A Sentimental Journey of sorts

I’ve been busy lately and have had a lot of things related to my obsession with the 1940s and World War II come up, so this is going to be a hodgepodge of an update.  It’s probably going to be a long one, too.  (And I write this as I watch the most amazing and incredible miniseries of all time, Band of Brothers.)

As I mentioned above, I love Band of Brothers.  My respect and admiration for the 101st Airborne is no secret, so imagine my surprise when I learned that one of my co-workers is a former 101st Airborne MP!  He served 30 months in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Imagine my further surprise when he walked into my office and plopped a little blue box on my desk with “United States of America” imprinted on the front.  When I opened it up, I found this:

gifts from Kevin

He gave me a Screaming Eagles patch from the uniform of his last deployment, as well as one of his US Army medals!  How totally wonderful/awesome/amazing/sweet is that???

So next on my list of awesomeness is that I got another antique radio to add to my collection – my 8th one.  I got it for less than $12 on eBay.  It arrived dusty and dirty and it took a lot of scrubbing and polishing, but it looks pretty good now.

CoronadoIt’s a Coronado, which was specific to the North Dakota area.  I’ve traced this one roughly to about 1939.

So the next thing I need to talk about is the USS Utah.  Everybody talks about the USS Arizona, as they should, but in the terrible story of that ship, the story of the Utah gets lost.  Moored on the opposite side of Ford Island from the Arizona, it was one of the first ships hit on December 7, 1941.  It capsized completely and almost 60 men ended up perishing aboard it.  While I read about it this week, I inexplicably started crying.  And the tears came again the next day when I was talking to Mom about it.  Now the USS Utah sticks partially out of the water, lying as it has since they gave up trying to right and salvage the ship in 1944.  It’s considered a war grave, just like the Arizona.  And I need to see it.  If Dad and I are unable to go to Tunisia next year due to the political climate, we’re going to Pearl Harbor.  And my first stop is to pay my respects at the Utah.

So to the final part of my update – I’ve discovered that we have our very own World War II mystery in my family.  My grandmother had two uncles that died in the war.  The story is that they died together on the USS Houston, which sank in early 1942.  The government, though, has their deaths as 12/15/1944 and 12/15/1945, respectively.  I found a USS Houston website that has one of the two brothers listed on the crew roster and a date of date of 03/01/1942.  So as you can see, something doesn’t match up.  I need to go talk to my grandmother to get more information and then it’s time to research.  I need to know what happened to the Darling brothers.

So that’s it – for now.  I will add that my obsession with the USS Utah has prompted me to do some writing, which makes me immensely happy.  My schedule is about to get all whacked out for the next six weeks, so who knows if I’ll be productive. I’ve been on night shift for ten months and, suddenly, I’m switching to day shift temporarily.  I’m not a morning person so I’m going to be challenged.  But I can do it!  And I’ll return to night shift and transfer to my new building in October, right when we’re gearing up for Peak.  Yay!

Toodles for now,

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