Sunday, June 7, 2009


I got about 25 miles in after work yesterday, and then spent much of the evening watching various programs commemorating the anniversary of d-day. My Dad is a veteran of WWII and landed at Normandy on June 6, 1944. For years Dad didn't talk a lot about the war, except when he was with his buddies who had shared the experience. It would have been easy to get the wrong idea about war because most of the memories they shared involved a great deal of laughter.

In the last several years he has been more willing to talk about the war, and give us some small idea of what he went through. His stories often still evoke laughter. For example, Dad and another soldier accompanied an officer to pick up a truckload of ice and beer donated by a brewery near Las Vegas to the men training under Patton in the desert around Bouse, Arizona. They were offered a drink at the brewery but the officer said no, and ordered the men to guard the truck while he attended a meeting. While they waited in the heat they noticed water dripping from the melting ice on the truck. So, they caught that with their helmets, drank a few beers, and filled the bottles with the water, and re-capped them. Needless to say, some GI's first beer back at camp was not full-flavored.

Many members of my family have made pilgrimages to Bouse, where he trained, and to the Patton Museum in Chiriaco Summit, California. Patton oversaw desert training for troops planned for North Africa, but by the time they were prepared the fighting there was over, and they were shipped out to Europe instead.

In late May of 1944, Dad drove a load of sub-machine guns to Manchester, England for modification. As the job was nearing completion he received orders to proceed with his load to Swansee, Wales immediately, pulling out all stops. When he arrived, he backed his truck onto the LST, the gate was closed and they headed for sea. After seven days going south around Wales and through the North Atlantic to the English Channel, they landed at Normandy on D-day.

His truck being the last one on, was the first one off, and the water was deep. His unit had to fill in for artillery bearers who were lost and after spraining his ankle and unable to keep up with the rest, he spent the night alone on the beach. He was 23 years old at the time.

Sometimes life is hard. We have to do things we'd rather not do. Occasions like this anniversary serve to remind me how lucky I am that people like my father, and so many others, were willing to do what I can't even imagine, and because of their sacrifice, life is pretty good! Thanks, Dad.


  1. That was a great post. I think a lot of WWII vets won't share their stories because they were just too horrendous. Thanks for sharing this story of your father.

  2. My parents, sister and my daughter are very active in our American Legion. When I attend some of the events they hold, it sometimes put's a lump in my throat. Great Post is right.

  3. Please tell your father thanks for me.

  4. Jeff - I found your blog while looking for BTC information including your list. Your notes about D-Day and your dad are really awesome. It reminds me of what Pres Obama said in his D-Day speech, "Ordinary men found it within themselves to be extraordinary." Tell you dad thanks for me too.

    See you at BTC.

    Will Hogoboom

  5. Jeff-absolutely beatuifull man....people don't stop and think of what these men like Papa do/did for the US, and the world for that matter. We are all proud of him and the Vets of all battles! I am eternal grateful for being introduced to a WONDERFUL man! Excellent writing Jeff! THANKS PAPA!!

  6. Jeff,
    Wonderful blog, brother! I have heard the stories before but they never cease to make me laugh/cry.

    As they said in Washington, if it weren't for young men like our Dad, we'd be speaking German or Japanese in this country! We are blessed to have a hero in our midst. Thank you, Dad!

  7. Great post! Thank your dad for me.