Thursday, September 19, 2019

Grandpa

On this day in 1944. My grandpa was killed by Japanese forces.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity. The Silver Star. Semper Fi.  I wonder what he really did to earn that?  The details of the citation are sparse.

Peleliu. HQ company for his battalion. 1/7. Hanneken commanding the regiment.

I get my height from him. No one else in my family is as tall as us.  My other grandpa came closest.

Enlisted 2 June 1942. Mom was born 30 May 1942.


I've been looking for contemporary accounts that might give me information about my grandpa who died 25 years before I existed.  Eugene SledgeRobert Leckie.  Wrote about it, and were there.  No mention of even my Grandpa's boss.  Leckie used nicknames for everyone.

Gotta try George Peto.

4 comments:

Witold Pilecki said...

Your Grandpa is a hero to me. I am a member of the Patriot Guard Riders and recently stood in honor of a WWII vet KIA on December 15, 1944. His remains (and that of the rest of his air crew) were recovered in 1949, but remained in storage and unidentified until this past June. He was brought home to Marlborough, MA and laid to rest next to his mother. The entire town turned out to pay respects. It was an honor and privilege to be part of it. His name was Alfred Sandini.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Thanks Witold.

The Neon Madman said...

Just read Sledge's book a few weeks ago. I picked it up because for many years I had worked for a man who was on Peleliu, a Marine artillery spotter during the invasion. He and his buddies had morning coffee matches - they had all been in the war, places like Peleliu, Tarawa, Guadalcanal. The one exception was a guy who had been a B-17 bombadier in Europe. All gone now, RIP, but in their late years they started a small Veteran's Museum nearby. mvmwisconsin.com

Windy Wilson said...

My uncle was radioman in a B-17, and before that in the Pathfinders, usually Mosquitoes that went ahead of the bombers and dropped flares for the other planes to follow. I think Bomber crew need special recognition, because to have the bombs be as accurate as they were in those days they had to fly straight and level at a fixed speed so the famous Norden Bomb sight could drop the bombs at the correct moment. Norden Bomb sight was not the super secret wonder weapon the crews were told it was. It was essentially an autopilot controlled by the bombardier, and at a certain moment in the approach to the bomb zone the pilot handed control of the plane to the bombardier.

Straight and level at a constant speed sounds too much like a duck in a shooting gallery to me. Dick Winter of Band of Brothers fame wrote about sharing a room with some officer from the 8th Air Force who whimpered and cried in his sleep, much to the annoyance of Winter. Considering his exposure to danger and what little he could do about it compared to ground troops. . .