Pieces of the Puzzle Finally Filled In
I've been half-heartedly doing research here and there to try and piece together just where my father was stationed, what his war experience was like, the squadron he was attached to, etc. But I never found much of anything until today. Today, I hit the jackpot. I found out his Bombardment Group number (55th), his Bomb Squad number (778th) where he crash landed and when (Oct 4th 1944, 13.90 hours, Dubendorf), his plane ID and serial number (Brown Nose/Dutchess Alice), and even the names and identification numbers of the entire crew. Jackpot! I even found out about a book written specifically about his plane and another plane, both shot down with squads interned in Switzerland.
Now that I have this information, I can get his service records and learn just what they mysteries are about. I know he earned several medals, but I don't know for what. I know about the internment, but I don't know exactly where (Davos, Switzerland) and for how long. Nor do I know how he got back to his squadron.
Knowing this information is exciting. It fills in a part of my childhood that was totally missing. The men that fought in WW2 were notorious for not sharing their past. They were also known for being very distant and detached fathers, something I didn't know until I read Brokaw's book. So many of the men described in that book sounded like my father. Unlike men from subsequent wars, the vets from WW2 didn't ever get to process their experiences. They came back from Europe or the Pacific fronts, still shell-shocked at the inhumanity they witnessed. But they were expected to find work, to get married and have families, to buy homes with the GI bill, and to forget about their experience with war. My father was one of those vets that did everything expected of him. He married my mother after knowing her for 2 weeks and going out on two dates. Yes, he WAS insane! He and my mother had my sister the following year. They bought a starter home, a tiny little cape in one of those brand new developments built just for the vets. They started their professional lives, raised a family, moved several times, each to a larger and fancier home. But the experience of war was never spoken about. Never. It just happened, and it went away without ever being processed.
As a child raised in this type of environment, it was difficult to ever know my father. He wasn't interested in his children, he wasn't loving or friendly or even caring. He earned money, he brought it home, and that was the extent of his involvement with his family. He wasn't a happy person. He had no friends, nor did he want them. He didn't like or trust people. He was a loner long before it was cool to be so. Because he was such a stranger to me, I have this need to find out more about him, about his war experience. I want to try and understand why he was so afraid of enjoying life. I think the key is in the military records. I just can't wait to find out more. Stumble It! JBlog Me