Dad in the Navy during WW II

Beckett Gladney

Jim Gladney went into the navy when he was 17; he lied about his age. He was stationed on the USS Kitkun Bay in the Pacific and went through the battle for Leyte Gulf among other actions.

He never talked about it when I was a kid; it was only much later after I got to know him as an adult, after he was diagnosed with cancer, that he talked about it a bit. He hated fireworks, having lived through the real things. He specifically asked not to be cremated since he'd lived through several kamikaze attacks and saw his best friend on the ship incinerated in front of him. At some point in combat he was swept overboard and ended up in the water overnight, using his wet pants to make makeshift floats. The other men who were swept overboard with him were not found; he ended up losing a rib and part of a lung to surgery for pneumonia.

He looks so young and cocky here; I never knew this fellow; the dad I had was frequently in physical pain, unhappy and always stymied in his life. The war changed him, aged him, of course, and he never really recovered.

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