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Thread: USGI sea stories

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    USGI sea stories

    Over the years I've cultivated friendships with other vets, many of them older than myself.
    Of special interest is their stories of military service from generations past.
    I hate to see some of these pass into history and be lost, so I figured I pass some along----

    Here's one from a Dogface that served in the Pacific during the mid-1940's when he worked for General MacArthur:
    Back then, troops didn't fly like we do now. They were moved by ship, on big troop transports.

    These boats were quite Spartan with their 'acomodations'.

    The bathrooms were long rows of toilet seats over a 1/2 of a big drain pipe with sea water always flowing through it.
    Like a 20 'holer' outhouse.

    In the mornings, with a few hundred guys in there at one time,,,,
    When one became available--- It was important to get a seat as far 'upstream' as possible.

    There was always someone upstream who would roll out a piece of 'Navy Literature' about the size of a football,
    light it, and drop it into the water flowing through the trough...…….

    As it went downstream,,,, guys would be jumping up like a row of 'jack in the boxes'.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 07-21-2019 at 03:16 PM.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    Never pick a fight with old people.
    If they don't think they can win it: They'll just kill you.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master bikerbeans's Avatar
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    I knew a man who was in the infantry in WWII. He arrived in France in late fall of 1944. His saw zero action until one cold mid-December morning Hitler's forceds popped out of dense Belguim forests. He almost immediately cutoff from his unit. After traveling on foot most of the day he finally found what he thought were a couple of American troops. He yelled to get their attention and one of the Germans rather rudely taught him about the knock down power of the Mauser. He finally made it back to Indiana in 1946 after 18 months in a hospital. He told me this story right before i went in the Navy in 73. I didn't talk to any German while in the service.

    BB

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Ha I knew the man who laughed about doing that , sailed on the san francisco , was a heck of a good man , ww2 , was a good friend been gone for awhile now .

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I knew another trooper from the era that spoke of being in a unit with some guys from Kentucky.

    They used up all the raisins on the ship to make booze pretty soon after leaving port.

    When they got to a island in the Pacific, they'd round up all the coconuts they could find, put in a little
    yeast and sugar they'd scrounged from the cooks, and make booze on shore when the fighting slacked off.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    Never pick a fight with old people.
    If they don't think they can win it: They'll just kill you.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy


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    My father was a flight engineer (nco ) in a C-47 squadron that flew the "hump" among other flights. He was stationed mostly in Kumning. Several months later a squadron of new P-51's arrived. His brother in law was one of the pilots . Enlisted and officers were allowed to go off base on alternating nights. So, on officers nights my father would put on one of his brother in laws officers uniforms and they would go off base together. On enlisted night the brother in law would put on one of my fathers uniforms and away they went. They never got caught.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    One of the guys who had served in the Pacific re-lived a story when he told it:

    This guy would never use a profane word, ever.
    He told stories of the island hopping campaign.
    Telling this was the maddest, and closest to cussing I ever saw him-

    During and after the heavy fighting, they'd have to check out Japanese
    spider holes and bunkers frequently to be sure they weren't being re-occupied until the engineers blew out and collapsed them.

    Like in Viet Nam, they'd take turns going into them as they moved around the islands.

    He'd get madder, and madder as he told the story-
    First you throw in a hand grenade or two.
    Then drop or go in with a flashlight in one hand and a Colt .45 or a Thompson in the other.

    He told of taking his turn and doing it.
    As the dust cleared and his eyes focused----
    There was a Japanese soldier crouched and ready to spring,
    with a rifle and fixed bayonet pointed at him about 6 inches from his heart.

    Almost too mad to talk, he said--
    "You know what some sorry,,,, good for nothin' did,,,,, he put that dead Jap there,,,,,,, just to scare the next guy"!!!


    Nothing funny about guys being in a war zone so long they start doing practical jokes with dead bodies,
    but to hear him tell the tale, ya can't help but laugh.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 07-21-2019 at 09:52 PM.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    Never pick a fight with old people.
    If they don't think they can win it: They'll just kill you.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    I met an old sailor once at Travis AFB, CA, while I was killing time waiting to fly to Korea. He was there for a hospital appointment, and obviously lonely. He told stories of joining the Navy when he was 16, shortly after the Great War. He was obviously glad to have someone to talk to, and I enjoyed his stories of crewing a gunboat in China before the war. I can't recall any specific stories now - this was 1978, IIRC, but I enjoyed talking to the old sailor.
    Service members, veterans and those concerned about their mental health can call the Veterans Crisis Line to speak to trained professionals. To talk to someone, call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, send a text message to 838255 or chat at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

