View Full Version : Veterans in your family?
11-18-2009, 07:46 PM
Have you any veterans in your family? Are you one?
If anyone has or had a veteran in their family, would be cool to hear stories/pay tribute to them in this thread.
I have a few but the two main veterans I know a little about are my maternal grandpa, and my paternal grandpa.
My maternal Grandpa was born here in the USA in 1920 to Italian immigrants. He enlisted in the Army in '38 and was sent thereafter to guard the Panama Canal. There, he got Malaria, which would haunt him for the rest of his life. By 1942, my grandpa was a Sergeant, and in '42, they re-assigned him to Europe--In Patton's Third Army. He was involved in the Rhineland and Northern France campaigns, and by 1944 was a Staff Sergeant, and had earned a Bronze Star (with V device), Army Air Medal (with V device), Combat Medal (with V device), but we don't know for what--a lot of his papers were lost in the '73 fire.
His service in the army was cut short in Luxembourg--He was shot in the leg in early '45 by a German snipe, causing a compound fracturer. He kept his leg but spent a year in the hospital. The doctors wanted to amputate his leg but he raised his gun to the doctor and told them, "Try it and I'll shoot you. If you take my leg my life is over.", not exact quote but you get the gist. He was honorably discharged.
He later worked for the Post Office from the 50s through the 60s, and on the side as a Security Guard (working for the Pinkerton detective service at the '64 NY World's Fair) and as a chauffeur. He suffered a massive stroke in 1973, which he recovered from almost completely; a pulmonary embolism in 1974, from which he recovered from, before dying in 1975 of a second stroke in a VA waiting room.
Though I never met him (He died in 1975; I was born in 1990), my grandpa is one of my heroes..He was a good man, who served his country loyally and admirably, and was a good father to his children, never hitting them or calling them names, and was a well liked, patient guy. He's someone I look up to and would like to emulate. He was also a brave man--Not just in his military service but later in life--
When he suffered his first stroke in '73, he woke up that morning and I guess realized something was wrong. He and my grandma had separated so he was living on his own. He didn't panic or get nervous, but he went, took a shower, shaved so he looked good, dressed himself and called a Cab, which took him to the Hospital.
Now, as far as my paternal grandpa, he too was of Italian descent, born in 1929, growing up in Bensonhurst, the son of a respected Mob-connected bookmaker (though my grandpa always went the straight and narrow path) His father, my great grandpa, died when he was only 40 and so my grandfather was the ''man of the house'' from a young age--He left medical school to get a job so he could take care of his mother and younger sister. He was drafted into the Army in 1950, with the outbreak of the Korean War.
While he was never sent overseas, though he repeatedly asked to be sent to Korea, he was sent to Alabama, which he hated, to work as a trainer--He had and still has a great mind for electrical setups and whatnot, and so was assigned to teach his fellow soldiers how to set up and run telephone lines for the battle field. While he never saw action, he did do something good at home--
In the army he made a friend who was an African American, uncommon in those days especially since he was raised in a predjudiced family, and one day he and his friend went to go into a bar to have a drink while off duty in Alabama. He walked into the bar with his friend; this was the deep south in the era of segregation, and he was told "Get that fucking ni***r out of here."by the men in there. My grandpa and his friend responded by kicking the shit out of the men in the bar, nearly getting arrested in the process.
He's still alive, at 80 years old, and thank God, healthy. He worked most of his life as a foreman for the Park's Department, and was well liked and loved on his job. He wasn't the best of fathers to my father or his siblings, had an anger problem but was a loyal husband. Today he's a pretty calm guy, and he and my grandma have been married over 50 years. He'll make you laugh with his stories and his still rebellious attitude.
11-18-2009, 08:04 PM
My dad served in the Korean War. He fought for a hill (Hill 451) as a member of an artillery battery. The Chinese sent human wave attacks and kicked their asses off of that hill. My father's unit regrouped and several days later they took the hill back. The Chinese then sent wave after wave of attacks trying to get that hill back but me father and his unit held it amid tremendous losses. For his actions on that hill, he was awarded a Silver Star and a Purple heart. Months later he was awarded a Bronze Star and another Purple Heart. He come home on the same ship that brought his brother's body home.
