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Thread: OT - We lose another machinist and war vet

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    741

    Default OT - We lose another machinist and war vet

    My brother was a machinist with Mcdonnell Douglas (now Boeing). When he retired he was the most senior machinist in the entire corporation. It was my brother who gave me my first machinist tools. At Mcdonnell they used to raffle off machinist's tool boxes with the family's permission when a machinist who was still employed died. Virtually every member of the machinist union would buy a ticket for a chance to win, but more importantly to raise money for the family of the deceased. Long story short - he won a box (Gerstner with tools) and gave it to me. I was 15 at the time and just beginning tech school. He just walked in and presented it to me and it blew me away.

    He will be buried on Monday. He was a Korean war Vet with the 38th Army infantry. I had to wait 30 years to hear his war experiences because they were too traumatic for him to tell before. A letter will be read at his funeral. No living member of our family has ever seen the contents of this letter but me. It is the letter my brother insisted the priest/chaplain write to our mother from the M.A.S.H. unit he was taken to immediately after he was shot. Despite the extreme pain and trauma he was experiencing and the sounds of war all around him his first thoughts were of our mother and the anguish this would cause her; also, to reassure her that he had not been killed. While struggling to fight off the morphine induced haze he insisted that the priest not even say he was shot, only that "he hurt himself on one of those steep Korean hills". My brother once told me that it was of extreme importance to him that this letter (from a priest so she could trust it) would reach Mom before the official Army notification did. He was tough as nails and a hell of a guy!

    It is ironic that it took the onset of that terrible affliction we know as dementia, many years later, to assuage his memories of that awful period of his life. Dementia, like a comforting angel, enfolded him in the first peace he had known since he was 20 years old. I find some consolation as I envision him now in my mind's eye swinging his arms and pretending to lead a live big band from his wheelchair at the VA nursing home at Christmas time where he spent the last few years of his life, with a broad smile on his face, and finally at peace.

    /

  2. #2
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    Condolences to you and your family DATo.

  3. #3
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    Deepest sympathies.

  4. #4
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    He was blessed to have such a loving little brother as you are.
    Please accept my condolences.

  5. #5
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    A significant life, well lived. I salute him, praise him and commend him for his service to country, commitment to his profession, compassion for his mother and dedication to his little brother - who was influenced enough to tell his story.
    Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
    ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

  6. #6
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    Aug 2010
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    Rest in peace soldier, your tour has ended, well done.
    olcop

  7. #7
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    +1 with Weston and olcop. I could not have said it better.
    Definition: Racecar - a device that turns money into noise.

  8. #8
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    May 2011
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    Many thanks to all of you for your kind words. It means a lot, it really does.

    Me and my brother ... long, long ago. You might notice that he is putting his weight on his right leg. He still carried (and did till the day he died) the bullet which shattered his pelvis in his left hip. The doctor's felt they ran the risk of paralyzing him if they tried to remove it.
    Last edited by DATo; 08-10-2017 at 12:38 PM.

  9. #9
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    Thank you DATo for sharing your brothers story. My father served in the Korean war and it was only toward the end of his life that he was able to share any of his wartime experiences. May your brother rest in peace and God bless you.

    Tim

  10. #10
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    Jun 2003
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    Golden CO
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    Thanks for sharing DATo, nice story our thoughts are with you.

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