Sunday, May 24, 2009

Band of Brothers

This photo from the H. Roland and Harriet Dudley Emmett family reunion at our old family home in Providence in 1959 is about the only photo I could find to help me share my appreciation for the many veterans in our family that have served our country. Dad (John W) tried to enlist during WWII as soon as he was old enough. Just after victory in Europe and before the Japanese surrender he was classified as 4F and rejected. Who knew you needed to be able to hear out of both ears? Later, after medical school, he did join the Army and served two years after the Korean War. Here's to Captain John W. Emmett of the U.S. Army!!

Dad's brother and all four of his brothers-in-law served in WWII. A real life 'Band of Brothers'. Three are pictured above in the family reunion picture.
Martin B. Hickman - Private First Class, Army
Married to dad's sister JoAnn
Uncle Martin, aka, Uncle Berk, served in the infantry. During the Battle of the Bulge he wore the same clothes without a bath for 40 straight days. Uncle Dud (Roland Dudley Emmett) - Marines
Served in the South Pacific including Okinawa and occupation of China

Uncle Ralph Dorius - Marines
Married to dad's sister Lucile
Served in the South Pacific

Uncle Clair Nelson - Captain US Army
Married to dad's sister Dorothy

Uncle Jim McMurrin - Naval Reserve and Marines
Married to dad's sister Pat
Served in Saipan as Assistant Battalion Surgeon.
Uncle Jim's son, Jim, adds the following: "Of interest is that my dad told me about being in Tinian, a sister Island of Saipan and seeing the Indianapolis in port when it off-loaded the "Little Boy" atomic bomb. The Enola Gay took off from the Army A.F. base there. After the heavy cruiser Indianapolis left port, it was struck by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine. 883 men died - many from shark attack."
John McMurrin
Also pictured above in the family reunion photo is my cousin John McMurrin. John served in Viet Nam on a helicopter crew. John survived Viet Nam, but sadly, he passed away at a relatively young age from cancer. He is the first person I have memory of seeing in a full dress uniform complete with numerous medals and ribbons. He was tall and very handsome - especially to a 10 year old boy.

John's brother Jim adds the following, "John received the following commendations for valor: The Distinguished Flying Cross, The Bronze Star, The Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters (each represents and additional Air Medal being awarded), Army Commendation Medal with V-device plus two Oak Leaf Clusters. Probably the biggest honor was the DFC. There were very few awarded to helicopter crews, especially for non-pilots at that time. He received it for flying multiple missions into the A Shau Valley in 1967. It was an extremely important and heavily defended area held by the North Vietnamese. He received the Bronze Star for volunteering to land and provide security for a downed helicopter throughout the night then joined a ground unit on a successful assault on the Viet Cong. John didn't really want anyone to talk about his meritorious service. I think it is worth being told however." So do I.
Last year I posted on my grandpa William S. Fife, a WWI veteran who served in France as an ambulance driver in the Army.

Bill Fife, mom's little brother, is a U.S. Navy Veteran and very accomplished on the Bongo Board.
We salute all.


  1. Thanks, Bob. I made sure I stayed in the Army for 2 years plus 1 day to make sure I didn't get called back with those who had 2 years or less active duty but on reflection I liked most of the experience except for being a soldier. The GI bill helped me through my radiology residency and we really enjoyed our two years in New England. It was my brother, brother's-in-law, and nephew who really made sacrifices during WWII and in Viet Nam that got the short end of the stick.

  2. Much thanks to all who served, regardless of where or how.

  3. Bob, My father was also classified 4f, he was deaf in one ear and had asthma. However if you volunteered to be re-tested you received a free train ride to Salt Lake. Upon arrival my father was asked how is asthma was to which he responded, great,(he was taking adrenaline for his asthma), and when asked to place his finger in his good ear and listen for the nurse, he placed his finger just in front of his ear. Once in the war he thought that by letting the medical staff know that he had "become" deaf they would send him home. However, when the doctor pulled a dead fly from his ear my dad was too embarrassed to follow through and remained in France till the end of the war. He would often state, "oh the follies of youth". Melissa