I served in the Army. I was a 31-K, Combat Signaler. Almost 40 years after my dad had fought those hellish weeks on Hill 451, I was putting up retrans stations up on that hill.
My daughter served as a medic for an MP unit in Bagdahd. She lost her left eye, hearing in her left ear and suffered nerve damage to her left arm as a result of a grenade attack.
11-18-2009, 08:22 PM
God bless your dad, yourself and your daughter for serving our country--I'm sorry to hear of your daughter's injuries but god bless her for serving in the Armed forces with bravery and loyalty--I hope she is ok though.
These photos are of my maternal grandpa (the one who died of a stroke), in 1942 while in the Army and in 1972.
11-18-2009, 09:12 PM
Great grandfather, Frank A. Hummel
Veteran of the Spanish-American war. Buried in Arlington.
11-19-2009, 05:35 PM
My dad served in the Army right after the Korean War. He did border patrol (shooting snipers) and he strung a lot of phone wires in rural South Korea for the locals. He still has all his ribbons and decorations.
My great-uncle Bert was a Seabee in WWII. I didn't know that until a few years before he died, when he wore a t-shirt from one of his Seabee reunions to a family gathering. Another great uncle served in a less-exclusive Navy capacity during the same war. I had a looney second cousin who served in the Army during the Vietnam War-he was looney before he went, I would say the only stable time in his life was when he was on active duty in a war zone.
No one in the current generation of my family has served, but I am very proud of the 3 or 4 former delinquents I once worked with who enlisted and served honorably.
11-19-2009, 05:49 PM
My father was a staff sergeant in the Royal Artillery in the second war. Before that, he joined the volunteer reserves (Territorial Army) in '37, because he had the smarts to figure out what was about to happen in Europe.
When the war ended in '45, they wanted him to stay on, and he was offered a commission as a captain (senior NCOs get fast-tracked and jump two ranks in the British Army in times of war), but he wanted to get back to civvy street.
A couple years later, he married my mother.
He passed in '03. My father is a hero to me. I miss him.
11-28-2009, 10:37 AM
In 1988 I was among a group of Vietnam vets selected to visit the Wall in DC on Veterans Day that yr. from the VetCenter in Phoenix, AZ.
Among the group of 30-40 vets were two women vets. One had been a surgical nurse at China Beach, the other one at Long Binh.
They were hurtin just as much if not more than some of us guys.
Many times they held the hands of dying boys
as they left this world.
Kermit was right, especially in the 60s, It wasnt easy being Green.
11-29-2009, 01:28 AM
I dont have any photos, but my great grandfather fought at Passchaendale
My grandmother told us of the day my great grandmother was reading the paper, saw the stories of the fighting, and remarked how happy she was that her husband was in training..what she didn't know (and wasn't told until later - OPSEC) was that he was in the thick of it, and that his cadre had been pulled out early and sent into battle.
An archive photo
My grandfather and my wife's father both served as "nasho's"...one at home in NZ, the other in Libya.
11-29-2009, 02:24 AM
My moms father was in the Army during WW2. I don't know what unit he was with, I just know he was part of a unit that helped free one of the Concentration Camps. He passed away when I was 5, so I never really got to know him.
My fathers father served in the Navy as a radio tech in the 60's. He spent a lot of time in Italy, thats what he usually likes to talk about.
My father spent 22 years in the Air Force. He was part of an A-10 unit during Desert Storm, and spent 6 months over there through Shield, Storm, and for a bit after the hostilities ended. He had a number of close calls while there, the worst being a Patriot Missile intercepting a SCUD right over their base with a peice of shrapnel the size of a car hood slamming into the ground just a few feet from his bunker. He brought home a number of video's taken by A-10's and AH-64's during their missions. They where interesting to watch when you're 7. :D He spent the last 6 years of his career as a Recruiter, so he wasn't sent over to OIF or OEF.
