Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

In 2011 I wrote what I thought was a good Memorial day blog—I was just going to recycle that one today until Nat agreed to come for lunch.  I asked him to bring his World War II medals which he did along with this great photograph:

IMG_3509Looking at the photograph, Nat is third from the left in the row standing.  He was 22 and one of the oldest in the group—these are the guys he trained with and flew 5 missions over Japan with.  These 12 men all survived the war and three are still surviving including Nat.  After five missions, the copilot left this crew after being given his own plane—Nat said this shook up the crew he flew with, when you are getting shot at every day, planes are being ditched in the ocean—you become superstitious, you want the same people around you who have worked together and managed to stay alive in those circumstances.  Nat flew 31 missions over Japan and Korea. 

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal and other medals pictured below:

IMG_3510As shown he still has his dog tags.  He talked and talked today, I wrote everything down as fast as I could—I want to remember what a sacrifice he and so many others have made for this country. 

When the war in the Pacific began the US did not control Iwo Jima making the distance from Japan to the base on Tinian greater than the fuel capacity of the planes at times—many men lost their lives when forced to land their planes in the ocean.  Once the US gained control of Iwo Jima, there was a refueling stop and a place to land in case of emergency.  Nat said his crew landed on Iwo Jima five times, three of those landings under emergency conditions. 

Nat said his best and last mission was when the war was over but treaty had not been signed.  The location of the Japanese POW camps had been discovered.  Nat’s crew loaded their bomb bays with tons of food, flew in low over these camps and dropped the food to the prisoners. 

Thank you Nat and all the other men and women who made and continue to make sacrifices for our country.  Laci, we are proud of you!Nat & Laci

This is our granddaughter Laci serving in Italy in the USAF with Nat—those two have a very special bond. 

11 comments:

  1. Please give him an extra hug for me, and a great big thank you.

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  2. Tell him and Laci Thanks for serving That is how we are free.

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  3. Very special!!..thanks for sharing!!

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  4. that just gave me goose bumps. You must be so proud of your family Mike and Janna.

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  5. I have an uncle who was in one of those POW camps, and I remember him telling of those planes dropping food and medical supplies to them at Wars end. As Tom Brokaw said; they were the Greatest Generation, and we owe them, dearly. Great post!

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  6. Wonderful post. Thank you Nat and Laci and all who serve.

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  7. Makes me proud to be an American!! Nice post Janna......

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  8. Great tribute to Nat for his war time efforts. We do owe our freedom to the guys and gals who contributed so much.

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  9. butterbean carpenterMay 29, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Howdy Janna & Mike & Nat,
    Thank you, Janna & Nat, for your story and your heroism!! My oldest brother was
    in the Pacific also from New Guinea to Kyoto, Japan, but WILL NOT EVEN MENTION IT AT ALL!! As far as I know all he did was drive a General around.. Landing on Iwo Jima wasn't a piece of cake either!!!

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