Another one of the Greatest Generation gone


October 16, 2006, 04:09 PM
He was born at home in a farm house of rural Indiana, along the tow (mule) path of the old Wabash and Erie canal. His Father was a World War I vet turned tenant farmer. He grew up a farm boy, oldest of six. This was back when horses were as common as tractors for farm work. Where thrashing machines were few and neighbor helped neighbor. He went eleven years to the same township school until his father bought his own farm in 1940. He was up rooted his senior year of high school and moved to the south side of the mighty Wabash river. He graduated high school in 1941 and set out to be farmer. World War II changed his plans.

During the year of 1942 he longed to join up. He wanted to be a Naval Aviator. He'd told his dad he would hold off enlisting until the crops were in that year. The winter of 42 was bad and it wasn't until February of 43 until all the crops were in. By then he had received his draft notice and was selected to join the army. He couldn't get it changed and reluctantly went to Fort Benjamin Harrison. One day while in formation at Fort Harrison they handed out assignments, he was selected to go to the Army Air Force. He had a chance to be a pilot, but years of driving tractors and a genetic hearing problem left him ineligible for any job where he had to use a radio. That meant no flight school.

He's first choice for training was aircraft mechanic, so they sent him to armament school. While there he was trained to strip and reassemble a .50 cal machinegun blind folded. Into his seventies he still said he could probably do that. One of the odd armament he worked on was the T9 37mm cannon that shot through the prop hub of the Bell P-39.

The war in Europe was raging and the US were flying daylight bombing raids taking heavy loses. Men were needed to crew the bombers and he soon found himself in Gunnery School. They started with shotguns, shooting trap trying to teach lead. They moved up to mock aircraft gun turrets shooting at large targets mounted to a Jeep guided by a track. They would take to the air and shot at target gliders pulled by other aircraft. He was placed with a crew on a B-24 Liberator and sent to make them a team. This is where he ran into problems. He became airsick. He could handle the short flights, but the long training flights took their toll. He more than once had to hose the plane out after getting back. He tried motion sickness pills, but it left him to droggy. That would have been a liability to his crew. He lost his flight status from being to air sick to fly.

He went back to working the flight line as an armorer. He went to yet a another school, Flexible turret and found himself sent to Edwards AFB and working the flight line there. Lead crews of the 20th AF headed to the Pacific were his primary customers. They were there for extra training before heading towards Japan. As he was about to follow them overseas he came in with enough points not to have to go. He found himself at Dover AFB, an aircraft armorer at an air base that had only transport planes. He was a man with out a job. He at times found himself watching over German POWs in the motor pool and even working the switch board of all things.

He was honorably discharged in 1946 and turned home to farm once again. He used his GI Bill only to take classes he thought useful to farming. He later married and had children. He lived a simple live he didn't seek out fame or fortune nor did he find it. He wanted to farm and farm he did. From where he lived he had farmed at one time or another all the land, less one field, for as far as the eye could see. Even after "retiring" he still hobby farmed with a six row planter. He custom baled into his late seventies. He had a bad heart, genetic, that done him in, but it was years of hard work that let his last year be one of the roughest. His back was bad. Years of riding old tractors over broken ground and wrestling livestock had taken it's toll.

In his life he had been called many things Son, Brother, Friend, Nephew, Airman, Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, Uncle, Husband, I simply called him Dad.

Ray E. Garrison
May 17, 1923 - October 7, 2006

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October 16, 2006, 04:18 PM
Sorry to hear of your loss. Sounds like he was a wonderful person. Be thankful he had a long life. My dad is dying of cancer at 70 and will be lucky to last just a few more days. I remember the times out hunting and shooting with him. My prayers are with you and your Family

October 16, 2006, 04:43 PM
That is beautifully written. It sounds like you had a great dad. I'm sorry for your loss.

El Tejon
October 16, 2006, 04:47 PM
Sorry for your loss, AR. Is the funeral in Dephi?

October 16, 2006, 04:50 PM
My condolances to you. It's hard to lose your Dad but it helps to have lots of good memories. It won't be much longer until the WWII generation is gone. As a whole, they will never be matched.


