Wednesday, May 20, 2015 – Meet Corporal J. V. McClanahan, World War II Vet

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 – Meet Corporal J. V. McClanahan, World War II Vet

You read about Doc Matthews and Mr. Ray Halliburton in previous posts.  Please meet my veteran, Mr. J. V. McClanahan.  On an Honor Flight each veteran is assigned an escort. I had the honor to escort J.V.

He turned 18 years old in October 1944. He, like all 18 year MEN of the time, was drafted into the United States Army. At the conclusion of basic training, he was sent oversees. His unit joined Patton’s Third Army as the Battle of the Bulge began. On March 2, 1945 J V was taken prisoner and spent the time until VE Day in May 1945 in a German POW camp.

    JV waving from bus (800x530)

When telling some stories, he noted the irony of his capture – Texas Independence Day.

Question “Did you ever try to escape?”

No, a couple of us thought about it and actually marched at the end of the line a couple of times when we were being moved around, but another fellow had tried and was beaten, so we decided not to try.

DRD JV at Pillar (800x530)

Lincoln from WWII (800x530)

The World War II Memorial sits between The Lincoln Memorial and The Washington Monument. The three monuments symbolize Freedom, the Defense of it, and the Price paid for it


DSC_0126 (800x530)Lincoln Memorial Blg (800x530)

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One enters the WWII Memorial through the Pacific pillar because World War II for The United States began there. As I walked through the pillar I had a strange feeling as I looked down at my big NIKON camera around my neck and remembered I drive a Japanese made car.

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Upon entrance – to the right is The Freedom Wall.

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Teacher interviewing him with her IPAD.

Major Gen Richard Stone (800x530)

General Richard Stone, one of many generals who lined up to shake the hands of the veterans.

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Question “Do you ever think about “things” you saw?”

Not much any more, but all of the things you ever heard happened and I did see some of them.  I just remember how cold it was. I will never forget that. On cold days it takes me back to the time. 

After his return he became a plumber. And not just the household variety. He retired as Manager of Plumbing at M.D. Anderson in Houston.

Question – Did that mean you oversaw all of the waste disposal from the hospital?

Yes, I sometimes had to supervise waste disposal from the operating rooms. Not your ordinary flush (laughing).

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Because of his POW status J. V. was one of the first to return to The United States. He returned on the Queen Mary. Upon his return married Thelma, pictured with him here. They still live in Luling, Texas where they help care for their two great-great-grandchildren.

J. V. and I talk on the phone about once a month.  I have not seen he or Thelma in about a year.  Thelma makes a chocolate chip cookie that rivals my Mother’s.  In fact, Thelma makes the best desserts I have ever tasted. I see a trip to Luling in the near future.

In the winter months I don’t think about being cold much anymore.  I have a warm coat and the freedom to wear it wherever I want to because J.V. McClanahan, Ray Halliburton and thousands more like them sacrificed so I could.  Thank you.


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