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My salute to the brave warriors that participated in the monumental challenge that is forever known as D-Day, 6 June 1944.

Today 6 June 2020 I take a knee in your honor. Tomorrow I'll take a knee to thank God for providing me and my family with the example that these brave soldiers set not just on the battlefield but also in my life time.

"Noli Me Tangere"
 

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My Dad, Capt. Wilfred Elie, was a WW2 vet, who flew with the Royal Canadian Air Force and Bomber Command. He flew 44 missions over Germany and participated in the Air Battles of Hamburg, the Ruhr, and Berlin.He was shot down twice by German radar equipped night fighters. He had to bail out on one occasion and parachuted into the D Day plus 10 landing area and fought with the 82 Airborne until he was able to make it to the Canadian Airborne Division at the Juno Beach sector.
He never talked about the war except how he loved Scotland when he was stationed there and learned how to spey cast on the River Ness with a former Ghillie. He spey fished for salmon and sea trout to supplement the merger war time rations of the officers mess. He passed on a dozen years ago but I still remember and fish with him in a way as I use his Sharpes Scotty spliced cane rods that he passed onto me.
 

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My Dad, Capt. Wilfred Elie, was a WW2 vet, who flew with the Royal Canadian Air Force and Bomber Command. He flew 44 missions over Germany and participated in the Air Battles of Hamburg, the Ruhr, and Berlin.He was shot down twice by German radar equipped night fighters. He had to bail out on one occasion and parachuted into the D Day plus 10 landing area and fought with the 82 Airborne until he was able to make it to the Canadian Airborne Division at the Juno Beach sector.
He never talked about the war except how he loved Scotland when he was stationed there and learned how to spey cast on the River Ness with a former Ghillie. He spey fished for salmon and sea trout to supplement the merger war time rations of the officers mess. He passed on a dozen years ago but I still remember and fish with him in a way as I use his Sharpes Scotty spliced cane rods that he passed onto me.[/QUOTE

Pour a sip and cheers to your dad. I’ve never served but I have good friends that served overseas with Canadians and they all say the Canadians are two things. Professional and pretty bad ass. 3540 meters? Nice shot.
 

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My hat's off to all of them.
Stationed in Germany I got to visit several former prisons/concentration camps and the landing sites on D-day. Seeing what those men were up against on those beaches and in prisons is one of the most frightening things I've ever experienced.
 

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fly fisher 'til it's over
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My father, Lt. Col. Paul Budesa, was a P-38, P-40, and P-51 pilot in the Aleutians during WWII, and in Korea. He's got some photos in a series of books entitled "The Aleutian Warriors". During his early flight training years, he had a fly tying business with a guy named Pete Auer, and Jack Hemmingway. It didn't last too long, although their friendships did. All his tying equipment he gave to me when he could no longer see to tie.

In 1956, he was stationed in Frankfurt Germany, and the family went too. We lived there for four years, and although I could speak it, aside from a few words, my German is all gone.

Dad would talk about his flying days with pride, humor, and a tear now and then. When Reagan passed away, a B-17 and B-24 flew into town, and were offering rides. Not inexpensive, but what the hell. I bought dad a ticket, and went to see him the day before his flight, giddy with anticipation. When I told him what I'd done, he told me to take the ticket back. He couldn't do it. He started to tear up then, and I knew that it would just bring back memories he couldn't re-live. When I took the tickets back, the guy in charge said it was not uncommon, and gladly refunded my $$.

I was proud to have been his son, and to have known he and some of his flight buddies.
 

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Rather unusually, my father served under 'Monty' with the (Brits) Desert Rats, in the 8th army in N. Africa, Italy and Austria during WW2, as..by way of contrast,my mother was, at the time, a teenager (along with the rest of her generation) conscripted into the Hitler Youth in Berlin, and remembers (at now 90) vividly attending the rally's at the Olympic stadium during the 1940's watching, arm held high, Hitler ranting on.. Her mother, my grandmother, assisted as a translator for the allies after the war (she spoke seven languages including Latin, Greek and Flemish..) in some way, to help re-claim Nazi looted war art - so the story goes.

Her father, my Great Grandfather, was killed by a VII rocket when one fell on Antwerp, Belgium.

My mothers birth father, her mother re-married.. was in charge of an underground ammo store/ complex during WW2 in the southern town of Pforzheim, in the Black Forest, Germany. I remember visiting as a boy during the mid/late 1960's when my grandfather took us for a tour; water filled shell holes everywhere, piles of munitions being brought up and de-fused, plus the shot down remains of an allied plane which had tried to find them hidden in the woods. He was a diminutive man, I have his cased Iron Cross (First Class) medal still; my mother told me later that he also served in the German army at Passchendael during the first world war.

