Sunday, December 21, 2008

John's Service in the Pacific during WWII

I read the USS Bebas story on Wikipedia  Good account, but doesn't back up my picket line understanding. That's why I wonder about letters home. Censorship probably would have prevented him from saying much. Ulithi was where all three of us were. I suspect John and I would have been there at the same time. We were both headed for Okinawa. Dick would have been there after VE day on his way to the Phillipines. John was on a minesweeper when he got sunk, hit off Pearl Harbor by an. other Navy ship. I don't know whether it was pre or post Bebas. Dick and I both recommended to John that he join the Navy as soon as he could despite the family's Army tradition. (Dick deliberately joined the Army and chose Field Artillery beacause that was Dad's World War 1 branch. I was Army Engineer ROTC at Mines before active duty with the Army Engineers.  At the time he graduated from High School waiting to get  drafted generally meant six weeks of basic training then off to Europe to become infantry  cannon fodder replacemnt That's what happened to Jack Walker of Zanesville Ohio who we knew from Paw Paw Lake. I learned to ride a bycycle while visiting him one summer. His Dad John was a major league baseball player on the Philidelphia Athletics during their glory days under Connie Mack. He was their only child. wrote:
Hi There Uncle Jim,
I have been enjoying your reminiscing about our family history.  Sadly, I do not know as much as I should, so it is a pleasure to read about your youthful excursions.
Dad never talked much about the war so I have very little knowledge about his activities during that time.  Maybe he felt that it was inappropriate to tell us about this while we were young or maybe he never intended to tell us.  I was surprised to learn that he was in a collision and his ship sunk!  That ship couldn't have been the Bebas, was it? If your interested, here is a link to an article on the Bebas:  Somehow I am not surprised he was in a picket line even though I did not know it.   Most of the stories about the war were more light hearted accounts about crossing a dead calm ocean, the sighting of flying fish, cruising over the
Mariana Trench
and how the three brothers had all passed through the same port at separate times.
One enjoyable memory of my dad was the stories he told us about the adventures of Billy Potter.  This was a continuing bed time story of a fictional boy and his various adventures.  I have a feeling that many of these stories were elaborated adventures of his youth and the fun times that he had. 
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Sent: Friday, May 09, 2008 11:15 PMHow much do you know about John's. experiences with the Navy in the Pacific during WWII? Did he talk about it? Do you have his letters home?Did he tell you any "war stories"?? Laurel has taken on the project of compiling Dick's letters Stupidly I destroyed a lot of mine because of all the complaing but Karen has a few left. I know he got sunk off Pearl Harbor by a collision with another ship and that he was on the Anti-kamakaze "picket line" off Okinawa. (May 9 2008)

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