Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Dad, The Lone Survivor.....




Click on the pictures for a larger view!!

From the clipping above:

Recently discharged from the air forces with 154 points Daniel “Dean” S., the first Bridgeporter to participate in a B-2 air raid over Japan, was able to celebrate, for the first time in 5 years, a birthday at home. He was 24 years old on November 13th.

A former technical sergeant, aerial engineer and tail gunner, he holds the air medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, The Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Presidential Unit citation, four battle stars and the Purple Heart. The latter was received for wounds sustained for bailing out of a plane in combat over Osaka, Japan. He was the only survivor.

The vet of 5 years of service, 42 months of which were spent overseas, is credited with 29 missions in the Pacific and 600 flying hours. He participated in the Burma-China campaigns, the air offensive campaign over Japan, and the Formosa and Yawata raids.

While on the Yawata raid on Japan in June of 1944 he and his crew were forced down in free China and escaped the Japs. Of this flight he wrote “I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be on the mission, even when we were over the target and the search lights caught us…when the ack-ack started firing at us, I watched it with a strange fascination. It came closer and closer, I heard the bombardier say “bombs away”.

“We finally got out of the target area but about daylight developed engine trouble and were forced to land at an emergency field in free China. We were near the Jap lines and right after we landed an enemy observation plane spotted us. Later two Jap pursuit ships came over and staffed us with machine gun fire…No one was hurt though….”

Born and raised in Bridgeport, Daniel was graduated from the Sanata Maria Incoranata elementary School and Lindbloom High School. Daniel enlisted in the air corps at 18. He received his basic training at Chanute Filed, Ill., and then left for active service in the Panama Canal Zone. In April of 1943, he returned here and went to Great Bear Kan., for further instruction on the mechanical details of the B-29. From there he transferred to an advanced air base in Tucson, Ariz., and then to India.

S. hopes to go back to school under the GI Bill of Rights.

Now what this story does not go into detail about, is the fact that his plane was shot down over the Pacific during combat over Osaka…he did in fact bail out as the plane had been and survived after floating in the Pacific Ocean with a gash in his thigh that was easily 12” long for a number of hours. The story also does not detail that 11 men died that day…everyone in his crew perished except for my Dad. He was the lone survivor.

This fact would go on to haunt him for the rest of his life. My dad passed away in 1990 at the age of 69 from cancer.

He was miraculously picked up by a US sub which was in the area. The medical staff on that sub, saved his life. The crew gave him a white sailors hat which they all autographed. My husband had it framed in a box for me. I display it proudly in my home.



I recall sitting at his knee when I was a child..hearing only bits and pieces of the story of his service. He never embellished the stories; he never said disparaging remarks about the enemies of that war. He didn’t often talk about it at all. But we knew…we had seen the scar and we and we had heard his screams in the middle of the night when he had his nightmares. But he never complained. It was simply what he had done to serve his country.

My father visited the families of every one of those other airmen after he was discharged. They were his best friends, his buddies, and his family. He told them what brave men their sons, brothers and husbands were. Many of those families wrote him letters to thank him for his visit. They let him know, that having met the man who saw them last was somehow comforting and that they were happy that he had lived, even if their son died that day. He kept all of those letters. I have read all of those letters. They are beautiful, incredible and humbling.

He saved many mementos from his service, photos, passes, meal cards, NCO Membership card, etc and articles and pictures of his fallen buddies. I have all of it. He of course saved all of his medals, which my brother has now.


I just wanted to share this incredible story with you, dear readers and friends. I hope that each one of you will say a prayer for all the brave men and women that have died in service to this great country of ours.

You know..my Dad always said to me, that there must be a reason that he alone survived that day….I couldn’t agree more.

~ I originally posted this a year or more ago, but I thought I would re-post it. You see today is my Dad's birthday, he would have been 87. I miss him and honor him today and everyday. I love you Dad.~

26 comments:

Serena Joy said...

What a wonderful tribute to your dad, Leelee.

Corn Dog said...

That is an amazing and incredible story, LeeLee. Thanks for sharing. Is that his plane in the photo? Did the men of his plane all bail and he was the only survivor? Absolutely amazing.

leelee said...

Thanks Serena..

Corn...His plane took a hit..the story I recall is that the plane basically blew up and he was blown out of it, that is how he got the injury to his leg..

Don't forget, when the article was written it was Novemeber of 44...the war was still going on...so they didn't go into too much detail about what had occurred only months before..not like today. We can almost watch this war shot for shot..or so it seems..

Thanks for your well wishes friends...don't forget to hang your flags on Monday.

Serena Joy said...

My flag's already up. I sort of start early because I was born on Memorial Day. LOL.

leelee said...

Well Happy Birthday Girlfriend..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Scary Monster said...

Well done. Ten thumbs up!

Corn Dog said...

Incredible story. I see the hat today. Wonderful! maybe it was posted yesterday and I missed it. That is amazing.

leelee said...

Thank you Scary..:-)

Corn, I added it after you saw the original post...cool huh??

Corn Dog said...

The hat it totally cool. Thanks for the picture.

Queenie said...

Thanks for sharing. One day I will post about my dad. I think we are so lucky to have had these men in our life's.

paula said...

Oh, leelee! I don't know what to say except what a wonderful man your father was. He sounds a bit like my dad, who was there too and very quiet and humble about being in the pacific.

Thank you for sharing your story.

leelee said...

Queenie, I agree, I am a lucky girl to have him as my Dad, I miss him.

Paula, Thank you for your kind words..he WAS a wonderful man :-)...I woul have to say that most of the men and women who serve, do so with a quiet dignity...bless them all.

Thanks to you all for taking the time to read about my Dad and commenting, it means the world to me..and to the memory of My Dad.

BIG HUGS to you all!!

littlebirdblue said...

What a sweet tribute.

leelee said...

Thank you lbb, thank you.

puerileuwaite said...

Wow. As a history, war, and Leelee buff, I was enthralled by your dad's story. I've always been impressed by that particular generation and the code that they lived by. Thanks!

leelee said...

Me too P...aptly named the Greatest Generation.

a leelee buff huh? I'm flattered ~blush~

elena jane said...

god bless your dad and all of the men and women over the years who did our nation proud!!
what a fabulous story, thanks for sharing it and that little bit of your dad. he was SO young!
our flags are out today for memorial day!

leelee said...

Elena Jane...thanks for stopping by and thank you for your kind words..

VE said...

What a beautiful amazing story. Thanks for sharing it. Interesting that both you and Serena had old photos of family to share as I went visiting the blogs today.

PS – You better not miss my post for Fri 11/14. I’m one post shy of 600 and out of those there are only 3 current pictures of VE and NONE of him when he was younger. Ever wonder what teen VE looked like? Here’s your opportunity to find out along with a mega embarrassing meme as well. It’s not pretty.

leelee said...

Thank you VE....

I shall head over to you today!


HUGS!

Bond said...

Thank you my friend for allowing us into this part of your life. What a wonderful story.

I know dad lives in your heart, so please pass along a birthday wish from me to him

Have a grand weekend

HUGS

leelee said...

No Vinny...thank YOU for your kind words and thoughts!

HUGS back atcha!

NYD said...

Just had to come back and read this again.

leelee said...

Thanks my friend!

HUGS!!

Mayden' s Voyage said...

What a sweet tribute to an American hero...who just happened to be your dad- wow.
Thank you for sharing this, and for re-posting the link elsewhere...I hate to think I might have missed this post. It's beautiful.

leelee said...

Cora, I'm glad you happened upon it. I could help being reminded of the similarities in the stories...

Thanks GF for stopping by to read it.

HUGS!!