Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Local News

May 15, 2014

WWII veterans share stories with younger veterans

GLASGOW — Saturday is the 65th anniversary of Armed Forces Day, but NHC Healthcare chose to mark the occasion Thursday by treating veterans who live at the facility to cake and ice cream and a visit from active servicemen.

Junior Bray, who works in maintenance at NHC, came up with the idea for the celebration.

“After working here, you get to know a lot of these guys and, of course, they remind you of your own family. There are a lot of stories here that are getting lost and they just need to be heard and told,” he said. “Most everybody is, ... they are proud of what they done, and most everybody is proud for what they did.”

Chauncey Monroe, 89, served in the Navy during World War II.

“I was in the D-Day invasion of Normandy” on June 6, 1944, he said.  

According to the U.S. Department of Defense website, 160,000 allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion. The Allies ultimately succeeded in taking the beach.  

Monroe was stationed aboard an LST, which actually stands for landing ship tank, but that Monroe  jokingly said stands for “long, slow target.”

“The LSTs didn’t go in the first day. The smaller boats went in, but ours was one of the first that landed the next day on June 7. We took Canadian troops in,” he said.

Monroe’s ship, No. 279, also transported the wounded back to England.  

He entered the military May 22, 1943, and was still in the Navy when the war ended. He remembers hearing the news while on ship.

 Monroe was able to leave the military by having enough points to be discharged.

“That’s why I didn’t go to the Pacific,” he said. “My ship went out.”

Monroe will turn 90 in October.

“Our numbers are getting short now from World War II,” he said. “Out of thousands, thousands of servicemen, most of them are like myself now in the nursing home.”

Seated next to Monroe was Jessie Abney, 92, also a World War II veteran. He was at Pearl Harbor in the days following the December 1941 attack and saw quite a bit of action in the Pacific Theater.

When news came that the war was over, he was stationed in the Philippines.

“We were going to take Japan. My division, we were going to be the first to go,” he said.

Listening to Monroe and Abney tell their stories was Pvt. Dalton Tucker, 19, who is with the 1149th Forward Support Company of the Kentucky National Guard in London.

“I’ve never really heard stories like this before,” Tucker said.

His grandfather is a Vietnam veteran, but Tucker said he doesn’t share a lot of stories.

Vietnam veteran Raymond Slaughter, 69, was visiting his brother, Richard, also a Vietnam veteran.

Raymond Slaughter can sum up what it was like to be involved in Vietnam with one word – actually just a sound – of disgust.

“Eeeh,” he said. “That’s about the best thing I can say.”

Raymond Slaughter served in the infantry for the Marine Corps.

 “My last station, of course, was Vietnam,” he said, but he was also stationed in South Carolina and Virginia as well as Scotland and the Mediterranean.

He was in his early 20s when he was drafted, and said he enjoyed getting to travel.

“Actually, most of it I enjoyed,” he said. Although he didn’t like being in Vietnam, he said, “My tour there was not as bad as for some other folks.”  

Sitting with him and his brother was Kentucky National Guardsman Michael Tarpley with the 1-623rd Field Artillery.

“If it hadn’t been for these guys, we wouldn’t be here,” Tarpley said. “We would pretty much have no job. We wouldn’t be around doing the stuff for them.”

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