David Fish, one of our recent visitors to this little corner of the web, lost his father in the Southern Philippines during a Marine PBJ Mitchell mission in 1945. His father served with VMB-611.
David’s note reminded me that I had some photos and film footage of Marine PBJ’s. In doing some research, it looks like the film footage is of VMB-612, and I could swear the legendary Jack Cram is in some of the sequences. Not sure which units the photos are of, but I am posting them here today in hopes David might be able to catch a glimpse of his dad. Stay tuned for another post in a few hours.
In 2009, I lost somebody in Iraq very close to me. I used to call him my unofficially adopted son. Almost six years have passed and I think about him every day. The sense of loss, the grief over his death has diminished, but I know it will never go away. His death became one of those inescapable fault lines in life that change everything. I look back, and I see my life was heading in one arc before 2009. After, it went a totally different route after his death.
I remember in the 1990’s when I was interviewing Gerald Johnson’s widow, Barbara, her grief over his death had been one of the defining elements of her entire life. It never goes away. My friendship with Barbara gave me the first insight I had into the cost to those left behind in the wake of war. I was so young and naive back then, thinking that the war was a great and tragic adventure, the source of endless stories. Barbara suffered through seven decades of pain after Ged died in 1945. I get that now.
Jeez. Even writing about this chokes me up.
Anyway, whenever I can, I’ll do what I can for those of you out there who have lost someone in service to your nation. I’ve collected about 45,000 photographs over the years and have a lot of film footage as well, and I’ll do my best to find images of your loved ones, or at least of their units.
John R. Bruning