You gotta do what you gotta do"When you gotta go !" I've devised a plan that will pay as you go-if you don't go too far.

When I was a kid of nineteen Uncle Sam told me I got to go.

Go where? World War II is where. They said that World War I was the first war to be numbered. As I recall, it was not called World War I until W.W.II. came along. Naming it as number one was a misnomer unsuitably applied.

How about the many previous wars? It could have easily been called CXVII

Our war, W.W.II, was also called "The war to end wars"-to end wars?

Sure not!

It came to an end in Europe as we moved to the other war in the Pacific. It was the only war with two ends.

Now as an 84-year-old ex-sailor boy, I peer back through the fog of confusion and recovered fumbles that was my life. I found I had an asset more precious than a Pulitzer Prize prose.

I am able to write in my dull tiresome style as I sit at my desk in a short sleeve tee shirt with a "write to bare arms."

I've done what my job requires for almost 17 years writing weekly columns for the Berks-Mont Newspapers. How I get away with it I'll never know.

Back in Dubya dubya two I served on a U.S. Navy "Landing Ship-Tank."

The USS LST 281. We participated in two European invasions, "Overlord" (Normandy) and "Anvil" (Southern France).

No longer a need for LSTs in the European theater, we were sent to the Pacific to do our part in the invasion of Okinawa.

Immediately upon our arrival in Okinawa we were attacked by the dreaded Kamikazes, (and we are loaded with highly combustible gas and oil-OH MY). LST 281 was one of the lucky ones. All around us ships were being sunk or damaged. We helped rescue men from LSTs 534 and 808 and an APD, along with some smaller craft hit by the zealotry of the willful Zero.

Having endured the fracas that was the Okinawa/Kamikaze invasion, we were ordered to put-to-sea immediately. A major typhoon was imminent. Was it ever?

Much the same as the storms that ravaged the Normandy beaches a year earlier, a massive typhoon hit the Ryuku Islands damaging a large number of American battleships, carriers, destroyers, cruisers and amphibious landing craft (including many LSTs). Night and day suicide planes filled the air to continue their assault, damaging and sinking many U.S. ships (among these were several LSTs).

The ocean was tumultuously rough and visibility was impossibly poor. As our LST fell into the convoy, it bumped the stern of another LST. It didn't do any real damage. "See you later, navigator."

The tropical cyclone grew a lot worse and the accompanying ships of the convoy became scattered over a wide area.

Finally, we received a coded message to rejoin our escorts. So our skipper changed our course. Minutes later we heard a terrific crash. UH, OH!

We rammed the same LST the second time. Frantic, our captain signaled, "Can you stay afloat?"

"Yes," flashed the other skipper, "Try again, why don't you?

We left Okinawa, Japan on July 4, 1945 celebrating Independence Day with great holiday chow. Looking back at what was left of the capital city of Naha, we could see the town was nothing but a flat terrain, burned to a crisp and melted to the ground.

We and our new convoy of 28 LSTs and escort vessels survived the fatal attacks of Japan's last ditch effort to halt the Allied advance to their home-land.

Today, Japanese people will tell us how absurd this claim is.

The word "kamikaze" actually means "he who herds the sheep" in certain Japanese dialects. And we were the sheep?

We had to do what we had to do! Back then, the Navy took me around the world. Someday I'd like to go somewhere else. A little more time is all I need.

Contact Charlie Adams Jr. via e-mail at

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