My Blue Star World War II story

Cumming, GA

On July 31, 1945, George and Lydia Dodd added another blue star to the wartime service flag hanging in their home in Newton, Iowa. There were already four blue stars in place, each representing a son or daughter in service during the war. Of the five family brothers in military service between Jan. 29, 1943, and June 7, 1945, two were stationed in the States, two were overseas and one was missing in action. The brothers were Donald, 22, Navy RM 3/c, Charles, 18, Navy A/S, Joe, 26, Army PFC, Max, 29, Marine PFC, and Ivan, 27, Army Air Corps First Lieutenant. All four branches of service were represented. Four of the brothers survived the war; one was MIA/KIA.

Ivan was reported "missing in action" over enemy territory in Europe on Nov. 17, 1944. He was a member of the crew of a Mitchell B-25 aircraft, participating in a bombing mission to Tomba in northeastern Italy. The formation encountered enemy aircraft artillery fire and his plane received a direct hit and exploded near Tagliamento, Italy. That final and fatal mission was Ivan's 30th of the war.

As for the 3rd Marine Division brother, Max, he was my father. He is now deceased, but he was a longtime member of The American Legion. When my younger (middle) brother and I were 10 to 12 years old my father would drive us to our small-town movie theater on Saturday afternoons. After the double feature ended we would walk a block to the American Legion post and hang around outside until dad finished playing poker. We never knew whether he won or lost, but some years later my mother told me that when he won he always gave half his winnings to her, which impressed me more than the gambling itself.

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