Aggie's Revenge
October 16, 2006, 04:56 PM
Sorry for you loss. It sounds like he led a full and good life. Making things grow for a living is one of the hardest yet admirable jobs around. May your memories of him always be the good ones.

October 16, 2006, 05:01 PM
I still have an uncle (grandmother's twin brother) left, who served under Patton in Europe. I'm still trying to figure out a tactful way to ask him of his experiences. He's a lifelong farmer as well, in WV. -FNR.

October 16, 2006, 05:06 PM
on your loss. It sounds as if you had a wonderful father....and...he certainly lived up to the term, The Greatest Generation. He lived through the Great Depression and WW2 serving his country. He has my thanks for serving his country honorably. Your tribute to him was great and I am glad you shared this with us.

October 16, 2006, 05:20 PM
My condolances. I know how hard it is to lose a father. May Gob bless you and your family.

October 16, 2006, 05:21 PM
Along with all his 'brothers' from that generation. I was lucky enough to have had both my parents for over 52 years, till earlier this year. I feel your pain.

October 16, 2006, 05:53 PM
Very well written. My condolences to you and your family.

My father, who will be 80 next June, served on the LST-856 in the Pacific in WWII. Some days he will talk about it and other days he won't. He grew up poor in rural Kentucky and moved to Ohio after his service in the Navy. Each day we lose a few more of those humble heroes.

October 16, 2006, 05:58 PM
May his memory be eternal.


Rich K
October 16, 2006, 06:02 PM
AR, my condolences on your loss. May God Bles and keep you and your family in His Grace. Your Dad sounds like quite the man, someone I would like to have known.

October 16, 2006, 07:45 PM
May I offer a salute to your father? You are fortunate indeed. I lost my father when still a young boy. You had yours for many years. You are fortunate to have had a true hero Father, and for so long. Blessings.

James T Thomas
October 16, 2006, 07:47 PM
The world, or your conception of it, will now be always different without your father here. It's a sorrowful time and one of change too.

His heritage for you will never be lost to you however, and as long as you walk this earth, some part of your father remains with us.

May you have peace in your heart.

Turkey Creek
October 16, 2006, 08:23 PM
You and your's have my sympathies- My Father just passed away this June- He was a Naval Aviator flying off the Yorktown, Lexington, and Saratoga- General Eisenhower said, "I fear we will not see their like again"- I'm afraid he was correct- I have been where you are now- The time for tears will pass and be replaced with loving memories and smiles- May the Lord be with you

October 16, 2006, 08:28 PM
I'm very sorry for your loss. And I'm glad that I had the opportunity to read a little about his life. Thank you for sharing.

October 16, 2006, 08:46 PM
My condolances to you, from me and mine.
you were lucky to have your father for so long.
During this time of loss, remember the good times.
A true hero has past, but will never be forgotten.

October 16, 2006, 08:59 PM


CSA 357
October 16, 2006, 09:27 PM
They dont make them like that any more, my he rest in peace, *csa*

October 16, 2006, 10:27 PM
Thanks to all for the kind words.

El Tejon, His funeral was last Tuesday the 10th at Cree Funeral home in Camden. He was buried at the Rockfield IOOF cemetary, by Rock Creek, just south of home.

Ala Dan
October 16, 2006, 10:32 PM
So sorry too learn of your loss. Your dad was a great warrior, and many
thanks for his contrbutions to our great country. Please accept my
sympathy, prayers, thoughts, and condolesences at this time of sorrow.

October 16, 2006, 10:36 PM
hes can have his time in peace now, casue he served through hell already.

October 16, 2006, 10:41 PM
The Good Lord got a good man up there.

He will see you through it.

A Farmer, a Vet, a Father, an American.

What a great life for a great man.

1911 guy
October 17, 2006, 08:06 AM
Thank you for sharing your Father's life with us. He sounds like a wonderful person.

Requiescat Im Pacem.

October 17, 2006, 01:05 PM
He did one more thing, raised a son who knew how to love him and was able to tell everyone about him in such an elegant way. Thank you for this tribute. I lost my dad 40 years ago, and he still walks the fields with me.

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