The Showers

Unfortunately, I do not remember which island this story occurred on.

Smitty did not write home about his experience with the showers. .. BUT,

He was coming back into camp after having a nice cold shower.  He walked back with a towel wrapped around his middle and held it closed with his left hand.  The jungle appeared quiet except for the buzzing of the insects whizzing around him.  [The New Guinea “salute” is said to actually be the act of swatting the insects!)

He said, “You know how annoying just one mosquito can be when it’s hovering by your ears.  This was like a swarm and I tried like hell to use my right hand to swat them away from my face.  When I began to approach our tents there was not one man to be seen and I couldn’t imagine where they all went.  As I got closer I could hear the G.I.s yelling and they were waving their arms as they crouched in their tents, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying.  Besides, I was too preoccupied with swatting the bugs that seemed the size of half-dollars. 

“When I got back to my tent complaining about how aggravating the bugs on the island were, I asked them what all the hooting and hollering was all about.  All they kept doing was checking my skin and asking if I was alright. 

Somebody yelled, ‘Those were no jungle bugs — that’s shrapnel!’  When they discovered that I had been hit, someone happily said that I could put in for a Purple Heart.”

Sea Bees’ showers in the Pacific

After a good laugh between Dad and I, I asked if he ever put in for the medal.  He laughed again and said that he was too embarrassed.  “For one thing I felt stupid for not realizing what was going on and second, I didn’t want to be grouped into being one of those guys that put in for a Purple Heart every time they nicked themselves shaving.  It would be like taking something away from the men who actually did get wounded and deserved the medal.”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

Sad Sack Shower

Sad Sack

The funnier side of Army life – Pride in one’s work!

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Farewell Salutes – 

John G. Bock Jr. – Lincoln, NE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 2nd Class # 3167160, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Martin Gelb (101) – Brooklyn, NY; US Army / OSS, WWII, ETO

Final Mission

Carl H. Graham – Hackensack, NJ; US Navy, Korea, USS Boyd & Yarnall

George Grater – Hoboken, NJ; US Army, Korea, 1st Lt.

Charles E. Hiltibran – Cable, OH; US Army, Korea, Cpl., 1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Thomas A. Lipscomb Jr. – New Orleans, LA; US Army, Korea

George J. Palermo – Chestnut Hill, PA; US Air Force, Korea, Cryptographer

George Psihas – Detroit, MI; US Army, West Point Class of ’51, Korea, M1 Abrams Tank trailblazer

Donald Rumsfeld – Winnetka, IL; US Navy, pilot  /  Congressman, NATO, White House Chief of Staff, Sec. of Defense

George R. Russum – Lake Worth, FL; US Navy, USS Forrestal

Calvin Shepherd – Inkster, MI; USMC, WWII, PTO, Montford Point Marines

Francis W. Wiemerslage – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Sgt. # 16146369, B-17 ball turret gunner, 549/385/8th Air Force, KIA (Dresden, GER)

*************

From the US Navy helicopter crash off Mexico

James P. Buriak – Salem, VA; US Navy, Helicopter crewman 2nd Class

Sarah F. Burns – Severna Park, MD; US Navy, Corpsman 2nd Class

Bradley A. Foster – Oakhurst, CA; US Navy, pilot, Lt.

Paul R. Fridley – Annandale, VA; US Navy, pilot, Lt.

Bailey J. Tucker – St. Louis, MO; US Navy, Corpsman 3rd Class

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DON’T KNOW HOW I MISSED THIS DRAWING OF SMITTY’S FOR LAST WEEK’S POST

( I’M CLAIMING A SENIOR MOMENT…)

Latrines, by Smitty, (Everett Smith)

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About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on September 6, 2021, in First-hand Accounts, SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 120 Comments.

  1. Oh my goodness. That’s told in such a funny way. He was modest though — he could have been badly hurt. Thanks for sharing this, GP. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So funny! And way to go to your dad for not putting in for the Purple Heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. He was really lucky. (The bugs there must have been horrific.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. WOW! Shrapnel or Bugs? Not like you’d get a choice, but I think I’d take the bugs
    No Purple heart for that though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I bet the mosquitoes and bugs were pretty scary too. Purple Heart worthy. GP, if you get a chance to see my Throwback Thursday post from today, September 9, I have a photo of my Dad’s handmade flag/banner from the Philippines. It’s pretty cool. All the guys signed their names, and I can still make out most of them. I thought you’d appreciate the artistry. 🇺🇸

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, my. So glad he survived.
    Reading your blog causes me to think of my Dad. Hubby, too, of course, but he’s still here whereas Dad isn’t.
    Dad would have loved the story. It would have brought back many memories for him, I’m sure.
    Thanks for posting today’s story and all the others you post.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. So that’s how shrapnel feels like. Buzzing mosquitoes. I can imagine!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This is raw contented, loved it fully 😍🔥👍

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This really is a great story. Either one is bad, but a combination of mosquitos and shrapnel? No, thank you. Well, unless some of the shrapnel was taking out moquitoes!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I can see why he didn’t write a letter about this one! I don’t think your grandmother would have found it very funny! Glad he was okay.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Amy. Yes, grandma was about 5′ tall, but she sure would have given him an earful! (She was sweet as could be, but I used to say that ‘dynamite comes in small packages too.’)

