My Dad the U.S. China Marine

My Dad the U.S. China Marine

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Greenwich Patch: A Published Letter Home After the Battle of Okinawa, 1945

I've been maintaining an associated blog site on Greenwich Patch, a news source in my Greenwich, Connecticut home town. 

This morning I posted a piece about a published letter in the October 23 edition of the Greenwich Time, the town's daily newspaper. Click here to read it.

In the letter Dad wrote:

"When I was transferred from the 3rd Amphibious Corps to the First Marine Division, I was changed from radar to radio and I am still in radio. I carried a portable radio on my back in combat. During operations I was with the Fifth Marines, which is an infantry outfit, as a 'forward observer' for the 11th Marines (Artillery). 

"I was on the front lines from April 8 until the fighting ended. The first month we were working with different Army outfits. Boy! I was never so scared in all my life. 

"On an O.P. team there are one officer, two radio men, one scout sergeant and three wire men. Each Battery sends out two teams. Of all our men who were up on the line 50 per cent were killed or wounded so I guess I was just lucky for I had many a close call." 
Dad graduated from Greenwich High School in June, 1943. A few weeks after graduation he enlisted and departed for Parris Island for Marine Corps training. At the time this piece was published he had been in the Pacific Theatre for 19 months. 
Why was the Battle of Okinawa significant? The island could be used as a staging point for a full-scaled invasion of the Japanese home islands. Historians also note that this battle indicated to military planners just how heavy a toll it would be for such an invasion to take place. 

Travel Plans: June 30, 2014 - August 29, 2014 in Connecticut

On Monday evening, June 30, I will be flying from Honolulu to return to Connecticut. 

My plans are to be on the East Coast until August 29. 

This is not a summer holiday. Rather, this is an opportunity for me to learn more about what was happening on the home front during the Second World War. 

Likewise, I am looking for opportunities to speak to individuals, groups and media sources about the My Dad the US China Marine Project. 

If you are a fellow descendant of the post-war China Marines I'd enjoy meeting you!

Friday, June 20, 2014

China Marine Descendants Come Forth: Beth Breeding, daughter of Robert E. Beahrs

While getting my day started here in Honolulu I received this from Beth Breeding, whose father was a post-war China Marine:

My name is Beth Breeding, daughter of Robert E. Beahrs, who was a China Marine from October, 1946 until June of 1947 when he was stationed in Guam.  He was part of the First Engineer Battalion A Company in Peiping.

I was so happy to find your information on Facebook and your blog.  Over a year ago I had begun doing a great deal of research on my dad’s time in the Marines in order to create a scrapbook for him and have found the history very interesting.

I am sorry to hear that you lost your dad a few years ago.  My dad is living in home hospice in Fort WorthTexas.  He is very lucid and was very excited when I showed him your blog.  While he was in a different unit from your dad’s and did not know him he enjoyed the photos that you had posted.

I hope to hear from you in the near future.  Should you be interested I can send you a YouTube link to the scrapbook that I made for him.

Thank you, Beth! Please thank your father for his service. When you send that YouTube link I will certainly feature it here. Semper Fi!

UPDATE: One hour later:

It was great to get such a fast response from you!

This is the link to the YouTube file:  I had made a scrapbook for my dad last year as a Father’s Day present.  It would not have been possible without the help of John Ahigian, my dad’s bunkmate while stationed in China.  Over the years my dad had lost his photos from that time, and after an internet search a few years ago contacted him.  John sent tons of photos – it was great!

I see that you have links on your blog including the National China Marine Association, which John Ahigian is a part of.  Unfortunately due to poor health my dad has never been able to attend any of the reunions.  I believe another one is coming up in the next few months, possibly while you are here on the mainland.  I will look up dates.  I am under the impression that it will be the last one ever scheduled.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Posthumous Happy Father's Day to My Dad, Herbert Bingham Mead, US China Marine

Here is a posthumous Happy Father's Day to my father, pictured here in China, where he often said he enjoyed the happiest days of his life. I am aware that there are those among you also beam with pride the distinction of being a descendant of other US China Marines in the post-World War II era. 

I found the eulogy I delivered from Hawaii. Since I was unable to attend his funeral in our ancestral home, Greenwich, Connecticut USA, and bid a final farewell four years ago I was able to do so digitally:

"My name is Jeffrey Bingham Mead, the only son of Herbert Bingham Mead. Since the sad news of my father’s passing I have received here in Hawaii many heartfelt expressions of condolence and comfort from around the world, including from some of you gathered at Christ Church Greenwich.

"On this first day of Spring we bid farewell to a true gentleman, mentor, friend, soldier, patriot, teacher, grandfather and father as he was and always will be for me and for you.

"On one hand the voice of thanksgiving we hear is a joyful one for the many gifts Dad imparted. Yet our hearts are tinged with the sorrow of separation.

"Gratitude for the life of my father fills my heart with joy because he was a giver of loving-kindness, tender mercies, forbearance and so much more. My father’s actions and his example taught us to celebrate the life we are given with a wellspring of hope, patience, purpose and humility.

"His hands were always busy, and his example came to symbolize his love for family, the demands of integrity, his work ethic, conscience, quiet vision and love of community and country. We may not have known, you and I, that my Dad had a purpose in raising a new generation. How so?

"True love never analyzes. It profusely provides bountiful legacies to those who see the light. There are many of you here today who are not his children –yet in retrospect you are. You have my heartfelt gratitude for the joy and friendship –and the light- you brought to his life. I pray for your comfort in this time of sorrow.

"He never told us how to live graciously. Herbert Bingham Mead lived his example, and now we are called to do the same.

"We are here for such a short time. The most important words that my father spoke to all his children and friends are whispered in a language beyond mortal words now.

"In Dad’s last moments the sun set beyond the mountains of Oahu and into the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. The air was still. The music of my heart moved me to hear the most wonderful divine harmonies. Graceful and joyous sounds crystallized as stars appeared above.

"As day turned into twilight Dad was free. His unseen wings had spread out, and his spirit soared into the heavens. He is home.

"Thanks be to God for sharing the life of Herbert Bingham Mead. Aloha and God bless."