In past years, Iâ€™ve done this for Memorial Day. Not so this year, although the sentiment is the same.
First off, since I know how to post music now Iâ€™d like to present the United States Marine Band playing Taps, in memory of those who have given their lives in the line of duty.
This last go around of my birthday, my mother presented me with a collection of things my grandmother had collected during my grandfatherâ€™s time in the Navy during WWII. Things I had never seen before. She decorated a little storage box that included a bunch of mementos of his travels and made up a great looking three-ring binder with photos.
It is some of those items and photos I would like to share with you all today. If the pic has a blue ring around it, it expands by clicking on it.
My grandfather, Chandler Hendrickson, served aboard the USS Admiral W.S. Benson (AP 120), a troop transporter and supply ship, commanded by Captain Francis H. Gardner.
It traveled over 126,000 miles during his time aboard.
Here are a couple more scanned photos of him and his shipmates.
Left photo: He is second from the right
Right Photo: He is third from the right in the leather jacket
From what I have been able to piece together of the shipâ€™s travels, he and some of his shipmates were sent to Adak, Alaska in 1943 to serve in a coastal defense role and that is where his journey aboard the USS Benson started.
The guys on a day out digging foxholes and gun pits. Back row, third from the left.
Second from the left, crewing an artillery piece.
From there, the ship spent most of its time in the Pacific Theater shipping men and material to where they were needed. Having all those USMC and Army fellas aboard, the Captain had to keep folks busy so as to make order easier to keep.
In the collection are a few pictures of onboard activites such as boxing matches, tug-o-war games between units and of course shipboard maintenance. Heck, Iâ€™ve got photos of them getting mail and that in and of itself looked to be a major ordeal.
Here is a photo of a pie eating contest. I donâ€™t know what the winner got except maybe the first hit of Dramamine if the waters got rough later on that day.
It is said that there are no atheists in foxholes. I doubt that there are many on the open ocean either.
With all that travel, my grandfather was inducted into the Ancient and Sacred Order of the Golden Dragons
For those who donâ€™t know what this is, click here for some background.
Here is one of a few photos I have of the hazing ritual that surrounds being inducted
One of the places that the ship ported at multiple times was Bombay, India
Another was the Philipines. Here is a pic of the Legislative building after a goodly number of American shells and bombs were visited upon it.
The USS Benson unloading
And last, but not least, the remaining Japanese troops in Manila, surrendering
I will be posting more of these photos in the future.
Please make sure that you do take some time today and remember the people both in our nationâ€™s past, and especially our present, who sacrifice for what we have today.