My Grandfather's Story

The purpose of this board is to post information and pictures of the family members who served have served in any kind of service to their country. In this way we can honour their memory and service.

Postby SamuraiGreen02 » Sat Mar 13, 2021 1:51 am

My Grandfather was the reason I got very interested in the period of WW2. It wasn't until he was on his deathbed that he spoke of his time in WW2.

He was already in the service, someplace in Louisiana one Sunday morning, nursing a hangover from playing cards and drinking the night before. Someone ran in and announced that Pearl Harbor in Hawaii had been bombed by the Japanese. Next day the United States was at War with Japan. Two to three days Later, Germany Declared War on the United States.

My Grandfather started off early in the war, as part of a Tank Destroyer Unit 894th. He was under the command of General Omar Bradly. He saw action in North Africa, Sicily and Italian campaigns. Tank Destroyers started off rather primitive. Just a half track with a 75mm naval gun on the back of it. Later on they were replaced with the M10 Tank Destroyer, that more resembled a Sherman tank with an open top.

My Grandfather was the driver. He said of his war experiences that he saw people turn to red mist, that when engaged with German tanks, his Tank Destroyer's rounds would just deflect or bounce harmlessly off the side of the tanks unless they came in close. He told us because the tank destroyers armor was so thin, bullets came in one side, rattled around a bit, before stopping.

My Grandfather's unit was attached to British ground forces. His three Tank Destroyers were cut off and surrounded, and his only option was to fight through German lines to the British where he made contact with the next day. He was never wounded and escaped the war physically unscathed. My Grandfather's unit was awarded the presidential unit citation, and a bronze star.

There was a story that he told us though that I won't never forget. During his time overseas he and his friends he went through basic with were celebrating the liberation of an Italian town. Himself and all his buddies were shit faced drunk. My Grandfather in his haze of drunkenness thought it a mighty fine idea to go over to a pen across the road and kiss a donkey. Which he did. However during that exact moment, a shell from the Germans came in and blasted all his friends to bits.

I am around today because my Grandfather kissed an ass. :haha: It was after that incident that he had decided he had seen enough and requested to transfer to a supply pool where he would be in charge of handing out supplies to which unit,ect. His transfer was approved and my Grandfather told us a bit more lighthearted tales, of trading stockings the local women gave him for cigarettes which he then gave to the troops or handed out to specific people to give him a bit more pull as cigarettes were worth more then money to the fighting man on the front line.

Because he had been fighting for so long, since the beginning of the war, he had enough points to go home. When the topic of WW2 was brought or other campaigns such as Normandy, my Grandfather would shake his head and say "Those poor bastards." He was very proud of his country, and of his time he served, cried every time he heard the song 'God Bless America.' but always carried the heavy baggage with him till he passed away.

I remember my Grandfather as a very tall man. He was a very kind and caring family man, worked two jobs to bring up my father and his four siblings. He wasn't a drunkard or abusive as some tended to be. But what I remember most was that my Grandfather never yelled. His voice would get stern, and firm, but never above normal speaking tone. (His voice always boomed when he laughed though. Very deep and bacey).

He passed away September 8th 2001. When I reached and passed adulthood my Grandmother gave me his things because I was the one who showed the most interest. Discharge papers, after action report of his unit, campaign medals, including his bronze star, unit patch, the unit patch the Tank Destroyers and third army, pictures of his time stationed with his unit, and a very old Tamyia model of his M10 tank destroyer. Even if parts fell off of it, he was still very proud of having the model and displayed it on top of his dresser.

That was what started my collecting also.
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Postby Topper » Sat Mar 13, 2021 2:26 pm

Really interesting reading about your Grandfathers service, coincidentally, I have a Dove head sword with an inscription on the blade you might find interesting.
Thanks for posting
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Postby Herr Dr. Professor » Sat Mar 13, 2021 9:19 pm

I am glad, SamuraiGreen, that you had the chance to hear from your grandfather about his experiences. My own father died young--younger than I am now (that's not hard), and he was largely silent about WWII where he served in the Signal Corps in the South Pacific from '42 to '46. Worse yet, in the early '70s fire in a St. Louis warehouse burned up all the records. One of my deceased colleagues was a retired Army Colonel, and he tried futilely to find out about my father, even to "pulling rank." :)

All I know is that my father went in as an enlistee, volunteered for the Signal Corps, was on small Japanese-held (though largely abandoned) islands up to two weeks before they were "retaken," and he only once told my mother that he lost most of eleven comrades crossing a mine-infested beach. He told me he was kept on in the Philippines to "appoint provincial governers" and "liberate chickens." He was discharged as a Master Sergeant.

Among his souvenirs were a Japanese rifle, bayonet, and a sort of standard-issue officer's sword (my dear mother sold them when he died, not thinking I would want them :lolno: ). He also had a hashish pipe. When, as a youngster, I asked him what it was, without missing a beat, he answered, "Oh, we used that for interrogating prisoners." :haha:
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