Jim McAllister reposted an old column last week about former Scottsdale resident Dr Harold Laynor, a member of the 23rd Special Troops–the Ghost Army of WWII.
On this day before Memorial Day 2012 I am reminded of my own U.S. Air Force service, my friends from that time, my father’s service as a U.S. Marine JAG officer, my Grandfather Washington’s service as a WWI “doughboy,” and cousins and uncles who served.
My wife served as an emergency medical technician in the U.S. Air National Guard, her father retired as a U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant, and his father enlisted in the Army in WWII and retired as a USAF Lt. Colonel. Her mom’s father served on a destroyer that sailed into Tokyo Bay in the middle of the night in July 1945 to shoot up the harbor in an action that came to be called the Tokyo Shootout or the Battle of Sagami Bay, the last surface action of the War in the Pacific.
However, we were lucky that all those loved ones survived and returned to us. Memorial Day was established to honor those who have died while in the service of their country.
Through my friendship with Scottsdale’s Charles Poston, I had the great honor of documenting his WWII unit, the 1st Air Commando Group, in our ongoing “Project 9, To Hell With The Paperwork.” Because of that effort, we were contacted by the cousin of one of Charles’s comrades, Glen Feickert, seeking information on Glen’s death in combat and we were able to fill in some missing gaps for her.
For Lt. Feickert and all those who didn’t return: We remember, and we honor you and your families on this Memorial Day 2012.
Scottsdale residents are invited to commemorate Memorial Day at 10 a.m. Monday, May 28, at the Chaplain Statue on the north side of Scottsdale City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd. Mayor Lane will provide the keynote remarks at the event which is hosted by various veterans’ associations. For more information, call 480-941-9849.
Thanks for the mention of my piece from several years ago about former Scottsdale resident Dr. Laynor and his involvement with the Ghost Army. That was quite a group of guys.
I served in the USAF between 1961 and 1965 and although those first couple of weeks at Lackland were tough, those AF years were some of the best in my life. They taught me to make it on my own and when I was discharged, I was not the same kid I was four years earlier.
Take care, keep up the good work on “Trails.”