The Big One / El Grande

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

Not that big one. I’m talking WW2. Among the treasures I found in that cabinet last week, were a number of things from my father’s World War II experience.

My mother had what I was told were all his medals framed around 1970, which included two silver stars. When my mother died in 2016, I gave that frame to The Kid Brother. He has it proudly displayed on his bedroom wall. Some years after my father died, I found boxes, containing a silver and a bronze star. My mother said they were just extras, which I thought was odd. But after my mother’s death, I found documentation of each of the medals.

My father was a member of the 9th Armored Division. Both a silver star and bronze star were received in 1945 for the Battle of Remagen (click here), which lasted 18 days. My father wasn’t yet 19 years old. He enlisted when he was 18 and reenlisted two years later without discussing it first with my mother (they weren’t yet married). In 1948, he took a leader’s course and his commanding officer, Major Walter Sharp, wrote a letter to my mother (they had been married 9 months at the time and she was all of 21 years old) congratulating her on her husband’s achievement, telling her of my father’s assured advancement, hoping to convince her to support my father in his desire to make the army his career. It didn’t work.

So my father left the army at the age of 22 as a staff sergeant and returned to New York. A few years later, he began a 34-year career with AT&T. He began as a lineman, which I found very cool when I was very young. He climbed telephone poles and even called us from up high (although I wonder now if my parents were just making that up). He did well, but I don’t think he was ever happy there. He was happy as a soldier. I never once heard my father talk about his time in the Army.


No ese grande. Estoy hablando de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Entre los tesoros que encontré en ese gabinete la semana pasada, había varias cosas de la experiencia de mi padre en la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Mi madre tenía lo que me dijeron que eran todas sus medallas enmarcadas alrededor de 1970, que incluían dos estrellas de plata. Cuando mi madre murió en 2016, le di ese marco a El Hermanito. Lo tiene exhibido con orgullo en la pared de su dormitorio. Algunos años después de la muerte de mi padre, encontré cajas que contenían una estrella de plata y otra de bronce. Mi madre dijo que solo eran extras, lo que me pareció extraño. Pero después de la muerte de mi madre, encontré documentación de cada una de las medallas.

Mi padre fue miembro de la 9ª División Blindada. Tanto una estrella de plata como una estrella de bronce fueron recibidas en 1945 por la Batalla de Remagen (haz clic aquí), que duró 18 días. Mi padre aún no tenía 19 años. Se alistó cuando tenía 18 años y se volvió a alistar dos años después sin discutirlo primero con mi madre (aún no estaban casados). En 1948, tomó un curso de líder y su oficial al mando, el Mayor Walter Sharp, le escribió una carta a mi madre (en ese momento habían estado casados ​​9 meses y ella tenía 21 años) felicitándola por el logro de su esposo, diciéndole ella del avance asegurado de mi padre, con la esperanza de convencerla de apoyar a mi padre en su deseo de hacer del ejército su carrera. No funcionó.

Entonces mi padre dejó el ejército a la edad de 22 años como sargento y regresó a Nueva York. Unos años más tarde, comenzó una carrera de 34 años en AT&T. Comenzó como liniero, lo que me pareció muy bueno cuando era muy joven. Se subió a los postes telefónicos e incluso nos llamó desde lo alto (aunque ahora me pregunto si mis padres se lo estaban inventando). Lo hizo bien, pero no creo que nunca fuera feliz allí. Era feliz como un soldado. Nunca escuché a mi padre hablar sobre su tiempo en el ejército.

• 30th Infantry Regiment Coat of Arms. Thanks to TexasTrailerParkTrash for finding this online. (click here)
• Escudo del Regimiento de Infantería 30. Gracias a TexasTrailerParkTrash por encontrar esto en línea. (haz clic aquí)
“Aquí está uno de esos parches de pollo.”
• On the Front: Constabulary Patch of the Occupation Army, an elite force in West Germany and Austria, 1946–1952.
• En Frente: Parche de Policía del Ejército de Ocupación, una fuerza de élite en Alemania Occidental y Austria, 1946–1952.
• Schwabach (near Nuremberg), West Germany, 5 August 1947, wearing his Constabulary patch. The dog’s name was Stroopie.
• Schwabach (cerca de Nuremberg), Alemania Occidental, 5 de agosto de 1947, con su parche de policía. El nombre del perro era Stroopie.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

34 thoughts on “The Big One / El Grande”

  1. That is a great collection, and deep history. My father was drafted near the end of WWII and made it as far as Brooklyn.

  2. My father was Air Force for 25 years, and I always loved looking at the medals and bars on his uniform.

    Your Dad looks a little like Fred Astaire in that photo; that Astaire smirk!

    1. Bob:
      Funny about Fred Astaire. There was no resemblance. My father’s foot locker was stashed in the basement. I spent hours playing with what I found in there. He left it behind when he sold the house.

  3. Wonderful memorabilia to have! My father also served in WW2 with the Canadian army and saw action in the invasion of Sicily, the Italian campaign, then up through Germany and the Netherlands.

    1. Debra:
      And it all now seems to have become ancient history (with few lessons learned).

  4. My father did not talk too much about the war either. Probably felt it was best to keep it in the past.
    Your Dad looks very happy and content with that little dog. Too bad his promotion didn’t go as planned for him.

    1. Nowadays we tell veterans to talk/get it out, but in days past they kept tight-lipped about things. I would love to know if this was ‘bad’ or ‘good’ for them to suppress such.