    If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, there is help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, text a crisis counselor at 741741 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy

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    My Uncle was in WWII with the "Rabs" 455th AAA AW[m] unit. Only remember once he talked about combat. Researching his unit found some great bits and pieces of information about where they were. Had a older friend from Texas that always rode instead of walking. He said some one asked him why and his reply was "hell I walked across Europe with Patton and I'm tired of walking". That was the extent of his talking about the war. A lot of individual unit information from WWII can be found in the Eisenhower Library in Kansas. Some of my Uncles Unit was at Bastogne. Another bit of information says they were on line for 300 days straight. One other story from my Uncle, one morning while in formation , at Ft. Stewart, Ga. they asked if there were any truck drivers , well of course several hands went up in the air, Uncle said the truck they had to drive was a wheelbarrow. Told me never volunteer for anything. Took his advice except for a couple of times.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by owejia View Post
    Told me never volunteer for anything. Took his advice except for a couple of times.
    My old buddy from then said the same thing about when he was in the Army.

    Except one time they called for volunteers, and he did. Him and 3-4 other guys.
    They sent them to the Mess Hall for 'Kitchen Police' duty (KP).

    The rest of his unit got on Higgens boats, and went to a ship.
    Not a single one of them ever came back.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    Never pick a fight with old people.
    If they don't think they can win it: They'll just kill you.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy nelsonted1's Avatar
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    Dad was in the army on his way to Korea. The whole base seemed to be in formation waiting for visiting brass. General Mark Clark-soon to lead the Korean War effort- began working his way down the formation stopping directly in front of the guy next to Dad. He asked the poor stupid idiot "Why are you going to Korea, soldier?" The poor stupid idiot said "The hell if I know." Mark Clark just stood there not saying a word. They watched his face get purple he got so mad. Finally, he turned around, got in a car and left. Dad said the poor stupid idiot said what every one of them thought but not one would say out loud. I asked Dad what they did to him. Sent him to Korea. Wasn't that enough?

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy nelsonted1's Avatar
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    A friend I see about once a month for a few minutes is almost 80. He said he did one stupid thing in his life. He was finished with basic and they asked for volunteers. He volunteered for what he found out later was nerve gas research. He wound up crippled for life. He has been on a list for a kidney for years but he is now too old. He said don't volunteer.

    As an aside. He said he has real good health insurance.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy nelsonted1's Avatar
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    Dad said he was drunk with his buddies one night in Korea. They went to a theater. One of the guys barfed on an mp seated in front of him. He said they ran as far and as fast as they could not saying a word. Somehow, they got away. The problem was he tallied frieght numbers in an railroad car next to the MPs and the medics. They ate with them. He said don't barf on an mp and expect to stay free. If you stay free you will still go insane waiting for repurcussions.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by nelsonted1 View Post
    said "The hell if I know." Mark Clark just stood there not saying a word.
    That's funny.

    A Army vet, H-47 Crew Chief from the late 1960's, buddy here told of while waiting for a bus on base in Germany,
    when a staff car with 2 stars on it pulled up and stopped.

    A General got out and ripped into one of the troopers about how dirty and unkept he looked in his uniform.

    The kid stood there, and when the General finally ran out of steam, he said, "Sir, your fly is open".
    The General didn't say another word, after he turned so red he glowed,,, just got back in his car and left.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 07-22-2019 at 03:41 PM.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    Never pick a fight with old people.
    If they don't think they can win it: They'll just kill you.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    During a Inspector Generals inspection at Quantico, it was held in one of the hangers due to it being rainy that day.
    Well, there was a large population of pigeons living up in the roof frame too.

    As the General went down the ranks, on the one in front of me, just as the General was facing and talking to him,
    a big giant glob of pigeon poop fell and landed on his shoulder and ribbon block.

