Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pacific Part Three Sunday Night

Another great night watching Pacific. I got a few questions in to Jerry.

What branch of the service was Paul Brousseau in.
"He was in the Army and served in Europe. He had a brother that was in the Army. He was killed, I think, in Italy."

How about Vin Campbell?
"Oh he was in the Army. He was a mechanic. I met him at Fort Shafter. You know Fran went out to California and just missed him. He was on a boat for Hawaii. He couldn't get off. She said she would have married him in California!"

Jerry was asked at the VA why he and others didn't talk about the War. He told me he responded.
"No one would believe what I had been through. They'd never understand what happened. We just moved on with our lives. I think the government made a mistake. They should have taught the history and told in schools, what happened in 1946 after the war ended."

Jerry chuckled about the MP's showing up at the bar. When the bottles started coming there way he began laughing.
"I was involved in a couple of those. As an MP. I was teamed up with a Sailor. At any given time, you'd have 70,00 sailors and Marines on liberty. I was told to report to the Provost Marshal. Geez, I just started this and I'm already in trouble. Turned out his name was Cardi and he was from Pawtucket. I went to school with his brother!"

Jerry remarked about the Marines being issued Garands in Australia. When he got to Camp Lejuene he was issued a Garand. Jerry said alot of the Snipers carried Springfields. Once Jerry got his assignment in Hawaii for 1st Joint Assault Signal Company (JASCO), he requested a Carbine. Jerry and two others were issued the Carbine.

He fired the Garand for record along with the Carbine. He did shoot the Browning Automatic Rifle, .30 Caliber MG and the .50 Cal Browning M2. In case something happened he could operate those weapons. He shot the 1911A1 Colt .45 ACP Pistol. His buddy Jones had a Colt .44 Single action pistol. Jones was a cowboy from Colorado.
"Jones was good with that pistol. He used it to shoot animals back home."

What happened to Jones I asked. Jones was killed at Iwo Jima. Jerry recounted his time with Jones and he on Iwo. Semper Fi JONES.

Liberty. Jerry got liberty from 12:00pm to 6:00pm.
"I never ran int any barbers that were men in Hawaii. They were all women. So one of them asked me to go to a dance at her church. I went to the dance and it was getting around 9:30 or so. We headed back and were trying to hitch a ride. Bad idea. The jeep that stopped, it was my commander. 24 hours of extra duty." Of course Jerry starts laughing.

Guys were lucky to go to Australia. Jerry said that a lot of girls from Australia and New Zealand married Marines.

Oh by the way. Jerry says you can make a great cup of coffee in a Steel Pot. The M1 Helmet! He forgot to mention that at his presentation at the VA.

On Steve Cileli.
"You can tell Steve is MARINE. I don't care where you go, that guy is the epitome of MARINE. He is just so squared away. He was like guys I served with. You know that were ever you went, there are some guys that stand out as MARINES. Everything he does, the way he does it. He's a MARINE! He just is."

The Marines of the 1st MARDIV are shipping out for a mission in the Pacific. John Basilone has gotten the Congressional Medal of Honor (CMH). Basilone is headed Stateside to raise money for the war effort. Jerry says it's getting good!

"Goodnight Chesty Puller whereever you are."

Recommended reading by Jerry: "Goodbye Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War." William Manchester

Photos from the VA Home, 3/25/10

Here are some still photos to recap Thursday's event at the VA Home in Bristol, RI

Jerry is on a roll with his story:

Jerry's sisters; Helene, Angela, and Martina were there. Niece Kelly was their driver for the day.

Jerry and Frank share a comment during the movie portion of the presentation

Steve Cileli spent hours on research and put together the video for the presentation:

Thanks to Toni Acampora at the VA Home for helping to coordinate the event!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Sherlock men

For at least one family gathering, the men sat around the kitchen table. In order left to right are Henry, Paul, Ted,  Paul Brousseau (married to Angela), Vin Campbell (married to Fran), Dad Sherlock, and Jerry.

Maybe later the same day, this time along a couch: Dad Sherlock, Paul B, Paul, and Ted

How is it the same day? Dad Sherlock has the same time, Paul has the same suit/tie combo. Paul B took off his tie, and so has Ted. Both were known to like to relax that way.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Martina and Jerry

While eating with Martina and Jerry they spoke about getting permission to get into the war effort.
Jerry said that his parents refused to give him permission to join. " Ma said NO"
Martina then related the same thing." Oh, Ma refused to give me permission to go as a nurse."
She turned to me with the trademark Sherlock grin. I appealed to her as a mother. "But Ma if all the mothers of nurses told their daughters no, what would happen? Who would take care of all the boys? What would happen to Jack, Ted and Jerry?" Talk about your Irish guilt!

Mrs. Sherlock relented. Martina did add; " Well I didn't need permission as I was old enough. Times were different though I needed my mothers permission."

