Feb 19

Days 10/11- March 26/27- Guam/Tokyo/International Dateline and Home

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 12:01 AM

By

Lieutenant Leroy Fadem recently revisited sites in the Pacific where he saw action in the Navy during the tumultuous years of the War in the Pacific over 70 years ago. This is a journal of that recent trip as kept by his son, Steven Fadem, who accompanied Lt. Fadem on that journey of rediscovery.

(Courtesy of the Author)

(Courtesy of the Author)

The day started with Dad and me having a very moving, emotional talk about the trip, what it meant for each of us to be together on this journey and one of the best hugs in recorded history.

Dad has never sought recognition for his Naval service- although he was the “Veteran of the Game” on Opening Night at Wrigley Field last April 10th when the Cubs brought home the World Series trophy:

(Courtesy of the Author)

(Courtesy of the Author)

He will be similarly honored by the New York Mets at Citi Field in a little over a month- on June 3rd in a game against… the Cubs!

So this trip was very special because he got to share his stories with a great group of similarly-minded people- now friends- in the places where the stories took place.

Then more hugs at the airport:

(Courtesy of the Author)

(Courtesy of the Author)

 

(Courtesy of the Author)

(Courtesy of the Author)

And a flight with Captain Andrea Berg and a great crew from Guam to Narita. On the left in the first picture is Suzanne Hendricks. She has flown every Guam -Iwo Jima charter since the first one for the 50th anniversary of the battle, only missing one year!

(Courtesy of the Author)

(Courtesy of the Author)

 

(Courtesy of the Author)

(Courtesy of the Author)

Then Narita to Newark for Dad (here with Sue who, with her husband Jim, we enjoyed the ten days.)

(Courtesy of the Author)

(Courtesy of the Author)

Finally, Narita to Chicago for me.

It is amazing how the views from the plane in Narita and Chicago are so similar. As are the desires and emotions of we, the post-war generation, and our parents, for peace.

(Courtesy of the Author)

(Courtesy of the Author)

 

(Courtesy of the Author)

(Courtesy of the Author)

It was hard saying good-bye to friends with whom, in less than two weeks, we formed unusually strong bonds. In the war they were called a Band of Brothers, and I understand that now better than ever. We bonded in peacetime around a common experience, and had the unique perspective of reliving history with those who made it over 70 years ago. I, of course, got to go on the adventure of a lifetime with the amazing ability to see World War II through Dad’s eyes and recollections in the places where those memories were made. And I got to share this experience with some people with whom Dad and I will forever share a special friendship. A special bond. A special closeness. From many walks of life and many backgrounds, we bonded around Dad’s and the other veterans’ experiences. This was just a downright wonderful group of people- from the staff to the tour participants. As I head from the sunset over Tokyo across the International Dateline towards a sunset landing in Chicago I will forever be grateful for having Dad in my life, for having gotten to share this special two weeks and for the special friends I will have forever.

And hopefully, in the line that concludes the plaque to the Seabees on Tinian,

“May God help us to avoid WWIII.”

(Courtesy of the Author)

(Courtesy of the Author)

POSTSCRIPT

On June 3rd of this year, upon his return home, Dad received an additional honor and was celebrated as the Veteran of the Day at Citi Field in New York City as the Mets welcomed my Chicago Cubs on a beautiful spring afternoon. The following picture of Dad on the field says it all:

(Courtesy of the Author)

(Courtesy of the Author)

Enjoy the entire trip here,

https://www.navalhistory.org/2018/07/24/day-2-march-17-2018-honolulu

https://www.navalhistory.org/2018/08/21/day-3-march-1718-honolulu-to-saipan-via-guam

https://www.navalhistory.org/2018/09/18/day-4-march-20-saipan

https://www.navalhistory.org/2018/10/18/day-5-march-21-tinian

https://www.navalhistory.org/2018/11/20/day-7-march-23-guam

https://www.navalhistory.org/2018/12/25/day-8-march-24-iwo-jima

https://www.navalhistory.org/2019/01/22/day-9-march-25-guam-our-own-tour