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MurphTheSurf3 On June - 7 - 2014

LSM

 

My dad commanded a Landing Ship Medium (LSM) in the Pacific for much of WWII but on June 6, 1944 he supported the landings on Omaha Beach in Normandy. Six months prior to the invasion he had gotten orders that sent him first to Hawaii, then to California, then to New York and from there to England.

In 2000 I interviewed my dad about his war time experiences. He was a career U.S. Navy officer serving 35 years. I grew up surrounded by the images of his ships and training units and he was always the proudest of those from his time in World War II. Dad passed away in 2005.

As the Allied planners prepared for D Day, the commanders of the invasion had decided that it would be necessary to bombard the beaches closer in than had been planned. Ariel and off shore heavy bombardment would not be able to reduce the embedded fortifications sufficiently and equally important keep the German forces, sequestered in bunkers, pinned down while allied forces established beach heads.

Hurriedly a number of LSM’s were modified to provide supporting fire to the beaches.

They were fitted with rockets and cannons to aid the bombardment of the German defenses and support the landing of troops on the beaches 1,000 to 4,000 yards off the beach. They were to deliver fire in a high trajectory that forced the enemy to dig in and go underground. Since they could take on positions on the reverse slope of the beaches facing away from the British Channel they would be invaluable. But, crews had to be assembled and some were drawn from the Pacific Theater.

Dad had just graduated from college with plans to join his father in his construction business in Florida when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. His older brother and he enlisted. His older brother, Al, became a Naval Aviator and went missing in action in the Pacific on a reconnaissance flight. My dad became an amphibious landing craft junior officer and then rather quickly, as casualties in the early landings were very high, a commander of an LSM.

The ship’s complement was 5 officers and 75 enlisted. Length: 203 ft 6 in (62.03 m). Beam: 34 ft (10 m). Displacement: 758 long tons (770 t) light; 983 long tons (999 t) attack; 1,175 long tons (1,194 t) fully loaded.

It carried 50 or so Marines and 5 to 15 medium to heavy vehicles including tanks, LVT’s and DUKW’s. My dad was informed that while he was in command, the Chief Petty Office was “in charge.” The Captain who led his squadron told him that the most important words he would say on the bridge of his ship in his first six months in command were: “What do you think, Chief?”

Dad was in operations in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands in 1943 and 1944. He was among the “experienced” officers dispatched to service for D-Day.

“I was one of the ‘old men’, a veteran of successful, but very costly, landings. I was 25 and a Lt. Commander. I had one boat shot out from under me in the Pacific and was forced to land with the Marines on a beach on an island in the Marshall’s that was  only by a number because it was so small. We spent a day pinned down by fire from the jungle. A Marine sergeant kept us alive by giving ‘suggestions’ to me and a young Marine lieutenant about digging in and  waiting for heavy support.”

When he got his orders to report for transport to Pearl Harbor he had no idea what was happening. It took a month to get him to England. At Portsmouth he was assigned to a modified LSM, now referred to as a LSM(R).

“It was insane. I and a chief had to to train a crew of sailors to handle the ship in the English Channel while Marine crews trained to work the guns. Only the chief and I had any experience. Conditions for training were not good. We had to maintain secrecy. We had to compete with other crews for training time. We did our best to simulate the conditions we would face but there was no way we could really do it. The weather was awful.”

Very little went as planned during the landing at Omaha. Sea conditions made navigation difficult especially for the lighter landing craft- the ones most of us think of with ramps dropping and troops pouring out. The defenses were even stronger than had been anticipated. My dad recalled that he had a series of battle orders to cover possible situations. “I remember thinking that we would probably have to get close to the beach to cover a retreat. Things were going that badly. Most of our guys were hit really hard when they got close to the beach. A lot died, more were wounded. It looked like everyone was pinned down. Eventually we were ordered to get close to support one channel where assault troops with engineers were clustered as they prepared an assault on the bluffs. They were dug in, getting shelter where they could and there were way too few of them.”

Artillery support from the big guns of the battleships and cruisers far off the beaches could only concentrate fire on the flanks of the beaches for fear of hitting U.S. forces. The destroyers were able to get in closer, but “We were able to get even closer and direct fire at specific targets. Of course that made us a target too. But we controlled the air and the Germans did not have a lot of heavy artillery so we were generally ok. My biggest worry was getting beached if we got too close.”