The original post referred to the D Day landings. If you care to, type in the name of one Ben Dunkelman- quite the war hero, who headed up the (Canadian) Queens Own Rifles regiment on the beaches, then proceeded to fight his way through Europe, receiving for his troubles a DSO medal for bravery, ending up as a Major. After the war in 1948 he was to journey to be part of the Arab/ Israel war, serving as a Commander in the Israel Defence Force.

I value the memory and kindness of Ben (plus his wife Yael) and the fishing trips that we had together.

Malcolm
 

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My father, James Moon, served in the US Navy starting in 1944 and served in the north atlantic. He dropped out of school as a teen to enlist when his brother was drafted. Growing up on the Chesapeake Bay, he loved the water and that’s probably where i got my passion for the same. He never was an officer, never flew planes, never performed daring missions. Just a sailor that volunteered to serve.

He died some years ago. I’d give anything to go surf fishing for blues with him just one more time
 

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My father, James Moon, served in the US Navy starting in 1944 and served in the north atlantic. He dropped out of school as a teen to enlist when his brother was drafted. Growing up on the Chesapeake Bay, he loved the water and that’s probably where i got my passion for the same. He never was an officer, never flew planes, never performed daring missions. Just a sailor that volunteered to serve.

He died some years ago. I’d give anything to go surf fishing for blues with him just one more time
I love these stories of the older generation. "My brother is going and so am I". Everybody understood it was all or nothing. We need more of that now.
 

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My dad was a 19 year old tail gunner in a B-17 during the war. He flew numerous missions in N. Africa and Italy and his plane was shot down over Algeria and he was briefly captured by Italians only to be rescued shortly thereafter. He went on to fly many more missions in the battle for Italy. He would never talk about those days but his sister would share with me letters he wrote her during the war. On one occasion he and another gunner were sitting together on the way home when a lone German fighter came out of nowhere and strafed the plane and killed his best friend sitting next to him. He was credited with two confirmed shoot downs.

Like so many of his generation he didn't brag or bluster about what he'd done. There was no ambiguity about the necessity of what he and others accomplished. He came home, got married, took advantage of the GI Bill and went on to live a quiet and fruitful life.

When I joined the Marines and went off to Vietnam I could tell he was proud, but less certain about the purpose of the war. After two tours and a stint in a VA hospital due to war wounds I was pretty bitter and disillusioned. When the Marines wanted to present me with a medal I refused to go and my dad insisted on going in my place. He kept that medal until he died and made sure I received it along with his silk flying scarf with a wolf's head on it and a letter to his son that could only be shared between two combat veterans. I miss him to this day and wish I had his humility and compassion.

May we always keep the memory alive of that greatest generation. They certainly earned that moniker.
 

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I'm too am grateful for, and in awe of, this greatest generation – just incredibly brave men and women.

And I'm forever thankful to all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Among them was my Dad's oldest brother, James D. Loomis, Technical Sargent, US Army Airforces, 342 Bomber Squadron, 97 th Heavy Bomber Group. He died when his bomber was shot down on a mission over Germany. My Dad idolized his older brother, and my grandmother chose to let her son lay where he rested. My Dad always wished to stand at his grave one day. He never got to do that, but on a vacation my wife and I placed flowers at Jim's grave at the Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France.

The cemetery was immaculately kept and one of the most peaceful and reverent of human-built places. The cemetery staff person who took us to the grave treated the presentation of my uncle’s grave with the utmost respect - rubbing wet sand from the beaches of Normandy into the inscription so it would show in photographs he also took.

Nearly 35 years later, I can still remember the waves upon waves of white crosses and stars - aligned for as far as the eye could see. It was a haunting and heartbreaking sight, and one I will never forget. These many years later, I still remember the tears on my Dad’s face when we gave him the pictures of Jim’s grave.
 

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My father served in the USN during the war, my mom in the WAVS. Mom died last Thanksgiving two months short of 100. My dad is 95 now and living on his own, quarantined in the hills above Santa Barbara, California. They met on the steps of the library at USC, there on the GI bill. Married more than 70 years. I don't think I ever heard either of them complain about anything. My dad's family lost everything in the dust bowl, and the children were farmed out just to feed them. Dad drove a team of mules in the 30's! He taught me to fly fish in the inner Sierra in the 60's, and I often think of him when I am on the river. My hat is off to all of them. We owe them literally everything with which we are so blessed.
 

