Before my grandfather passed on, he took the time to write down some of the stories and experiences of his life. What a great gift to our family! My favorite stories are the ones from his time serving in Pacific with the Army during World War II. This one, which I posted elsewhere last year, is one of my favorites and is worth recycling.
Even though it’s a very short snippet, when you read it you immediately understand the conditions these guys were in. It was brutally hot. They were hungry enough that a snack seemed like a feast to them, even when writing about it decades later.
But there isn’t even a hint of complaint. I mean, this is a story he chose to document because he looked back on it as a fond experience. You can tell by the tone–“yeah, it was hot and we were hungry, but man…what a feast!”
It was a one-day trip from Finch Haven to Saidor and we got a 1 day supply of “C” rations. As usual we didn’t leave Finch Haven until the next day and our food supply was gone. When we reached Saidor a little after night, the Japs had bombed a fuel (gas) supple and the place was lit up like midday. They ordered us back out sea so we wouldn’t be a lit up target for the Japs to bomb. We spent the night out at sea and came in the next day to land. We sure were a hungry bunch.
While on the boat, I saw a fellow lying on the aft deck under a workbench to shade him from the sun. He was lying on his back and had a can of corned beef setting on the deck right at the top of his head. I was starved which helped put my military strategy ticking. I got down on my stomach, crawled up there, got that can of beef, crawled backwards to where he wouldn’t see me get up and I sat down and had a feast.
When I got off the ship and grabbed a duffel bag and took off, every way I turned that bag something would be resting on my shoulder.We went about 1-½ miles up through the Mott river bottoms grown up in Cuni grass about 12 to 15 fee high. The sun was bearing down 100+. When we got to a stopping place, I took my knife and cut the duffel bag open. It had a lock on it. There were 6 cans (2-½ size) of peaches in that bag. Where he got them I don’t know. Where they went he never knew, but me and five of my buddies had a feast.
The guys who had their corned beef and peaches turn up missing may be complaining to this day. I guess that’s a possibility, but I doubt it. Because when I think back on all the people I’ve known throughout the years who have served in the armed forces, I can’t recall ever hearing any of them complain either. Pretty admirable for a group of people who put themselves in harms way so the rest of us can be safe.
Thank you all!