Veteran’s Day Parade Tallahassee, FL November 11, 2004
What a day this was. A couple of days a go my neighbor called and asked if I was still going to participate in the parade. I said I thought so…frankly I was thinking of not going. But it turned out my wife and daughter were already marching in the parade. Daughter is a girl scout and they invited my wife (a Lt Col USAFR) to march with them.
So it was quite a family affair.
Well…my neighbor wanted to know if I already had a rider and I said no (wife and daughter–see above). He asked if his dad could ride with me. I said sure.
Commander Jack Rosenau in my jeep “Frankie” prior to the parade. Commander Rosenau is still in the Coast Guard Auxillary and I think he told me he had been in for 29 years. He used to fly missions for them.
He started out in the USMC Reserves (served 8 years). While in the reserves he was called to active duty on Dec 6, 1940. He had a string of luck during his career. Once while serving in California, half the organization was granted leave for Christmas. He hadn’t been home 3 days when he was called back to his unit….Dec 7, 1941. By the time he got back to his unit, the half that hadn’t been on leave had already shipped out and ended up at Guadalcanal. Meanwhile he was sent to weather school.
He ended up off the coast of some island ( I have forgot the name) where he was weighted down with a Thompson Submachine gun, drum and magazines. He said it was a good thing the water wasn’t deep where he was let off or he would have sunk like a rock. Turns out nobody was home (The Japanese had not invaded this island) so they set up shop. He was weather specialist. A good friend of his was in charge. The weather guys would take turns riding aloft with some instruments to take readings. One day it was his friends turn. Jack saw what was about to happen. There was a plane on each end of the runway about to take off. He jumped into the only staff vehcle available to try to warn off the planes. But he was two late and watched as the two planes collided. The two pilots were killed instantly. His friend was in the back seat and was still alive. Apparently the radio equipment was down below and his friend couldn’t get his helmet to detached…so he removed his helmet. A tragic mistake as he ended up seriously burned all over his head requiring years of surgery and care.
After that Jack was in charge and served with the USMC for the remainder of the war. After the war he went to school and ended up as an USAF officer. He retired from the Air Force and joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary where he flew missions for years.
Commander Jack is a heck of a guy. A hero in my book.
We had several guys from the First Florida Chapter there and also some guys who were only in the MVPA. There were only two WW2 jeeps, mine and friend Bob Durham, representing 42 Ford GPW and 43 Willys MB. There was an M38. A duece, a military Suburban, CUCV Blazer, WW2 Bomb Truck and Russell Deese brought his store on wheels! A military tractor trailer. What a parade.