And then he spoke of the war. How he was drafted at nineteen, a physics major sophomore at Wayne State at the time. How they sent him home from boot camp for three weeks because they had to have his boots specially made – they did not stock size 12-1/2 B. How he started in the Signal Corps, teaching radar to officers. How he had offers from Lt. Colonels to join their units in Europe, but how his CO would not let him go – too valuable. How he would get totally fed up with the stupid make-work, like painting rocks and digging holes just to fill them up, finally tossing his shovel high in the air and storming off. And then how, after he chose Ar my OCS and headed off to medical school, the Army changed its mind mid-stream and sent him to engineering and heavy artillery. How he made Captain and was sent to the Philippines: mission to march across the neck of the Bataan Peninsula to reclaim the island. And how his commanding general, so wanting to impress General MacArthur, did not listen to his scouts, did not listen to his aides, and sent the 34th into a slaughter. How my dad lost pretty much everybody under his command. How by the second day of fighting at Zig-Zag Pass, my dad was the battalion commander, because no other officers were left. How he was five miles behind enemy lines, no communications, wearing the same uniform for 59-1/2 days straight. In the jungle. How he had to take inventory. Inventory? In the heat of battle? And how he had to answer one poor mother, whose son lay in a field dead, my dad with strict orders not to retrieve. And having to read and answer letters from that poor mother; “Can you tell me of my son? Will you send his remains home to me?” And how that carnage has only been recorded in the records as “heavy losses were sustained.” And how the replacement battalion, the 37th, I believe, was given all of the glory. And of how he absolutely, violently hated General MacArthur. General MacArthur, who made the Australian troops stop distributing matchbooks with the slogan “We will return” on them, in favor of “I will return.” Egotistic bastard…that’s what he was to my father.
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