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Watching "Band of Brothers" with WWII Vets...

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by DarrylS, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    A good friend, Joe is 90, and during WWII he was in the 101st and got 5 bronze and 1 silver star. Recently he was hospitalized in the VA and went to go see him, talked about war and stuff and he told me he never saw Band of Brothers. Went to the trusty library and took it out.

    During the first two episodes, we were joined by Earl age 91, who was in the artillery in Europe. And Jerry age 90 who was in the Pacific Theater.. he got shot down at least once and landed on Carriers something like 200 times, he was a gunner in a bomber.

    When Joe got home, arranged to watch it with him and his friends. It was a once in a lifetime experience, as Joe and Earl never talk about Europe all that much. They initially ranted and raved about how unfair it was for a poor grunt, and how the "special sons and rich kids" of the time got the easy duty. There was not a lot of conversation, but we made it through the first to episodes that had to do with Basic Training and D-Day. I left the video with Joe, but he could not make it past the 5th episode. He always speaks of the Battle of Bastogne was especially horrific.

    Some things that I learned were that while the movies and history always portray the Germans as being particularly savage, the US troops were just as bad as Earl nodded his head in agreement. They spoke of not changing clothes for months, and when they did trailer trucks would roll in and they would shower and get "deloused". How hungry they always were, and when Band of Brothers showed how they were eating was really off base.

    Joe left the service as a PFC, he was promoted a couple of times, but every time he did he would get drunk and punch an officer and got bumped back.

    In previous conversations Joe has told me with a tear in his eye, liberating Dachau was horrific and his anger really rises as when they approached Berlin, they had to let the Russians roll in before them and do what they did.

    Sometimes history is in words and pictures, but often it is handed down best by those who were there. I would not approach any WWII vet with this, but as I know Joe well felt comfortable as we have discussed WWII many times, when he feels like it.

    My father was in WWII, and he was in DDay +1, but he would always talk in military jargon and anacronyms and never really understood what he did until I went to the D-Day museum in NOLA. He never talked about it all that much.

    Very good if not great day..
     
  2. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Boy You got me thinking Darryll, I lost 10 of my street corner friends in WWII, 8 in Europe, 1 on Iwo Jima, 1 lost at sea, I missed the whole war by a freak accident, I was delivering Ice & Oil in Cambridge with a Horse & Wagon, I was putting a feed bag on the horses head and he stepped on on the arch of my right foot and stayed there for about 2 minutes, everything in my foot was crushed, later when I went to join the Navy they wanted me to hop using just my right leg, I couldn't that was that.

    Everything you have just written sounds exactly like my friends that did come home right down to some of the bad sh!t we did....
     
  3. Patriot_in_NY

    Patriot_in_NY Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    It's a great series. I'm currently in the middle of watching "The Pacific", which is the counter-series that HBO is putting out about the Pacific War. The series isn't quite as good, but more compelling for me personally (for personal reasons).

    Great stuff, your lucky to get to experience those show with guys who actually lived it.
     
  4. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Pacific is ok, but for some reason is not a familiar, that was a war of annihilation for both sides..
     
  5. efin98

    efin98 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    If you can, can you get his perspective on the last two episodes particularly about the race to the "Eagle's Nest"...there was a great deal of controversy over who made it there first(101st Airborne Division or the 3rd Infantry Division) and whether the author of the book and the director and writers of the movie got it right and that perspective would be something worth hearing firsthand.
     
  6. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    He did not watch the last couple of episodes as he found some of it too intense, and unfortunately he is back in the VA again.. so not sure if I will ever find out. Interesting question though. He mentioned the end of the war, and his involvement with the liberation of Dachau and his rage over waiting for the Russians to roll into Berlin, while they watched.

    I will ask him though.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
  7. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Hall of Fame Poster

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    #18 Jersey

    Thank you for sharing this Darryl. I love talking to elders. Especially those who fought in WWII. My uncle served in the navy in the north Atlantic in that awful war. He would talk openly about it all the time with me before he passed away a few years ago.

    Those guys never talked about PTSS, but they had it, believe me. My uncle was never really able to assimilate back into society for the remainder of his life. I used to feel saddened by that, but now I think it was just the best he could do.


     
  8. Leave No Doubt

    Leave No Doubt PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If you get the opportunity darryl, please thank them for their service!

    I loved the BofB series but I'm not getting the same vibes from The Pacific series though admittedly I haven't seen all of them. I'm not sure if it's because of the casting or what, maybe when they run all the shows back-to-back they'll have more impact? Interesting. Or maybe part of it has to do with the fact BofB is a tough act to follow film-wise?
     
  9. efin98

    efin98 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    This I believe took place after all that...just hearing the story itself is worth the time.
     
  10. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I am thinking, for me anyways, is lack of familiarity.. I grew amongst a ton of WWII vets(in Newport RI, a haven for military retirees) all of whom served in Europe.. also do not think the historical perspective I learned in school favored this part of the war..
     
  11. efin98

    efin98 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    It's more of a set of battles than a continuous campaign that you saw in Europe...Guadalcanal, Coral Sea, Midway, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Tarawa, Leyte Gulf, Marianas Turkey Shoot, Okinawa, Iwo Jima...list goes on and on of places and individual battles over a few days/weeks.

    Compare that with the almost continuous fighting going on over months and years in places like Italy, France, and North Africa over in Europe.


    Not that the danger wasn't different, just a different war altogether that can't be summed up as well as Europe was...
     
  12. rodentstew

    rodentstew Rookie

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    I'm in complete awe of people who go through combat and return. It seems impossible not to be changed irrevocably.

    My wife's father was a sniper in Vietnam. When he watched Saving Private Ryan he yelled at the TV... disgusted by certain scenes, like they were real. It was real to him, evn being a different conflict. There are no words to describe the debt we owe to everyone who has ever served.

    I am repulsed by people who treat war like a game - in particular politicians who engage in wars of choice rather than necessity, playing politics with other people's lives, with other people's families (who have to pick up the pieces from all the damage caused to those who survive but have been changed).

    I think experiences like the one you described are as important as it gets - to keep war from becoming detached, from having it become a video game, or just another story on tv. It's brutal. We owe the men you speak of everything.

    Thanks for sharing this.
     
  13. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Joe was in the VA for some lingering problems, finally got to see him today.. he told me that after Berlin he was pretty much shipped home as he has been in the Army from the start.. guess that is how they worked it.. had no knowledge of the "Eagle's Nest".. did not even know what it was...
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
  14. efin98

    efin98 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    That clears it up, tell him thank you for the narrative. Being in that long he deserved a quick trip home :cool:

    Here's the place I was referring to, it was part of the 10th episode: Kehlsteinhaus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia It mentions a little bit of the claims to being there first...
     
  15. chicowalker

    chicowalker Pro Bowl Player

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    I've been watching The Pacific, too, and while I agree it's not as compelling as Band of Brothers (which I loved), I think that's due to the narrative, which probably reflects differences in those areas of the war. In Band, you saw a company go through boot camp, then preparations for the attack and then fighting. It is understandable and you make a connection with the characters.

    The Pacific doesn't have that luxury, and I think it reflects the way itcwas fought, from the little I know about it. I still think it has been very good so far.
     

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