This would have been my grandfather's 93rd Memorial Day. Apologies if some of these stories are vintage, but that's what we Lold-folk do.
After doing ROTC at Cal en route to graduating as part of the class of '40, he joined the army and was sent to Yale for officer training and to study Mandarin. He served as a 2nd lieutenant primarily in the motor pool servicing tanks and jeeps. He was sent to China to help train their soldiers and was on the cusp of being parachuted behind the lines before they dropped the atomic bombs.
I still remember some of the stories he used to tell me growing up:
Flying over "the hump": "They told us there weren't enough parachutes, so we didn't get any. They said that if the plane crashed, maybe one man would walk away. I told myself I would be that man."
Almost getting shot on the cargo boat: "I went out for an evening stroll. The guard on duty almost shot me because he thought I was an enemy soldier. They said, "hey lieutenant, maybe you should stay inside because you look...well, you know."
Breaking down in enemy territory: "I was impatient and took a jeep out instead of waiting for my driver. It broke down in a bad place. I found out later that Chinese soldiers kept stealing the spare parts and selling them on the side. Fortunately, a friendly patrol found me. And later, I was able to show my superiors that I was in a combat zone which made me eligible for returning with the first group to your grandmother."
Here's to Papa and everyone else who sacrificed for our country.