Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Greatest Generation is minus one.

My dad, "Pa", was born in 1925.  He grew up in Fall River, MA during the depression.  "Pa" enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1943; chased German U-boats with depth-charges in the Atlantic on the USCGC Jackson as a sonar man - third class in addition to manning a three-inch gun when under attack; and was one of just nineteen sailors who survived three days at sea after the Jackson sank while defending a torpedoed liberty ship against U-518 during the Great Hurricane of 1944.

That is "Pa" on the wing of a Vought Kingfisher with some of his surviving shipmates.  The Kingfisher pilot and observer spotted the survivors at sea, landed, and waited with them for a ship to arrive to transport them back to Norfolk, VA.  I believe the photograph was taken from a navy blimp.

After recovering from injuries and dehydration, he volunteered to head for the Pacific and served with USCG Air-Sea Rescue units picking up and recovering downed pilots in the Leyte Gulf and waters around the Philippines where he remained until after the war.  "Pa" was honorably discharged in 1946 after serving three and a half years, receiving the American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, Philippine Liberation, and Victory ribbons.

Completing his doctorate in American history via the GI Bill, "Pa" became a college professor, married a farm gal from Ohio, published books and articles, saw his first son follow in his footsteps as an educator, helped his second son become a dentist, and eventually retired as a Distinguished University Professor in Ohio.  In retirement, "Pa" continued to research, write, and present... honoring and respecting American history as it should be while debunking the politically-corrected, revisionist history of the last few years.

"Pa" loved his country and his family.  He was never a wealthy man in the worldly sense, but he took care of his family and friends never asking for anything and giving generously to others of his time and earnings while enjoying following his favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, and playing with his dog.  That can-do, start with nothing, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps "American Pride" of his lives on in his sons and granddaughter.

If you asked him about what he did in his life or the war... he'd tell you he hadn't done anything special... at least nothing anyone else wouldn't have done.  He passed peacefully last night surrounded by his family.

Today, The Greatest Generation is minus one.


  1. Indeed. So many men that came out of that time, lived lives of the utmost honor. It still exists, but never have I seen it so strong in one group. Depression, war, struggle, the values of the America that were so strong back then, all served to make them what they were.

    My condolences on this great loss.

  2. He certainly sounds like a tremendous man of character.

    We're praying for you and your family Dann.

  3. May he rest in peace. May you have peace.
    My Dad was from the same generation and passed on 6 years ago.


  4. "he'd tell you he hadn't done anything special... at least nothing anyone else wouldn't have done."

    As an amateur (and avid) history buff (with special attention to WW2), I've had the honor and privilege of talking to many vets (one of the few benefits of 10 years slavery in retail), and almost to a man (and woman!), this is what they all reply when I ask if I can have the honor of shaking their hand. I've met vets from Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and a good majority of them say the same. Heroes, one and all, yet some of the most humble people on the face of the earth. Your "Pa" sounds like the kind of man I would have loved to have met. Please accept my thanks and a belated salute on his behalf.

  5. you have my condolences but at the same time it sounds like you were raised by a great man. Would it be possible for you to e-mail me information on his history texts? i am also pursuing my history degree's using the Gi-Bill - my eventual goal is to earn doctorates in both weapons history and military history.

  6. An excellent reminder of how we as a Nation came to be. My thanks to your Father for his service and my Belated condolences on his passing. We are diminished with his loss.