The Allied invasion of that barren volcanic rock was in full swing by that time. LSMs were struggling back and forth loaded with US Marines in four foot surf. Fresh hands and clear minds were needed at the helms of the landing craft and one sailor was given his orders. A red-headed boy freshly 19yrs old. If he could be said to have a distinguishing feature other than his bright red hair, it was an ample sized nose. More pertinent to the moment he was trained to pilot the floating troop transports that were carrying the sorely needed reinforcements to the beach. He had been held back the day before, D-Day itself, for administrative reasons related to his birthday. Now it was his job to ferry his brothers to the embattled island. His unit had received their instruction in the waters off the Pacific Northwest Coast. They had been tried and tested in some of the worst surf conditions in the world and during the invasion that training told. Red's unit was the only one to not lose a single landing craft to beaching in the dangerous weather.
The invasion wore on and victory was eventually declared, the wounded were tended and the dead were counted. Red and his brothers waited on the island listening to the dire predictions for the invasion of Japan proper. He did not expect to survive. Red walked the graveyard outside of the little island post office and, as many soldiers did, reached out to God. He asked for a chance to go home, to marry the girl he had loved since the third grade, and raise a family with her. Then came the news. The war was over. Life could now go on. When the time came it was Red who turned off the lights and locked the door of the post office for the last time. He went home, married his sweet heart, raised a family, and passed away in due course.
Today we remember Red, and all of those who never had the chance that he did.
Love you Grandpa.