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.