    2. Jim:
      My father apparently told my youngest uncle (my mother’s brother-in-law) some stories, which he repeated to me 60 years later. Some I was glad I never heard as a child.

  5. I love the fact that you have both the patch (with its funny message) and a picture of your father wearing it.

    1. Steve:
      It’s an interesting study. I have letters to accompany the medals and patches, too. And the names of many of the guys my father served with.

  6. I think the shield is likely the insignia of the brigade or battalion your father served in. I couldn’t find it on line myself, but with a great deal of patience, I think you can find it. Knowing the brigade and battalion would help.

    1. wickedhamster:
      Texas Trailer Park Trash found it. It’s the 30th Infantry Regiment coat of arms.

  7. Thats great you still have all those treasures and meaningful things. I have no idea if my mother still has my dads things like that or not. We did donate hi uniform though, but can’t remember who she donated it to. You certainly find some interesting things when your on your missions.

    1. Mistress Borghese:
      I wore my father’s Army jacket for years, until it fell apart. I had his wool overcoat, too. But I outgrew it too soon and then my uncle gave me his, which was older and even cooler. It weighed about 400 pounds, however, which meant that when I wore it, I weighed 475 (well really 525, but what’s the dif?). Sometimes it felt like my shoulders would crack from the weight.

  8. The silver and blue shield might have something to do with the Army’s 3rd infantry division. The blue and white stripe flag in the upper left corner is the 3rd armored brigade combat division patch. However, I didn’t find the whole shield design with the wild boar/warthog.

    In WWII, my father served three years in the UK with the Eighth Air Force B-17 (Heavy) bomb group and after the war, when the air force became a separate service, he went on to serve another 30 years in the USAF. I had all his medals placed in a shadow box which I gave to one of my sons who, carrying on the tradition, also serves in USAF.

    1. Mary:
      Texas Trailer Park Trash found it. It’s the 30th Infantry Regiment coat of arms. Oddly, I easily found it online years ago, but couldn’t find it this time around. I’ll add the info to the caption.

    1. TexasTrailerParkTrash:
      You are a gem. Thanks so much. Will add the info to the caption. I found this info several years ago, with little effort. This time I had absolutely no luck… until you!

  9. I bet your mother would have been beyond miserable as the wife of a career Army guy. She probably did the right thing to discourage him from pursuing it since it really takes commitment from both parties.

    1. Wilma:
      My mother would have been absolutely miserable. She didn’t want to leave her family (her 5 sisters and a brother) and, being Jewish, she said she would have had no place among the other wifes. (She felt not one of them would be Jewish.) And, unlike my father, who loved the idea of moving all the time, she never wanted to move and even had a hard time coping with the one move we made from Long Island to Brooklyn when I was 10. My father was ready to move to New Hampsire two years later and she refused. Then he had the opportunity to go to Saudi Arabia with AT&T and she again refused.

  10. Those are great mementos to have of your father and now I see from whom you got your dazzling smile! My Dad was also a WWII combat veteran and only started to open up to me about his war experience in his 70’s. The vast majority of veterans had to compartmentalize their trauma in order to live the rest of their lives, but a huge price was paid in untreated complex P.T.S.D by the veterans and their families.

    1. Tundra Bunny:
      My father died at the age of 60. I wonder if he might have begun to talk about things had he lived longer. It was certainly easier for me to ask him questions. Thanks, re the smile. I always wanted to look like him and be like him. Sadly, I had to overcome the anger I so proudly took on. I was actually proud when I would rage.

  11. I have mentioned my father’s achievements when I was blogging and on FB ~ WWII Flying Ace heralded by many with great affection. When the war ended he came home had 2 children my brother Mike and myself. The Korean War was his next calling however as fate would have it ~ he didn’t make it to that part of the world due to a “flame out” while practice flying a new plane in June 1950 ~ I was 2.5 yrs old with only one memory that I honestly can remember ~ 3 men in a tub ~ Dad, Mike and I having a bath in our porcelain tub. Our lives were changed forever ~ Mom was devastated, Mike went deep into himself and I, unaware of anything, started my one parent life with Mom. I do have his medals that I pull out now and again to just “wonder” about his short life of 36 years.

    1. Ron:
      I remember well the story of your family and your father. I love when you share photos. You look exactly like him.

  12. Uncle Davy was “gallant in action” 2 weeks before Germany surrendered. I would have just been hiding out and hoping to run out the clock.
    PS I still have that tiny Walther pistol your dad took home as a souvenir of war.

    1. Erik:
      He clearly loved the army. I didn’t even know about his presence at Remagen until your father told me the story… in 2008. That’s also when he told me about the gun. I’ll share THAT story with you another time. Ah, Hank! I guessed what the gun was (our mothers thought it was my father’s gun), although your father didn’t tell me and it wasn’t confirmed until you did.

  13. Lot of people here whose parents were in World War II. Unfortunately (in terms of having a story to tell) my father was born in 1934, and a bit too young for that conflict. He was in the Ohio National Guard in the early 1950s. I think he was once called to duty to clean up after a snowstorm. Alas, no medals.

    1. Kirk:
      The National Guard experience caused some nightmares for people I knew who were called in to help with serious national disasters. Your father was fortunate.

  14. Love this ! That picture with the dog reminds me of when we used to play One potato, two potato,,
    You resemble him .. so handsome! Xox

    1. Sheree,
      I don’t remember playing one potato two potato. Did you play it with my father?

Please share your thoughts...

%d bloggers like this: