Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Parkers at War....

Our family has a rich history... So proud of their service to our country... I've posted some pictures but I didn't have pictures of all .... Another great story from Dad...

"I got to tellin' 'em the other day. Jean called Betty the other day and said "Betty... Stan needs to write those stories down! We've all forgot em". Betty came to me after Jean hung up and said, "I've got you figured out... None of the rest of 'em know anything, and you tell part of it and make up part of it. You can tell anything you want to tell and they don't know the difference." But I do, Rob, its amazing. I guess its a gift that the Good Lord gave me. I remember when Pearl Harbor.... I was six years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed... I remember that just as well... I remember when World War II ended... I remember all of the things that went on.. I can just recall and remember it...

See World War I had ended in the early 20s. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, everybody knew what was gonna happen. See the United States was already kindly in the War. They were helping Britain. If the United States hadn't helped Britain, Germany would have won. They would have ruled Britain like they took over France, but the British fought em. American kindly got to helpin them. Eventually they got into war with Germany. But when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt immediately declared War.

See, all the neighbors would get together at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Fourth of July... make homemade ice cream and play Rook and pop popcorn and parts peanuts. See everybody raised their own popcorn and peanuts you know. You'd just make popcorn balls and everybody would just get together... And I remember how all the adults were so upset, cause they knew that their sons were going to War and they also know that alot of them were never coming back. Man they were upset. The men were sittin around talkin and shakin their heads and the women, many of them were cryin. They knew exactly what was going to happen. Well, immediately Bill and Cliff was drafted into the Army. Daddy 'n 'em managed to keep C.B. out to help farm. Daddy had a bunch of young kids... all the way to Carl. I mean a bunch, and C.B. got deferred. Me and C.B. is the only two that didn't serve in the Military. I was just 6 years old when the war started.

I had got hurt playin' football. When the Korean War started, Dan was in the army then. I was a senior in High School when it all started. When I got to be 18 years old they were going to send me to get examined cause the Draft was still active. Well, I had got hurt playin' football, and I was still under the care of Dr. Price Irvin. He was the team physician. I guess I had tore some ligaments or somethin. I had water on my knee. It was puffed up somethin awful. I couldnt hardly get my pants on and off. So I went to him. Course, I had tried to play baseball too and had aggravated it. He had seen the list of the boys that was goin off to be examined. He said, "Son, you don't need to go to Montgomery to be examined. Thats a waste of time! They'll get on you and ask you what in the world you are doin down there. You take this note right here and go give it to Ms. Helen Royer." Ms. Helen Royer was over the draft board. A bunch of guys was going next week, so I took it down there. She told me to pull my pants leg up. Well, I couldn't pull my pants leg up. I had those peg leg pants you know. So I had to drop my pants down...nothin on but my drawers. Embarrassed the heck out of me. She said, "I ain't sendin you. We'll catch you next time. A week before you're supposed to go when you get your next notice, you come up here again." So the next time I went up there, I told Betty, I wore big legged britches so I could lift up my pant leg and wouldn't have to drop my pants. When I went back, I didn't have as much fluid on my knee. She said, "I'm not going to send you. I'm going to reclassify you. We'll catch you later, but you're gonna have to go." I said, "That's fine! I want to go! The only reason I'm up here is cuz Dr. Price sent me here." So, by the time that that changed my draft status back to 1A, they abolished the draft and it was strictly volunteer. I never did go to Montgomery to be examined.

All six of my brothers served. Carl was in the National Guard, and he went to Basic Training. Nat's unit was activated. He served six months and was in the National Guard during the Korean Conflict. Nat's been to the Korea twice with the Guard. Dan served in the Korean Conflict. His unit was activated and going to Korea. Dan had an emergency appendectomy and they didn't send him. Travis served during the Vietnam Conflict. He was in Vietnam a number of times. Cliff was in World War II. He was in Europe.

Bill was in World War II in the Philippines. Bill went through the roughest of any of them. He was in the invasion of Okinawa and Saipan. He went to Iwo Jima. He was in the invasion Leyte, Tinian, all those Phillipine Islands. Bill is lucky that he made it back. Bill went through a living hell, man. When he first come back from the Army....that was in '45, I was 10 years old... I wanted to know. We all wanted to know. Bill wouldn't talk about it. Bill'd say, "I don't want to talk about it and you don't wanna know..." And that would be the extent of it.

Two years before he died, when Momma was in the nursing home, he'd usually ride to Florence with me. He knew that I watched the History Channel and that Patton was my favorite movie and that I had read books about Omar Bradley and George Marshall and MacArthur. He knew I was interested in that... He started talking to me about a lot of things. He told me alot of stories. Since, I have shared them with Billy and Betty. But he didn't talk to Mattie Dee about 'em. He didn't talk to nobody about it. He'd talk to me though. Me and him had a special relationship. He'd tell me those stories....some of the most amazing things I've ever heard in my life. He is lucky he made it back.

Now Cliff didn't have it too rough. Cliff didn't have to go right off, because they sent him to California. He went and took some special training to be in the Military Police. That's what they wanted him to be. When Cliff got to Europe, they come around wantin' volunteers to be Cooks. Cliff volunteered. He liked to cook and he was a Cook. That's what Ab was, part of the time. Ab told me and Betty that one of his responsibilities was to take hot food to the Front Lines for the troops. Most of the time all they had was K rations and stuff you open up and take out of a can. So Ab's responsibility along with a couple of other guys was to load that food up on a jeep and the Germans would try to kill them. Cause if they could blow that jeep up with that food on it, that made it rough for those troops. Ab told me that there was many times that he didnt think they were going to make it. They'd get it through though. Ol' Ab can cook, son. Let me tell you, he can make rolls.....what'chu talkin about. Now Cliff used to .... I never could get it down pat, but....Cliff used to fix a soup that he called "Army Soup". What it was was green split pea soup with potatoes in it and seasoned.... Aw man.... You talk about good... But, I'm gonna ask Ab next time I go if he remember the recipe. Cliff when he would come back, man. He'd fix up a pot of that stuff... You eat that would cornbread... What are you talking about... Man it was good ..

I'd seen Momma get real scared... See, the Courtland Airbase was really active. They were training pilots. And then the Redstone Arsenal was over here as well. And you'd see alot of those big ol black cars... See all of the roads wasn't paved. You would see a car coming by and you'd see dust just fogging behind. And, I've watched Momma a many a times standing in the cotton field. We'd see that black car coming down that road, when we lived at the Walker place.. And you could see the fear in her eyes. And the car never turned to our house.. It would just keep going. Those people was going to tell somebody that their son or their husband was missing or killed in action...

You know when I broke my kneecap, Dr. Prickett pulled two big ol syringes of fluid off my knee. If they had been able to do that back then, I would have gone into the Military during the draft. That was all that was wrong with me.

Now Mr. Campbell didn't go in til near the end of the war. They sent him to Japan. He helped recover after the atomic bombs were dropped.. That may have contributed to his early death. He may have had some radiation, who knows...

Lot of history in both sides of our family."

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