Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Book That Hit Close to Home

Today I was having an off day.  It is hotter than hot here in Wisconsin on this 17th day of July.  There was no going out in the weather today.  It was a day for those chores that we can so easily put off.  I vacuumed the coils under the refrigerator.  I gave my husband and my dad a hair cut.  I washed the sheets and mostly sat around trying to keep cool.  My dad can't be out on his porch in this weather so he was sitting in his room listening to a new book.  I walked in with a bowl of grapes for him to snack on, and I could see he was kind of nervous or was having some sort of adrenaline rush.  I asked him if he was ok and he started telling me about the new book he was listening to.  It was called "No Less Than Victory" by Jeff Shaara.  He writes war novels.  This particular novel is part of a trilogy on
World War II.

The spring after my dad graduated from high school, he was drafted into the army.  It was 1943.  He had to show up at a certain time and place in a nearby town.  Then they were loaded on a bus and sent to Fort Sheridan Illinois.  They had their physicals and got inducted.  From that point they put the guys on a train, didn't tell anyone where they were going and headed south.  The train traveled without any lights on so they wouldn't be targets.  They ended up in Fort Jackson for training.  He was put into the 106th Infantry Division, Regiment 424.  He was in Platoon D which was the Heavy Weapon platoon.  At this time he had a friend who talked him into applying for Aviation Cadets because the word was out that the air force was looking for pilots..  He applied, was accepted and sent to Miami.  By the time he got there he found out they had enough pilots.  He transferred into the Army Air Corp and became a B-24 armorer/gunner assigned to the 319th Bomb Squadron of the 90th Bomb Group. He flew 44 combat missions in the Pacific Theater..  He did an interview about this which I blogged about a while ago.

The reason I mention this is because the book dad is reading is how the 106th Division, Regiment 423 were sent in to replace the 102 Division in Europe during WW II.  It talks about all the terrible conditions and hardships the soldiers had to endure in battling the German army.  They were cold and muddy most of the time.  Dad told me that it could have been him in that situation.  It hit close to home and that was the reason he was seemed anxious.  He couldn't wait to get back to the book though, so he must find it interesting.  The friend who encouraged him to apply to aviation cadets stayed in the 106th and was taken prisoner.  My dad said that he was probably lucky to have only had to fly 44 bombing missions.  I thought that was an amazing statement and it turned my OFF day into a day to be grateful.

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