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I can’t imagine how much of a shock that must have been! Thank goodness he wasn’t seriously hurt.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Henry always wants to tell me the story before I have read it. I managed to make him keep it all as a secret while I read the story. Then afterwards, we both had a good laugh, and the cartoon about the cleaner of the bathroom mess shows a universal truth

    Liked by 2 people

  13. ♥️😊♥️😊

    Liked by 2 people

  14. “Those were no jungle bugs — that’s shrapnel!”
    He was lucky to have walked through that without getting severely injured! Did he miss an air raid siren or something?

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Sgt. Baker was speaking for the soldiers in the same vein as Bill Mauldin. Rank may have its priveliges, but sometimes it’s just plain “Rank”. (as adjective)

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Great story with humour 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I’m trying to figure out how the mistaken identity could have happened. Perhaps it was a matter of distance from the explosion. It’s mind-boggling.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Military every where has the sad side and the fun side at the same time. I read it with joy… May the souls of good men rest in peace

    Liked by 2 people

  19. How fortunate that his trip from the shower turned out okay. That was a close call. Even though he was in danger, it speaks so highly of him not to have put in for the Purple Heart. What a wonderful dad!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. That was a close shave! It is great your dad was able to share these stories with you. Happy Labor Day!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. That’s some story! My dad would have gotten a big kick out of it, as he also served in New Guinea.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Heel leuk verhaal.Denk dat de humor van je vader de oorlog draagbaar maakte .Als ik denk aan grote insecten brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ik weet dat hij zijn collega’s soms de brieven liet lezen voordat hij ze opstuurde, dus hopelijk maakte zijn humor de oorlog ook voor anderen draaglijk.
      Ik ben het zeker met je eens over de insecten! !

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Cleaning latrines reminded me of doing just that while deployed in Pakistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. Every tent took their turn with the joyous duty… including our collection of field grade officers, including 5 of the 6 highest ranking personnel. (Command, of course, had its own privileges!)

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Great story, GP. Mosquitoes in the tropic are big and nasty compared to what we have here. They love my skin, both here and there!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Initially I thought that I would have put in for the Purple Heart under these circumstances, but given the fact that joynealkidney has pointed out that the same medal was given to the people who were killed in action, I would have do do an about turn on that idea. Your Dad was absolutely 100% right in what he said and did. Or rather, didn’t do.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Great story, GP. Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Oh my! Thank goodness he was alright!

    Liked by 2 people

  28. That’s a good story, GP. Pretty funny.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. I love your father’s humor, and greatly respect his integrity. (Though I believe he deserved the medal! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Swatting shrapnel away! Some man!

    Liked by 2 people

  31. If you can mistake shrapnel for insects, they must be fearsome insects!

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Great story, GP. I can even picture that happening.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. That’s a funny story (in retrospect). The conditions these guys lived in are so hard to imagine. When you saw shower or latrine, it’s hard not to picture modern versions. Then to see the drawings and images – it kinda snaps my head back. My father had described these to us, but I’m not sure we ever really understood. I enjoyed the images today. Thanks for including the one from last week.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for coming by, Dan. Always like hearing about your Dad too. I don’t think I ever realized what it took to have the simple pleasures in life for them until I got older.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Heck of a story GP. Glad Smitty was fortunate on his obliviousness. I like his approach to Purple Hearts
    Reminds me of a verse from Mademoiselle from Armentiers.
    The general got a purple heart, he tore his pants on a laundry cart. Inky dinky parlez Vous.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. The Purple Heart is also the only medal given for those Killed in Action.

    Liked by 4 people

  36. What an adventure. Yes, humour and nobility at once. Your dad’s letters would be wonderful for a movie. Thanks for sharing again, G. P.! I hope in your area of FL the virus has timed out. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 3 people

  37. As I was reading this GP I was thinking about a letter my Grandfather wrote complaining about the rats on Peleliu. They were in the showers “Kicking them out like footballs!” He said some were as big as full grown cats and twice as mean!

    Liked by 4 people

  38. Humour and nobility in one

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Glad he could laugh about it!

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Thank you for sharing this story!

    Liked by 1 person

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