Special Forces and Others,
My Dad was in the Army in Europe as an enemy artillery spotter with FOB 3 (Field Observation Battalion). He was out-posted on the front lines, sometimes just inside the German lines, locating enemy artillery using the “sound and flash” methods.
My Dad said it’s like with all soldiers they couldn’t dwell on the personal aspect of death or they couldn’t do their jobs. He hasn’t ever given me a “number” of enemy he killed. His main function was to locate the enemy artillery without a fight and leave the real killing to the line infantry. He always speaks with GREAT RESPECT and empathy for the GI riflemen. “Nothing was too good for them”.
One of his stories had some tired, muddy, Infantry marching past when his unit was re-deploying in their trucks. The FOB guys shouted to the riflemen “What Do Ya’ll need?” They answered: “Dry socks, Lighter Fluid”. All of the FOB guys immediately threw their spare socks to the riflemen and received their “taterred shreds” in return. My Dad, who also drove a GMC 2 1/2-ton truck when they re-deployed, slowed down and told them to open the gas lid on his Jimmy and fill their Zippos. Before long my Dad’s First Seargeant drove up in his Jeep to see what was slowing them down. But he agreed with helping out the riflemen and said nothing. But when my dad’s unit went to replenish their supplies the QuarterMaster didn’t want to give them any replacement socks. My Dad is a BIG MAN, about 6’-7" and during WW2 was pretty muscular. He looked down and sneered at the QM that he had better give them the the replacement socks “or else!”
My Dad was always very UN-EMOTIONAL. He had hidden all of that deep inside himself. I remember when I took him to see “Saving Private Ryan” it made him remember some “stuff” and he started having to “deal” with a lot of things. Long story, short, he “dealt” with the memories, wrote about 100 articles in his monthly newspaper, and became a better, more loving guy. Thank GOD.
Like I said, my Dad has a LOT of stories about most everything and everyone. Saw Gen. Patton 3 times, shook Bing Crosby’s hand, drove Dinah Shore around France for 2 weeks and saw a lot!
I didn’t mean to “hijack” this thread but just thought I’d answer the question.