Dad’s ship turned parallel to the beach and cruised from East to West, guns and rockets blazing at targets of opportunity. “I kept thinking that we should have hit them harder and longer from the bigger ships before the landings but the weather was always a worry and the landing craft could not handle heavy seas. I don’t know. At one point we were asked to lay in rocket fire just in front of the engineers and infantry as they advanced on a large cement wall built between two huge dunes. Blowing it out of the way would require heavy charges at its base but the engineers had to get close. We didn’t have the fire power. The destroyers did but that would lay in fire too close to our own guys. I remember being relieved when I saw troops moving off the beach in narrow streams when the German fortifications were breached, but it seemed to me that there were not enough men left to really reach the objectives. We did our best, son, we did our best.”


Yeah, Dad, I am sure you did

 ***************************************************

PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT’S D-DAY PRAYERMy Fellow Americans:

Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment — let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace — a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Amen.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt – June 6, 1944

Hear it at http://www.historyplace.com/…Cross Posted at PlanetPOV (http://planetpov.com/) and HPRefugees. (http://hprefugees.groups.msnbc.com/…)

Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

44 Responses so far.

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  1. docmackay says:

    Dear Sir,
    I honor and respect your father’s service, however, I must advise you that no LSM(R)s nor LSMs ever served in the European Theatre during WWII.

    My history book on the LSM(R)s of WWII will be published soon by McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.

    Sincerely,

    Ron MacKay, Jr.
    Historian,
    USS LSM-LSMR Association

  2. Wemble says:

    My own father was a heavy machine gunner and was just 23 when he landed on Omaha Beach. He had already fought in North Africa and Sicily before he landed in France. I have a letter he wrote to his father just days later and he said, “you almost had one less son today”.

    He fought his way all the way to Germany and in November he was wounded for the 2nd time and the war was over for him. Back then they didn’t know about PTSD, but who could be completely sane after years of heavy fighting? His wound sent him home from Germany and eventually he was 100% disabled, but it really took 25 years for it to kill him.

    My mother left my father when I was 4 and never really talked of him. I saw him once more when I was 10 and he died when I was 18, just starting college, so I never got to talk with him about much of anything, especially his wartime experiences. His service and because I was the dependent of a 100% disabled veteran sent me through college, but I can never imagine the hell he went through as a young man at Normandy and all the rest of the fighting.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Hello Wemble….just got back to the comments here…

      Your narrative is one I can resonate with. Your dad seems to have really suffered from the war’s impact on him. Twice wounded and then having left the service with a disabling wound….

      My dad was only hit once and that was a graze wound across the top of his head which left him bleeding a lot and with a part in his hair that was there the rest of his life. He told us he got it when he took off his helmet to get his binoculars adjusted. A sniper in the jungles hit him (in the Marshall Islands. His CPO, after it was clear that the wound was superficial, apparently told him that he was lucky to have a lesson like that.

      I think that career navy guys had a chance to process their war experience and many did not struggle with PTSD as a result- my theory which a VA psych I know thinks has merit.

      Civilians could not understand and vets learned to keep quiet. Bottling up the pain hurt them even more deeply.

      Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Nirek says:

      Wemble, so many of our fathers had their lives altered from what they may have been because of war. PTSD was called “shell shock” or “battle fatigue” back in those days. Even in Vietnam it was known by those names. After the Vietnam war so many of us were affected by PTSD they started calling it that.
      Welcome to the Planet , btw.
      Peace.

  3. Fergie1 says:

    Murph, thank you very much for sharing your Dad’s up close and personal experiences of what was a terrifying task in the face of annihilation. No reporting or historian can capture what those brave men faced and endured during their time while putting their lives on the line with the realism of war, it’s horrors, and in this case the liberation of Europe. To imagine your 25 year old Dad having this responsility and to have accomplished what he did is remarkable. [actually, I’m at a loss to find a word to describe the feats of these men]. Most assuredly your Dad “did his best” Muph. This statement exemplifies the incredible humility that accompanied their courage and determination to win the war. A war that had to be won.

