WWII Hero Battle of Iwo Jima And Okinawa, My Father-in-Law Died Today

(18) Meditation at the Grafton Peace Pagoda – YouTube Yunsan, the Buddhist nun, survived Hiroshima.

My very beloved father-in-law peacefully fell to sleep at sunrise, age 93 years.  He survived many things: the Great Depression, some of the worst battles of WWII, raising his two sons (we joked about that a lot, he and I) and his beloved wife.  We are all devastated by his death but then, he is one of the last of the WWII vets.  I will miss him greatly.


He was in three planes going down in the Pacific war, one crash, he was the only survivor being in the tail section.  He crawled into caves, he even got some Japanese to surrender to him and gave them help for he was a medic.  He saw many, many things I cannot imagine, like my own beloved father, he had to go into a series of human attempts at creating total hell.


He also was flown into China to help the Chinese and English prisoners of war who were terribly abused, he handed out candy to children in Japan and China and tried to make light of all his activities during WWII.  This is how he survived.


I knew a number of his fellow Americans who all lived nearby and none of these men who were all Army or Marines, could talk about WWII at all because of the trauma.  All of them, without exception, had set up perimeters to memories to protect themselves from the hell they went through, my father did this, too.


I had to do deep research to uncover my father’s traumatic past which was also this thing called ‘history’.  These people were forced to make real history.  They had to make gigantic sacrifices out of nowhere to do this.  Heroes are forced to be heroes.  And it never ceases to amaze me to see ‘ordinary’ people step up and become ‘heroes’ without complaint.


Can we live up to them all?  We can only try our best.  Peace and love to all, Elaine and Chris Supkis.

ᴴᴰ [Documentary] The Battle of Okinawa – YouTubeJapanese TV show about Okinawa.


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8 responses to “WWII Hero Battle of Iwo Jima And Okinawa, My Father-in-Law Died Today

  1. Melponeme_k

    My condolences for your family.

  2. Claudeeyah

    Sorry to hear about your father in law. My step dad would have been his same age. He was a marine and fought in Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. He won two purple hearts. Men of that era who saw action were mostly stoic about it.

    My stepfather had a nervous breakdown in the mid 1980’s. None of us saw it coming. He went through a deep depression after suffering a layoff. It was the first time in his life he was out of a job. And he had vivid memories of the darkest days of the Great Depression. Told us about it many, many times – the grinding poverty, the sense of hopelessness among the American people. Working was what defined him. We all thought he was a rock, but he was obviously trying very hard not to remember the horror of that war and working constantly was one of his defense mechanisms.

    Both you and your husband should feel proud that a member of your family put his life on the line for his country. Men like your father in law and my step dad aren’t being made anymore. The state and condition of our country certainly reflects that sad fact.

  3. JimmyJ

    Sad to hear about your father in law Elaine. It’s amazing and gratifying to hear the life experiences of these WWII vets when they feel safe to talk about it.

    My beloved father in law first encountered action with the Calgary Highlanders at the notorious Battle of the Scheldt. He tells that so many of his compatriots were killed by artillery in that month long battle that he promptly bid out to the scouts (under Sgt Harold A. Marshall) afterwards, figuring he’d have better survival odds lurking ahead of the lines. Since he grew up sneaking around the wilderness forest hunting and trapping in northern BC he excelled and survived the war. He often spoke of the amazing luck of avoiding injury from the various shrapnel that cut his kit webbing (but didn’t tear his clothes underneath!) and scored his wooden rifle stock (a several inch long nick).

    Stewart broke his hip just this week and after surgery is now fighting an infection he may well not survive. He turned 99 this year.

  4. Thank you for sharing with us here! Aren’t they just amazing. The Vietnam War generation has been hard hit, by the way. Instead of coming home heroes, they came home to difficulties too many to number here.

    When I worked at the Free Clinic, they came in for mental health help and it was sad, examining their traumas and at the same time, people were attacking them as ‘war criminals’.

    I always held that only leaders should be punished for these sorts of crimes. Why? Because they had all the power and reaped all the benefits.

    I once knew one of the very few German soldiers who survived the ferocious Battle of Stalingrad and then the miserable Soviet prison camps. He was surprisingly cheerful most of the time, I find that in many survivors.

    My father-in-law was, for the most part, very optimistic and cheerful. If we all look back on people like this, we see that being of that frame of mind is essential to survival.

    I try to laugh about something every day. It is the only way! Keep that chin up and keep fighting, everyone.

  5. That was very dangerous work he did! Snipers could never surrender. They were always killed after being tortured. So anyone doing this was really brave.

    My father, coming from a German family, was able to penetrate deep into Nazi Germany to take in the rocket scientists, etc. All the Germans he met assumed he was there because Hitler sent him!

  6. JimmyJ

    Yes, Scouts is damn dangerous. That’s why I mentioned the Battle of the Scheldt he was in as infantry, where out of his Company of 90 only 3 were left alive afterwards. And how he figured Scouts would be safer than infantry! You rarely hear about the Scheldt, mostly due I imagine to official embarrassment of the 13,000 casualties.

  7. Thank you for the story, I read up about it when you told me. My jaw dropped when I saw the casualty rate for the Scouts. It was Iwo Jima levels of death, I knew one of the four survivors of the first landing on the beach there, back then. A wonderful man. He prayed to god to save him and if so, he would go home, marry his love of his life and never go outside a 20 mile radius.

    I had to visit him, not the reverse for I lived exactly 21 miles away! I was one of the very last people to talk to him. The pain from that time rose to the surface when his time came.

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