This a companion to the book: “Normandy: A Father’s Odyssey, a Son-in-Law’s Curiosity
I have often been asked why I wrote a book about an American warship which wound up at the Battle of Normandy. The real answer is that I don’t know.
I always knew my father-in-law was at the Battle of Normandy. Like most of those who went through such an experience, he did not talk about it much until he was in his later years. I always felt he believed that of all the people close to him, I was the one who could relate best to his experiences because of our shared experiences. One day, he requested I find out what happened to his ship. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I was able to quickly make some initial discoveries. Intrigued, the more I discovered, the more I wanted to know. This became a self-perpetuating cycle and the result was a book.
The result was a fascinating look into a world we have largely forgotten. Most of us understand those times through the distorted view of a Hollywood lens. As a people, we have forgotten that war in all its forms is very ugly and ONLY to be used as a last resort.
My military experience was as a Viet Nam Era Infantry sergeant with most of my time spent patrolling the jungles of Central America. Initially, trying to relate to the World War II U.S. Navy was as alien as relating to a denizen of the far side of the moon. The “tin can” he bounced around in was a naval warship; the “tin can” I bounced around in was my steel helmet. In the navy world, enlisted men focused on their occupation specialty and he mastered his as a radioman, one of a few on board; in my world, everyone was a rifleman. We all focused on the M-16 and other small arms. He learned the workings of his ship; I learned how to quickly move through the jungle and plan our patrols from water source to water source. He came home to a grateful nation. I learned to keep quiet about my military past to prevent retribution. These were different times with different goals, different philosophies, and different languages, not only between the two services, but between the two eras.
The men of that generation are mostly gone now. My father was one of them, as is my father-in-law. Nick Stine may be the last living former crewmember of his ship, the U.S.S. PC 552. We will all meet again someday, compare notes, and understand. This book captures this story of those times before it is lost forever.
I will be sending out comments on the story of the U.S.S. PC 552 once a week and I hope you follow them. I hope to hear back from you.
Dave Cary: Email: USS.PC.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PC552Follow @DavidCary_
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