I wrote this about two years ago, shortly after my Mom died and we found some letters in her stuff that she got when my Dad died 30 years earlier. One of them was from a friend of my Dad’s who served with him through World War II. He wrote it to our family as a memorial of my Dad’ service for his country.
I thought I would share the letter from my Dad’s friend about my Dad again as a Vetrans Day salute to all veterans.
The Wasp was an aircraft carrier that Dad was on, and it sank in the Battle of Guadalcanal. This battle lasted over 6 months being fought on land by Marines and supported by numerous ships, including the Wasp. Dad spent several days in the water before being rescued.
The Yorktown, another aircraft carrier sank in the Battle of Midway, a very key battle in the war, and my Dad was on it when it sank.
The Hornet was in many battles and was the aircraft carrier that launched the “Doolittle Raid” when Tokyo was bombed for the first time in the war. It was sunk in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. My Dad was on it when it sank. He was on four different aircraft carriers that were sunk in battle.
One of the stories that my Dad’s friend told; “we were sitting in a gun turret which are mounted on the side of the ship under the flight deck. We were letting our gun cool off from much rapid firing, if the gun is loaded while hot the powder will ignite before the projectile is loaded. We had loaded it successfully before we decided to let it cool. While waiting a Japanese plane came in low around the ship headed right towards us, Duke stomped on the foot firing mechanism and blew that plane into little bitty pieces 200 feet from us. It was funny when it was over, but I can tell you for sure that both Duke and I thought we had bought it that day. We served together on the Hornet, the Wasp, the Yorktown, the Enterprise, the Saratoga, the North Carolina, the O’Brian and others. We spent many hours together sometimes 2 and 3 days straight through in battle at our stations. Please allow me to say and you can tell your 4 sons and your daughter that they can take great pride in being the children of Delbert Duke.”
Almost seems at times that all that my Dad did, and many others like him, was for nothing as our freedoms slip away.