M14 Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Civilian Non-Combatant
Joined
·
905 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Roy pruit

Back in the late 1980s, I went to an awards banquet with my wife, for a high school where she was a teacher. Other couples at our table had one or the other spouse working at the school. I met the man to my left. He didn't teach there either and we talked. His name was Roy Pruett. Older than I and, I think, an engineer. At that time, I was working at a major Veteran's hospital and had daily contact with vets from every service and every war since 1941. Turns out, Roy had been a Marine during WW-II. Somehow, we got to talking about his experience during the Solomons Campaign.

Along the way I asked what weapons he preferred, Garand, Carbine etc. He told me his unit had been issued the Johnson Rifle and pantomimed how the barrel would come off to make it small enough to jump with . . .he had been in a parachute regiment! And then in the middle of the general conversation teacher shop-talk and eating going on all around us . . . . he went far away and long ago to describe a jungle fire fight at night. Between rushes the Japanese were chanting "Mah-Reen-Too-Night-You-Die!". Backed up to a beach hey were low on ammo. Another charge came with shouting. It was just shooting back at muzzle flashes and grappling inthe dark he said.

At some point, his Johnson gun got something up the barrel. Next shot burst the barrel short in front of the fore end, with the rest hanging by a splinter of metal. "I just banged it against a stump and broke it off leaving a sort of star out front." he had said gesturing with his fingers. "It still shot OK, but who knows where the shots went." And then he was empty and out . . .and there was another lull. I had stopped eating so as not to interrupt this flow of memory.

Roy went ton to te say that an officer had called for a Higgins Boat to come in for their wounded. It showed up, but the Cox'en wouldn't bring it in because he was attracting some fire. Roy said the Lieutenant stripped down and swam out to the boat with a 45 in his teeth . . .and threatened to blow the boat driver's brains out if he didn't bring it in. The boat did come in and the Lt. gave Roy the job of holding the Cox'en at gunpoint. "There I stood looking like a pirate with that deadly looking empty gun!" he said . . . till the wounded were loaded and taken off.

Then desert came with coffee, and it was over. I never got any of that verified in any way or clarified either (as in; "Gee wiz Roy, What happened NEXT?"). I give it credence in my hesrt as I saw his eyes and heard him speak it. I know about "war stories" . I heard them every day at work. This one, as told to me, seemed genuine.

I never saw Roy again. He died a few months later from having lived a long, full life I guess. There were other award dinners, but Roy was gone.

Thanks Roy
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,483 Posts
I've had the pleasure of chatting with many Vets when we do our yearly living history display at Pres. FDRs mansion/library in Hyde Park. You can tell who the BS artists are and who the true "heroes" are. Thanks for sharing this story.
 

·
Civilian Non-Combatant
Joined
·
905 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I heard so many little anacdotes, but most were in the context of patient and care-giver. For that reason, I made no effort then to document these stories or associate tham with a name for legal and ethical reasons.
 
  • Like
Reactions: m1sniper

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,483 Posts
During one display, I chatted with a former WW2 USMC Sgt. His story was cool and validated. He said he was in the 1st landing craft, and was THE 1st Marine to step foot on (IIRC) Saipan. He went on to say that to that day (20 or so years ago when I met him) he could not figure out how he is actually shown in one of the old WW2 documentaries (World at War, or Victory at Sea, I forget now) disembarking from his landing craft.
I suggested maybe UDT photographer?? Or captured Japanese film.
I went on a mission to be sure to watch the episode and sure enough, you see him. "Red" was one of those people that looked almost exactly like he did during WW2.

This story brought a tear to my eyes. Another display. Ole timer comes to my rifle display, staring at the M1 Garand. I take it off the rack, open it, inspect chamber. Start to hand it to him and he "snapped" it out of my hands like doing a proper "inspection arms". Did his own chamber inspection, then slammed the bolt closed. Looked at me with pride in his eyes and said "no M1 thumb".. He was 1st ID, Omaha beach. My Dad was 29th ID Omaha. His wife and grandson standing there. He chatted with me for at least 45 or more minutes. Thanked me for being there, I told him I'm there to thank Him, my Dad and all Vets. They walked away. Few minutes pass, wife comes to me in tears. Tells me she knew he was in the war, but no clue what he did or saw. The stated that she had a "new found respect for this Man she has been with for over 50 years". Then thanked me and gave me a hug. The Grandson got to learn history from "someone who was there". That young man was soaking in everything Grandpa said that day, you could see it in his face.. I believe he will remember it the rest of his life!!
 

·
Civilian Non-Combatant
Joined
·
905 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
A story a bit like that last post:

In the early 2Ks our son was about to deploy as a Marine Lt/Platoon leader with a Light Armored Recon unit . We went to a sporting goods store so I could buy him a personal GPS. Got him a good little hand-held with a walkie-talkie function.

The young man who waited on us recognized our son as active duty by his posture, manner of speaking and haircut . . .and they swapped a story or two. This young man had been 12-15 years in one of the airborne units. He said that at one point, he stood at a display station during a reunion week at his base (Ft. Brag maybe?) to explain their current gear to much older men wearing VFW hats stuck full of pins. He said that he was not fully appreciative or respectful at the time.

In particular, one stopped over old man shuffled up to his display and they talked. The young an said that he had been arrogant and condescending, proudly telling this old vet about his years of service and the large number of jumps he had made (50-70?) including some night drops. He then asked the vet if he had made any jumps. The vet thought a scond or two and said five. The young man chuckled derisively at this small number.

And the old man started to count on his fingers; North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Normandy, Holland and . . .then held out his thumb and said something like ". . and a practice jump in England." I asked the young man what he had said in response. He said he had just come to attention and saluted.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,483 Posts
It is common knowledge that conscientious objectors were looked down upon during WW1 and 2. Many were assigned as medics. My Dad was a medic but in his case, he originally was training in a ranger unit but his eyesight was so bad that he was transferred to the 29th ID medical unit. During one display we had about 50 WW2 vehicles, everything from a WW2 dispatchers bicycle to a Sherman tank. I have a long canvas banner that was hung across Claremont Ave in upper Manhattan welcoming my Dad home at the end of the war. Has a large 29 blue and gray unit insignia and his name on it. I had it stretched between my 1944 CCKW 353 and a Friend's 1943 CCKW 352. A 1st ID vet came asking who belonged to the banner and he was directed to me. He was a .30 cal. machine gunner that landed in the 1st wave on Omaha beach and was wounded shortly after landing. He gave credit to a 29er medic for saving his life and went on to RAVE about the courage and bravery displayed by all medics. He point blank admitted during his training in England he was one of those who looked down on medics assuming they were all conscientious objectors and were trying to "skate their duties".
I was surprised how small this man was and that he was charged with a .30 Browning MG. He explained that it was typical to have the smallest man in the unit be assigned it as they made a smaller target for the Germans to hit.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top