The Greatest Generation

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In the United States, we have very few memorials and statues if you look at the nation as a whole. I realize that any memorial to sacrifice is considered to be obscene by members of the Democrat Party and their operatives these days as they work hard to either re-write history or to eliminate it completely.

Then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lamented that my generation needed to die (the sooner the better) in order to allow for a more progressive globalist America to emerge. And I’m not even part of the greatest generation…merely a child of that era. But some of it rubbed off.

In my home there are tributes to members of my family who served so that my grandchildren will not forget. They hang on the wall as mute reminders of sacrifices made in the hope that the nation would be preserved and that the blessings of liberty would be enjoyed by their posterity.

YN2 Jack R. Lambert, USN

Thanks, Dad (RIP)


USS Hazelwood DD-531

USS Hazelwood DD531

On April 29, 1945, USS Hazelwood  was on radar picket duty in the waters off Okinawa, when it was attacked three A6M Zero fighters (kamikazes). Two Japanese aircraft were shot down by anti-aircraft fire before the third Zero crashed into the Hazelwood.

The burning fuel of the Japanese aircraft covered most of the ship. 10 officers, including the captain of the ship Commander V.P. Dow, and 67 sailors died. 36 sailors were missing, many of the Hazelwood’s  crew were injured and burned. However, under the command of one of the remaining officers, Lieutenant (JG) Locke, the fires were extinguished, and the list and roll from flooding  was eliminated.

My father was on the USS Hazelwood on that day (a gunner’s mate – he later struck for yeoman) and had the Japanese been more effective, this blog would not exist in 2020. He was thrown from the deck when the kamakazi hit and was picked up by the Colahan (DD-658) which came to assist.

Hazelwood was able to get underway on its own power and on May 05, 1945, the damaged ship reached the American naval base on Ulithi Atoll, where the damaged superstructure was cut away. The photo above was taken from the bridge of USS Melvin (DD-680).

After basic repairs, the USS Hazelwood sailed to San Francisco for more complete repairs.

In the photo above, you will note that they’ve set up a makeshift bridge on the search light platform on the #2 funnel. It gave them a little height to see, and relay instructions to the engine room.

By September,  Hazelwood had rejoined the fleet.

17 thoughts on “The Greatest Generation

  1. I think it’s safe to say that the hard times of the Depression created some hard men, who were then able to tackle the hard chores of war. There was more manual labor back then as well, so sore muscles and sweat were expected. Today we have people of leisure pontificating about things they have little (or no) understanding of.

    1. I heard tales of the depression from my grandparents. And you’re right, it’s difficult to comprehend the troubles that people who lived through that had. It changed them forever, altered the way that they looked at the world. And they emerged from it into World War 2, ready to kick ass.

      1. Maybe the second greatest generation – and maybe even the greatest generation – were the parents that raised the men and women that sacrificed everything to win WW2. Just a thought

    2. Today’s post at Chant du Depart features a Sgt telling the Dr his injured ankle isn’t that bad and he needs to get back into the war. That description concurs with what I have seen of those men of that time. I consider myself quite fortunate to have been raised by that generation. It wasn’t always easy but it was always worth it.

      My maternal grandpa had worked on ore carriers on the Great Lakes. No one needed to tell him which way the wind was blowing; he transferred to the Atlantic fleet just prior to lend-lease being enacted. He lasted out the war.

      As a baby, he was to accompany his mother and aunt on the RMS Lusitania in 1915 to show him to family still in Sweden. Family lore is she had a premonition and decided not to make the crossing at that time.

  2. A piece of history one never heard about. They didn’t consider themselves heroes.
    Thank God for that generation.

    1. No, they were in it for all the right reasons – for the most part. We lost a lot of them in that war but they kept on fighting without complaint, though my father, years later, said that the food on that destroyer, was not the best.

  3. My dad was also at Okinawa at that time as a young officer on a mine sweeper, the YMS-308. I have the brass ID pate from that vessel. While his was never subjected to a kamikazi attack, he did ride out a typhoon on it that completely trashed it. I saw photos of the aftermath but don’t know what happened to them. My father-in-law was also there with the Marines. Greatest generation indeed.

  4. My father was in the CBI, first Army then Army Air Force. Think much of my cynicism comes from him talking about his experiences. Several of his brothers served as did several brother-in-laws.

    Tough bunch. their life during the depression was brutal. WWII was no different. One uncle was a navy gunner on a merchant ship on the Murmansk run.

    Good you honor your father. I’ve done the same with my sons and my grandkids have their father’s example.

    1. The generational example of men who honored their country and weren’t afraid to defend it helped to create the prosperity that this nation has known well after the wars ended because there were people who knew how to work and weren’t afraid to do it.

      That still exists in some quarters, but maybe not enough to keep the ball rolling.

  5. +1 on the above comments. They survived the Great Depression, won WWII, and came home to carry on. They raised their kids (my generation) with those memories in the back of their minds, and the thought of “by God, not my kids”. And so they did, God love ’em. I never went hungry or without shoes. Neither did my kids. Perhaps that is part of the problem today. Dry feet and full bellies for too long.

    I once heard someone ask why it took such a long time for the World War II memorial to be built. I replied that in never occurred to the that generation to build a memorial to themselves.

    I’ve read about USS Hazelwood. Hand salute to your dad.

    1. Our parents were put in positions to fly 25 bombing missions over Germany and survive, while so many of them did not, or to sail in harm’s way or to take a beach, or just to tend to the wounded. None of them wanted it, but they were a generation of patriots who knew that if they didn’t do a job, the whole would fail.

    2. To that generation, work was something that needed to be done – not some fabulous career to get rich and self-fullfilled.
      I think that’s why so many lauded as heroes simply said “I was just doing what needed to be done.”

  6. read somewhere: hard times create hard men, that create easy times, that create weak men, which creates hard times again. looks like we’re in that third cycle phasing into the last. Lord help us.

    1. I think that things will get worse before they get better.

      I’m still waiting for Google to shut down my blog…

  7. Well, take heart. Of this current generation of snotty kids, there are some real gems. One of my nephew is such a young man. He’s got a good head and already has made a reputation of being an a disciplined, exceptional worker. Polite too.

    That coincides with several other youts I have met in recent years. Not all is lost yet. Hopefully, these kids will be able to lead their peers in the right direction. Last year I met three young men who all made Eagle Scout by age 16. As I have not many who make Eagle at that age I consider that an outstanding accomplishment.

  8. Both my parents were ~16 years old when The Great Depression occurred. It had a lasting effect on them, some of which they passed on to me.

    Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without was a mantra at our house, and although my father did very well while I was growing up, we were frugal. I was praised when I built something from “junk”, or found a easier, less expensive way to do something. Learning to repair things and do “Man Things” like fixing a leaky faucet, taking care of the yard, and helping around the house was strongly encouraged, as long as my schoolwork was finished.

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