May 29, 2016

Soldiers, Movie Star and Memorial Day Thoughts

'Johnson and Johnson Band Aid Kids'
83rd. Chemical Mortar Battalion
One came home and one didn't
Memorial Day

Memorial Day to all who fight or protect our country in any way I thank you.  To the ones that this particular day is all about I honor you.  You gave your all and we remember on this day.

The photo above hung in the living room of my parents home my entire life.  The soldier on the left is my daddy and hero.  The soldier on the right was his buddy and I believe daddy said his sergeant.  I can't be positive about that it was just in my memories.

I never heard my daddy mention his name, only that he had been right next to him when he was killed in action.  Those three words have so much meaning 'Killed in Action', even as a child I knew how important that was and how sad.

He became a member of our family this brave soldier who fought along side of our daddy.  He lost his life, sadly. We never met him but he was with us always.

Today I tell what happened to him.  Daddy didn't know I heard him talking to some men, but I did. This man whom we had become accustomed to being in our living room, our family was killed in a horrible way.

I'll never forget those words or the look on daddy's face when he said them, "Yeah, this ole boy was right next to me standing on a tank when he got hit!  His head was blown off!  I'll never forget that."

I don't think he ever did.

Years later when I was researching daddy's unit after he had passed away, I found a man who knew daddy and this man in the photograph. Mr. William Ramsey was his name and he lived in Virginia. Randy and I went to see him twice.  He actually knew them and I was thrilled.  But he didn't know the friends first name, he just couldn't remember it.

He did tell me this about the soldier and daddy, "They had the same last name and the unit called them 'The Johnson and Johnson Band-Aid Kids'! They were the youngest in that company and that was their nickname". They were close buddies while fighting and I found that to be so sweet.

Mr. Ramsey on the left taken in 1943 in Amalfi, Italy and on the right taken in 1989
I honor you for your service and am grateful you survived to become a living veteran.

Mr. Ramsey told of how hungry they were and how some farmers gave them a cow to eat.  I know that sounds a little uncomfortable to us now we are so blessed but to the soldiers they were starving in another land.  People were good to them.

Mr. Ramsey himself has now passed away and he was the barber in the unit.  Yes he kept their hair in good shape.  A fine man and wonderful friend.

There were the stories of a young beautiful girl who would hang around their company.  She would beg cigarettes and chocolate from the soldiers. Chocolate bars seemed to be the thing American soldiers had that Europeans loved, young and old alike.  She and her mother would take in some of the soldiers and feed them meals. This young lady hurt her chin and the company doctor sewed it up. She has a little scar afterwards and talked about it years later.  Do you want to know who she was? I'll just show you a picture here now.

Sofia Costanza Brigida Villani Scicolone

She went on to be an actress, a movie star and her name is Sophia Loren.  There was a book out years later called Sophia Loren Living and Loving:  Her own Story and you can still find it in several places.  I think Amazon has it also.

I was on Facebook this morning and one memory popped up, I actually had forgotten about this one too. 

The U. S. Army contacted me and they were doing a documentary on my daddy, Carl D. Johnson and his unit.  I just sent some video footage to them they sent me a script and it sounds great!  I'm so proud of him.

I don't know how I'd forgotten all about that but with so much going on always I did!  

My daddy Carl
I'm so thankful that he survived to become a living veteran and my father!
He and his unit were a secret unit and they fought along some of the very bravest!
They were called the artillery to Darby's Rangers
Heroes one and all!

Mr. Jimmie Wheeler
83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion
Company C
My dad's next best friend and partner in mischief!

I say partner in mischief because they were always up to something!
Here they are dressed in some of the finest they found in an abandoned home in France.
This is when they were confronted with their major leader at the time, Patton.
You can read more about this and the man I only met last year in his 90s! here

Today on this Memorial Day I salute those who lost their lives protecting us!  I salute the living veterans who gave of their time and lost to some extent in many ways protecting us!  I salute those fighting and protecting us now!

We are so blessed and I hope we all realize it.  Our nation is in some sort of turmoil and a lot of history is being rewritten.  That is a shame and for the generations living now who knew nothing of living during war times you need to put some effort into it to learn to see what your ancestors did for you. They gave you the right to certain freedoms that even now some of our own are trying to take away.

Hold strong you who remember, Hold fast those who know, for our freedoms.  We are a nation that has one of the best leaders and that is The Lord God Almighty!  He will get us and future generations through everything.  There is a peace in knowing that and I wish for all wisdom, peace and love.


  1. Wow - what an amazing story - it gives me goosebumps. Unfortunately so much of memories like this are lost so it's important to share them. Thanks Dolly.

    1. Thank you Kim! That's true and there is so much that I wish I could ask my daddy even now and he's been gone since 1990. I would loved to have shared that I've found who he fought with and was lucky enough to meet some of them. Hope you and the family enjoy your time together today! Happy Memorial Day. xoxo

  2. Thank you for sharing Your Daddy. It made me think of mine and his part in the war. For some reason Today I was only thinking and praying of those going through Vietnam and later. All family members are included in my prayers, I guess because their pain and anguish is still alive at this time a still a battle for them.
    It bothers me that for a lot of people this is only another holiday from work and another picnic.

    1. Oh that is nice I'm proud of your Daddy too! Well I've had two husbands from Vietnam and certainly understand all of that. One of them deceased from I think Agent Orange and one living with the affects from Agent Orange. Vietnam was such a sad one. All are sad though and who knows what goes on now. Yes it saddens me that others don't realize but that is what we are here for to remind them no matter how sad it is.You are very thoughtful.

  3. Hubby and I really enjoyed this! Dolly please let us know when the documentary is released. We would like to watch it. Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing.

  4. I would like to see the documentary! How sad about your dad's friend and it must have had a huge impact on your dad being right next to him.

    1. I would too and now I've got to go through some boxes to find the email and info so that we can. Life got so busy until I had forgotten all about it until the other day on Facebook the memories section popped up an had that on there. I'll let you know if and when I find out.
      Yes I believe it did have an impact on daddy but he hid it well.