Sunday, January 25, 2009
So long Dad
Another WW2 veteran passed away last week. Not a hero (except to his family), just a Joe who got drafted, served his time and got on with his life. Edward Grant Vogeley born 1912, died 20 January 2009.
As a kid he had a pump .22 so worn that he had to hold it shut when he fired it. A personal triumph as a 10 year old was when his Dad and his friends were shooting at a bottle on a tree stump with a .38 revolver and all missed it. My grandfather handed the revolver to my dad and told him to take a shot. He did and broke the bottle much to the surprise of all there. 86 years later my father still recounted the story with pride.
Drafted in April of 1942 into the AAF and selected to participate in the then secret Norden bombsight program as a technician/repairman. Next to the A bomb and the proximity fuse the Norden was 'the' secret of WW2. He did his time, got promoted to Corporal, and due to his interest in small arms was selected for small arms school where he developed a life long love for the 03 Springfield and the 1911A1 pistol. Along the way he met my Mom, 10 years his junior, at a USO dance. A whirlwind courtship and they were married in 1945. She was the love of his life until her death in 1979. When ground casualties mounted in 1944 my Dad along with other AAF personnel was placed on levy for Europe as infantry replacements. He wore Coke bottle bottom glasses and was blind without them. He recounted to me drawing his combat gear, being issued a Carbine and processing for shipping overseas when he encountered a clerk from his neighborhood from before the war. My Dad's orders for Europe were changed for Langley airfield. That unknown clerk probably saved my father's life. He was domobed in 1946 with a Victory medal, American Campaign medal, and Good Conduct medal. Just a Joe who did his job.
Post war he labored in a job that he didn't like but it paid enough to support 5 kids in a 2-1/2 bedroom house. He helped spark my interest and ultimate dedication to firearms and the shooting sports. Later in life a particular joy for him was visiting me in California and going to the range for a day of shooting. The 03 was always his favorite and he shot it well into his 80s.
Until the end of his life his only concerns were for the well being of his children and for his country. His father died when he was 12. He finished school in the 8th grade, attended a business school and then went on to work to support his mother. No college for him. He wished that he had attended college on the GI bill after the war but he had a wife, a son and a mortgage to feed. He experienced the great flu epidemic, the depression of the 30s, WW2, and the joys and heartaches of raising a family. An extraordinary man who was like so many of his generation: gruff, stoic, a whiz at adaptation and making do, completely dedicated to his family.
Just another veteran like so many others. No band played for him, no parade when he came back. He came home, hung up his uniform and went on with his life. I will miss him so.
Go with God, Dad