Friday, November 21, 2008

Replay: American warriors

Here is another replay of an article I wrote in July of 2007. This was part of a long-ish series of posts I did on warriors, warrior spirit, and the warrior ethos.

The Warrior in America

My dad was a warrior. He was a Lieutenant Commander on a destroyer in the Pacific in World War II. He's never talked much about the war, just an occasional hint or two, but today he told me about some action that occurred in the Philippines. His destroyer took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which saw the first use of kamikaze aircraft in the war. Dad says he watched a plane pass over him and miss its target by about 30 feet, piling into the water and exploding. Not yet realizing that the pilot's intent had been to fly into the ship, dad's thought was one of awed sympathy, "that guy never had a chance!"

Later he said he saw two planes fly into the USS Mississippi. During this action in the Philippines, a shell from a shore battery hit a nearby ship and utterly destroyed everything from the mast forward. My dad took a whale boat into the wreckage and picked up 20-some-odd survivors. As he was offloading the men onto a mid-sized transport, the transport was hit and destroyed and he had to go pick up the survivors again. For this action he earned an award (a Bronze Star Medal?)

After the war, he gave up warrioring and became an engineer, a businessman, and a family man. But beneath these hats there was still a warrior. There was (is) some part of the warrior, noble and stern, dignified and proper, remaining in him.

Yesterday I noticed a new book put out by Skyhorse Publishing, titled The Battle for Leyte Gulf and it started me thinking about my dad and this story I told in this old post, and that started me fiending for a copy of this book (Hint - if any of y'all want to buy me a book for Christmas). Or maybe some of y'all are WWII history buffs and would enjoy reading it too. If so, if you purchase the book from my Amazon link, they'll throw me a little kickback.

[For the rest of this week I will be camping with my family. In my absence I have scheduled several great re-plays from my archives. Check in each day to see what I've dug up in my trip back in time. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think and I'll see y'all again Monday!]

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