Hi Joey, I have a Veteran’s Day story to share with your readers.
Old photo of Veterans on the Stacy Boulevard is taken from the Gloucester Times.
Anthony Rao has also passed on.
My husband, Robert McKinnon, celebrated his 90th Birthday on Halloween with a
gala party at the Gloucester House.
Submitted by Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon
Going Home- World War II- Robert McKinnon, told to his wife, Virginia
My skipper stated “Bob, if you help me take this LCT (Landing Craft Transport} back to the states, I will have you assigned a rank of Chief Petty Officer.’” I replied “No way, I have my points for discharge and I am going home.” WW2 ended in September 1945, my time was up in February 1946. I was jumping around the Asiatic Pacific from the Philippines, Hawaii, Gilbert and Mariana Islands. I was in the US Navy stationed as a Motor Machinist Mate Second Class on LCTs and LSTs landing troops and supplies for the battles of Saipan and Tarawa. Witnessing many casualties, so many of my shipmates gone, I never believed I would ever be going home. Never to see my family and Gloucester again.
My journey home was uneventful. As I looked around the Navy ship I was aware of the many enlisted men that did not survive the war and would never be going home. I had witnessed thousands of Marines, Navy, Army and Seabees lost in battle.
Arriving in San Francisco, I was informed my formal discharge would take about a week and I would have to wait in the Fargo Building for my disability and pay. Not willing to wait, I took the first train across country. Very little money for my journey home. In the dining car, I soon ran out of money. I would request a cup of hot water adding ketchup and I would look for a few crackers to sustain me.
Arriving in Gloucester, no one was at the depot to greet me. I carried by back pack and walked home. Savoring every step as I looked at my beautiful Gloucester. In my absence my family moved from Washington Square to Western Avenue, just across the street from the Fishermen’s statue. My mother had suffered a stroke. Before I enlisted I remember her singing to me “I did not raise my son to be a solider, I raised him to be my pride and joy.” Her oldest son, my half-brother, Buster” was stationed in Pearl Harbor at the time of the Attack. I, her youngest, was away for four years, more worry than my mother could endure. There was no “welcome home party.” My dad had a job waiting for me at his machine shop, Independent Machine Company, as a diesel machinist, repairing the engines on of the many fishing boats. I was so happy and fortunate to be employed.
All my buddies survived World War II. Our reunions were happy times at Good Harbor Beach and at the YMCA. Just walking the boulevard now had special meaning of comrades together again, survivors of World War II and now part of the greatest generation in the history of our country.