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Day of Infamy, Day of Remembrance December 7, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in history, nostalgia.
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This is the last year the Pearl Harbor survivors in Albuquerque will meet. 70 years has seen great attrition of numbers and those left are infirm and mostly unable to convene. How long will it be until PHD is entirely forgotten? In ten years it’ll be, huh? The number right now, in spite of our forever wars, is that less than 1% of the population has served in the military. The exact number of WWII vets dying will soon decelerate since there will be ever fewer left. And there won’t be vets to carry on those traditions.

My dad had been in the Navy 4 years on PHD and was stationed on an air scout as a radioman out of Pensacola. He never talked much about the war (like 2 of my other uncles who served in WWII–the third was too young. He became a Cold War spook and worked for the CIA and sadly was the first of my uncles to die) One thing my dad did mention once was being shot at by German subs surfacing just off the coast of Florida. His plane wasn’t armed so it got dicey most of the time, I suppose. And this was before war was declared.

During the war, he was stationed in the Aleutians on a picket ship (don’t know the name–but he was at Kiska, Attu and other spots, so the picture below is likely one he at least was familiar with). His ship was the only one with radar since he waded out into very icy water to rescue a radar unit off a sunken destroyer. He received a medical discharge at Treasure Island, lived in San Francisco for a while, then after the war started an electronics/radio repair shop with his next younger brother in Texas. While he never officially saw combat, he saw a bit of the aftermath (and, apparently not too odd for a sailor, he got violently seasick in heavy seas).

It’s been 20 yrs since he died. He would have been 91 this year. Every now and then something pops up, like an iPad or a cellphone or nifty digital camera or computer or satellite radio, and I find myself thinking, “Dad would get a kick out of this.” And he would have. He died just before the Internet became a part of our lives, and I can’t help but wonder where that would have taken him.

USS Rhodes picket ship at Attu and Kiska

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Comments»

1. Lonny Welch - December 9, 2011

I enjoy reading your blogs. I don’t
read all, but this one particularly caught
my attention.
My father was too young for WWII. He
served as a combat airborne infantryman
in Korea and retired from the Air Force with
25 total years military service. The last 22
spent as a Cold War intelligence operative.
I was fortunate to grow up the son of a hero.
Although, he never thought if himself as such.
We travelled the world and I was able to see
and live in places I would not have if not for
his willingness to serve.
I regret that with my father’s and the many other Vets from WWII and Korea passing,
we are losing a valuable source of first hand
historical knowledge.
I was able to share some of his experiences
as I served 6 years during Vietnam. However,
our conversations tended to be reserved
and we learned not to go down some of the darker areas of memory lane. For those who
still have family who served during WWII, remember to thank them. If not for them, this
would be a very different world.

bobv451 - December 20, 2011

I forgot the number but an amazing number of WWII vets are dying every day. My dad’s buried at Ft Gibson–the cemetery had to buy 20 acres of adjoining land to expand enough to take the added influx from both WWII and the Korean War. Looking out over the headstones always makes me wonder at all the untold stories.


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