    One of my uncles is buried in Arras, France (WWI), others came back. I am lucky enough to have haunting photos taken by them and personal written accounts of their experience. Three cousins (like brothers and sisters to me actually) were in the theater of war in North Africa and Europe in WWII under General Patton. I don’t ask them about their experiences. Although mentally as spritely as can be, they are in their 90s, very involved in the VFW in their respective cities, but from what I understand, even watching the D-Day commemorations were emotional for them. I’m 30 years younger but they are still my first cousins. My Dad was born in the late 1800s and died when I was 5 years old.

    Thank you again Murph for a wonderfully personal article and account from your dear Dad. I’m sorry that you lost him in 2005. R.I.P.

    Very best wishes to you.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Fergie….I loved reading your narrative as well…the connections are powerful are they not? I think the WWII generation is united by the understanding that they were facing clearly identified evil and they were crusaders. While the horrors of war were real, the deep doubts about the rightfulness and efficacy of their efforts so present in Vietnam, Irag and Afghanistan vets is absent. Their war was necessary and just….period. I attended a service today and this was clear in the remembrances of the 18 men and 2 women attending.

      • Fergie1 says:

        Thank you Murph. You are very kind. Indeed the connections ARE powerful. Connections play a very large part in my life. I treasure them, delight in them and continue to be pleasantly surprised by them. Connections are what bring a shinning star to a sometimes difficult world. Thank you for that also.

        You expressed so well the comparisons both of purpose and efficacy between WWII and Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan that I have no need here to elaborate but to say how very much I agree with you.

        An anecdote: I was about 24 years old on a flight from SFO to somewhere [DEN, ORD or JFK]. I took a lot of flights! The young man sitting next to me in uniform was on his way to Vietnam. No, not on a commercial airline but was making a connection to wherever he had to be. They had these poor guys stationed all over the country and never close to where they were from. I’ve never forgotten him because he was not even 21 and could not be served a drink by the cabin crew. I asked him where he was headed and I will never forget his reply. “I’m going to Vietnam and I will be killing people I don’t know and I don’t know why.” No more to be said, just a personal experience that affirms your comparison.

        This is in sharp contrast to a little bit of an interview that my cousin gave when she was interviewed during a ceremony to honor her service. I have to leave out her name for obvious reasons! She said: ” I had the privilege and honor of serving as an Army nurse in Europe in the critical days of WWII, in which four of my six brothers saw service.” As a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurses Corps she served in the 164th General Hospital, a unit set up near Cherbourg, to care for the casualties from Gen. Patton’s famous Third Army during the smashing Ardennes offensive. She did share a little more in her interview but this shows the contrast between then and later/now.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Connecting to your story. One of my neighbors has a son who served two tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. He is 25 now and lives with his folks. His dad tells me that he does not seem to be able to focus on anything long term. He has no goals. No plans. He tried to work and live on his own when he left the army last year- having been in uniform from 18 to 25. He failed. He began drinking, lost two jobs and then was pushed out of his apartment for not keeping up on the rent. His mom insisted that they take him back in. He is now working with his dad on the farm. I have met him. He looks SO young still but his eyes are old. His dad tells me that he does not talk about his war experience but he knows he saw a lot of action because he was in a special combat unit. He is supposed to be getting counseling from the VA but that is not going well.

          • Fergie1 says:

            Murph, this is indeed a truly sad story of a young man just 25 years old. Of course I was struck by the whole narrative, but the part that surely haunts is looking SO young but his eyes are old.

            I am sure that some vets are getting good medical care both physically and psychologically but the recent news out of the VA, doctoring the waiting lists etc. is more than appalling. I am disgusted. Think how those men, women and their familes feel!

            My heart goes out to your neighbors and their son. What will happen to him I ask. And to thousands more like him. So sad.

            And there was your Dad with his responsibility at this very age, 25. How different the outcome.

            Of course men came back from WWI and WWII with shell shock as they called it then. Certainly not unscathed.

            It is such a different world now isn’t it?

        • Nirek says:

          Fergie, thanks for your post. You obviously understand the difference between WWII and the Vietnam war. I still have no idea why were in Vietnam.

          On another subject, I hope I didn’t offend you when I wrote that it was my opinion and not an article. The last thing I want to do is hurt you.
          Thanks, Nirek

          • Fergie1 says:

            Thank you so much for your kind compliment. I sure do understand the difference.

            Goodness gracious Nirek, you most certainly did not offend me in any way. I’m curious as you why you would even entertain that thought. I thought that your opinion was perfect and encapsulated very well the reality that no one should jump to conclusions about Bowe Bergdahl. I agree with you 100%.

