I am thinking of my dad tonight, the 69th anniversary of the D Day invasion. That was the event that turned the tide of war and defeated the Nazis. My dad always wanted to be a soldier. .He was a football star at Newport News High School in VA. He entered the army at the tender age of just barely 17, so that he could serve his country. He got a special waiver. His mother had to sign off for him to go in early. Dad was eventually awarded a Silver Star for his heroic efforts. He never talked about the scary stuff of war. He was proud that he'd been part of the elite paratroopers who'd been dropped behind the lines the night before D Day. When I was a little girl he'd show me his clicker that they'd used to find each other, in the dark. He talked about warming up a can of corned beef hash on the side of a tank, and how it was the best thing he'd ever eaten. He had a love of canned corned beef hash until he died.
Canned corned beef hash remains one of my secret favorites to this day.
Sometimes, he'd say that he'd never go camping again. He'd laugh and mention that he'd done it once, and it was called World War II.
He was a hero and a gentleman. It's taken me most of my life to realize that.
After WWII L.A., as his family called him, came home with his Silver Star in a body cast -- and stayed in it for 18 months after being shot numerous times -- and later went to OCS. Above is a picture of him, sometime in the 50's, as a young officer, in Paris, when he was in the Transportation Corps. I was born in Paris, where he served for several years. He and my mom posted to Paris right after they were married. He served under Gen. Eisenhower.and was very proud of that. He's the 2nd from the left, the other men that are not in uniforms are "Free French" resistance fighters.
My dad remained in the Army for most of his life. He ended up with degrees for a Master of Transportation Management and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from William and Mary as well as a very early Associate Degree from Stanford in Computer Programming. He served in 3 wartime theaters, WWII, the Korean Conflict and Viet Nam. His medals included the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, several Purple Hearts and many, many more. He was honored to have come up through the ranks, and that he had gotten an infantry pin, which only an enlisted man can get (I hope I am remembering that story correctly!).
Here he is, getting a medal around 1960.
Col. L.A. Tyree