Topic: A WW2 Story
Replies: 17   Last Post: Apr 25, 2017 12:37 PM by: geech72
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A WW2 Story

Posted: Apr 24, 2017 4:05 PM

This is one of my favorite stories from WW2. It is not a story of a significant event, but it demonstrates how one's mind and memory can sometimes focus on insignificant details to the extent they are ingrained in our memory bank forever. And, adding to the puzzle, it was remembered in exact detail by the other person involved and repeated word for word by his wife 40 years later. Now, for the rest of the story.

Steve Kozak and I were one-half of a group known as "The Fearsome Foursome"., mainly because of our close association. Steve was from Wilmerding, a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA. Being of Polish descent, Steve was known as "Pollock", and in no way considered as a derogatory moniker. When standing side by side, Steve and I looked like the old comic duo of Mutt and Jeff. Steve was 6' - 4" tall and 245 pounds and I was 5' - 9" and 145 pounds. We were in the Signal Corp and our duties did not require us to be on the front lines.

During the Winter of 1944-45, Steve and I were sent on a special mission. Where we were sent and why we were sent is something I can't remember. We joined about 10 - 12 men from other units in a field of snow. We tried to brush away as much snow as we could before erecting our shelter halves. We then began to search for straw, hay or some material to put between the ground and out sleeping bags. Finding nothing, we knew we were in for a cold and miserable night.

Night came along and we climbed into our sleeping bags but it was so cold, sleep was impossible. Someone had found some wood and built a fire, Steve decided he would go to the fire to get warm and to heat some water and make some bullion. Apparently, Steve remained by the fire for a long time and I happened to doze off in spite of the cold. Sometime later, Steve returned to our shelter, shook my feet and asked, "Joe, are you awake"? I can assure you I was not a happy camper and responded, "I am now, you #### Pollock. I could kill you". My response didn't bother Steve at all, he offered me a canteen cup of hot bullion and said, "drink this. It will, at least, warm up your insides".

Our company was disbanded some time after the war was over and both of us sent to another location. In early 1946 I came home and Steve came home about two months later. We remained in touch after the war. I was now married and attending the University of Florida in Gainesville in early 1948 when Steve came by to see me on his way to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I remained in touch with Steve until I was recalled to active duty in September 1950. When I returned from the Korean War, My job required a relocation, at my request, and with a young family, I did not maintain contact with Steve. Steve had not married when I made my last contact.

As time progressed I told my wife and children this story so many times they were becoming bored. My problem wasn't boredom, I was beginning to believe it never happened and this was only a dream my mind had concocted. But those few words, "I am now, you #### Pollock. I could kill you" were so ingrained in my memory, I couldn't shake it.

Now fast forward to January 1986. I had scheduled my retirement for the last working day in February. Most of my time was being spent on completing reports and other responsibilities. We had a contract with the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. I was supervising part of the research and much of the equipment being used in the research was on my inventory. I had to go to Pittsburgh, visually verify each inventory item and effect a transfer.

While sitting in my hotel room one night, I picked up the Pittsburgh telephone directory which included the Wilmerding listings. I found a Steve Kozak and the address looked familiar, so I placed a call. A lady answered and I told her my name and that I had served with a Steve Kozak during WW2."Is this the Steve Kozak I am seeking"? She said, "yes it is and I know exactly who you are. Steve told me so much about you two. Steve had cancer and died in 1979". Steve told me so many stores about you, "Spoon" and "Bali" (Spoon and Bali were the other two members of "The Fearsome Foursome"). But, let me tell you Steve's favorite story. And then she repeated the above story word-for-word. I was sitting in a chair dumbfounded and thinking, "it really was true and not a dream". And now I though I would get another burning question answered. "Did Steve ever tell you where and why we were sent on that mission"? And her response, "he couldn't remember either". She then told other stories Steve had told her, some I remembered and some that I could not recall.

When I arrived back home, the first thing I told my wife, "it wasn't a dream. It really did happen. But I still don't know, and probably will never know, why and where we were sent on that mission".

