Monday, May 25, 2009

My Heroes

Today I would like to pay tribute to the veterans in my family. First, there was my dad: SGT Charles R. Berry. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. He enlisted in January of 1942 and was honorably discharged in November of 1945. The majority of his time was spent state-side at various bases...mostly in Texas. But the last 13 months he spent in Italy. He was a cook. He was also a very short man and used to joke that when the shooting would start, he would just get into one of the big soup pots. He and my mother were newlyweds when he entered and my sister, Karen, was born in September of 1943...about half way through the time that he was away from home.

Three of my mom's four brothers also served during WWII. Ralph and Tim were in the Marines and Pete, I believe, was in the army. I know Pete served in Paris, but I'm not sure about the other two. None of these men (part of the Greatest Generation) talked much about their military service.

SSGT Jerry L. Simons was in the Air Force from 1965 to 1969. I tease him about spending 3 of his 4 years "fighting the war in Hawaii". He was very lucky to be stationed there, but his work was vital to the battles raging in the jungles of Viet Nam. He was a photo interpreter...and his job was to examine the photos brought back by the men who would fly over the thick brush. He...and the rest of the men in his group...needed to let them know where there were missile and artillery sites. The VC would move these around constantly. He showed me some of the photos and explained. Like in this one. You can clearly see the "artillery piece with barrel muzzle visible", can't you? (???)
I know I have the wrong holiday. I should post this on Veteran's Day. Memorial Day is, after all, a time to remember those who gave their lives in service to our country. But even though these 5 men were blessed enough to return to their homes and families uninjured, they did not know where they would be asked to go or what they would be asked to do when they signed their enlistment papers. They were ready to give whatever it took to ensure our safety and secure the many freedoms that we usually take for granted. That still makes them heroes in my book.


jodi said...

Very cool. Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

my daddy was a dry land sailor in kansas during WWII. and my brother did rotc and graduated from UT with his army commission. he served during non violent times, but he served. mr b worked on aircraft and had a deferment with a government rating. god bless all of us for knowing and not knowing all those who serve to keep us free. america is the land of the free at a price few are willing to pay.

Anonymous said...

Thanks JB wonderful and meaningful article. My Dad,too was in the Navy on several ships in the Pacific theater. He was a gunners mate. Don was a ssgt also in the airforce 68-72. We have a lot more in common than quilting. I do enjoy your blog so much Ardis

Jackie said...

Very nice. I didn't know the story about your dad. My dad and uncle were in the Navy in WWII. Uncle served on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific and dad was stationed stateside. He used to joke that he fought the battle of Would-be (Whidbey) Island. When Shel was stationed on Midway Island during the Vietnam war, my dad and mom came over to visit us. Dad relived a lot of history walking around that island.

We are all fortunate to have our freedom that came at a high price for many families.

Anonymous said...

Very nice article and wonderful memories. Michele

Anonymous said...

Hi JoBeth, Is that your dad on the left of the two cooks?
Did your email address change? I emailed you and it came back. Would you send me your new email address please?
Michele Klein