Narrative about my grandfather serving in Korea.

Essay add: 10-03-2016, 13:52   /   Views: 20
James Curtis Ellisor was born November 3, 1928. He was my grandfather and my inspiration. He was not a war hero, he did not fight in any major battles but he made people’s lives better. He was a Navy Seabee. Born to poor cotton farmers near Phelps, Texas; he had seven brothers and eight sisters. At 6’5” he was taller than all of them. When he enlisted, he weighed about 170lbs and was lanky to say the least.
The Inherent roll of the Seabees is to build. Build roads, hangers, landing strips in foreign countries and hostile places. These are all things he told me and had shown me in more than one way and on several occasions.
The best I remember him he was the tall politician with the svelte hair and savvy appearance but his stories were of him and his friends…and this is what he told me.
They scrambled on their first mornings outside of Korea, none had a clue as to what they were to encounter. It was the largest beach landing he had engaged in and sketchier than their training. “The surf was rough and we were busy tacking boats together trying to get ready for the landing, a couple guys went over but we got them back with little problems.”
“Once on shore we had to bust our butts to get our barracks and run way completed, we had it done in no time.” The rest he said was “gravy”. Welding this and that together, paving a road, putting up barracks, all easy work.
My Grandfather had many favorite machines to work in his position. To this day, he would tell you how a Massey-Ferguson is superior to any other tractor. Although his favorite ride by far was the Willys jeep, he would keep me up all night telling me how fun it was to drive that little hummer all over the mud-covered mountains of Korea. All telling that leads to the point of my story…
They were in the middle of the country near a mountain that nobody I know I cannot pronounce; my grandfather was driving troops from the top of the mountain down to the camp. Driving his little jeep up there, he ran into a torrential down pour. Dirt plus water equals mud and at that point, my pawpaw was neck deep in it. The muddy switchbacks that the Navy dozers cut in were worse than the roads in Buffalo during a snowstorm. The jeep stopped all forward momentum and begun sliding backwards. He ditched the jeep by jumping out of the side watching it go over the edge of the muddy switchback. I remember him telling me that it was the longest 8 miles he would ever hike because he thought he would have to pay for the Jeep.
He told me other stories of being shot at while running equipment but none stands out more than his bad day with the jeep…maybe it’s because I have a picture of him in the jeep…maybe I like the inconsequential carnage. Maybe both.
When he got out of the Navy and got home, he went to the diner here in Huntsville and proposed to my grandmother. He was Fire Marshall and then County Commissioner for 25 years…building roads.

My Grandfather drove a tractor before the war, during the war, and after the war. If I had the opportunity, I would thank him for his service and hope he would tell me about more of his time in Korea.

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