My father and mother were married on October 18, 1941, and lived for a month or so with my mother’s parents, and eventually moved across the creek to their own 4-room house. About 10 months after they were married he was drafted into the army in July 1942 and served in World War II until he was killed February 8, 1945 on Luzon Island, Philippines. He was 26 years old when he was killed. At the time he was drafted, my mother was pregnant with me. They tried to get him deferred because she was going to have a baby, however I was not due to be born until November, and the draft board could only defer someone if the baby was due within 3 months of the draft day. It was almost 4 months before I was due to be born, so he could not get a deferment.
He was a demolition expert while in the army, as he was experienced in using explosives in the mines. He entered the army and was immediately sent to California, and then on to Hawaii, and finally to the South Pacific where he served the majority of his time. He got to visit Australia and Hawaii also while he was in the army. He was in almost all of the battles in the South Pacific from July 1942 until he was killed on February 8, 1945, over 31 months. He never was granted a furlough, and never returned to the States all during this time. He was killed while destroying a Japanese bunker. Unknown to him the bunker was used to store Japanese explosives, and when the bunker was blown up the blast was too strong and he was killed instantly. He was buried in the Philippines in the United States Army Cemetery, Culoya No.1, Plot 1, Row 2, and Grave 17. I was born November 28, 1942, but my father did not get to come back home to see me before his death. My mother did, however send him several pictures of me.
According to my mother, my father liked to sing and had a beautiful voice. He would sing for her, and would sing all the time as he was working. He also loved to play the Harmonica and Juice Harp, and would play these on the way back and forth to work on the train for the men riding with him. He also wrote me many letters, and had my pictures with him when he was killed. When my father was killed it would have been many months, or until the war ended, before he could have been brought back to the states for burial, and it was decided at that time not to have him brought back. We are now exploring what will be required to have him brought back home to be buried here. My mother moved back home with her parents after my father’s death and never remarried.
My mother told me that he was the most gentle and kind man she had ever met. Everyone always liked him and he was good to everyone he met. He would do anything for anyone, and would help his brothers and sisters out as much as he could when they were growing up. He never lost his temper and always stayed calm about everything. It appears that he and my grandfather had the same type of personality, and I believe their personality has been passed down to me and also to our sons Rob and Christopher. Even though he had a very hard life while he was growing up and was not afforded all the opportunities most children have, he developed into a wonderful Christian man, who loved the Lord and was respected and well-liked by everyone he met. Although I never got to see my father, all of my Aunts, Uncles and cousins who knew him all stated that there was never a kinder, good and better man alive than was my father. They all have told me over the years that he was very special.
In 1985 I attempted to try to get his body brought back to the United States, and I contacted the Veterans Administration to see what was involved. They would not permit me to have him transferred back. During this time, I did find out that he had received Three Purple Hearts during his time in battle, and a dozen or so of other medals during the battles he was in. I have these displayed proudly in my office. My dad gave his life protecting his country, and I am so proud to call him my father. I love you dad and will see you one day in Heaven.
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