Biographical Non-Fiction posted November 6, 2017


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My father was there.

I Was There

by Thomas Bowling


“I was there,” my father said. My father fought in the Pacific theater during the Second World War. He never talked about it. He was an infantryman involved in island hopping. The troop ships would skip the islands of no importance, and land on the island where the fighting was fiercest.

My father said that the ships would be far out in the ocean before the men were told where they were going. When they were informed, some soldiers jumped overboard. They would rather commit suicide than go into another battle.

He saw some of the bloodiest battles of the war. My father served with his best friend. His friend was captured and tortured. The Japanese set up loudspeakers and broadcast, so the Americans would hear his screams. My father had to be held down all night to prevent him from trying to rescue his friend.

His original platoon was decimated. He was one of the few survivors.
The photo is my father during the war. I'm surprised he didn't come back a wild animal. My mother and father were married two months before he shipped out. They didn't see each other again for three years. Most of what I know about my father during the war, I learned from my mother. She showed me a box full of medals. I just assumed that's what soldiers got. We lived in the flight path of an airport. My mother said every time a plane flew overhead, my father would hide. 

My father was on Okinawa when the war ended. A rumor spread through the troops that three atomic bombs had been dropped and one didn't explode. According to the rumor, the Japanese found a way to detonate it and they 
were going to drop it on the Americans on Okinawa. Can you imagine the fear?

When he returned home, the first thing his mother asked him was, “You didn't kill anyone, did you?” My mother said he went pale and almost fainted. It was a terrible situation to be ordered to kill people and come home then face your mother.

The only time I ever heard my father mention the war was one day when we were watching a documentary. They showed the major battles of the Pacific. As each one was shown, my father would say, “I was there.”



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© Copyright 2017. Thomas Bowling All rights reserved.
Thomas Bowling has granted FanStory.com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.