Jerry then said that he told the recruiter that his mother wouldn't give permission. The recruiter told Jerry that the Government would be drafting in September of 1943 and you never knew what would happen. She relented and Jerry was accepted for the Marines and went to Parris Island Recruit Depot in October of 1943. I suspect it was a little more complicated then that.

I am reminded after taking Jerry to see "Saving Private Ryan" I spoke to Jerry the next day and we spoke of some things that remain personal. However the one thing that stands out is like the fictional Mrs. Ryan, Jerry said Mrs. Sherlock had a banner with stars for Martin, Jack, Ted, Henry and Jerry. He said it must have been pretty hard on his mother. He considers himself very fortunate. Large families separated with members all over the world defending freedom. They all came home.

We tend to forget in our iPhone, Blackberry driven world of instant communications and take a lot for granted. Jerry and Martina spoke of getting mail from home. Times were different.

So the next time you voice or memory dial, take a moment to think of Mrs Sherlock in the dark days of the War with her children in far flung places. Never knowing.

Have a great day! Thanks Martina, Jack, Ted, Henry, Jerry, Fran, and of course Vin Campbell.


How close alike did the Sherlock men look? Close enough that Jerry had identified the man in the center of this photo as himself. Yet, upon further review, other family members are agreeing it is Jerry's brother Paul posing with their father and mother.

Clues to how this was really determined? The uniform cap was Army not Marine. Paul was in the Army, Jerry in the Marines.

The building behind is apparently named the Fort Devens Elementary School. Family members agree that Mr and Mrs Sherlock did visit Paul up at Fort Devens before he was sent overseas to Paris.

Henry, Mart and the imp herself

Jerry's brother and sister: Henry and Martina pose with young Paula Brousseau. The writing in pencil on the back of this original says "Henry, Mart and the imp herself. You can see from the position that Paula is in one of her rare moods and is just about ready for anything."

The pencil handwriting is similar to others found thus far which indicate that this was written by Jerry's mother Mary. Yes, to keep the record straight Mary was also mother to Henry and Martina, and grandmother to Paula.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

D+35 Iwo Jima

My brother-in-law, Frank Moody left the comment below on the VA Home posting that really deserves to get full space here:

D+35 Iwo Jima: Marines are in the last stages of eliminating Japanese resistance. Combat is winding down and the Island will be declared secure in another day. Planes are landing on the airstrip. Heavy Bombers are set to strike at the heart of the Imperial Empire. PFC. Sherlock will take a hike up Suribachi "to see what the big deal is all about." In typical Marine fashion he gave a quick look and went back down to the beach. " I had to see it." He gives that Sherlock chuckle, a quick shrug of the shoulders and says " I wasn't really sure what the big deal was!"

In Europe, Jerry's brother Jack is somewhere in the ETO with the US ARMY fighting against the Germans.

Operation Varsity was launched yesterday. The British 6th Airborne and US 17th Airborne have jumped into Germany securing two Bridges across the Rhine. It is the last large scale Paratrooper Assault of the ETO.

Members of the 82 and 101st Airborne are preparing to push forward and then prepare for the BIG DROP. TARGET: TOKYO.

Jerry is concerned about the next assault int othe Japnese Home Islands. However events on Iwo and Okinawa will change the overall plan of the WAR.

It was pleasure eating with Martina Higgins and Jerry today at the VA Home. Steve Sherlock as well. Jerry made a point to buy lunch for Steve Cileli and myself.

I must give Steve Cileli a great amount of credit. Steve took the time to create the video to accompany Jerry's talk at the Vet Home today. Steve is a Marine Infantryman as well as my partner. We screened the video for Jerry this week and Jerry gave signal operating instruction (SOI) to add some things about Parris Island and the campaigns of Saipan and Tinian.

Each time I listen to Jerry I learn alittle more about the events on Iwo.

Again I must thank Steve Cileli for the great work he put in to the project. Steve Sherlock has done a great job putting this site together. It tells the journey of a truly extraordinary man who just considers himself a simple guy. Far from it folks. A certain President said of the Marines "Some people spend a life time wondering if they made a difference. But Marines don't have to worry about that problem!"

Semper Fi PFC Gerald F. Sherlock
1st. Joint Assault Signal CO.
25th Marines 4th MARDIV and to your fellow Marines 

VA Home - Jerry's Story

This was recorded at the VA Home in Bristol, RI when Jerry gave his talk on his experiences in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

As the talk was at the VA Home, the periodic announcements could not be turned off. With a little luck, after a while, you won't hear them and be able to listen to Jerry.

The video shown at the end of his prepared remarks will be made available for viewing here shortly.

