The 5 – Honolula
My Father and his Marine Corps buddies, a 60 year timeline, and never forgotten encounters are what follows in a little written capsule I would like to share on this Memorial Day 2009. My father Robert E. Vogel served in WWII as part of the 4th Marine Division, 20th Marines (Engineers), 23rd Marine Regiment, Company ?A? with the tour through the Pacific including Roinamur, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. My Father passed away in 1960 at 36 years of age when I was 10 months old. Though my mother retained many of my father?s records, letters, and photos from the war, there was a time to seek insight from those who may have served with my Dad. On Veteran?s Day 1998 I started the search on the internet for information regarding my Dad?s service. About 5 months later on April 1st, 1999, an amazing thing happened. An email was sitting in my inbox with the subject line ?Your Dad ? My Buddy? with the message beginning with words ?It?s a small world?.? Wow! A message from one of my Dad?s buddies was waiting for me. His name was Roy Strickland and to this day I still have the email in a scrapbook. I soon realized this was definitely no April?s fool and our family is forever grateful of making contact with Roy.
Throughout that summer we exchanged emails and phone calls that all led up to me, my wife and our two young children attending the 52nd 4th Marine Division in Detroit Michigan. We will always remember, walking into the social gathering room and being greeted by Roy and several of his buddies. What a wonderful group of gentlemen!
We would continue on to meet at the 53rd reunion held in Washington DC and since then I have made it a point to send a thank you each Memorial Day and Veteran?s Day to Roy with appreciation for the friendship he and his buddies brought to our family and the honor to our country.
We shared stories, photos, and realities of the moment. I learned in the heat of the moment when my Dad was wounded on Iwo Jima how, first hand from the perspective of those who bring the stretcher bearer, our wounded got help. I learned that my father was always whistling ?Far Above Cayugas Waters?, the alma mater song for Cornell University. I learned how these men lived through the phases of life with family, friendships, and careers. I had the honor of several actually signing by Dad?s original red book. There are many more simple and memorable events. Roy even introduced my wife and I to the Marine Corps Commandant P.X. Kelley who at the time experienced the tragic event of the 1983 bombing of our Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon.
To name a few who we met were Harry ?Cricket? Crickmer, Bob Sosbe, Harry Edwards, John ?Gunner? Link (Platoon Leader), Warren Boo, and Bob McDaniels. Together, they filled a gap in my life with stories and information only they could provide about my Dad. Together, they even took a pretty good photo shoot (see photo, L to R, Rogers, Strickland, Vogel, Crickmer, Phillips) on leave in Honolulu. Some have since passed on since meeting them, but have not passed on from our family?s memory.
Its been 10 years since that April 1st, 1999 email from Roy and it?s just an amazing reflection to think that 40 years on the other side of my Dad?s death, our family united with such a terrific group of men and Americans. Thank you Roy and buddies for the memories, your names are forever an extension to our family?s memoirs of my Dad.
Bob Vogel, son