Saturday, September 05, 2020

dog tags

These are my dad's dog tags. The fact that there are two together means that he survived 199 days of combat in WWII and managed to come home from Germany and raise a family with my mom. He was no sucker for having served but his own sacrifice and service haunted him throughout his life. 

Members of the 104th Infantry Division were trained as night fighters, beginning combat in the dikes of Holland, and entering Germany in the fall of 1944. His troops held a defensive position at the side of the bulge during the winter of 1944-45 fighting in the Hurtgen Forest. As the harsh winter conditions began to pass, he and his infantry dug their way out of the mud and began their attack deep into Germany.

He was one of the first to cross the bridge at Remagen, assisted in the conquest of Cologne, then with his troops discovered the German Concentration camp at Nordhausen, and had to force German citizenry in cleaning up the bodies and rescuing the living from among them. If you have a strong stomach and are curious look up Camp Dora. My dad kept pictures of that in an old issue of Life Magazine as a reminder that we must never forget Hitler's atrocities.

If a soldier is killed in battle, his comrades will clip the shorter string and keep one of the tags as evidence of death, while the longer cord will be left around the neck of the dead.

We seem to have a president who does not consider service and sacrifice to be worthwhile human objectives. My dad was a lifelong Eisenhower Republican. I am proud of his service.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in living and learning likewise.


  1. A beautiful testimonial, Doug. Our fathers were part of what Tom Brokaw called "the greatest generation." How we went so quickly from that true patriotism to what we could almost call "the worst generation"—-Trump and his collaborators, like McConnell, Graham, Barr, Pompeo and an entire party of greed-worshippers-—is a mystery.

  2. Eisenhower called it the military industrial complex and warned that we must watch out. It takes politics to keep it well fed. A friend of mine was on a troop ship headed to Vietnam and the ship stopped several miles offshore to unload cargo. Crates of materials, vehicles including tanks were thrown off ship. There was no room in Vietnam for any over it, but rather than interrupt the supply chain and cost industries their expected profits, the materials of war had to be disposed of. My dad was called back to service during the Korean war to serve as a purchaser for the Memphis General Depot. Even then he complained about the outrageous practices.

    Then following Vietnam, when there was not place to use the defoliants developed by Dow Chemical Co. They modified them slightly to sell the US Forest Service to use in the destruction of hardwood forests here in Arkansas to allow faster growing pines to take their place.

    That model of successful implementation of pure greed permeates American politics. And the Republicans seem to have inherited the worst case.

  3. Thank you for your Dad service.
    Bob, 67 years RCAF veteran