My father joined the Navy in 1943. He was a telegraph operator for the Frisco Railroad and he became a radio/telegraph operator for the Navy. Dad could type 105 words per minute on a manual typewriter!!! He could send and receive Morris Code in excess of 70 words per minute! Trust me, that puts him in a class by himself.
Dad was assigned to the U.S.S. Bunker Hill, an Essex Class aircraft carrier. The Bunker Hill served in the Pacific theater. She provided air support for the invasion of Iwo Jima, Tarawa, the Marianas and other islands. She had a crew of approximately 1500 men.
At 10:10 a.m. on May 11, 1945, two Kamazi's hit the Bunker Hill, ripping gaping holes in the flight deck and turning parts of the ship into an inferno.
The Bunker Hill burned for three days before the fires were brought under control. Only the U.S.S. Hornet, and U.S.S. Franklin suffered more damage without being sunk than the Bunker Hill.
Hundreds of brave young men lost their lives that day. Fortunately, my father was among the living. Like most of these warriors, he has said very little about the war over the years. The truth is, words cannot describe the terror of war, nor make anyone understand what the warrior must endure. The survivors spent another three days burying the dead and sea and trying to get the ship seaworthy enough to sail toward help.As I mentioned last year, we are losing these brave men and women, who truly saved the world, at the rate of 1200 per day. They are nearly all in their 80's and 90's now. They will not be with us much longer. On this Veteran's Day seek out one of these patriots and personally thank them for their sacrifice and their contribution to the life that we enjoy. You may not get another chance.
Note, this post was first published on November, 9 2009. Dad passed away 5 weeks later on December 16, 2009.