Grandma King and Ted

There is pencil writing on the back of this original. Apparently from Jerry's mother Mary. She wrote that "Grandma still thinks Ted is the (cats)"
When discussing this picture at the Sherlock brunch this week: Helene, Angela and Jerry agreed that while all the boys helped Grandma King with chores and errands, Ted always got the best reward. Grandma would give him the apple to "divide in three halves" and a nickel or dime that no one else got.

Grandma King was also fond of saying "the yard is wide" - meaning go out and play. Not far from what I heard when growing up about going to "play in traffic".

Sherlock photos from the archives

I have started going through the archive of photos that Jerry had in his possession. I have found quite a few gems thus far and am sure to find some more.

One can see why Jerry was attracted by Rita:

A Sherlock gathering: Mary (Ted's wife), Angela, Paul, Mary (King) Sherlock - mother to Angela, Paul, Jerry et al... and Rita

Monday, March 22, 2010

Special treat Thursday

Jerry will give a talk on Thursday at the VA Home in Bristol remembering World War II in the Pacific. We found this photo of Jerry from that time (1944-1945). In those days, Jerry was lean to say the least. He does not recall exactly where this photo was taken other than "somewhere in the Pacific".

With some preparation and a little luck, Jerry's talk with be broadcast on his new UStream channel as well as recorded for review on demand.

Jerry's sister Martina is currently living at the VA Home and was key to helping organize this event. The archives turned up this photo of Martina posing with her mother and father; Mary and John Sherlock. The photo location was identified as outside the Sherlock home on Coyle Ave in Pawtucket, RI.

Put a place on your calendar to come back here on Thursday, March 25th at 1:30 PM to view the live broadcast of Jerry's talk. If you can't make it at that time, we'll be recording it and have it available for viewing after Thursday.

Friday, March 19, 2010

D + 26

My brother-in-law Frank submitted this as a comment but it deserves the full light of a post:

D Plus 26.
The Marines have repulsed heavy Japanese counter attacks on March 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Check out this site

The Marines have pushed the Japanese into the Northern Corner of Iwo. It is called Cushman's Pocket after the Marine Officer in charge of eliminating resistance. This assault will continue through to March 24.

Six Medals of Honor are awarded in this area alone during the fighting.

While waiting for The PACIFIC on Sunday (broadcast on HBO), Jerry described pushing forward and remembers going up by the airfields. Jerry believed his unit came across a fourth airfield that was under construction.

Gunfights are pretty rough right now in A-Stan with the Marines. They only last a few hours. The Marines of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Divisions have been in combat for 26 days. No showers, no toilets and a helmet for their pillow.
The Sherlock Grandchildren should count themselves lucky. Jerry is a simple man who participated in one of the hardest campaigns of World War Two. Very few people understand what these guys went through, where Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue.

So if you are a Sherlock Grandchildren, take a moment to read up on Saipan, Tinian and Iwo.

We are all very lucky. If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have you.
Semper Fi Marines!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 17 of the battle for Iwo Jima

The US Marines landed the black sandy shores of Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. Four days later, they raised the flag on Mt Suribachi but the fighting continued until March 26th before the island was declared secured.

If I counted correctly, today would be Day 17.

Dodging gunfire, helping wounded comrades, sleeping here and there in a fox hole. Always on the alert for the enemy.

Jerry landed on the 19th. By this time, he had been in combat for 17 days. When would it end? No one knew then that it would go for another 18 days. He did not leave the island until March 27th.

Thank the veterans of Iwo Jima for their service!
Thank all veterans for the comforts we have and enjoy!

Joyal Brunch

First Sunday of the month and the Joyal Brunch was held at the Wright's Farm in Harrisville, RI. Long known for it's family style chicken dinners, the restaurant was in full operation on Sunday.

We arrived just as it opened and we seated quickly. As we left, the waiting area was full with more arriving. They are quite efficient so I don't believe the wait was long. The food and value is well worth the wait!

A change since the last time we were there. The paper cup ice cream dessert has now been replaced by a chicken logo'd slice of vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Cute idea!

On the family update front:
Albert is scheduled for a triple by-pass on Friday March 12th. Your prayers will be welcomed.

Jerry is scheduled to talk about his experiences in the Pacific Theater during WWII at the VA Home in Bristol, RI on the March 25th. With a little luck , the talk will be broadcast via the internet and available here both live and then in a recorded version.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Iwo Jima Association

The battle raged on Iwo Jima 65 years ago today. The landing took place on Feb 19th and the fighting continued for 35 days.

The Iwo Jima Association has a website with good info and a great photo gallery!

There are two books of photos reproduced. It takes time to view them as there are shots of the photo and of the accompanying caption.

You can choose to view as a slideshow and then go back to look for the caption on specific photos.

Volume 1

Volume 2

Take your time viewing. The shots are quite impressive. I'll sit with Jerry soon to show him this and get his comments. There are quite a few photos just in the first part of Volume 1 referencing the 4th Marine Division that he was part of.