The Horrors of War come out 65 years later

Discussion in 'Military' started by Gadawg73, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. Gadawg73
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    Gadawg73 Gold Member

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    I was in Florida last week helping my mother and father with their taxes and other chores.
    Dad is 88 going on 89 and he was on Saipan with the 2nd Marine Division as a young Captain the summer of 1944. I have known all of that all of my life. But not this:
    Last Wednesday Dad started talking about his experiences on Saipan after the island was almost taken from the Japanese 65 years ago.
    Dad stated how he was a young nervous Captain in charge of many men and had seen many of his men die in the other landings on other islands. After the island was taken Dad stated there were still many Japanese in caves with others from the civilian population. His unit was assigned to daily go find those caves and flush the Japanese out. His strategy was to use a form of a concussion grenade to throw in and then see how many of the exiting Japanese soldiers and their young boy civilian helpers would come out shaken. He advised he had his men set up and shoot any Japanese that had weapons and were trying to resist. He stated a few did surrender and the young civilian boys never were armed. He said he had many rifle men set up and suffered no casualties for the first week. Then a Major came and scolded him for taking too much time doing this. He ordered Dad to bring in 4 flame throwers and immediately burn every individual exiting the caves after the concussion grenades. Dad stated this was a direct order in time of war and he did it. He stated it shook his entire unit up seeing this happen for the next few months as he had to literally burn up hundreds of humans this way. Included were 10-12 year old boys in the caves with the Japanese. Dad asked his Colonel if he could either be reassigned or if they would review the policy but they denied it.
    Now I am not judging anyone in this but to see a 88 year old man that I love dearly state this with great pain in his eyes and face truly lays out the horrors of all war. My brother did 3 years in Nam and I need to prepare for when he finally speaks about it.
     
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  2. bodecea
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    bodecea Diamond Member

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    Honors to your father and his service...It is not his fault, but I'm sure that doesn't alleviate the hell he has put himself thru.

    Your father's story is an interesting one since we've always been taught that the Japanese always refused to surrender during WWII.

    I have often wondered why we never hear about our POW camps for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong either. Surely we took prisoners??????
     
  3. Gadawg73
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    Gadawg73 Gold Member

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    Dad stated hundreds of civilians jumped off cliffs killing themselves. He stated that only a very few Japanese surrendered but more than any other island he was on.
     
  4. bodecea
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    bodecea Diamond Member

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    Yeah, I heard about the women and children jumping off cliffs...their country told them that Americans would eat them and torture them to death.
     
  5. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    A relative of mine said that after Guam in 1943, his unit rarely took prisoners (1) because the Japanese would not give up as western soldiers would and (2) growing American bitterness at Japanese subterfuge, and the Japanese had neither (1) room for American POWs and (2) brutalized those they had before they tortured them to death or murdered them off hand.

    Those still alive from the WWII generation and their family members of that age are well aware of the brutality of the Pacific campaigns. They apparently do not discuss it because of the personal pain the memories bring back and fear the younger generations would not understand.
     
  6. RodISHI
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    RodISHI Gold Member

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    My heart goes out to your dad. Grandpa Ernie suffered tremendously for what he experienced over there. He took those horrors to his grave. He rarely spoke about his experiences. He was twelve years old and had lied about his age to join up after Pearl Harbor. For the children and I it broke our hearts to see such a wonderful person suffer so much each day for what he experienced in war.
     
  7. xotoxi
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    xotoxi Platinum Member

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    Thanks for sharing.

    The way your dad was doing it was the right way of conducting war (as I see it).

    The way he was ordered to do it, was the wrong way of conducting war...which was influenced by extreme hatred and no respect for the enemy as human beings.
     
  8. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    xotoxi, that is how war is conducted and how soldiers were trained in my grandfather's and father's and my and my son's days: dehumanize the enemy. It is very, very hard to shoot a person whom you do not personally hate, so that has to be taught. When one sees the examples of barbarism practiced by the other side, the killing becomes easier in the act if not in the weight on the soul. That, of course, leads to acts of random cruelty by "our" side. I have heard it said by WWII vets in Europe that our 100th Battalion 442d Infantry were particularly cruel to their Italian and German enemies. That may have been because our fellows were Japanese American (many recruited in the internment camps in the American West) and did not intend to fail to "meet" American standards in combat. I imagine they were terrified at being taken prisoner by the fascists as well.
     
  9. rightwinger
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    rightwinger Paid Messageboard Poster Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Must be hard to live with for 65 years.

    I think your dad did his duty as a soldier. He questioned what he thought was an immoral order and then did his duty when told to do so.

    War is indeed hell
     
  10. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    Yeah the Japs had their own Rush types.
     

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