            All Peace to you dear Nirek!

            • Nirek says:

              Fergie, my apology was misplaced. I checked and it was Aquarius who I may have offended. I will make sure to let her know I meant no harm.

  4. cognitogrrl says:

    Thank you, Murph, for sharing your father’s words and experiences, and also for the text of President Roosevelt’s radio address. My mother and aunt worked in war plants that built planes. My father-in-law was a radio operator on a bomber that flew missions over Germany. My mother-in-law was a WAC clerk-typist.

    We must remember always what it took to keep this nation, and the world, from being under the Nazis’ heel.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      So many connections….we have them and we seem to cherish them. I was at a memorial service today. I found myself thinking of how the vets there and those in my generation and yours are bound by their memories of “the good war” and how unclear all of that has become since Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. The closest we got was the Gulf War and thus was over in a blink once the campaign began.

  5. SearingTruth says:

    Gentle friend MurphTheSurf3 your father and you are treasures of humanity.

    You honor him by continuing his quest for justice, and compassion.
    ST

    “Perhaps one day a god will save us, rather than commit us to death.”
    SearingTruth

    A Future of the Brave

  6. monicaangela says:

    Wonderful article Murph, imagine having someone in your family that can recount the actual happenings during that battle, imagine all your dad must have seen, imagine the insurmountable joy, anguish, and pain he must have suffered all in a group of mixed emotions. We owe a debt of gratitude to your dad, and all those who have served this country.

    It makes me sad when I see what politics have become today and how those that have gained the most from the sacrifices of the men and women of Omaha Beach and so many other blood soaked battlefields appear to believe those sacrifices had nothing to do with how they got to the positions they are in today:


    Many of those who fight in the wars of this nation are a part of that 47% Romney is talking about, and he isn’t the only one who feels this way. Many of those in the GOP, and yes even some who are wealthy democrats believe they have made this nation, and everyone who isn’t a part of the 1% has for all intents and purposes been nothing but a drag on the nation. I wonder if Mitt and his friends think about sacrifices like that of your dad and others who weren’t lucky enough to return from the battlefield. I wonder if they consider them a part of that group they call the takers, you know, the group they feel has done absolutely nothing to help get this country into the position it is economically in the world today and thereby helping them and their families build the fortunes they now possess. I wonder…

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I was more than a little puzzled when I saw your video embed..what the heck? And then I read your post and saw how well you made the case.

      After WWII and Korea, the haves made it pretty easy to exempt their own kin from laying it on the line. No draft, no need to take the job the military offered since there were no options in your own community, no doubt that college and post grad would be fully paid for and then some….SO haves and the superhaves send the havenots into war for…let’s face it neocon goals: ultra nationalism, jingoism, geo-political gain, oil, client states, big money for war profiteers.

      Oh, we make efforts to clothe it the language of doing the right thing….but please…

  7. Nirek says:

    Murph, my Dad joined the Army just before the US got involved in WWII. He landed the second day and took a tank across Europe. He was there for the whole war and when he got home he went into the National Guard. His Guard unit was activated for the Korean War. He stayed in after that and we lived in Germany, Panama, and all over the Eastern US.

    Sorry the story you told got to me. Our Dads were real good people and we should honor their memories. I know I do.
    Peace to you , my friend.

    I wish peace for all people.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Your memories are as powerful as mine. My dad saw a lot of combat in WWII, had a support role in Korea and Vietnam. Your dad seems to have more battle experience.

      I spend my entire “growing up” as a navy brat. I did not know my dad in those days and am glad I took the time to find him out much later in life.

  8. MilesLong says:

    Great interview and story, Murph.

    My dad came to the war from a different route. He enlisted from a Japanese Internment Camp in Utah where he was imprisoned along with his family and thousands of Japanese Americans who were swept up along America’s West Coast.

    The only way he and his brothers were allowed out of the camp was by enlisting into the US Military. My professorial father became a Drill Sergeant in order to leave the camp and eventually ended up in the almost completely Japanese American 442nd in Europe.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/442nd_Infantry_Regiment_%28United_States%29

    Miles “Yeah, I Still Got Issues” Long

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Miles- when you in this world yet or born later? Are you of Japanese descent? What is your thinking regarding that internment? Have you read “When the Emperor Was Divine” or any of the other fine memoirs from the period.

      442nd Service and decorations

      The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare. The 4,000 men who initially came in April 1943 had to be replaced nearly 2.5 times. In total, about 14,000 men served, ultimately earning 9,486 Purple Hearts. The unit was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations (5 earned in one month). Twenty-one of its members were awarded Medals of Honor. Members of the 442nd received 18,143 awards, including:

      21 Medals of Honor (the first awarded posthumously to Private First Class Sadao Munemori, Company A, 100th Battalion, for action near Seravezza, Italy, on 5 April 1945; 19 upgraded from other awards in June 2000).[27] Recipients include:
      Barney F. Hajiro
      Mikio Hasemoto
      Joe Hayashi
      Shizuya Hayashi
      Daniel K. Inouye
      Yeiki Kobashigawa
      Robert T. Kuroda
      Kaoru Moto
      Sadao Munemori
      Kiyoshi K. Muranaga
      Masato Nakae
      Shinyei Nakamine
      William K. Nakamura
      Joe M. Nishimoto
      Allan M. Ohata
      James K. Okubo
      Yukio Okutsu
      Frank H. Ono
      Kazuo Otani
      George T. Sakato
      Ted T. Tanouye

      52 Distinguished Service Cross (including 19 Distinguished Service Crosses which were upgraded to Medals of Honor in June 2000)
      1 Distinguished Service Medal
      560 Silver Stars (plus 28 Oak Leaf Clusters for a second award)
      22 Legion of Merit Medals
      15 Soldier’s Medals
      4,000 Bronze Stars (plus 1,200 Oak Leaf Clusters for a second award; one Bronze Star was upgraded to a Medal of Honor in June 2000. One Bronze Star was upgraded to a Silver Star in September 2009.)
      9,486 Purple Hearts

      On 5 October 2010, the Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the 100th Infantry Battalion, and Nisei serving in the Military Intelligence Service.

      HOW CAN ANYONE BE ANYTHING BUT IMPRESSED.

      • MilesLong says:

        Murph,

        I was born in the mid-50s, and ironically enough my father never spoke of his war experiences. And although his and his compatriots’ entry into the US Military was one of national pride, they also felt that they had to prove their loyalty to this country.

        I have read little of the 442nd other than dry, factual information of their remarkable war record (as I have of the Tuskegee Airmen), but instead concentrated my study of those who were interned. My favorite book of that period is “Citizen 13660” written by Miné Okubo. My father received an inscribed copy of her book and I first read it as a child.

        As for your question, I am half-Japanese, half-Black, quite the combination for a post-war United States; at least as far as the father being Japanese. As stated before, I have serious issues with this country’s treatment of non-whites.

        And although one of my father’s cousins is in the Medal of Honor recipients above, a wide swath of his family was wiped out in Nagasaki…

        Miles “War IS Hell” Long

    • cognitogrrl says:

      Hi Miles, I was just a young girl when I heard about the Japanese internments, and it made me sick to think of how unjust our country was to the Japanese-Americans. It should not have happened. Thank you for your father’s service and that of so many other Japanese-Americans.

    • monicaangela says:

      Lest we forget…..Thank you MilesLong for reminding us. Sorry yet happy to hear of your dad’s dilemma during the war. You should be proud of him. You express your dad’s actions as his willingness to join the military to get out of the camps, but I see it as his willingness to prove that he was a true patriot, an American, not a Japanese American, but a true American who chose to serve his country.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I left a list of the number of members, decorations and citations earned by the 442nd…the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare. Patriots? You bet!

    • Nirek says:

      Miles, there are no words to express how I feel about what happened to the Japanese Americans. Injustice? Unfair?

      Your Dad and his fellow soldiers were brave and wonderful people.
      I hope nothing like that ever happens again.
      Peace, my friend.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        And they performed at levels unmatched before or since. The most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare.

  9. Kalima says:

    Just like you, I was remembering my father’s D-Day June landing on Gold Beach in Normandy, the beach further north of Omaha beach.

    He didn’t say much except that the fighting was fierce and he saw friends die.

    By the end of the day, 25,000 British soldiers had landed on Gold. 413 men had been killed or wounded on the beach.

    I also remember that the meeting up with American troops that day was impossible and happened much later. He made an American friend there and they kept in touch for many years.