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Re: A WW2 Story

Posted: Apr 24, 2017 4:20 PM

You are so right about the moments you remember even when you forget the context. I really enjoy your writing style and stories - hope you will share more on tnet

Re: A WW2 Story

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 7:09 AM

What a cool story, brought tears to my eyes. So sorry that Steve died before you got to see him again .

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Re: A WW2 Story

Posted: Apr 24, 2017 4:21 PM

Thank you for your service. There will never be another generation as great as yours.

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Posted: Apr 24, 2017 4:29 PM

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Thanks for sharing Joe!***

Posted: Apr 24, 2017 4:21 PM

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Thanks Joe! That is good for the heart and soul!***

Posted: Apr 24, 2017 4:51 PM

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Re: A WW2 Story

Posted: Apr 24, 2017 5:08 PM

I can't imagine how many stories and experiences you've accumulated over your lifetime

Re: A WW2 Story

Posted: Apr 24, 2017 5:41 PM

Great story, thanks for sharing!



Great story Joe....you are the best! Joe, my sister-in-

Posted: Apr 24, 2017 5:41 PM

law's uncle was the commanding general of Marine aviation in the Pacific for a portion of WW II. He was Gregory "Pappy" Boyington's (Black Sheep Squadron) mentor and commanding officer. When my sister-in-law and brother were cleaning out her father's house recently, they found a large cache of the general's papers from his entire career in the Marines (retired as a Lt. Gen. ***). I was looking through the papers recently and came across a cardboard tube. I emptied out the contents and unrolled a document, the "Instrument of Surrender" of the Japanese on the Wake Atoll ... dated Sept. of 1945 (think that is correct). One copy was in English and the other copy is Japanese, both signed by a Marine General Sanderson and the Japanese commander. I guess they myst have signed a half dozen copies, but am guessing this is a rare item. Very neat.

Thanks again for your incredible service to our great country!

Probably to kill some krauts.***

Posted: Apr 24, 2017 9:53 PM

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There's something in these hills.

Re: A WW2 Story

Posted: Apr 24, 2017 10:44 PM

Enjoy your stories so much. My father was a flight instructor at Frederick AFB, Oklahoma and he had so many great stories of his years during ww2. His special missions most often had to do with flying somewhere to pick up liquor shipments for parties at the officer's club.

Another great story Joe.

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 4:03 AM

Will visit Normandy next week. Never visited there during my tours in Germany. My dad was wounded in Northern Africa during WW II. Only talked of his relationships with buds-never fighting. All the best to you and the rest of Vets! Keep sharing your experiences, please.

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Not sure I enjoy reading anyone's post more than yours.....

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 7:51 AM

thanks for sharing, Joe!

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Re: A WW2 Story

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 8:04 AM

Great story, but for some reason I want to call you "G I Joe". Surely someone hung that name on you at some point in your career? Just kidding. :)

Interesting that you shared stories about WWII with your family. My dad delivered troops via LST-2 "The Deuce" onto Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day. He almost never talked about the war. I can only remember 3-4 things he ever said about it, and they were usually tales of mischief that he did and were funny to hear. He made the stories of being attacked or barely missing getting blown up sound funny somehow. I wish he were still here because I have hundreds of questions to ask now that I have studied WWII.

Keep writing. I enjoyed reading it.

Re: A WW2 Story

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 8:27 AM

Im just trying to add some color when I read this story... does #### mean F-ing, danm, ####-ing, or something else I may not be thinking about?

Thanks again for your service and sharing!!

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Re: A WW2 Story

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 12:08 PM

The word blocked out in my story is the same as the structure that restricts the flow of a river. Maybe it would have passed if I had spelled it "damm". My next story will be about Ernie Tabeling, another "fun" guy.

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Posted: Apr 25, 2017 12:37 PM

You were probably hunting Germans. Sorry couldn't pass up an opportunity to use a nonsensical Tnet cliche in an actual germane context. Also, I enjoyed the story.

Replies: 17  


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