Memorial Day - Video Tributes
Memorial Day -- Remember Them All

Memorial Day, Part 3

The adage that an army travels on its stomach is only partly true. You see, any military lives or dies on its logistics: food, fuel, ammo, spare parts, replacements, and more. Keeping any group supplied is critical, for not only can you not afford to screw up your logistics but you also have to know that the enemy is going to do its best -- if it has a brain -- to hurt your logistics efforts as much as possible. My Uncle James knew of that first hand.

A lot of people don't know that in WWII, the Marines in the Pacific Theatre had much of their logistics taken care of by the Army. It was Army supply ships and people that allowed the Leathernecks to do their island hopping. I know of it because of Dad and Uncle James.

My father's family had members in every branch there was, and Uncle James had gone into the Army. In an unusual move for the Green Machine, they picked up on his organizational and managerial abilities and actually put a round peg into a round hole, and put him into supply and logistics. Not just any supply and logistics, but those for the Marines.

Despite it not being a combat slot, logistics was not a safe haven. At some point late in the war, the fleet was being replenished and Uncle James was there on a supply ship when a kamikaze attack took place. Thinks looked very grim as one headed in straight for his ship, making it through the fighters and the flack. Just as Uncle James said he was reverting to training and trying to dig a foxhole in the steel deck of the ship, fire from the New Jersey took out the plane seconds from impact. Dad and James met up at a later date, and Dad asked him about the incident. James discussed it and how thankful he was for the fire that took it down. Dad looked at him, smiled, and said "You're welcome." Yes, it was Dad on the quad 50s that took down that plane, knowing that if he didn't, he would lose a brother.

Dad wasn't there at another time and place, when the ship James was on went down. He survived, but was in the water for a long time, long enough for some algae/fungal growth to get into his lungs. He was rescued, went back to work, survived the war, and even became National Commander of the American Legion later in life. That sinking, however, ended up killing him as they never could get rid of the stuff in his lungs, and it ultimately was a major factor (as I was told) to the heart attack that killed him. I am glad he made it as long as he did, for he told me of things that otherwise might have been lost, and taught some valuable lessons.

Those who make sure that the sharp end has what it needs oft get overlooked, but are a major target even today. How many people in the Someone You Should Know section were involved in supply runs? How many of the unsung heroes (especially in the Old Media) were involved with logistics as primary or secondary duty. On sea, in the air, or on land, supply will always be a target. Remember them this day, from those who labored to get food and supplies to Washington's troops to the 507th Maintenance Company, to those who put themselves at risk today to get food and more to the troops wherever they are.