Going home

My father, who will turn 89 this year, left high school early for the U.S. Army, five months before Pearl Harbor.

Though none of them were born in this country, four of the seven Galloway brothers would scatter themselves across the globe during World War II. Dad was the youngest, and the only one to carry a sketch book.

He’s the only one left.

As an Air Corps mechanic, he started in north Africa, then moved on to India for flights across the Hump into China.

The cartoonist Bill Mauldin was something of a hero. Lined notebook paper would do in a pinch. Above is a rescued drawing from Dad’s return trip in ‘45. That lump in the background is the Rock of Gibraltar.

In the upper right hand corner are traces of a laundry list written on the other side — a brief catalog of one young warrior’s requirements for conquering the world: Four undershirts, four shorts, two handkerchiefs, two dress shirts, four pairs of socks, and two coveralls.

He was an amateur photographer, too. We found this shot of his compadres not long ago, a timeless portrait of young boys with guns, taken before they had any inkling of what real war might be like:

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Special/James A. Galloway

Dad seldom talked about his adventure. But he once told me that he had a vague memory of, shortly after he finally docked at home, running up and down the hall of a New York City hotel in the wee hours — drunk, liberated, and screaming “God damn the Colonel!” at the top of his lungs. This from a future elder of the Red Oak, Ga., Christian Church.

He was no more than 22 — probably 21 — when he returned from five years of war. Yet the imprint remains.

We moved Dad to California two years ago, to a place not far from Los Angeles. Shortly after his arrival, he pointed my sister to the distant shaded hills. The Atlas Mountains, Dad declared.

But it is the San Gabriel range that skirts the City of Angels. The Atlas Mountains stretch across the top of northwest Africa — spanning Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. They stand opposite the Rock of Gibraltar.

Have a thoughtful Memorial Day.

ScreenShot176

Staff Sgt. Jim Galloway (left), in greasy coveralls and parachute.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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15 comments Add your comment

crankee-yankee

May 28th, 2012
7:00 am

Not sharing seems to be a common theme from what I have experienced. My dad too did not speak much of his time in the European theater. He was at the Bulge. He was a staff sgt. in the signal corps and about all he ever shared was how 2 of his men died one night out on picket duty. It was so cold, they literally froze to death. He also remembered how German snipers would short out communication wires with a pin and then pick off the corpsman who came looking for the problem. As a sgt. he was responsible for his men and the losses he suffered weighed heavily on him.

hiram

May 28th, 2012
8:09 am

My dad served in the Pacific Theater. He helped build landing strips on remote islands for B-17s. They were constantly strafed with machine gun fire from Japanese zeros, that would come in at tree top level, and they routinely installed a fireman’s pole when working high up on the control towers. They would slide down and dive into preprepared fox holes when attacked. He never talked about the war, unless questioned or watched “war movies”, with the exception of the movie, “Patton”, that he deemed to be an accurate portrayal of the man. He also expressed his disdain for McArthur, if the subject ever arose.

Clint Austin

May 28th, 2012
10:06 am

Thanks for putting this up. I have enjoyed this drawing since you first posted it, and the additional detail this year is outstanding – especially the hotel story! Tell him thanks from the newer softer breed.

USCG

May 28th, 2012
10:28 am

Semper Paratus

Old Goober

May 28th, 2012
10:33 am

He never talked about the war, unless questioned or watched “war movies”, with the exception of the movie, “Patton”, that he deemed to be an accurate portrayal of the man.

One of my uncles served in one of Patton’s divisions. He spoke with disdain for Patton, remembering only the cursing that Patton directed often at his own troops.

Matt Towery

May 28th, 2012
10:36 am

Jim, what a great piece. My dad was post war with the Army Security Agency. HIs was not the sort of wartime risk that your dad and family members faced.. But he too will not talk about his days in Germany. Your story is great…and perfect for all of us on Memorial Day.Thanks for sharing it and the picture.

td

May 28th, 2012
10:44 am

Nice story Jim. Thank you for sharing.

GaBlue

May 28th, 2012
11:07 am

Let us never forget what was given for us.

Jesus Christ crushes NWO, DBMs

May 28th, 2012
1:55 pm

Enough is enough after a soldier has served three, four, five, or six tours of duty in a combat zone. If the trend continues, then service to our country is automatically transformed to a scheme to psychologically break and physically punish veterans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtrG4Kv0r4E

Bring our veterans home.

MrLiberty

May 28th, 2012
3:07 pm

We didn’t lose our freedoms to the British during the war of 1812, we lost them to the Alien and Sedition Acts that were passed by our government. We didn’t lose our freedoms to the Confederacy or the Union armies during the Civil War but we were burdened by an unconstitutional income tax, draft, abominable tarrifs, worthless “greenbacks” fiat currency, etc. all through Lincoln’s complete disregard of the constitution. We didn’t lose any freedoms and liberties to the Spanish, the Italians, the Nazis, the Russians, the Chinese, the N. Koreans, the N. Vietnamese, the Viet Cong, the Iraqis, the Afghanis, the Grenadens, the Somalis, the Yemenis, the Libyans, the Lebanese, the Serbians, the Yugoslavians, or any of the dozens of foreign enemies we have sent men to fight against over the past 200+ years. We have ONLY lost our freedoms and liberties to the men and women who infest our nation’s capital and our state houses.

According to our Declaration of Independence, governments are constituted among men to protect our freedoms and our liberties, and yet it has ALWAYS been ONLY our government that has ever taken away our freedoms and liberties.

As you suck down that cold beer and munch on that hamburger, ponder that for a moment. It makes a great sound bite to say that all of our soldiers died to protect our freedoms, but what good have all of their deaths been if during every war, during every peace, our government takes away more and more freedom and liberty while sending men to fight and die against folks in foreign countries that NEVER have the ability to take away our freedoms and liberties. How have we as a country benefitted from what they have done if freedom and liberty have lost significant ground at home while they have been away?

Why does nobody ever have the courage to ask such tough questions? Why does nobody ever have the courage to actually give these truths a serious bit of consideration every time america is asked to sacrifice more of its children to support the empire builders and their profit making machine of war and death?

War is not the answer

May 28th, 2012
4:53 pm

blacksheep

May 28th, 2012
7:26 pm

“perverted New World Order integrationist crowd?” Damn.

Interested Observer

May 28th, 2012
8:12 pm

Thanks for sharing, Jim. It’s neat to know you have family roots in Red Oak too.

Rural Education

May 28th, 2012
8:31 pm

My Dad was in the 5th Army Air Core and spent the better part of three years in New Guinea and Australia. He worked on planes and thus avoided much direct contact.

Kris T.

May 28th, 2012
8:35 pm

Thank You to all who served. God bless America!