Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Uncle Dave's Memoirs

A couple of weeks ago my Uncle Dave sent me a 2-CD set of his WWII memoirs which his son, my cousin Harvey whipped together. Harvey holds the patent for the Tricorder™*, but I digress.

I knew Uncle Dave fought at Anzio, but that was all I knew about his Army service. That was enough - Anzio was the bloodiest fiasco for the US Army in the European theater. From listening to the CDs, it turns out he first fought in N. Africa, then after Anzio he participated in the liberating of Rome.

If you look up New Yorker in the dictionary, Uncle Dave's photo, voice and attitude are in there. And he took all three to war with him. Some of the pranks he pulled were amazing, until I remember it's Uncle Dave doing them. I like his opening: he was a welder employed by the Navy at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, so of course when he was drafted the put him in the Army as a combat engineer.

Reminds me of my brother-in-law who, when he emigrated to Israel, was the guy who built and repaired radars for the Navy, but when they drafted him they put him in the Army as an ambulance driver.

They made a few other mistakes with Uncle Dave, blowing at least three opportunities to make him an officer, or get him specialized technical training. Yeah, he's a blow-hard, but he backs it up with actual knowledge and skill. After his Army stint he learned to fly a plane, and taught his sons. Stuff like that.

One thing the CD is very vague about is the battle of Anzio itself. He describes the basic strategy, and adds a footnote at the end (probably at Harvey's insistance) to the effect that a lot of people died there, but he didn't personalize it. Didn't mention buddies who never made it home. I guess I can understand that. It would probably trigger nightmares about the images which he's managed to put in the background.

One thing he mentioned which puts the moaning and groaning of the Iraq occupation troops in perspective - in WWII Italy, the troops were short of everything. Armor, weapons, ammo, food. Especially food. They mostly lived off of rations, poorly.

I'm glad he sent me a copy, it's something I'll treasure.

*Okay, the tricorder - Click here to see the patent Click on "Images" to see the schematic.

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