Sunday, June 19

Father's Day 2005

My father never saw me graduate college, but I think he'd have been pleased that I pulled it off in 3 years (thanks to the CLEP Tests). He spent about half his life serving the US Navy, then retired and ran a small business until he died (age 68).

Dad didn't talk about his World War II experience much, although I do know he was on the USS BULMER (DD-222) in August 1935 and he spoke about the USS TICONDEROGA (apparently 5 ships have that name, so I need to dig to find the number .. I thought it was a Heavy Cruiser, but I can't find that in the listings).

Today, I was looking through some of his things, and ran across his "medal rack". I don't know what some of these are, but (after nosing through a few WW2 websites) can identify most:

Presidential Unit Citation 1942 /
(red background w/3 stars - ?)

2nd row:
American Defense 1940 (A for Atlantic) /
European/Middle Eastern/African Campaign Medal /
American Campaign Medal

3rd row:
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal /
World War II Victory Medal /
Navy Occupation Service Medal ("Asia" clasp)

4th row:
(blue background, 3 white stripes -?) /
United Nations Service Medal /
Expert Rifleman Medal

I'm not sure which ship he was on at the time, but apparently he was part of a convoy that was attacked, and his was one of only a few ships (do I remember 2 of 30?) that wasn't sunk. Good thing, huh .. else I wouldn't be blogging about this now.

About 12 years ago, I wrote to the US Navy Department, asking for a copy of his military records, but they never replied (even with a form to complete). Maybe I should try again?

Although he was in/out of the hospital a lot in his last years (heart condition & diabetes) he died peacefully, I guess. I was away at college (2 hour drive south) and remember getting The Phone Call from a neighbor, who broke the news. Seems dad was playing "fetch" with Willie (miniature bull terrier) and came inside, sat down in his recliner, and checked out. There are worse ways to go, I reckon.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.

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