‘Namesakes’ Follow-up No. 1: Grandpa Joe, the artillery captain

It’s Veteran’s Day again. You may remember my ‘Namesakes Part 1‘ poem about my grandfathers, my favorite veterans of my favorite war(WWII). I actually haven’t had much time to research them or their wives(my grandmothers), but recently I have had WWII thrust upon me, as I am currently in a play about the Manhattan Project written and directed by my friend/roommate Anna.

We’ve been discussing a lot about WWII and what times were like that pushed America’s most brilliant minds to create mankind’s most destructive weapon. Again, I have been saddened by the lost opportunities to hear war stories from my grandfathers, as other cast members know/knew their grandfather-veterans and learned stories.

However, my dad, while not currently being in possession of any journals or pictures of my grandfather Joseph McGinity from the wartime, does have a few memories of the few times Grandpa Joe spoke on these things. I just got off the phone with my dad and this is what I know:

Grandpa Joe: 

*was a heavy artillery captain – big guns – lost part of his hearing

*was promoted from sargeant to captain, and the stress of being in command of so many men gave him so much stress that he was hospitalized with ulcers and almost died(I feel so lucky to exist)

*speaking of almost dying, Grandpa Joe was almost shot by his own men when he, after refusing to send a subordinate on a nighttime reconnaissance mission and instead going himself, forgot the password to get back(I feel so so lucky to exist)

*and more almost dying, Grandpa Joe was in the Battle of the Bulge. He woke up to heavy gunfire and realized they were in battle when he heard voices speaking in German on the other side of the Rhine.(so so so lucky to exist)

Grandpa Joe went on to become a doctor of veterinary medicine and professor at the University of Missouri. I’m pretty sure there’s a scholarship named after him, but I’m not 100% sure, because the University of Missouri doesn’t have a comprehensive scholarship database. Anywho, know that I loved him, and that one of my greatest regrets in life is not getting to know him better when I had the chance.


“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”
-Norman Schwarzkopf

“There is something extraordinary to be said about genetics—descending from great ancestors,” General Leslie R. Groves Jr. in “The New Age,” by Anna Bellegante


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