Thursday, June 08, 2006

Major Lead on Dad's Past

I'm holding in my grubby little hands now a xeroxed newspaper article dated Dec. 1945 that came to me, totally unsolicited, by an uncle. (My Dad's little brother who served in the Army Corps of Engineers.) Have no idea which paper it appeared in, though chances are it was their local rag, and Gran'ma cut it out and saved it. It's a UP story with the byline of Richard W. Johnston. He was a war correspondant of some note and later wrote a book about the Marines in WW2.

Anyway, I'm just grinning from ear to ear right now. Dad gets a special mention in the story as being part of a group called the Yangtze Raiders. It details the clever ways he and another feller would blow up Japanese ships, and credits him with coming up with a novel way to sink huge freighters with only a tiny amount of explosive.
Dad was a SEAL before there were SEALs. Cool.
Can I say right now I'm just about to pop with pride?
This simple little story of less than 16 paragraphs has given me more info than I could possibly find on my own and has given me several more routes to explore! No mention of SACO, of course, but the implication, in retrospect, is clear.
Also, it places him in China up to the end of WW2...his official record that is online only covers 1942 to 1943. From what vague mentions he had made in the past, I knew he had to have been there longer than just a year!


Blogger Walker said...

Hey WTR, I'm a new reader of your blog. Can you link to any posts about your search for info about your dad?

I'm doing a heritage scrapbook/genealogy project and it has been so much fun. but I can get beyond 1830 on my dad's side. Pioneer types didn't write anything down. But I think they were Quakers. That came as a shock.

6/09/2006 7:16 AM  
Blogger Cookie..... said...

Yupper...he was an "Advisor" all right...although they just didn't call them that back when....

What are now called "Seals" were called UDT then...Underwater Demolition Teams....tough guys (as are todays Seals)

Sounds like he was quite a man...ya got right t'be proud...he was a real warrior...

6/09/2006 7:55 AM  
Blogger white trash republican said...

Geneology, I got , Walker. Some gal distantly related to me whipped up a softbound book, with memeographed pages (it was the late 60's) of the whole side of Dad's family. We be hillbillies going waaaay back in Kentucky.

What I'm concentrating on is the 10 or so years of Dad's active Navy duty in the '30's and '40's that he never really talked about. I knew he played a part with the U.S.'s involement with the Japanese resistance in China, but I'm just wanting to find out more, since it's a hardly known part of history. It's mostly just for my own benefit. Most folks can say 'My dad was in 'Nam' or 'gran'pa was at Pearl Harbor' and we automatically know what that means. I can't say that and I just want to shed some light on what part, albeit minor, the old man played.

Won't really change how me & my kids think of him-as a civilian he was a great Dad and gran'pa- this is just frosting on the cake as it were. But when I do post up my findings I'll give sites credit.
Right now most of my digging has been in the National Archives site, looking at military records and such.
But I'd say tracing your line back to the 1830's is quite an accomplishment!
Quakers? Wow...well, somebody had to be them. ; ) They weren't as extreme as the Shakers, right? I know the Shakers didn't believe in sex...period. It is interesting what one digs up!

6/09/2006 9:06 AM  
Blogger white trash republican said...

I am proud of him, Cookie.
Y'know, just reading that article I can just see him, pondering the problem of how to rig up these makeshift mines and in his heavy hillbilly accent saying, while rubbing his chin, which he'd do when thinking-"Waaaaallll, now here's whatcha oughta do..." or "Now, ya know whut oughta work right real good...."
Dad was a chronic practical joker-no doubt he saw these missions as the ultimate challenge to his skills at pulling one over!

6/09/2006 9:15 AM  
Blogger white trash republican said...

Oh, Duh...sorry Walker-I re-read your comment and were you meaning as to posts on the blog? If so, my initial search started last week with this post:

Sorry, I'm not real good with making html links in the comment section. I don't have that mojo. But it oughta be easy enough to find. It's still in the 'previous posts' section...waaaaaaay down towards the end of the page.

6/09/2006 9:45 AM  
Blogger Walker said...

WTR, YEAH, they must have believed in sex because its 2006 and here we be. According to, if you can trace your American family to 1850 or earlier, there is a one in four chance that your ancesters were QUAKER. Go figure.

They are pacifists, you know. But they also rejected government, so there is something to be said for them.

Anyway, my Quakers all joined the army, got disowned as Quakers, and my gggrandfather got killed in civil war. Shows you were it gets you, eh?

6/09/2006 1:47 PM  
Blogger white trash republican said...

Huh...didn't Nixon have a Quaker background? Seems to me I have read that one of our recent Prezs did.

The Shaker movement literally died out due to lack of converts, which, since they didn't believe in reproducing was the only way to keep the group growing. A major flaw in their theology! I can just see some idealistic young couple back then considering joining: "Oh, no children? Ever? Like never, ever? And separate quarters for men and women...uh, well, uh, nice meeting ya-gotta go!" : )
Easy to see why the Quakers were more popular, all the religious extremism and sense of purpose, but at least you could do the nasty with your hubby!

I have a feeling all mine back then were a bunch of radical snake shaking Pentecostals, or some other equally odd and ig'nert hillbilly religion. Might have a Quaker in the woodpile, never know.

6/09/2006 3:29 PM  
Blogger Walker said...

ROFL! I married into that Pentecostal religion you are talking about. But they don't do snakes. They're good people, but it is so weird that some of them are leftists. The kids think it is cool to admire Charles Manson.

With role models like that, no wonder they support Osama.

So I did read that post about the flag -- that is so cool!

6/10/2006 10:52 AM  
Blogger white trash republican said...

Oops, forgot about that, Walker! But the ones I'm talking about are the ones that are so 'out there' that even the mainstream Pentecostals try to distance themselves from 'em..y'know what I mean?

I swear, I am gonna make a duplicate of that pennant for the flagpole here! I just love that.

6/10/2006 11:46 AM  

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