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#1 May 23, 2020 11:50 am

Real Distwalker
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Remembering my grandfather this Memorial Day weekend (US)

Remembering my grandfather, Darlo Eugene Smith this Memorial Day weekend. He was killed by Japanese machine gun fire while leading his infantry squad up a ridge on the Japanese Island of Okinawa on 21 April 1945. He was 24 years old.

My grandfather fought on Kwajalein Atolll, all the way across Leyte in the Philippines and on Okinawa. He served in the 184th Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division of the US Army.

I had the honor of also serving with my grandfather's division during an extended temporary duty in 1985.

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Okinawa

At 1730 on 22 April the First Platoon spearheaded the attack on Klatt Ridge, which was on extension of Hill 178, one of the enemy’s most important island defensive lines. The Platoon made two attempts to secure the Ridge, both proving unsuccessful and necessitating withdrawal because of the growing number of casualties unstained. The enemy defense seemed to be impregnable, the position being better defended by machine gun, mortar and artillery than any the Company had previously encountered.

The Second Platoon and the machine gun position from the Weapons Platoon supported the First Platoon in on attempt to outflank the enemy positions on the left. The Japs allowed the platoon to advance well up into their positions and then brought them under intense sniper and machine Gun cross fire and mortar fire. The attempt to secure the enemy position was useless, and the platoons withdrew, suffering heavy casualties. As it was too dark to attempt another attack the Company dug in with Easy Company for the night.

During the engagements of this day four members of the Company worn killed and twelve were wounded. Pfc Tacconi was killed by an enemy sniper. In the absence of his squad leader, Pfc Darlo Smith assumed command of the squad, which he was leading in the attack on Klatt Ridge when he was mortally wounded by fire from an enemy machine gun. Pfc John IH. Michael, a member of a flame thrower team, died on the battlefield from wounds received from sniper fire, Pat Rubio L. Dunn was successful in reaching his objective along with two others, on top of the Ridge, at which time his squad came under heavy sniper fire and was forced to withdraw. During this action Pat Dunn was missing; his body was found two days later. He was evidently killed instantly by sniper fire.

Our positions remained the same during the day of the Old of April. At 2300 of this day, the most merciless, concentrated Japanese artillery barrage of the Pacific War begun upon our positions. An estimated 7000 rounds of all calibers were laid on us in a bombardment that lasted for three hours and forty-five minutes. No casualties were inflicted upon the Company, but we were severely shaken up. However, Pvt Greiss, one of the members of our Company who was with the Battalion Security squad the rear area, was mortally wounded during the night from enemy artillery. It was found that the, enemy used this concentration to conceal their withdrawal from Hill 178, which the 17th Regiment later took it without opposition.

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This is a photo with his wife, my grandmother Marjorie.  Grandma passed at age 96 in February 2020.  She outlived her husband by 75 years.

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This is where he fell.

https://goo.gl/maps/PyRTgQpWKGXtxwPh9

Last edited by Real Distwalker (May 23, 2020 2:03 pm)

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#2 May 23, 2020 1:34 pm

WH Man
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Re: Remembering my grandfather this Memorial Day weekend (US)

A proud family tradition indeed, all the way down through you and your son. I could only hope that today's generation would acquire some historical knowledge of the sacrifices made by millions of others so that we could live in the greatest country on earth. Yes, America is the home of the free, because of the brave! Family traditions like yours!

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#3 May 23, 2020 6:20 pm

Real Distwalker
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Re: Remembering my grandfather this Memorial Day weekend (US)

Thank you.  Two of my great grandfathers served in World War I as well.  My great grandfather George is in the middle.  He was 6'4" tall.  That made him a giant in those times.


George-Bendschneider0001.jpg

Last edited by Real Distwalker (May 23, 2020 6:53 pm)

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#4 May 23, 2020 6:23 pm

gripe
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Re: Remembering my grandfather this Memorial Day weekend (US)

RD, you fell right in line, obviously, such that your grandfather will be most proud of you were he alive. Good examples are very easy to follow. The generations are thereby well-served in the end.

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#5 May 23, 2020 9:47 pm

Expat
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Re: Remembering my grandfather this Memorial Day weekend (US)

Fortunately, my elder Brother was the last person in our family to be conscripted, and there was no need for a long haired layabout like me to take up arms, which was probably best for everyone. In a non war scenario I do not think I would have been a very good soldier. I would have done what I was told, yes. But that's about as far as it would have gone. Conflict.... that's a different matter. I do not think I am ever likely to be a hero, but I think a resignation that what has to be done has to be done would override all else.

Britain being in the thick of it for centuries has meant that so have various members of my family. Even my Mum was a WREN during WW2.

There but for their guts, and tenacity we would live in a very different World now. Something generations further away from the action cannot easily appreciate.

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#6 May 23, 2020 10:14 pm

New Historian
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Re: Remembering my grandfather this Memorial Day weekend (US)

Moving and eloquent testimonial RD: it is indeed inspiring to have inspiring ancestors, who may not have been that hackneyed, devalued word "heroes", but in their own quiet, determined and yes brave actions, they truly lived up to that word. Glad you've got physical evidence of their impacts on their succeeding generations, we really need to document the achievements of those who came before us (as you all know I'm doing - ad nauseam lol!!). We complain about modern life - oh please! Compared to those giants, we've cake-walked through life.

Nuff respect, Sir.

PS what was your highest rank? And your grandfather's? And ...

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#7 May 24, 2020 7:30 am

Slice
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Re: Remembering my grandfather this Memorial Day weekend (US)

WH Man wrote:

A proud family tradition indeed, all the way down through you and your son. I could only hope that today's generation would acquire some historical knowledge of the sacrifices made by millions of others so that we could live in the greatest country on earth. Yes, America is the home of the free, because of the brave! Family traditions like yours!

How on earth can the greatest country on earth have ah racist as their leader?  That prestige is taking ah beating right now.  Yes you were the greatest, before Trump and some Republicans who are taking that racist side.  Maybe you will get back to being great again, but not now.  You are not leading.

One can hope the 65% of American who oppose that Racist, arrogant, ASSHOLE, will speak in November.

If they speak, it will take another five years to be the greatest again.

How can you be the greatest, if you not leading?

Last edited by Slice (May 24, 2020 7:31 am)

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#8 May 24, 2020 7:36 am

Slice
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Re: Remembering my grandfather this Memorial Day weekend (US)

Real Distwalker wrote:

Thank you.  Two of my great grandfathers served in World War I as well.  My great grandfather George is in the middle.  He was 6'4" tall.  That made him a giant in those times.


https://i.postimg.cc/v1s3L1CC/George-Bendschneider0001.jpg

I must talk your folks who helped us immigrants.  Without folks like your grandpupa, there would not be, ah once great America.

Thanks for sharing RD.

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#9 May 24, 2020 8:40 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: Remembering my grandfather this Memorial Day weekend (US)

New Historian wrote:

PS what was your highest rank? And your grandfather's?

My grandfather's rank when he died was Private First Class.  He'd been in three years but it was common that conscripts didn't rise above private rank in World Wars.

I left active duty as a Sergeant (E-5).  When I left the Reserves I was a Sergeant First Class (E-7).

My son left active duty as a Sergeant (E-5).

My great, great, great, great grandfather Heinrich Soedt served in the Prussian Army.  Shortly after he emigrated to the US he joined the Union Army during the Civil War as a Sergeant in the 6th Iowa Cavalry.  By the time he mustered out in 1865, he was a First Lieutenant.  He is the only officer I am aware of in my line.

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