This book is an attempt to record a small portion of my father’s life and the events of an era that had a profound influence on the whole of his life. As a teenager, with answers to all of life’s questions, Dad dove head first into any adventure that dared challenge him. In his final years, answers turned into questions, most with no resolution this side of heaven.
Dad’s values were clearly evident to any who took the time to examine – a love of God, family and country. This book focuses on the third, a love of country, exemplified by his eight years of service in the United States Marine Corp.
At an early age I was aware of my father’s participation in WWII simply from the photos adorning the walls of our family den, proudly displaying the units and companies Dad served with. It was much later in life that stories behind the photos were shared. It was not so much that Dad didn’t want to talk about them; I was just late asking. More so in his later years, anyone desiring could get an earful of tales about South Pacific islands and Marine Corp exploits sprinkled with an occasional anecdote about growing up in small town Alabama.
The last few years of Dad’s life found the two of us, most every weekday afternoon, sitting on his back deck, drinking Buffalo Rock ginger ale, eating peanuts and talking about life. Usually his life. The longer we sat, the more questions I asked and the more Dad would reminisce of younger days. I finally recognized the value of these conversations and found myself hurrying home to write down details of the afternoon’s exchange. As months passed stories were shared multiple times, occasionally with new details stirred by questions I posed. As I penned more and more of Dad’s story, I found myself looking deeper into the history surrounding his life and trying to fill in dates and events. This book is a combination of Dad’s back-deck ramblings and many hours of research into the history that shaped not only his life, but life as we know it.