November - December 1944
November 16, 1944 - Going Home
The day after the LCI (L) 35 was decommissioned Dad received his orders
to return to the United States. The orders simply stated that:
"The above named man has served overseas for a period of more than
18 months and is entitled to the prescribed rehabilitation leave."
Included in his personnel file were two additional notations made
by Donald A. Lewis, LT (JG), USNR, Commanding Officer. The first pertained
to the Invasion of Normandy and the other authorized Dad to wear a
couple of campaign ribbons.
Regarding the Normandy Invasion, Commanding Officer Lewis wrote:
"The above named man served with distinction
aboard the USS LCI (L) 35 during the invasion of Northern France on
6 June 1944 while that vessel was under heavy enemy artillery fire,
and in the subsequent cross-channel follow up."
Commanding Officer Lewis also indicated that: "The above named man
is hereby authorized to wear the Amphibious Emblem as directed in
Bupers Circular Letter #173-44. He is also authorized to wear the
following campaign ribbons: American Area, European theatre of operations
with four bronze stars"
Dad's Military Record indicated that he was entitled to the following
awards: American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign
Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.
AMERICAN CAMPAIGN MEDAL
MIDDLE EASTERN CAMPAIGN
WORLD WAR II VICTORY MEDAL
GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL
Tom Brokaw in his book, The Greatest Generation quoted directly
from Bill Maudin's "Up Front" and captured what I believe sums up
what the return home for Dad and so many other servicemen meant.
Of these returning servicemen he stated:
They are very different now. Don't let anybody tell you
they aren't...You can't pay in money for what they have done.
They need people telling about them so they will be taken back
into their civilian lives and given a chance to be themselves
There will be some good ones and some bad ones. But the vast majority
of combat men are going to be no problem at all. They are so damned
sick and tired of having their noses rubbed in the stinking war
that their only ambition will be to forget it. They don't need
pity because you don't pity brave men--men who are brave because
they fight while they are scared to death.
From Bill Maudin's Up Front as quoted by Tom Brokaw in The
December 3, 1944 - Arrival in Norfolk, Virginia
Dad finally came back to the "land
of the free and home of the brave" arriving at Norfolk, Virginia
on December 3, 1944. After processing Dad was granted 30 days
leave beginning December 7th. Now for the first time since he
said good-bye to his family in January 1943, he had the chance
to finally go home to Braddock, PA and see them once again. He
also needed to make plans for marrying "Blondie" - the girl he
met at Kennywood Amusement Park while he was on leave from basic
training. Regardless of what happened during the almost 2 years
he was away from home, Dad was sure glad to be back in the USA
and ready to start new adventures in his life including being
a "married man".