I myself have only done a four month tour for OEF in Kyrgyzstan, at Ganci AB (more commonly known as Manas). It's usually a pretty quiet place to be stationed at, but I got there just before their national revolution. Things where really tense for a couple of weeks. A rampaging mob of 60,000 pissed off people was just a few miles down the road from us, and it seems it doesn't take a lot to get mad at Americans. We where pretty lucky though, our government made it very clear that if we where backing anyone, it was the mob, so we didn't have any real issues. I've been active duty for just about 8 years now, and I'd like to get another deployment under my belt sometime soon, but as of right now it doesn't look like it'll be happening soon.
A direct relative of mine. General Nathan Bedford Forrest.
My grandfather was in korea, my other grandfather was on the USS MIssouri when the Emperor of Japan signed the surrender document. My grand mother was in the Marine Corps during WWII. my father was in the Navy with UDT for 3 1/2 tours. Got out for 6 years then joined the Army where he served as a scout until retiring. All my uncles were in the Army and have served from Vietnam to Grenada to Panama to Desert Storm. Every one of my male cousins have been in the Army, Navy or Marine Corps. I served in the Navy as did my brother. My family has a long history of military service and it is a rite of manhood to serve in the military.
11-29-2009, 07:07 AM
I have several uncles who served in WWII - one as a tailgunner over Germany. I understand that he was very lucky to have made it home.
They did not talk about their time in the service much.
I myself have not served in the armed forces.
01-08-2010, 10:55 PM
My maternal grandpa's 90st birthday would've been today had he still been alive. He died in 1975, of a massive stroke--age 55.
He served in the army 6 and 1/2 years--He enlisted in 1939 and as we weren't in a war in '39 was sent to Panama to guard the Panama Canal, where he contracted Malaria (which would haunt him the rest of his life); in '43, he was sent to Europe and reached the rank of Staff Sgt, winning a Bronze Star (with V Device) amongst other honors and medals. He served throughout the entire European theater, before he was shot by a sniper in Luxembourg, witnessing the deaths of friends and other tragedies and horrors in the meantime. The bullet caused a compound fracture, and while doctor insisted they amputate the leg, he told the doctor, rifle raised, that he would die if he attempted to take his leg. However, it proved to be the wrong decision--
He spent over a year in and out of the hospital, getting surgery after surgery, and for the first time experiencing during the course of the surgeries both phlebitis (which would also haunt the rest of his days), and hypertension, for which he spent the rest of his life on heavy duty medication. After leaving the army, he worked hard--a blue collar man, a Postal Worker for over a decade; a taxi driver, a chauffer, a Security Guard at the '64 World's Fair, amongst numerous other side jobs--My grandmother tells me there was never a day he went without pain in the leg, even when walking, yet he still managed to get to work every morning. He was a proud member of the American Legion and was licensed to carry a concealed weapon so likely a strong second amendment rights supporter, though he wanted none of his children, especially his daughters, joining the military.
Throughout the course of his life, he never spoke more than perhaps 5 sentences about his military service to anyone, not even to my grandmother, his wife of twenty years. He kept whatever memories, stories or pain incurred while in the service inside and shared them sparingly, to a select few on a select few occasions.
He later, besides the malaria, hypertension and leg wound, developed gout in his 30s--all of these combined greatly impeded his ability to exercise and he went from being a tall, skinny, lithe man to overweight. He often, throughout his 30s and 40s according to my grandmother, would suffer bouts of phlebitis and malaria--The doctor would have to come to the house and treat him; She said he would have fevers reaching 105 degrees and many times she thought he would die. My mother can recall as a little girl watching her father shake and shiver with the chills of Malaria--Yet through all of this he continued to work hard, having always two jobs, supporting his family. Even after my grandparents' separated, he supported his family by sending a weekly child support check--He gave what he could on his wages as a blue collar man.
His final years were sad ones. He suffered a massive stroke brought about from the clots in the leg in 1973; the stroke was so intense to even have caused him to present to the hospital with hemiplegia and in the next few days to experience seizures and slipped into a coma for a few days; it was thought he would die then, and he had to relearn how to walk and talk. The morning he had the stroke, he didn't panic--He knew what was happening and instead of panicking, he calmly took a shower, shaved, combed his hair, dressed himself and called a cab to take himself to the hospital. His belief on death was, and I quote:
"When the man upstairs calls you, there could be a dozen of the world's best doctors around you--but when it's your time to go, it's your time to go."
