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Old 02-21-2011, 07:41 AM
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An American Hero - in the flesh

I had a real treat on Sunday morning having met Tom at Plymouth Rod and Gun...90 years old.....here is a picture I took. The guy holding the 12 gage is his nephew with who I shot skeet. I could not stop looking at this guy and spoke with him for some time....He received an award from Obama last year in France.... and is a Purple heart vet.... who was in the first wave at Omaha Beach, Dog Green, 2nd Rangers, under the command of James Rudder....What a guy! The same location that was depicted in "Saving Private Ryan"... I thought of my late Father who was In Rome at that time having broken out of Anzio beachhead with the 6th Corp. and was a radio man assigned to the 3rd Infantry division and 1st Rangers under Lucien Truscott. There are not many of these American heros left from that time. This Guy is the REAL thing........

"Company C landed at H-Hour on Omaha Beach. Their mission was to clear the enemy from the top of Pointe du La Percee to prevent the enemy from placing enfilading fire on Omaha Beach where the 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions were to also land. At 6:30 a.m. on June 6, Company C arrived on English landing crafts amidst intense fire. Almost half their men were killed crossing the beach under horrific heavy fire. Using their fighting knives and bayonets, three men scaled the 100 foot cliffs and dropped the toggle ropes to their remaining Rangers below to enable them to more easily climb the cliffs and successfully put out of action this very important and deadly German defensive position.

"Companies A, B, part of Headquarters and the rest of the Rangers provisional group landed at H-plus 30 minutes. After blowing up a section of the sea wall on Omaha Beach, the Rangers led the way off the beach and fought their way westward to join their comrades at Pointe du Huc. The Rangers were supported by the sadly depleted 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Division. After joining forces, they pushed westward toward the villages of Pierre du Mont and along the coast toward the town of Grandcamp-Maisy. July 1944, the battalion was assigned to clearing out hidden enemy positions and pockets of enemy resistance along the coastline of the Cherbourg Peninsula. Replacements were soon received (to replace their many casualties) and were trained for and by the under-strength Ranger battalion. August 1944 the battalion received special hedgerow training with the 759th Tank Battalion. August 1944 the entire battalion was assigned to 8th Corps and again the 29th Infantry Division. It was the start of the assault on the City of Brest and the capture of many other enemy positions and, in particular, the Lochrist (Graf Spee) Battery at the tip of the Le Coquet Peninsula. This was a monumental victory for the Rangers of the 2nd Battalion. "A" Company captured over 850 German prisoners and rendered inoperable the strongest and largest fortress in the area."
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:13 AM
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Thanks

Thanks for sharing that story John... what heroes those guys were... and you are correct, sadly not many of them left now...

I dropped my taxes off the other day and the guy is a history buff and told me he had done the tour of Normandy and had been to Point du Hoc.

He said it brings up great emotion to be standing there and hear the tour director narrate the story of those brave men...

Thanks again and thanks to the brave guys serving today..
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:13 AM
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Great post, John. The few remaining need all the recognition they can get. Thanks

Pete
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:11 PM
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I just don't know how those guys did what they did. I guess it's do or die. And a lot of them died. I have the utmost respect for all of them.
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Old 02-22-2011, 04:44 PM
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John,

Thanks for the tribute to this American hero. I feel the same way about my Dad. We had to put him in a nursing home a couple of months ago. At 91, he can no longer care for his himself. His is an amazing story.

