June 14, 2013
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|That's my 91 year old Uncle Joe Spado in the hat, and yours truly gesturing, as we share a conversation on the patio at my cousin's home, celebrating his birthday last month|
Two souls sharing talk
Combat Veterans of war
Real life Joe Spados
That’s right. Two of us with the same name. His name. My name. That’s my uncle Joe on the left, my dad’s younger brother. He just turned 91 on May 8th. I turned 64 on May 10th. We’re both combat Veterans that served in the US Army. He was in Africa and Europe in World War II, I served in the American war in Vietnam in 1969.
|My Uncle Joe Spado as a young man at my Aunt's wedding|
Others served in the armed forces as well. Uncle Phil and Uncle Joe from my mother’s side of the family and Uncle Tom, my dad’s oldest brother. Even my dad served during World War II. My brother also served in the Marine Corps.
Funny fact is, only those named Joe were sent to combat while serving in the military.
|This is Joe Caruso, one of my mother's brothers, in uniform circa 1944|
I have no idea where my other Uncle Joe was stationed when he served. But the Uncle Joe that is still amongst us, the one I’m talking to in the photo above, told me he served in the 256th Tank Battalion.
One of the stories he told me was how he had gotten in trouble and thrown into the stockade while he was stationed in Italy. There was a need for someone that spoke Italian to keep track of some Italian prisoners of war. My uncle had his stockade sentence pardoned so he could do detail translating for these POW truck drivers.
When I asked him what he did to be put in the stockade, he told me that he had taken a case of fruit cocktail off a truck to share with his platoon.
I make no political point here about serving in the military or any war. It happened. It is part of the past and cannot be changed. I’m just fortunate to still have my Uncle Joe around. By the way, we call him Uncle Curly.
|Me, myself and I, somewhere in the Republic of Vietnam, 1969|