Got off this slab to do some shopping. While crossing through the parking lot, I noticed a set of Georgia Purple Heart plates.
As you probably have figured out by now, I'm not shy. I saw an aged couple get out assisted by a woman about my age. I looked at the old guy.
Your purple heart?
What year were you hit?
Army or Navy?
Navy. I served on the Hornet.
His aged right arm showed signs of some pretty horrific damage from long ago.
He told me he joined the Navy in '40 and served on the Hornet from the time she left the yard until she went down, and told me a little about the Dolittle raid and Dolittle himself. He said he saw a lot of him as he was a photographer.
An interesting man.
My advice? When you see some sign of service, a division pin, a ball hat, whatever, ask the guy.
A lot of these guys are just dying to chat about it with someone that respects them.
They are not going to be here much longer.
Good on ya. I toured the second Hornet, I guess, the one at Embarcadero in San Fran.
I just got my great uncle to open up about his PH. He was with Patton in France, caught a sniper's bullet thru his back while manning the .50 on an M3 scout car. I took my tape recorder along, kinda awkward but I'm glad I did it. So much history getting lost every day.
Werd. I met a Pearl Harbor survivor at the local Legion Hall. Great conversation...
Awesome. I suppose you've toured the old girl. I thought the containment trailer was really cool. For those who haven't seen it, the gov was worried about moon germs coming back with the astronauts on the Apollo missions. So they modified an old early 60's Airstream trailer into a containment module for the astronauts. When Nixon first got to the carrier the astronauts were still in quarantine and he had to talk to them while they were in there. But the module looked just like an old Airstream vacation camper. Weird.
Really cool piece of history you got there.
A noted many times around here many vets are or were reticent about their combat experiences. Now that they are getting to the end of the line and with the emphasis on the WWII Memorial they are talking some. I think that if you are a fellow vet or can find something to relate to them, toured the ships, saw the ballcap, you'ld be surprised how many haven't talked about it and are willing to open up a little now.
I wear a small Blue Star Flag pin on my uniform over the company approved pin. If they can see it they recognize it and ask who it's for. That can open them up. The Blue Star Flags were almost non-existant in Vietnam and the first Gulf War, now they are coming back.