Like many others he joined the navy a week after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. His time in the navy gave real meaning to the navy's recruitment posters, " Join the Navy and see the world". After joining, and an expedited boot camp, he was sent to Detroit where he was trained to be an electrician. He was then sent to Mobile, Alabama where he was assigned duty on an LCT/LST craft. He was involved in the invasion of North Africa and Sicily ferrying surrendering Italians to prisoner of war camps in North Africa. He spent time on a destroyer patroling the Mediterranean. He was then sent through the Suez Canal on his way to India. While waiting for his ship to get through the canal he and his buddies had time to climb the pyramids at Giza. From there he was shipped over to Bombay and took a train across India to Calcutta. He was then placed on a gun boat patroling the Ganges delta defending the supply lines for the Burma Road when Stillwell was fighting in China. He was then sent back to the European theater and was part of the landing at Anzio. This was the most dangerous fighting he faced. Then later in 1944 was sent to England for the invasion at Normandy. He piloted one of the LCT crafts that landed on Utah beach. Not as famous as Omaha, but still a dangerous landing. He was then sent back to the states where he was stationed again in Mobile where he trained crews for duty on the LCT crafts. In 45 he was sent to the Pacific theater through the Panama Canal to Saipan where he waited for the invasion of Japan. Thankfully Truman made the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Several days after Hiroshima he and a buddy hitch hiked across the island where they had a photo taken standing by the Enola Gay. During this whole time he suffered only one injury when he and his buddies, on leave and drunk, rolled a truck they were driving in. He had a huge gash on his back. The amazing thing is that he had a camera the whole time to document his entire 3 1/2 of service. I also have many of the letters he wrote to his mother and to my Mom. I have photos of him from all the places I mentioned. He was called up during the Korean War tooand was staioned on a destroyer patroling the North Atlantic. He spent 9 months on duty till my mom got him out on a hardship case. If I can get it together to digitalize the photos I will show you the photo of him next to the Enola Gay. Like many men in the service, he met with his buddies once a year. He is the last surviving member of his group. Anyway, I thought you might appreciate hearing about his story. He marched in a Memorial Day parade 9 years ago with other WWII veterans. It reminded me of the archival footage of Civil War veterans marching in a memorial day parade in the 1930's shown in Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War. There are so few veterans of WWII left. He's my hero....

Steve
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:43 PM
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Steve, you can be truly proud of your dad. Great story and what an adventure. Hope he does well in his final years.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:13 PM
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Great and inspiring stories. It's important to keep telling them lest we all forget the price that others paid so that we have the life we do.
When I hear these stories, I feel at once to be both proud to be an American while simultaneously feeling small for the petty and mundane things that we allow our lives to be dominated with,all the while knowing that but for "them", we would not have the luxury of such smallness.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:28 PM
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The men and women of that time in American history became our golden generation. They lived through the great depression, the worlds biggest war ever, then became the young leaders of a whole new world never seen before. I think over the last 20 years we have really missed them as they retired from world power positions. And it's not only Americans who led us all in a strong forward thinking society. We had so many great leaders at all levels world wide. I listen with concern when I hear these great seniors talk about the lack of courtesy and mistrust of our present politicians.

Last month when Juro was out to fish we had a long and wonderful conversation about those from the great generation. God bless them all.
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:30 PM
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I'm an American and have always been prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, and have immeasurable respect and admiration for the soldiers who carried out the schemes of the war mongers. However I deeply despise the war mongers themselves, meaning no disrespect to the soldiers of course.

Furthermore, I see no honor in the unprecedented civilian bombing that took place whether conventional firebombs nor nuclear weapons at the hands of our airships and am glad we have not stooped to such lows since, at least in principle and intent.

Funny how war forges the most admirable examples of men from the most despicable act of mankind.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:37 PM
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"Furthermore, I see no honor in the unprecedented civilian bombing that took place whether conventional firebombs nor nuclear weapons at the hands of our airships and am glad we have not stooped to such lows since, at least in principle and intent."

