Saturday, March 27, 2010

Found On the Internet

I came across this article on the internet and thought you'd like to see it. It was published in a Duke University publication in January, 2009. The article features stories about Duke students who went to war. -Ed

We Were Soldiers Once and Young
by Bridget Booher

On the very same morning that Irv Edelman was called up through the U.S. Army Enlisted Reserve, his father died, leaving his mother with three younger daughters and no help settling the family's affairs. With help from Dean Alan K. Manchester, Edelman learned he had enough credits to receive his diploma. He was able to return home to help his mother, take his final exams orally, and still report for duty as a private. He is retired from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system and lives in Temple Terrace, Florida.

 After basic anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) training, I was sent to Fort Ord, California, a replacement training center. My commanding officer was appalled that I was a Duke grad and a private (he was a Georgia Tech grad). So, when I shipped out to New Guinea in early 1944 to join the 197th AAA Group, I was a corporal.

Throughout 1944, while I was serving and fighting in New Guinea, the [Duke] alumni office kept me in touch with my Duke roommates, Harold Landesberg ['45], a Navy
officer in the pacific, and Lou Bello ['47], a bombardier stationed in Italy. Late in that year, my letters to Lou began returning unopened. Again, the alumni office discovered he had been shot down over Czechoslovakia and captured. They even learned his Stalag number.

At the end of 1944, we were in convoy to the Lingayen Gulf (Luzon, P.I.) for the January 5th invasion, when my battery commander (an Alabama grad) and I learned that Duke and 'Bama were to play in the Sugar Bowl on January 1st. As exciting as that was for us, we did not learn the final score until February.

In July, the 197th was moved to the northern resort town of Baguio to begin shooting two target missions as part of our staging for the coming assault on the Japanese main islands. Needless to say, the atomic bomb made us all thank the Lord (or Harry Truman) for giving us a future we no longer feared for.

One last anecdote. One day in November '45, my battery commander called me in to tell me I was being shipped to Manila to run a military police company—temporarily. I was heading home because I had enough combat action and overseas service to be rotated. And so, on a dark, stormy night, I hauled my wet duffel back into an operations tent and entered to see two lieutenants waiting. I saluted. They shouted, "Welcome to Manila, Sgt. Edelman, you DOOKIE!" They knew. What a nice experience to have before leaving the islands—to escort a tank company, this time, back to Indianapolis.

I hear from our old coach several times a year....and often send him copies of our website (he doesn't do computer)  I'm amazed at how many of us he remembers after all these years!
He's living the good life in Florida, close to some of his children. He suffered a stroke some time ago but apparently it only affected his hand, so writing is very difficult for him. Otherwise, from what I can tell he seems like his old self to me.

 If you'd like to drop him a note, his address is:

Irv Edelman
8517 Alexandra Arbor LN
Temple Terrace, FL  33637