When I was reading the list of names in the June 2013 Close Ranks newsletter, I saw Sgt. Rae Nunemaker. He was Daddy's sergeant, and he talked about him a great deal. I regret that I did not see the name before. If his family had ever contacted you, I could have at least told them how much Daddy liked him. He always called him "Nunemaker," but every once in a while he would add "Sergeant" into the conversation.
I also read the story about the taking of Hill 382, and that is where Daddy and James Skidmore, his best buddy, were. Daddy said Skidmore was the bravest man he ever knew, and he knew a lot of brave men. Skidmore took a walky-talky and led the tanks through a mine field to get to Airfield #2, to take it so planes could land. They were both in Charlie Company.
Daddy is not able to remember much of day-to-day, but he still remembers the war and the men he was with. I cannot tell you have much I have appreciated this contact. I wish so much that he had been able to participate. He would have wanted to recount the stories of Skidmore, for sure. Daddy was a great storyteller, and he concentrated on the positive. (The one time he told some of his step-family members of what really happened, right after the war, when some insisted he tell the "real story," they got sick and left the room. His brothers had served in combat in Europe and knew what war was; the step-brothers, however, had been in behind-the-lines duties in Europe, and they were telling stories of their adventures at the time.) Daddy always told us about Skidmore breaking rules and paying for it, but never letting himself quit being himself. "Skid," Daddy said, was his own man, and a brave one.
I am a history teacher, and I have my students do war interview papers. They do not have to talk with veterans, but they do have to interview someone from the time who can help them "see" what life was like during WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, and Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I also, after the interview discussion time, pull out the copy of the 4th Marine book that all of them got, and I show them the long list of men who died on Iwo, just from the 4th Marines. Then I show them the number of men--2--from the Division who got the Medal of Honor on Iwo. The men deserve to be remembered!
Again, I thank you for your purposeful effort to keep the memories alive. I hope the same is done for our Jacob, who has served so often in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Elaine Franks McVety – 2013 Jun 1