I met a survivor of the Battle of Iwo Jima today

MontanaRifleman

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I was at the post office today standing in line and this old man walked in and got behind me in line. He was a little physically broken down, hunch backed and a little bent over walking with a cane. He was wearing a USMC T-shirt under his jacket and a ball cap that said "Survivor of Iwo Jima". I was amazed and thrilled! I have read and heard so much about that battle and here was a man who lived it standing right next to me! He looked at me and I looked at him and said... "So you were on Iwo?" And he said, "yeah...." and started telling me about it. I was standing there getting a first hand account. He went in on the third wave and said how they could only dig their foxholes 6" deep because of the reef. He said the defending "Jap" (no offense to any Japanese reading this) general had his defense strategy well planned out and had the island divided up into a grid a was able to easily direct artillery on the grid. He said they (the Japanese) blasted the hell out out of them. He told me some more stuff and then I asked him if he saw John Wayne there? He smiled a big smile and said "No, I didn't see him... he must have got there before me" He told me about a reunion they had there last year and I asked if he had gone. He said, "No, that his children wanted to send him but he said to them, why would I want to go back to that stinking hole?" He said Marines often come up to him and pat him on the back but that he doesn't feel like any hero or anything and a lot of guys died there and other places and he came back. I told him, it could just as easily been him (that died) he then told me he got a fever there which killed 70% of those who caught it and said it just wasn't his time.

It came my time to be called to the counter and I said to him, "Please go ahead sir" he looked surprised and didn't want to go, but I made it plain I wasn't going before him and he graciously stepped up and then thanked me on his way out. This is definitely one of the more "cooler" experiences I have had. I also know a man who was a survivor of the Doolittle air raid on Japan, but it's been a few years since I've seen him and not sure if he's still alive.


Just thought I would share this with you all.

-Mark
 
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ICANHITHIMMAN

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Cool story had a encounter myself about 12 years ago before I joined up. Was in the supermarket had on a pair of aberchrombi cargo pants they where a copy of WWII paratrooper pants. This old guy just came up to me and started talking about my pants told me all about D Day and how he jumped in with the 101 it was great.

Jon
 

winmag

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There's a reason theyre called ''The Gratest Generation''. I could sit and talk(listen on my part) for hours with those guys. The stories they tell have substance to them and are not full of ''fluff''. It never ceases to amaze me what some of the easiest going, humble people did for thier country. Look at Audi Murphy! who'd have guessed? Just a happy go lucky singin cowboy. These folks are truly heros in my book! Those people who put thier lives on the line for all of us to enjoy our freedoms deserve alot more, but never seem to ask for more. Screw pro sports idols for kids. Theyre are all about me me me me me........Soldiers/Sailors/and Airmen are the real deal.
 

Southpaw

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These people need to be Honored.

When Dessert Storm had just started I was heading home from God knows where, I stopped at a steak house for dinner. Across from my table was an elderly couple who were very well dressed. After a while he turned in his chair. from this position I could see he was wearing a MEDAL OF HONER.

With out saying a word to the couple I ask the waitress to bring me their check and that I would take care of it. The only thing I ask the waitress was "tell them that the person who covered the check was some who was great full for his service".

Thinking about what transpired that night was a pleasure and a honer. I can still think back and feel what a pleasure of just being in the company of such honored man.

Southpaw
 
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shorty

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Had the pleasure of working for a few months with a gent who made 4 jumps in Europe during ww2. Including D Day. Hell of a guy! Enjoyed his stories no end.

Lived not far from one of USMC's better known alumni Joe Foss, he is remembered by most all military aviators. didn't know Joe but his brother Cliff could fly and shoot as well as his brother.
Cliff flew his Piper Cub from South Dakota to Greenland to hunt Polar Bear back in the sixties.
He also would hunt predators from his cub, handling both the flying and shooting on occasion.
this was back when a bounty was paid for predators. He would fly up to Canada for wolves and for the bounty that the government paid for each wolf killed.

Cliff made it on TV on the old show What's My Line, as the first man to make a million dollars
as a bounty hunter. On Sunday's he would ride around with my next door neighbor and shoot
fence posts from a moving car for fun and practice, should some varmint not be available.

Sadly, Joe and Cliff are gone as are so many others,blessed be their memory.
 

royinidaho

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The "Greatest Generation" lives on.

I had the great pleasure of spending a considerable amount of time with a viet vet that has to be counted with what Reagan termed one of the "silent heros". It was a totally great, rewarding and a bit of a humbling experience.

All I did was run a danged ol' Reactor way off shore......
 

LewisH

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He said the defending "Jap" (no offense to any Japanese reading this) general -Mark
Mark, no need for that qualifier for using the word "Jap."

Anyone who remembers, reads about WWII in the Pacific, or has spoken with military personnel engaged in that conflict will vehemently tell you that "Jap" is the best thing you can call those people.

The Jap was the cruelest, most barbaric soldier we've ever fought. They made the Germans look like alter boys.

An old Marine I knew said he wished we'd had a lot more than two A-Bombs to drop on Japan, so's we coulda killed all of 'em!
 

LewisH

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"Kill Japs, Kill Japs, Kill More Japs!" The more of the little yellow bastards you kill, the quicker we go home!

Admiral William Halsey.
 

winmag

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But his boyfriend was
Dont go knockin the Duke now boys. Sergant Stryker may have been a fictional character played by John Wayne, but the movie, like most all the ones John Wayne played in was a good one. I have never been a soldier of any kind, but I was a cowboy. If John Wayne portrayed the part of a Marine in combat that sacrificed it all, as good as he portrayed ranchers at the turn of the century, then I see NO reason at all to dog him for it.
Like I said I was never a soldier, so I dont know what combat is like, and I wont pretend I ever could know, but like all his movies he was the hero. Whats wrong with making a movie where a Marine is the hero? Whats all the ''gay'' crap about?
 

fj40mojo

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I work as a nurse at the Boise VAMC and it is a distinct honor to care for many of "The greatest Generation". I've met all kinds of veterans of WWII from guys that never saw combat, POW's, and the ones that fought their way across Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. Best career choice I ever made. One of the most touching was a civilian contractor that had been captured by the Japanese on Wake Island and spent the entire war being starved and forced to do slave labor. He couldn't tell you what day it was or where he was but remember every detail of those horrible years he spent in captivity at the hands of the Japanese.
 

dirtball

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My father was there on D-Day, he went in on what they called Easy-Red. He never would talk about it except when he and some of his buddies got really drunk, and then only with each other.
Even though I spent some years in the Navy, I never really understood until I saw Saving Private Ryan.
It took me ten minutes after the movie ended to clear the tears out of my eyes before I could walk out of there.
I saw that movie with my children, they were 20 and 17 at the time, my daughter said that could not ever remember seeing me like that, I am not usually very emotional.
Sitting there thinking about what my dad had gone through I now understood why he would not talk about it, who the hell would want to think about that part of your life if you did not have to.
Dad died in 1987, 11 years before the movie. He survived the war and made it home without any serious wounds and spent the next 30+ years working for one of lesser known "Agencies" just outside DC.
It is really sad to see where this country seems to be going, it is like NO ONE understands the Freedom is NOT FREE and it is not the governments responsibility to take care of you.
OK I will stop ranting.
Dave
 

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