(For Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "O" is for "Outta here!")
What with Veterans Day coming up shortly, I realize that I’ve never told you about my Silver Star.
From time to time in this space, I’ve reported on some of the heroic adventures I was involved in during World War II. It usually turned out that they weren’t all that heroic, but they were adventures nonetheless.
So now I’d like to tell you about the medal that’s one of the highest awards for gallantry in action. Here’s the story.
This seemed to give them the idea that they had the right to bomb the hell out of the Yanks just to the south. I don’t think they had the field hospital I was in as the main target; it just appeared that way.
All of which got me to thinking: get me outta here!
After all, I wasn’t performing any labor or doing anything. I wasn’t contributing to the war effort; I was just convalescing. I could convalesce to the south in Brisbane, Australia, just as well. Especially because that’s where my good friend Shirley M. lived.
So one day I quietly exited the hospital and headed for the airport.
I found a pilot who was getting ready to fly to Port Moresby – the jumping-off point for Australia – and I asked if I could hitch a ride. I said I was desperate to rejoin my ship so I could continue fighting the war, and so on. (I didn’t mention Shirley.)
He said okay, so off we went, into the wild blue etcetera.
So that was it. Not worth a Silver Star, you say? Well, I didn’t think it was either – until...
Years later I read about President Lyndon Johnson, and I was especially interested in his World War II record. He had been awarded the Silver Star.
When he was a congressman he thought it would help his career if he had a war record. He joined up and was immediately upgraded to Navy lieutenant-commander.
However, not long after takeoff Johnson’s plane had developed generator trouble and had to turn back.
So I wondered, where’s my Silver Star? I flew that same route in the same war. True, I did nothing heroic and the vital war mission I was on was to see my girlfriend in Brisbane. However, as far as action was concerned, I had seen plenty of that trying to dodge bombs, not to mention insects, back at the jungle hospital.
In 1937 Amelia Earhart, on her round-the-world flight, landed at Lae. It was on July 2nd, at midnight, that she took off from Lae airport, never to be seen again.
1 year ago