My father was a veteran also. He was drafted into the Navy and served aboard the U.S.S. Mattaponi, an Auxilliary Oiler, as a Pharmacist First Class during the latter stages of W.W. II.
In his telling, his ship docked in Nagasaki a few weeks after the bomb was dropped – though Wikipedia disagrees – and years later he was glad to have not been allowed off the ship. As far as I know he didn't receive any medals for his wartime service, which wouldn't be a surprise given his distance from combat. He didn't talk about his service much and it didn't even occur to me to ask about it until much later in his life. Even then he didn't seem to find the subject interesting and it had been so long that much had been forgotten. From what I gather, the main thing he did was dispense penicillin to sailors returning from shore leave. Which is to say that he saved countless lives and is an unsung hero.
And now it is too late to really probe the question since he passed away in 2003. Today would have been his 90th birthday, a day that always coincided with a day off from school, which was nice. My son had the day off today too. It pains me that they never met.
Sidney kind of looks like him, though, so at least I've got that.
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