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A Veteran's Day Post: brief summary of my dad's war experience
and learning tons more about World War II than i ever had.
The massive training exercises. My dad, a Hoosier, was part of the 36th Infantry Division, Drafted in October 1941, he participated in most of the training exercises, departing for Europe with the division on 4/2/43.
Just as the combat chronicle says, he arrived in Africa in time to train more, and assist with the training of other units.
His photos, like this one, show a guy who'd never been away from home, enjoying friends and good times. There are tons of photos from the training period and a fair number from Africa.
However, his first battle experience nearly ended his career, possibly his life. As a technical engineer, he was one of the first men on the beach at Salerno, possibly the very first, possibly the very first injured.
He missed most of the engagements that won his unit hero status, but, just before the end of the war, returned for "the push for Berlin."*
i'm unclear whether, at the end, he returned to the same unit, or a different one. i'm having trouble matching up the numbers on his patches.
He never wanted to talk about the experience. It sounds totally horrific, as if war ever isn't.
Basic Info: Wikipedia
How Both Sides Lost at Salerno
This Day In History
Preparing for Salerno
The Battle with Interactive Map
Invading Southern Italy
* i'm not sure how common this term is; it's the one he used when i interviewed him in 8th grade.