklace was hanging around her neck. Mom thought then that the man was missing more than just his garden. She was happy when the war ended and went home, even if she had to get the sibs to work again.
     
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  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I still find it kind of odd that German (not sure about others) POWs here in the US earned more for their labor than the average worker back in Germany and they got free room, board, and education in the process.
     
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  3. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    Just a few years before he passed away, My father-in-law told me stories about his service in the Pacific, in WWII. He was 18 years old when he enlisted, in the Navy, I believe in 1943. He went to signals school and after graduation, he took a 2 week slow ride to Pearl, on board an LST. At Pearl, he was assigned to one of the 3 signal towers that surrounded Pearl. His tower was across the channel and overlooked the Arizona.He then was assigned to a staff support unit, afloat. His unit backed up an Admiral's staff, with his entire time spent on aircraft carriers. When the Admiral and his staff, rotated out, then his unit was assigned to the new guy. He was in the front lines for some 14 months until the war ended. He served on the Enterprise, with John McCain's grandfather, and the Yorktown (CV-10), with most of his service time spent on the Yorktown. One of his close encounters occurred, March 18, 1945. He said that he was on duty, on the signal bridge, when a Japanese plane dropped a bomb and it was heading for the signal bridge. The signal office had a hatch, outboard and inboard,. He was standing on the outboard side when he saw the bomb drop and ran to the inboard side. The bomb missed the signal catwalk but hit and plunged through the 20MM gallery below. Some poor guy was cut in half while manning his 20MM. The bomb exploded, when it hit the water and pushed fragments into the ship killing and injuring several men. He also said that he saw the plane that hit the Franklin. Apparently, no one fired on the plane due to identification confusion and even though they were alerting the Franklin, that they had visual identification on the plane, the rest is history.
     
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  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    That was the only time that the USS Yorktown(CV-10) was hit during the war. IIRC, 5 of her crew were killed. Also, from what I remember, the crewman manning the 20mm had his legs cut off by the bomb fins.

    Ruben P. Kitchen covered this episode well in his book, "Pacific Carrier: The Saga of the USS Yorktown(CV-10) in WW2". His father had served on that carrier too.
     
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