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Take a moment to remember,

December 7, 2012

pearl

 

Hey Ya’ll

 

Short post today. It is 7 December 2012 and as President Roosevelt told us it is a “Date that will live in infamy.”

 

Take a minute to consider how far we have progressed as two nations. Seventy-one years ago Japan and the United States entered into a horrible war for control of the Western Hemisphere. Five years later, millions of deaths and two atomic bombs later we entered into an uneasy peace.

 

japan

 

This morning, I got into my Mitsubishi Endeavor and drove to the Barnes and Nobel to get some work done. Seventy years ago they were not a car company, they were an airplane company making the Mitsubishi Zero. An all-time great fighter and an airplane that lead directly to the deaths of thousands of American pilots.

 

zero

 

I wonder if I will see my grandkids get into their Iraqi Truck or Afghanistan car? I doubt it but I am proud that we as a country enjoy close relations with Japan. They are a wonderful people and it is nice to have a friend in the world.

 

I have a friend from my Church, Bert C. When Pearl Harbor was attacked Bert and his brother joined up. Bert joined the Marines and went to the Pacific. His brother joined the Army and went to Europe. Both survived and are still alive today. Bert, was an airplane mechanic working on several different types of airplanes. He was assigned to VF-214 at Vella Lavella. For you historians, you knew where I am going. For the rest you might have heard of the Commander of the Black Sheep Squadron, Gregory “Pappy” Boyington.  Yes, that guy!

 

pappy

 

black sheep

 

Bert worked on the F4U Corsair and the C-47 Skytrain. As a crew chief, Bert flew and acted as the co-pilot even though he had no formal flight training and was one of the men who were chosen to check out the new pilots. This only happens during a time of war, real war not Iraq or Afghanistan.

 

f4u

 

One morning, Bert was awaken by his Gunny Sergeant. He had new orders, go fix a crashed C-47. So Bert got into an airplane, with all of his tools, parts, some water, rations and his Thompson machine gun. They flew to an island and dropped Bert off. Six weeks later they came back to get him.

 

c-47

 

Get that picture in your mind: He was alone, on an island that was not secured by either side and given an order to fix the crashed airplane. When they flew the airplane out, it went to the depot on another island (I don’t know where). After one day of servicing the engines, new oil things like that the airplane was put back into service. When it got on the line it was in the best flying condition of all the airplanes. Bert is just one of thousands stories of exceptional service. I would love to hear more stories from the greatest generation.

 

kiss

 

Keep Smiling!

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From → military

8 Comments
  1. Rob, I love that you wrote this story down– there are so many out there but they will quickly, literally, die away– and that’s just a shame. Thanks for sharing and reminding us of the honor of men and women, like you, who have served and continue to serve our country.

  2. Egg permalink

    It’s interesting. On the island of Guam, there are probably as many Japanese as locals, and even after the atrocities of the war, and with, I’m sure, the scars that remain, I have not met one Japanese hater, and yet many parts of the world continue to tear each other apart over something that started or happened hundreds of years ago.

    I’m glad you’re writing these things down, Rob. There are so many heart-breaking and heart-warming stories out there. My father was a pilot in WW2 but doesn’t like talking about it, and refuses to write about it (even though he has exceptional, old-English writing skills). This drives me crazy – they say when an old person dies, a library dies with them. Not that I’m waiting for him to die.

    Anyhoo, moving on. I didn’t know that about the Mitsubishi. Interesting stuff.

    • I always loved going to Guam. I found the people there wonderful and very loving. I know that sounds weird but there was never a hint of animosity. I am sure you have found that in your travels.

      I would love to hear your father’s flying stories. What an incredible experience it would be to talk to him. I am sure he would never talk to me but I would love to get to know him.

  3. A hearty thank you to Bert. In a coincidence, my neighbor was also an AMM 1/C working on Corsairs…

    Nearly all combat vets have a built-in limiter. They choose to disclose something with someone only when they NEED to or TRUST you. You also learn never to ask, or to ask for more details… I do have stories from two of my neighbors…who had learned to forgive but couldn’t forget.

  4. Thank you for saying hi and your nice words about Bert.

    I have never given an order to everyone who is nice enough to follow my site. So here is the first one: Go to Mustang’s blog. It is wonderful and eye opening. I do not know Mustang’s name or gender. But the story documents the families experience during World War II.

    It seems that half of the family was in Japan and the other half was in the States. Both sides of the family joined the military of their respecting countries. Additionally, one of the Aunts (I believe) was eleven and living in Hiroshima when the first atomic bomb was dropped. A eye watering read and revealing inside look at a family intensely connected to the war. Click on Mustang’s name or on this link. Either way you will be gald you did.

    http://p47koji.wordpress.com/

  5. Johnny T. permalink

    My Mom was a Rosie the rivetor and worked on the corsairs in Akron Oh. thanks for the story Rob. Bert is a great guy.

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