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Me and a couple close buddies watched the new Tom Hanks movie yesterday, Greyhound. Blew my mind.
My grandfather had PTSD from the war. He was a merchant seaman on the North Atlantic convoy routes, Liberty ships and freighters. After watching that movie I really get it now.
My Uncle was on Guadalcanal.
My cousins were in Korea but my Dad was in the Army stateside.
Me and my little brother both served, me in the darker days of the Cold War and my Bro just after.

You know, it just strings its way through families. If evil flourishes we're all cooked. What else do you do? Get in there.
 

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My father never said much about the war.

368980


Less than one year later....

DD-459
LAFFEY (DD-459)
dp. 1,260; l. 347' 10"; b. 36' 1"; dr. 11' 10"; s. 37.5 k.; cpl. 208; a. 4 5", 5 20-mm, 3 21" tt., 5 dcp., 2 dct., cl. BRISTOL

A History of USS Laffey

LAFFEY (DD-459) was laid down 13 January 1941 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co., San Francisco Calif.; launched 30 October 1941; sponsored by Miss Eleanor G. Forgerty, granddaughter of Seaman Laffey; and commissioned 31 March 1942, Lt. Comdr. William E. Hank in command.

After shakedown off the west coast, LAFFEY headed for the war zone via Pearl Harbor, arriving Efate 28 August 1942. She steamed in antisubmarine screen until she joined Task Force 18 on 6 September. When Wasp (CV-7), her flagship, was sunk 15 September, LAFFEY rescued survivors and returned them to Espiritu Santo. She sailed with Task Force 64 and touched at Noumea, New Caledonia, 18 September.

LAFFEY saw her first fleet action in the Battle off Cape Esperance (also known as the Second Battle of Savo Island) 11 and 12 October 1942. The destroyer operated with Admiral Scott's cruiser group, guarding against enemy attempts to reinforce Guadalcanal. On 11 October when the group formed into single column, LAFFEY joined two other destroyers in the van. About an hour later sailors ran to their battle stations, steel doors clanged shut, and all made ready for battle. When the engagement began, LAFFEY raked AOBA with three of her 5-inch guns. The furious gunfire roared on through the night. At dawn, destroyer DUNCAN was sinking, destroyer FARENHOLT was badly damaged, and cruiser BOISE, though hard hit, had weathered several powerful blows. On the other hand, the Japanese losses were even greater. Cruiser FURUTAKA was sinking, cruiser AOBA was badly damaged, and destroyer FUBAKI had sunk.

After the battle, LAFFEY rendezvoused with a group escorting transports from Noumea 11 November, and sailed to Lunga Point, arriving the next day. The disembarking operations were interrupted by a heavy air attack. On Friday 13 November LAFFEY was placed in the van of a column of eight destroyers and five cruisers under Admiral Callaghan. Early in the midwatch the radar operator reported contact with the enemy. The naval battle of Guadalcanal was just about to begin when the enemy force, a group of two battleships, one cruiser and 14 destroyers appeared on the horizon. LAFFEY lashed out at the enemy with gunfire and torpedoes. At the height of the violent battle, an enemy battleship came slashing through the darkness and both ships headed at full speed for the same spot. The destroyer unleashed her torpedoes and using all her firepower, machine-gunned the battleship's bridge. With a battleship on her stern, a second on her port beam, and two destroyers on her port bow, LAFFEY fought the Japanese ships with the three remaining main battery guns in a no-quarter duel at point blank range. Suddenly, from the battleship whose bridge she had shot away, came a salvo of 14-inch guns, swamping the crippled destroyer. Then a torpedo in her fantail put LAFFEY out of action. As the order to abandon ship was passed, a violent explosion ripped the destroyer apart; and she sank immediately. But her gallant skipper and crew had made the enemy pay a fearful price of one battleship severely damaged, one cruiser and two destroyer sunk.

LAFFEY was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for her gallant performance in the South Pacific and three battle stars for World War II service.

368981


He was lucky to survive when many others didn't. It is impossible to understand the terror he must have felt clinging to one of those balsa rafts with flaming bunker oil all around and ships steaming by at full speed firing their guns at each other. The ship was blown up around 1am and what was left of the crew was picked up by patrol boats around daylight.

After the War he spent countless hours working on behalf of veterans through the VFW particularly the disabled. He went back to Swift where he was a shop steward for decades as a strong advocate for all union members including the Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, African Americans and
Filipino Americans he worked beside every day. He had a case of PTSD that shook our family home and my childhood in so many ways. I only began to understand any of it when I was an adult.
 
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