The Grafton, IL lighthouse on the Great River Rd
I wanted to share a bit of my Grandfather’s war history with you. He didn’t share a lot of stories with us girls but I remember a few. I called my Uncle Terry and between the two of us, we decided on a war story that many of your relatives that fought in WWII could possible identify with.
My Grandfather Merle Nipper (pictured above, the tall dark-headed man) was the age of 21 when he was called to war between the years of 1944-1946. He wasn’t a child, yet he hadn’t even begun living his life. He was use to hard work and was raised on a farm but he also liked having a good time as most young men his age. You can see from these pictures he was a cut up and like to have a good time. He and my grandmother wouldn’t get married until after the war was long over and they would go on to have seven children.
He left Jefferson Barracks, MO and headed to Texas. When he was through with training he was a 148th Inf Regt 37th Div member, and from there he would see the world in an action packed three years. He lived a long life and never set foot on an airplane, however he would make it the Philippines and back safety. He always traveled by ship and even told a story about seeing the Golden Gate Bridge by traveling underneath it by boat.
One story that we thought we would like to share was that of his time behind enemy lines for weeks in the Philippines on a ridge top. The bottom of the large hill was surrounded by Japanese military. He thought close to 350 fellow soldiers were locked on the hill with him. Soon they would have food dropped to them by parachutes but the wind would move those parachutes as they dropped to the ground to the Japanese’s forces. My Grandfather said they spied the Japanese opening the crates and eating the food. There was little to eat and the fighting was relentless from hour to hour for the Americans. Eventually, walkies-talkies and other supplies were delivered to the Americans holding the ridge top. They were not about to give up the hold they had secured but they couldn’t continue letting the Japanese get closer to them. The pilots were going to bombard the hill with smoke bombs and artillery. The American soldiers were going to have to make a run for it past enemy fire while they in turn returned fire through the smoke! My grandfather and the others ran so hard down the mountain he was exhausted by the time he reached safety. He climbed up on the roof of the cargo truck that was driving them to camp, and he fell asleep. He was exhausted and rightly so. My grandfather remembered there were close to 50 soldiers that made it off the hill that day alive. I cannot find information to support that exact number that died that day but he was very-rarely-ever wrong. When he finally arrived at camp and settled in to his tent, he fell asleep- hard. The battle on that hill was won by the Americans.
There are many more stories that involved tunnels, swampy areas, weekend breaks, camp being attacked, driving a large gasoline fuel truck and the one directly in front of him exploded, and something about a bank. Without my grandfather actually here, it is hard to recreate his accounts from our memories of his stories.
His discharge papers say that he received a Combat Infantry Badge for his Battle at Luzon. He was an Amphibian Tractor Driver and his list of medals is as follows:
Philippine Liberation Ribbon with One Bronze Star, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon with One Bronze Star, World War II Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and Two Overseas Bars.
After doing research of the battles of Luzon for the years of deployment in the Philippines I have so much more respect for what he endured. What all those men endured. I cannot imagine living with the horror that he saw.
If you would like a better idea of what these boys endured on the American side and the what the Japanese endured you can read about it here. Another website I found you can check out here. The actual years that my Grandfather served over there was 44’-46’.
My grandfather is gone now and we all miss him. I wanted to write this post as a tribute to him and so many others that have served or are serving, or lost their life protecting others.
God Bless all Military!
I had to place an excerpt of the project I was working on with the Camp NaNoWriMo website that I joined. I thought I would share it here also.
The R.A.N.C.H. Project
Research Agency of the Neural Cerebral Hemisphere
The Ranch’s Objective: Growing humans for political projects and creating human weaponry for personal and national gain
Laying in the cold dampness of the cellar dungeon, soaked and dried in their own blood lay Jase and Colin. The maniac that roamed around upstairs treated them no better than stray pets that were a nuisance. The difference being, the man keeping them captive wanted these men alive, but why?
Colin was still concerned that Jase was dead. Enough light had peered in from upstairs that now he could see Jase’s limp and bloody body in the corner adjacent from him. He would watch as the man upstairs would periodically check on his ‘pets’ and this made Colin think that Jase was alive, at least for now or their captor would have not continued to check on them both. Jase must of suffered some sort of head trauma, maybe rest was all he needed? At least this is what Colin had prayed for.
Colin knew he needed to break free. Possibly start a dialog with the man when he comes to check again. Something he had avoided till now. He wanted to break free, check on Colin and give his captor a surprise he would not see coming. He had tried every which way to break out of the chains. Whoever this crazy man was, he knew how to hold a prisoner tight.
That’s when Colin saw it, his snow pants, hanging from a hook above a wooden workbench. At least that is what he thought he saw. He could be wrong, but they certainly looked like it. This gave him more hope than he had since the plane took its final dive into the treetops.
The transceiver that he had turned on the morning Jase dropped him off was in those pants, a tiny compartment that zipped near the bottom of the right leg. Was it still there? He had never turned it off and now he was hoping that if this lunatic had saved his snow pants, his gun and other belongings would be close.
Colin heard a moan come from his battered friend, “Jase! Jase can you hear me?” He heard Jase take a deep breath and he went silent once more. This waiting and not knowing if Jase was brutally injured was more torture than Colin wanted to remember. Scenes like a movie reel kept playing through his mind of his time he was a POW and when he didn’t know the status of his men. He could do this, he thought; he would get Jase out of here alive.
The man upstairs must of heard Colin call out to Jase and immediately rushed to the trapdoor. Jase could hear a series of locks being turned and twisted out of their steel casing. Soon the mysterious man descended into the makeshift prison.
Copyright © 2014 by Neasha Hill
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He’d stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?
How many pilots’ planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
No, freedom isn’t free.
I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant “Amen,”
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn’t free.