Juro, Let me know if I have misinterpreted that portion of your comment. I too agree that there is no "honor" without doubt..."unprecedented" it was not. The allies did everything possible to not bomb civilian populations. despite the horrific bombing of London, and other European cities. The Japanese did not distinguish between military targets from civilian.... The treatment of the civilian population in Nanking is , to this day, indescribable...The History is clear on that. This has been debated for decades. You are correct in the war mongers...but it was those war mongers who would not end the war. Those late war bombing of those Hun cities... and the bombing of the Japanese Cities by our "airships"were an effort to END the war as soon as possible. As you know an invasion of Japan would have cost , estimated 1 million allied casualties and 75% casualties of the ENTIRE Japanese population. So I can not go as far as you describe as "stooping" nor put those allied actions, despite the same result to a far lesser extent, in the same catagory. Stated in all due respect ....Our motives were not the same as the aggressors motives in such bombings. Finally, the original post was about Tom,and not intended to raise issues about the the ethics of our actions in it. That seems to change the course of this thread. JIMO

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Old 02-23-2011, 12:33 AM
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Topics aside from flyfishing are welcome on this site, to a degree.

However, please respect that this resource is a source of flyfishing information, insights, good times where lifelong friendships happen - first and foremost.

In winter especially, it's probably best to avoid debate over politics, religion, and rationalizing war on the FLYFISHING FORUM. Myself included of course.

Thanks,
Juro
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:33 AM
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Thanks Juro..that was my point. Now..this raises another issue which I hope is constructive. Many months ago the issue was raised on the moderator forum, and supported by several moderators that we have a general type forum to post non fishing related matters...my recollection without looking back , that people like Eric was for this as he plays a certain musical instrument and wanted to share and discus this with other members. Many other fishing forums have this. I say this keeping in light with the mission of fostering friendships. I know many on this forum who share other interests.... as friends....friends forged original in the love of flyfishing. You have other interests...both you and Adrian love playing the guitar as another example. There are several of us who enjoy the shotgun sports....even Golf. etc.. etc. This concept of setting up another forum was discussed and , I say in all respect , it fell on deaf ears....silence let it die. Threads of the type here are perfect for this . I hope you will reconsider this issue going forward.............now ...your post sounds a little like my original post was not appropriate for this forum....but our history here shows many such posts that are not fishing related....and I agree that we allow it to a degree as you say......but my response to you that was a bit off the topic and fell into " ethical war discussion" was not originated by me....right? So, please reconsider the "general" type forum which I and other moderators here feel appropriate...we may even have some stamp collectors here....Car restorers.....art collectors.... gardeners..... poets, etc....love to see some poets and their work.....now I appologize for changing the flow of this thread...but I grab the opportunity to raise this "civil" topic of another forum. Thanks... see you soon.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:29 AM
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John - I'm in Portland OR with a few hours sleep implementing a software package for an aerospace industry client fighting off food poisoning from plane food while I fall behind on everything from bills to dentist appts and all I really want is a little peace and escape when I come to the forum, to dream about smart bonefish and dumb tarpon (they get off anyway); chrome steelhead and dark stripers, and days where the biggest decision is choosing from what's in my flybox.

Most of those topics sound great. As moderators we need to recognize when some topics detract from the purpose of the site in their tendency to be polarize people, and have the wisdom to know the difference between these topics and those that won't... objectively.
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:58 AM
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Ok.....forget about it.

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Old 02-23-2011, 06:04 PM
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Thanks John for sharing Tom's story and thank you Steve for sharing your dad's service......I also thankful of my own father's role (D Day/Omaha Beach- Camel Brigade) in preserving the freedoms we now enjoy and sometime take for granted.
Something that I am especially proud of and desire to share on this subject, that I don't think that anyone would would find polarizing, is what my daughter and son-in-law did 3 years ago.
They researched their grand-fathers' combat histories........both landed on Omaha Beach on D Day ( my son-in-law's grandfather was a "foreward observer"). My dad lasted 72 days until he was wounded...the other grandfather 95 days.
My daughter and husband retraced the daily steps/positions of each grandfather from start to finish. They ended their journey at the National Cemetary and both openly wept..........they shared that they were totally overwhelmed with the sacrifice that so many had made and felt so much closer to each grandparent. For them, it wasn't about war, it was about learning more about their grandfathers.......the "kids" made me proud!
Ron
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