Veteran's Day 2021...gray, cloudy, damp, and cool. it's the kind of day, that in earlier conflicts, might have grounded air support.....

Vets In Many Families

The veterans in my family include my father,  Matthew August Ettl, now deceased, who served in the United States Navy during World War II.  I served three years in the United States Army from 1974 to 1977 and was stationed at Fort Lewis.  My son, Lance Jason Ettl (47), spent five years in the United States Navy on a nuclear submarine that was eventually decommissioned in Washington State.  To be honest, I don't know about any of my aunts, uncles, or cousins' potential military service.

I may have told parts of this story before, if so, forgive me but it's life as I recall it.  As kids, my brother, sister, and I would sneak a peek at the papers on my dad's private shelves in an old office-type cabinet.  There were scrapbooks with old black and white photos of men on a ship in the midst of some kind of crazy shipboard ceremony which I later learned was dedicated to the first-time crossing of the equator.  He had a Japanese sword. There were also pictures of topless native girls (oo-la-la!) and a piece of wood that served as a matt for a sharp jagged piece of metal.

Close Call!!

I remember dad telling me that the metal was ripped from his ship that was out in the Pacific Ocean carrying troops when it was struck by a torpedo fired from a Japanese submarine.  He said he lost some really good friends who were sleeping just one bulkhead away from him.  The ship limped back to Hawaii and was repaired and then as the war was ending the ship served as a minesweeper on its way back to the mainland.

Had the torpedo struck just a few feet from where it did, I wouldn't be writing this today.

Thanks for your service dad, thanks for yours too Lance, and THANKS to all our fellow Veterans and their families!  Happy Veteran's Day everybody!

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