By Robert E Wright Jr., President and Treasurer
This is the first issue of the New Year 2019 and the 104th issue of the ELSIE ITEM. Most of you were serving during the War. The remaining readers are the family and friends who are trying to get a better understanding of what your experiences were, or that of their LCI Veteran. With each issue we attempt to cover many subject areas to provide interesting and relevant information to all of our various readers.
Every now and then, we receive a response from a member that confirms that we are accomplishing something worthwhile. Recent letters sent to me with their dues renewal stated “This is the only magazine that he reads any longer”. Another, more sadly noted that when his dad died, “the latest ELSIE was on the bed stand beside him”, and that he never knew how important being part of the USS LCI National Association was to him.
More recently we have been fielding questions from grandchildren who are researching their family’s histories. They have discovered that their grandfathers were crew members on Landing Craft Infantry during World War II. They want to know if we can provide any information about what Grandpa did during the War.
In the early 1950’s there was a TV series called the Naked City. It concluded with the dialogue, “There are eight million stories in the Naked City; this has been one of them”. There were over 10 million men who were in World War II. That means that there were over 10 million personal stories to tell after the war. We historians and writers have only been able to capture a very small percentage of those experiences and save them for the current and future generations. I continue to plead with the LCI veterans, while they are still able, find a way to record your thoughts, feelings and experiences about your participation in “Mankind’s Greatest Endeavor.” Please send them to the Association. If you did send them to us at any time prior to 2017, please resend them to John France. (Address on back cover) Almost all of those were lost by the previous publisher.
For those of you who listen to these tales, take the time to write it down, clarify things that you don’t understand. Ask for more details! I don’t know how many times that I have heard, “Dad use to tell us these stories about when he was in the Navy, but I never really paid enough attention to what he was saying.” “Now I wish that I had.”
A Picture May Tell a Hundred Stories – our cover photo shows a group of LCI’s in a nest. Each one had a story. Every sailor who manned them had many experiences before the war ended. A few of these are included in this issue. I wish to apologize to the following members who I did not have the opportunity to hear their story. LCI(FF)-679, Charles Johnson, LCI(G)(M)-638, Bryon Drew, John Healy and Boyd Hedrick, and LCI(G)-455, William Armstrong. I hope to speak with you in the coming months.