My Brother Joe
Joe and Mary Jane
There is a saying that goes something like this, "Jack of all trades and master of none". Joe is the only guy I know that is a Jack of all trades and master of most. Joe probably never knew it, but I always looked up to him. As with John, I am very proud to say that Joe is my brother. I have many fond memories of our early years and will always remember Joe as being very strong in mind and stature. A brother surely worthy of looking up to.
Joe entered the Army when he was fifteen years of age. Our mother tried to get him out of the service, but his commanding officer wrote and told her that Joe was doing just fine. After a few attempts, my mother was finally successful in getting Joe out of the service. She should have left him in there, because he re-enlisted as soon as he turned seventeen. Joe served for three years in Austria, where he was club manager of the officer's club. In cold weather, Joe would knock the large icicles down that would continually accumulate at the edge of the roof of the base church. He then transported the ice to the officer's club, where he diligently chop up the ice and used it for the officer's mixed drinks. The money that had been allocated for the purchase of ice was put to better use as pocket money. That gives you a little idea of his ingenuity. My mother told Joe that she thought his doing such a thing was awful. He smiled and responded by saying, "They were safe -- the ice was blessed. It came from the church".
I almost wrote a book when I summed up some of John's wartime exploits, so I better cut this one short. In a nut shell, I am the youngest of five children and I have certainly been blessed with two of the best sisters and two of the best brothers that a person could possibly ask for. I hope they think that I'm kind of okay too.
Let's go find a bean field somewhere, Joe. You can hunt down snakes, like in the old days, and I can tag along behind. On a very cold night somewhere North of Seoul, in Korea, I received an order to take a position next to a small bridge. I radioed my driver and told him to pull the tank off the MSR (the main supply route). The tank had no sooner left the MSR, when we hit an anti-tank mine. It rocked the tank and the turret filled up with smoke. More then a little shaken, we climbed down from the tank to check the damage. The mine had blown the left front road wheel off and egg shaped, it was laying on the ground, about twenty yards to the side of the tank. The road wheel had gone right up through the track. The track was strung out in front of the tank and the dust shield, jagged and torn, was pointing up toward the night sky. After I checked my underwear, I sat on the ground and thought about home. One of the first things that came into my mind, was following my brother Joe across a sunny field. There are occasions when that thought still comes into my mind and I wish that I could go back in time. I'm proud of you Joe and I'm proud to say you are my brother. I miss you...
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This page was last modified on:
Saturday, August 31, 2002 07:35 PM
By Philip T. DeRiggi
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