Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day

Tribute To My Grandfather
Heinz Muller (I wrote this a while back but, seemed fitting)
My grandfather was my maternal grandmother's second husband,
and therefore of no blood relation to me however, I knew no
other grandfather growing up. Both my biological grandfathers
lived until I reached adulthood but, I saw them not often
because of the distance of where they lived.
Papa Henni, as I knew him had one of the most interesting of
lives, born in Germany and growing up there after WWI in a
small farm village in East Prussia,it was easier to get to
his uncle's fields by cutting through Poland! it even resulted
in him getting shot at by Polish boarder guards a few times.
Because of where and when he grew up he developed a great facility
for language, he grew up speaking German, Polish, Russian, Slovak
and later learned English and Japanese.He in early teens was an
ardent anti-nazi, he told me of putting sand down the gas tanks of
army trucks! He then would put it like this; "I was asked to
politely leave at the business end of a Kar98!Not surprising
given another of his stories where he tells of his village
where half the houses are flying the flag of the Weimar Republic
the other half the nazi flag, his house had the old Imperial
battle flag because his uncle Willy was convinced that the
Kaiser would return! So perhaps it was no shock that My
grandfather would go against the authorities...
In 1936 he came to the states with his father and later
followed by his uncle Willy,He became an American citizen
in 1940 and after Pearl Harbor joined the US Army and went
to Training in Mississippi, where he also taught German to
Officers heading to Europe. He as A German was sent to the
Pacific theater.His first stop was for several months in
Schofield BKS Hi, where he stayed in the same building that
I was assigned to many years later, I Quad. His tails of
training there came home to me many times as I marched over
the same ground that he did many years before me .
He went on to the Pacific theater where in one story he was
watching a PBY being worked on and a naval officer asked him
"Sergeant do you like what you see, my Grandfather replied as
he said (like an idiot) Yes Sir" He was then asked could he
fire a 50 cal Machine -gun he replied "Yes sir , on the ground"
the officer said it shouldn't mater...The next thing he knew
he was in the right bubble manning the 50 cal flying out over
the islands in a PBY. He didn't go too much into detail about
that other than saying he gunned allot of tomato gardens, later
learned that was slang for any Japanese installation.The next
stories he told me involved running into various islanders that
were fluent in German! In the first story he is walking along
this recently occupied island and hears someone singing "Watch On
The Rhine" a very patriotic German song being done in flawless
German, he walks up and finds this little old man cutting
vegetables who as it turned out used to work in the German
governors mansion. In the next story he and another German
American GI are at this elaborate ceremony where the chief is
in the full black top hat and tails but spats and no shoes.
My grandfather speaking in German to his friend said you think
they could have got him some shoes...Then thinking nothing about
it is approached by the same Chief who proceeds in perfect German
to apologias for his lack of proper attire etc...My grandfather
said he felt about 2 inches tall at that point, lol.
The next things he really went into were how he learned Japanese from a Buddhist monk while on occupation duty in Japan. I guess the reason I thought of all these things was I turn 53 tomorrow 11 Jan, and was going back over the many things I learned from this very interesting man, and how it was really him that caused me to make a career in the army.
Sadly Papa Henni passed away just before Germany was reunified and didn't live to see that, I'm sure he would had allot of interesting things to say. The other reason that brought all this to mind was my friend Tim was showing some of his Japanese aircraft models and my mind sort of went back to these thoughts. There are so many other stories that I half remember now and so many other life lessons he taught me, that of all the people I've met in my life he I miss the most.....

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