He recovered completely and just 3 months after suffering the stroke he was up playing ball in upstate NY with his brothers. However his girlfriend whom he he had lived with for years after he and my grandmother separated, abandoned him after he had the stroke and he had no place to live, and my grandmother out of sympathy (who was already dating and living with another man, my step-grandpa) took pity on him and allowed him to move back into their former marital home. He dreaded being around her and living there, fell a deep and intense depression, but even through this he still did what he could to help--when my mother and aunt would go to school, he would on his own babysit my toddler sisters and infant cousin, who were wily children--this after having a massive stroke.
The very next year in 1974, he suffered a bout of pleurisy and spent two weeks in the hospital. Ironically, my step-grandfather, his former wife's boyfriend, was the one to take him to the hospital. Despite the stroke and hospitalization with pleurisy, my grandpa was still active--He would walk daily to get his breakfast out at a local diner, liked his eggs lose and scrambled, and would then often head to OTB or walk to the pay phone to place bets. He walked, even with a big piece of his leg missing, without a limp or cane; but that was the extent of his exercise and he would retire to bed early.
The next year, in early 1975, my grandfather met tragedy again when his older brother, whom he had been close with, suddenly died, which deepened his already existing depression. My grandfather himself finally succumbed to a second massive stroke in the Fall of 1975, and even up to the week he died, while suffering from headaches and dizziness (probably knowing they were warning signs of a stroke) he insisted on babysitting his grandchildren. Three days before he died, he had reported confusion and numbness in the right side of his face and hands, but didn't go to the doctor--he stayed home and watched his grandchildren. While alert and lucid, he died suddenly shortly after arriving at the VA Hospital.
He died with his hair intact and still black, with his family sitting by his side, and still with a sense of pride--A death though greatly and sadly premature had at least a semblance of dignity.
So R.I.P to a Veteran, a servant of this nation and a great man. A man I wish I was alive to have known in the flesh instead of just through stories and photos.
01-08-2010, 11:39 PM
That was very interesting CTM!
04-07-2010, 04:11 PM
My dad served from 1976-1978.
My Dad 1967. Golden Knights Army Parachute Team. He won the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for skydiving in international competition against the Soviets. He set and retired a worlds record. He then went to Officer Candidate School (OCS) and flight school shortly afterwards. I'm sure he's the only guy who ever showed up on day one of flight school with a DFC.
Oh and...I'm retired from the Army too.
Mine are over on my family page. Some pics, and a list of veterans at the bottom.
04-07-2010, 05:39 PM
Dad entered Army as a 17 y.o. His first duty station was Korea in 1952. He served that year in korea and eventually retired in 1974 after three tours in Vietnam. I joined in 1986 and still serve. tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan. Korea also but not in combat.
Had a cousin that was drafted and did one tour in Vietnam.
My great uncle served on a destroyer that had just left Pearl Harbor
about 4 days before the attack in WWII.
Had another uncle that also served in the Navy during WWII, don't
know too much about what he did.
I have a cousin currently serving on the USS Hawaii.
I have another cousin currently serving on the USS La Jolla.
Have an uncle who served 4 years during peacetime.
My ex-father-in-law was a career Marine who was a Drill Instructor when
the old black & white movie "DI" (Jack Webb) was filmed. He marches a
platoon across the screen during the opening credits. Then he went on to
serve in Vietnam, where he was an EOD guy.
An ex-husband that was a Marine.
My son is currently serving in the USMC.
04-09-2010, 10:15 AM
my late dad in WW2. right after boot. he was 17 and my late grandfather signed the papers for him to enlist.
my late Uncle also served as well. he flew black cats and killed Uboats.
my mother worked in a war plant. she helped buid the B-25 Mitchell bomber
an aunt also worked in a war plant. she helped build the P-47 Thunderbolt engine.
my late grandfater loaded bullets at the lake city arsnel
I served 4 years in the USN during nam
04-13-2010, 12:52 AM
Found another pic of Dad in '77. My dad's half Italian and Irish and moderate-conservative, yet compare to:
My dad in the US Army, 1977:
We know who this:
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