'Johnson and Johnson Band Aid Kids'
83rd. Chemical Mortar Battalion
One came home and one didn't
Memorial Day 2016 to all who fight or protect our country in any way I thank you. To the ones that this particular day is all about I honor you. You gave your all and we remember on this day.
The photo above hung in the living room of my parents home my entire life. The soldier on the left is my daddy and hero. The soldier on the right was his buddy and I believe daddy said his sergeant. I can't be positive about that it was just in my memories.
I never heard my daddy mention his name, only that he had been right next to him when he was killed in action. Those three words have so much meaning 'Killed in Action', even as a child I knew how important that was and how sad.
He became a member of our family this brave soldier who fought along side of our daddy. He lost his life, sadly. We never met him but he was with us always.
Today I tell what happened to him. Daddy didn't know I heard him talking to some men, but I did. This man whom we had become accustomed to being in our living room, our family was killed in a horrible way.
I'll never forget those words or the look on daddy's face when he said them, "Yeah, this ole boy was right next to me standing on a tank when he got hit! His head was blown off! I'll never forget that."
I don't think he ever did.
Years later when I was researching daddy's unit after he had passed away, I found a man who knew daddy and this man in the photograph. Mr. William Ramsey was his name and he lived in Virginia. Randy and I went to see him twice. He actually knew them and I was thrilled. But he didn't know the friends first name, he just couldn't remember it.
He did tell me this about the soldier and daddy, "They had the same last name and the unit called them 'The Johnson and Johnson Band-Aid Kids'! They were the youngest in that company and that was their nickname". They were close buddies while fighting and I found that to be so sweet.
Mr. Ramsey on the left taken in 1943 in Amalfi, Italy and on the right taken in 1989
I honor you for your service and am grateful you survived to become a living veteran.
Mr. Ramsey himself has now passed away and he was the barber in the unit. Yes he kept their hair in good shape. A fine man and wonderful friend.
There were the stories of a young beautiful girl who would hang around their company. She would beg cigarettes and chocolate from the soldiers. Chocolate bars seemed to be the thing American soldiers had that Europeans loved, young and old alike. She and her mother would take in some of the soldiers and feed them meals. This young lady hurt her chin and the company doctor sewed it up. She has a little scar afterwards and talked about it years later. Do you want to know who she was? I'll just show you a picture here now.
She went on to be an actress, a movie star and her name is Sophia Loren. There was a book out years later called Sophia Loren Living and Loving: Her own Story and you can still find it in several places. I think Amazon has it also.
I was on Facebook this morning and one memory popped up, I actually had forgotten about this one too.
The U. S. Army contacted me and they were doing a documentary on my daddy, Carl D. Johnson and his unit. I just sent some video footage to them they sent me a script and it sounds great! I'm so proud of him.
I don't know how I'd forgotten all about that but with so much going on always I did!
My daddy Carl
I'm so thankful that he survived to become a living veteran and my father!
He and his unit were a secret unit and they fought along some of the very bravest!
They were called the artillery to Darby's Rangers
Heroes one and all!
Mr. Jimmie Wheeler
83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion
My dad's next best friend and partner in mischief!
I say partner in mischief because they were always up to something!
Here they are dressed in some of the finest they found in an abandoned home in France.
This is when they were confronted with their major leader at the time, Patton.
You can read more about this and the man I only met last year in his 90s! here
Today on this Memorial Day I salute those who lost their lives protecting us! I salute the living veterans who gave of their time and lost to some extent in many ways protecting us! I salute those fighting and protecting us now!
We are so blessed and I hope we all realize it. Our nation is in some sort of turmoil and a lot of history is being rewritten. That is a shame and for the generations living now who knew nothing of living during war times you need to put some effort into it to learn to see what your ancestors did for you. They gave you the right to certain freedoms that even now some of our own are trying to take away.
Hold strong you who remember, Hold fast those who know, for our freedoms. We are a nation that has one of the best leaders and that is The Lord God Almighty! He will get us and future generations through everything. There is a peace in knowing that and I wish for all wisdom, peace and love.