Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Update: And now for a brief interruption for World War II

When I was 11 years old my grandfather passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack. He was a veteran of the Pacific theatre in World War II, having served in an antiaircraft unit.

I was too young then to appreciate or fully understand his war time experiences, and I regret not having the opportunity to speak to him about his time in the service later in life. Not long before he died he gave me a Japanese bayonet which I believe he got from the island of Leyte. I still have that memento and a few others, but his story was largely a mystery.

A few years ago I was able to sit down with my one of my grandfather's good friends who served alongside him in the Pacific, and recorded a priceless, lengthy, videotaped interview about their pre- and post-war years together. I'm currently in the middle of getting their story down on paper with the hopes of getting it published in a local newspaper.

In the interim my blogging will be light, and perhaps nonexistent (save for my Thursday cross-posts to The Cimmerian). I owe it to my grandfather and his friend to get their story told and that's what I plan to do. I firmly believe that they were a part of The Greatest Generation.

13 comments:

David J. West said...

I hope you post it when you're done or at least e-mail it to me.
These are good stories that need to be told.

Atom Kid said...

Good luck, it sounds like it'll be a great tribute to your Grandfather.

My Grandpa didn't talk about his war experience much either. He was in the navy and was a mechanic who worked on the naval airplanes.

It's good for other generations to read about WWII generations experiences. But I'm sure it's hard for them to talk about it.

Brian Murphy said...

Hi guys, yes, I'm debating on whether or not to post it here. It doesn't fit in with the rest of the content; on the other hand this is my damned blog and I may just post it up anyway.

arcona said...

I would also encourage you to post the story here if you can. I mean, look at my stupid blog. I only have the vaguest of themes or regular content. I'm a firm believer that unless it's some kind of offensive or overly taboo subject, a blogger should feel free to write what they want.

Also, both of my grandfathers served in WWII (one with the British in both Italy and north Africa and one with US forces in the Pacific), so I'm always interested in hearing personal stories from those who went through what could only have been pure Hell on Earth.

-Matthew

Chris (Cyrus) said...

I agree with the others and hope you post it here, I look forward to reading it.

Good luck getting it in the paper, Brian!

Brian Murphy said...

All right, that settles it, I'll post it here--but after I submit it to the paper.

The story is shaping up to be more about my grandfather's friend than himself, but that's okay.

Good to hear from you Cyrus--blasted any holes in inn walls with a lightning bolt recently :)?

Pericles said...

Arcona, what do you cosider to be an "overly taboo subject"?

Mr Baron said...

I say post it!

As anside, on my 1993 cruise, I had the chance to fly channel guard as the carrier pulled into Pearl Harbour on 12/6. That was very cool. Ford Field was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. The next day on 12/7, I was up early and a flight of F-15's flew a missing person flyby over the carrier. That just gave me goose bumps. It was just one of those moments in life...

Pericles said...

"Channel Guard"? A new phrase to me...

Brian Murphy said...

Me too, Pericles.

Mr. Baron, is this a branch of the Navy?

I also want to thank you for your service.

Mr Baron said...

My apologies for the late response.

I was a helicopter pilot in the Navy. Channel Guard is a mission that is flown by helicopters when the carrier enters and leaves port, in case someone falls overboard. In those tight quarters, the carrier is restricted in maneuverability, and cannot react if something happens. By having 1 or 2 helicopters airborne, they can quickly react to a situation.

For the pilots flying this mission, it is a great chance to do a bit of sightseeing while the carrier is pulling in. I really enjoyed pulling this flight when the chance came up.

Pericles said...

Thanks for the explanation, Mr. Baron. It really does sound like a quite a cool duty. As Brian said, thanks for your service to our country.

Mr Baron said...

Thank you. I was an honor to serve. And sometimes, flying the helo was a lot of fun! :)