    Nobody laughed. Finally the General said, "Well Gunny, you sure have been **** on today".
    Then he faced off, and went down the ranks like nothing happened.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    Never pick a fight with old people.
    If they don't think they can win it: They'll just kill you.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    My uncle was Army Air Corp in England during WWII. He was based in or around London. He said that on Sunday mornings he would go for a walk in one of the local parks that was close to the barracks. One Sunday morning he decided not to go to the park. About the time the would have been in the park he said he heard a V1 cut off and he had just enough time to pull the blanket over his head when it landed in the park. Other than getting covered in broken glass he was physically fine.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by AggieEE View Post
    heard a V1 cut off and he had just enough time to pull the blanket over his head when it landed in the park. Other than getting covered in broken glass he was physically fine.
    When I was at Quantico, the Marine Corps Air Museum was just starting to come together.
    It was in the hangers of the old air station that are on the grounds
    of what is now OCS, and near the big brig where they kept John Hinckley after he shot Pres. Reagan.

    I had a couple buddys that worked there, and I'd often visit during my Lunch hour.
    I had free run of all their spaces and back warehouses.

    I don't think they ever displayed it, but they had a dud V1 'back in the back'.
    It didn't explode when it landed, and had a big dent on the nose.

    Just from looking at it, being that close to one when it went off--your uncle was lucky.
    Those things had a BIG warhead on them.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    Never pick a fight with old people.
    If they don't think they can win it: They'll just kill you.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    My DAD, never really talked about his experiences in WWII, just an off hand comment once in awhile.
    Once when I was about 7yrs old, I got up for a drink of water late on Thanksgiving night. Everyone was asleep. Or so I thought. My DAD and His Brother were sitting at the Dining Room, smoking their Pipes and drinking Scotch. I crept out and under the Tablecloth, they didn't see me.
    They were telling War Stories, things I never heard about. They were both in the Navy, My DAD a TorpedoMan on a Destroyer, My Uncle a Corpsman assigned to the Marines.

    It was a fascinating hour, they say Vets only talk to each other.

    That's true, when I got home from Overseas, I found the friends I'd left behind couldn't begin to understand the **** I'd been through. I had a different understanding of what I'd heard under that table 13yrs before.

    I don't talk about my experiences, overseas. But I do have a funny story or two about being a Corpsman with Marines.
    I HATE auto-correct


    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Walks View Post
    But I do have a funny story or two about being a Corpsman with Marines.
    While in a CH-46 helo Squadron on Okinawa, I had developed a good relationship with our Fleet Corpsman.
    He was on Flight Pay, and needed 10 hours a month flight time to keep the extra pay coming.
    I'd call him when a good 'sight seeing' flight for a hour or two came up on our daily flight schedule.

    He'd ask about anyone's aches & pains, who needed shots, etc. and bring them over
    so we didn't have to go to Sick Bay and stand in line all day with the Grunts.

    There was a couple guys who'd 'done him wrong'.
    He'd fix them up too, but no matter what was wrong with them, the medication for it always included suppositorys.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 07-22-2019 at 04:31 PM.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    Never pick a fight with old people.
    If they don't think they can win it: They'll just kill you.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    My dad got an all expense paid vacation and tour of the southern and central Pacific in WWII courtesy of the USMC. His unit was C/1/6 2nd Marine division.
    He was in combat at Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Saipan.
    He would talk a tiny bit about Guadalcanal and the mud and the jungle rot and the fact that he ate so little his stomach shrank. He talked about his amtrac being sunk at Saipan and later being wounded and sent home after rehab. But he never mentioned Tarawa which was a battle only about 4 days long.
    I asked what did you do after the battle since it was so short. The answer was gather the dead Marines for burial.
    My final question was related to his weapon since he was trained to be an antitank gunner on a 37mm run.
    Because he landed late and there were not many tanks on Tarawa what weapon did he use.
    He said "A flame thrower". He was clearly agitated by my questions and I never asked again.
    EDG

  20. #20
    Boolit Master WRideout's Avatar
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    My cousin Herb Rideout was in the 41st Division in the Pacific during WWII. He broke the rule about not talking about his experiences. He was a draftee, but was assigned to a National Guard Division from the Pacific Northwest. He said that the food was the worst in the islands. He spoke of frequently eating "wormy mutton." He was a gunner in an artillery battery. He said that once, the cannon he served was making a funny noise, but the Lt. told them to continue the fire mission. After things had slowed down, they checked the bore, and half the rifling was missing. Another time, a gust of wind blew a large tree branch in front of their gun position. It happened so quickly, a shell was fired that hit the branch and exploded, killing a crew member. After the war he worked for the Bethlehem Steel plant in South San Francisco until he retired.

    Wayne
    Last edited by WRideout; 07-22-2019 at 06:45 PM.
    What doesn't kill you makes you stronger - or else it gives you a bad rash.
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