Tag Archives: Greatest Generation

A Good Simple Life

Dateline November 16th, 2016

by Silent Warrior 6

Gone are the days in our country when a former Solider could raise a Family of five on an 80 acre grain and livestock farm, but that’s exactly what Robert (Bob) C. Sullivan did after his service in WWII. Bob was a Soldier, a farmer, a husband, a father, a bus driver for the community school , and my grandfather.

Bob was a common, hardworking, humble man. He never met a stranger and always had a smile on his face. Never in a rush – he always took the time to visit with his neighbors, friends and Family. I’m proud to say that Bob was a member of this Nation’s Greatest Generation, and he provided for his Family in the “Middle” or “Forgotten” rural farming community in the Midwest.

In 1943 Bob left the hills and hollers of Greene County, Indiana answering the Nation’s call to defend the freedom our country enjoys today. He served with honor and courage as an 81mm Mortarman and Infantryman in Company H, 260th Infantry Regiment, 65th Infantry Division. The 65th was heavily involved in combat operations as Allied forces made the final push in Germany toward the end of the war. Bob’s unit spearheaded the attack into Central Europe and Rhineland – successfully defeating German forces. He earned the Combat Infantryman Badge and a Bronze Star for his service before being injured in a Jeep accident on the Autobahn, returning back home in 1946.

Like many Soldiers returning from war, Bob hoped to someday start a Family and live the American dream. Two years later he married and their love endured for 56 years. Their children and grandkids serve as their legacy today.

Bob was an extremely proud father. He placed his Family 1st and always helped out if called upon. He loved his Family, the farm and he loved to driver his school bus. He was a successful farmer and drove the school bus for 45 years. Over 2,000 kids rode Bob’s bus. If you ever had the privilege of riding his bus – I guarantee you received good lessons in discipline and respect. You would be held accountable for your actions but he would earn your respect.

Service in the Army and to our Nation is something unique I shared with my Grandpa Bob. Like many veterans, Grandpa Bob didn’t talk much about the combat he saw, only that he saw “enough (combat)” and further added “I don’t say too much about it, what happened and all that stuff. Some fellows won’t say anything.” Grandpa did share that his outfit joined the front at the Siegfried Line, then crossed the Rhine River into Germany, securing towns while searching house to house. He saw mountains and forest as we went up and down searching. A Jeep accident resulted in Bob being sent back to a hospital in Metz, France and eventually back to Southern Indiana where he lived the American dream- a good simple life.

 

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My Veteran

Dateline November 10th, 2016

by COL(R) Steve Beckman

My Veteran was born in Weir, Mississippi on a winter morning in the late 1920s (There are no “Frosty Morns” in that part of Dixie). He was baptized Ludwig Armstrong Beckman III (LAB), the son of a Presbyterian Minister and grew up in the Great Depression.

In 1945, while attending Jones County Junior College, his Spanish Teacher (and member of the local Draft Board) told LAB, “your number will come up this week for the Army!” LAB promptly caught a bus that afternoon to Jackson to talk to the Navy recruiters. He raised his hand, took the oath and after his Dad drove to Jackson to bring him a change of clothes and his toothbrush, was off to Navy Basic Training.

LAB spent his Navy tour as a radar operator at Argentia, Newfoundland (lots of frosty morns there), and rose to the exalted rank of Petty Officer 3rd Class before mustering out in 1947.

LAB took advantage of the GI Bill and attended Mississippi State University. When the Korean War broke out, he stayed in ROTC and was commissioned an Artillery Officer upon graduation in 1951. While training at Ft. Bliss someone asked, “who wants to be a pilot?” Before long, LAB had earned his wings and found himself flying a L-19 artillery observation plane over the (still very hot) Korean DMZ in 1953.

LAB ignored his Mom’s advice to “fly low and slow,” survived his tour and went to Ft. Sill to learn to fly helicopters (where he also met and married his wife).

After several years of flying in Italy, New York and Alabama, LAB put his Accounting Degree into practice by joining the Finance Corps and in April 1965 he found himself in Saigon, South Vietnam. Two days before he was to fly home in April 1966, the Viet Cong drove a truck bomb into his hotel. He survived, but LAB knows exactly what Iraq and Afghanistan Vets feel about VBIEDs.

After 21 years of service, LTC Beckman retired from Active Duty, but he didn’t stop serving. He spent over twenty-five more years as a 5th grade teacher and serving his church and community in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Along the way, LAB had two sons, one of whom recently retired as an Army Colonel, and he is the grandfather of two Army Captains.

Like so many of his generation, LAB answered the call, served proudly in peacetime and war, and when his military service ended, worked to make his community and nation a better place.

My Veteran, is now really retired and living large in Little Rock, Arkansas. This quiet hero, from the Greatest Generation, has gone by many names and titles, but I’m proud to call him Dad.

Steve Beckman

 

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