I know one of them was a tanker with the 32nd Artillery in the South Pacific. This division saw 654 days of combat between September 1942, and inactivated in June 1946. I know this was seriously hazardous work in the Pacific, and hot. I can’t imagine the heat inside a tank in the Pacific in the summer. If that’s what a “tanker” did. Maybe it meant he was on an oil tanker, but the obit doesn’t make that clear. I don’t know much about my uncles’ WWII experiences, as the family is not what you call “tight knit.” And very little information is available easily on the web (can you believe it?)
My other uncle served somewhere in Asia. I think my dad said Bummy “caught” multiple sclerosis while he was in China. I have no idea what he did.
My dad was too young for WWII and too old for Korea, not to mention he was 4F due to flat feet. He always felt inferior to his brothers, that he could only join the National Guard and was never called to action. He never felt that he was lucky to have missed out. He always pushed his boys (my brothers) to join the military, though neither one did. Instead, me and two of my sisters joined the Navy and Army, and another sister married a Marine. My sister in the Army’s husband did time in the first Iraq War, but I don’t think he saw much. The one in the Army is retired now. She has lots of medals for performance, shooting, etc., but she didn’t have any war experience. Neither did I or my other sister in the Navy. We did our time and left. Though she enjoyed her time, whereas I did not and couldn’t wait to be truly free again. No one telling me what to do, where to do it, how much to do it, and what to wear while I do it. I guess I didn’t take very easily to the following of orders.
So, that makes me a vet among a family of vets. But does a peace time vet deserve or receive a salute? Well, the military sees a difference, those of us who were in during peace time do not receive the same level of benefits, as say a marine coming home from a third tour in Iraq. Which brings me to my issue, I feel embarrassed that I did peace keeping duties. That I didn’t do more. That my military stint was a cakewalk. Still, I can claim duty during the end of the Cold War (not that today’s soldiers even know what that was). Does that count? Should it?
Any way, with all the hoopla about soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen during Memorial Day weekend, I don’t feel myself included in the thanks that is being bantered around, and it just adds to my feeling of not having done anything even remotely important. I suppose that’s my ego talking. If it is I wish it would shut up.