    A wonderful tribute to your father that you have remembered so many details. My father was a man of few words about his experience, and I learned not to pressure him to relive what I later felt was a time that haunted him until the day he died two years ago.

    All that is left for me to say is, thank you America for coming to Europe’s aid, and for those who sacrificed their lives for us; we will never forget you.

    My father eventually returned to Germany to marry a German woman with a two year old child, my mother, and later gave me his name. It was the most precious gift I have ever received and I thank him daily. Thank you, you wonderful Welshman!

    Peace to all.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Kalima, as you may know, I went to school in the UK from the age of 12 through 16 and then returned for graduate school. As a kid, the British seemed so proud of their sacrifice in the two wars but by the time I returned to England, 20 years later- the mid 80’s- they seemed embarrassed by the whole thing. Of late that seems to have turned about again. I know that my love of British history is rooted in my years there but my admiration of Churchill and Roosevelt is primarily about their partnership joining our two nations.

      Gold was as hard on the Brits as Omaha was on the Americans.

      My dad had to be coaxed to tell his story AND he was a man of many words who spent most of his working life in the Navy. I got him to tell the story because I convinced him that he owed it to history. Even his LSM association had too little of its own history written down. I think that as the number of men and women in that generation has rapidly declined the rush to gather their personal histories has accelerated rapidly.

      Your father’s return to Germany and the rest….just plain amazing! And we get to thank him for YOU!

      • Kalima says:

        Yes, you got me, no great prize. A daughter who couldn’t even be there to hold his hand as he died after all he had done for me. As I said, no great prize.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Oh Kalima- have I hurt you? If so, more than sorry. You are an extraordinary person in so many ways and that does not just happen. I am sorry that you were not able to be with him in his final days….I have had a similar experience. Heartrending but not something I could control

          As always, and with great appreciation.

          • Kalima says:

            No, you didn’t Murph, I managed to fuck this up all by myself.

            We all have our demons, and that’s one of mine. He would be cross if he knew, but I’m only human.

            • Kalima says:

              Thank you for your understanding Fergie, and having gone through it yourself you know of the guilt and sadness I’m feeling. Last month was already the second anniversary of his passing, and I still haven’t come to terms with his first.

              I was holding her hand when my mother died, but too sick to travel for my father. It will probably haunt me for the rest of my life or be eased a little when I get over there to say my goodbye standing over their grave. Until then, I think of it every day.

              Thanks again, Fergie, you are very kind.

              I don’t think that Murph will mind.

            • Fergie1 says:

              Oh Kalima, I wish that it was possible to wash away those demons for you. I, too, have had to experience similar experiences (X 2). For me it was the tyranny of distance and responsibilites that made journies impossible at the time. Yes, they still bother me a great deal, but there was nothing I could have done differently. One was my Mom, that although I attended her funeral in SF, I was unable to make the journey back to Ireland where she wanted to be interred beside my Dad. The other was my brother in SF aged 46 and my company wouldn’t give me the time off.

              I’m sorry for your anguish. I think that your Dad is proud of who you are…..a very special person.

              Apologies that this should perhaps be in the O/T. I wonder if Murph will get to read this also.

    • Nirek says:

      Kalima, our Dads were part of the greatest generation. Truer words were never spoken. They proved it over and over, and our Moms had to take care at home while the men were off fighting. The women did nontraditional jobs and excelled at them.
      Peace.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        They were all in that Greatest Generation having endured the Great Depression, fought the Greatest of Wars and then rebuilt much of the broken world……men and women alike.

      • Kalima says:

        They certainly were, Nirek. Mine spent the rest of his years firmly opposed to wars. In everything he did in life, he was a peaceful man who tried to bring people together.

        Yes the women left behind were strong and deserve recognition for all they did and all they endured.

        Peace to you and yours.

        • Nirek says:

          Kalima and Murph, I am proud of all our fathers. I too have been against war since my experience.

          Murph, you say the the Gulf War was the only just war since WWII. I agree!
          Peace.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          I have often said that his generation recognized that war is only acceptable when all else had failed to do what had to be done; undertaken when it was so undeniably true that no other option remained in the face of an evil so great that the evil that is war must be applied.

          By Vietnam, we seemed to have forgotten the lessons of those day.

  10. Nirek says:

    Murph, that story hit me hard, my friend. Very powerful.

    I’ll write more in a while when I dry my eyes.
    Peace


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