Laurence Leslie Frame, our grampa, served in the United States Navy from 1943 until the close of the war in 1945. I do not know how or why he chose to be a sailor, but given that he was thirty-five years of age at the time, and married with four children, I would quickly believe the family reports that he was drafted into service.
After basic training at Great Lakes Naval Station just north of Chicago, he was shipped out to the South Pacific theater of battle where the U.S. was battling the Japanese. Generally speaking, the South Pacific strategy was to capture islands and island chains from Hawaii across to Guam and the Phillipines, essentially chasing Japan out of its extensive bases. According to Wikipedia, “On February 1, 1944, Kwajalein was the target of the most concentrated bombardment of the Pacific War. Thirty-six thousand shells from naval ships and ground artillery on a nearby islet struck Kwajalein. American B-24 Liberator bombers aerially bombarded the island, adding to the destruction.” Kwajalein is part of the Republic of Marshall Islands which include the Bikini Atoll which of course is where tiny little bathing suits were invented and nuclear bombs were tested.
Grampa was a part of Operation Flintlock which was the D Day Invasion of Kwajalein. His duty was in the repair of LVT’s which are the amphibious assault vehicles of WWII. They were also called “Water Buffalo” and were extremely important to the beach landings of the war. And they experienced frequent breakdowns, so Grampa’s mechanical skills were vitally important.
Grampa returned home to Nimrod, Minnesota after the war was over. He worked as a carpenter in the growing community and then opened the first gas station in town, a Skelly service station which Grampa owned and operated until the early 1970′s when he retired. He passed away in 1973 and was buried with military honors in the Nimrod Cemetery. I can still hear the 21 Gun Salute and the bugle playing Taps.
Here’s to war heroes and veterans from all of the wars that we’ve fought to defend freedom! God bless America, and God bless all of our veterans.