|This is my grandfather, Earl Brookshier, fresh out of boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in 1944.|
|Photo of my grandmother, Irene Brookshier and my mother, with my grandmother's own caption.|
|On the home front, my grandmother had to deal with rationing. Here's the cover of a ration stamp booklet.|
|And here are what the ration stamps looked like.|
|Grampa had two main jobs: driving the landing craft up to the beachheads and anti-aircraft gunner. Packs of cards like this would help him identify planes in the vicinity of his ship.|
|Speaking of his ship, here it is, the LST 1030. LST stands for Landing Ship, Tank. They were the workhorses of the fleet. Mom woke me up late one night, whooping and hollering because she'd spotted the 1030 on an episode of "Victory at Sea."|
|The Navy supplied men with postcards to keep in touch with their families, like this one that Grampa sent to his mother.|
|He also saved some postcards from Panama.|
|Here's the front of a Christmas card given to the crew.|
|This is the interior of the Christmas card. I found the menu for Christmas dinner interesting. (Yes, the file sizes are large so you can see what you want to see!)|
|The LST 1030 spent a lot of time in and around the Philippines. Grampa came home with souvenirs, but they weren't guns or swords. Here is some currency issued by the Japanese military.|
|Here are two examples of the Japanese-issued currency that civilians had to use in the Philippines.|
|Something tells me the people of the Philippines were happy when Victory came.|
|An unknown Japanese officer.|
|Japanese postcards. I would imagine the top one says something like "Loose lips sink ships," don't you?|
|Grampa came home aboard the USS Clay, which held a special Christmas dinner for the men.|
|The inside of the card typed on onion skin paper. Good wishes from the crew of the USS Clay, and the route that brought my grandfather and the other men home.|
|The menu for Grampa's last meal aboard the USS Clay. Love the names of the dishes!|
|A poem on the back of the card.|
|Grampa's commanding officer aboard the LST 1030 wrote a three-page record of exactly where they had been throughout their deployment.|
|Notarized card listing the uniform ribbons Grampa was allowed to wear.|
My grandfather did not have an easy return home. He was plagued with what we now call PTSD. He'd wake up in the middle of horrific nightmares to find that he was strangling my grandmother. He began to drink heavily. This lasted until around 1960 when he stopped drinking, stopped smoking, and became the grandfather the five-year-old me thought had hung the moon.
If you can, hug a veteran today. If you haven't served, you have no earthly clue the hell a veteran has been through for you and yours. They deserve our respect, our gratitude... and so much more.
Love you, Grampa. Always have. Always will. You have always been my hero.