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This is a story near and dear to my heart. This is the story is of my great-grandfather Lloyd Lynch’s journey through World War 2. It is one that will never be forgotten throughout the years. For I cannot let yet another untold story simply fade into the dark forgotten.
The grim reality of World War 2 was upon the world. Millions of innocent people men and boys alike fighting for our freedom, something we take for granted all too often. We could never fathom the scenes and treacheries that go on in war unless we have experienced them ourselves.
The power-take off shaft halted with a screech and a wail. The only thing stopping it was the leg of a Mr. Lloyd Lynch. With no hospital for miles and miles, he had to be shipped to a military hospital in Manila. The members of the 508th ordinance heaved him in a military Jeep and rushed him to the hospital. The ride was extensive, with every twist and turn adding to the anxiety weighing heavy on Lloyd’s heart. The Jeep couldn’t possibly go fast enough to get him to the hospital in time. He feared the worst was yet to come.
When they finally reached Manila, the sight was horrifying. This site was one of the most catastrophic, deadly and fierce fights of the whole war. During fighting in Manila, an estimated number of 117,500 were killed. The scene was a bloody and devastating thing even to be forced to look upon. Lloyd took in all that surrounded him and as far as the land stretched, it was absolutely destroyed by war.
The image that still sticks with him to this day is the sight of the trees that were completely obliterated from artillery shells. Nothing left but the stump and a raggedy one at that. Torn apart by multiple blows that destroyed all beauty and life that was in them.
Once finally in the hospital stationed in Manila, Lloyd was faced with the fear of losing his leg. What seemed to be the best and only way to cure anyone injured in the military was to simply amputate. Lloyd was petrified to lose his leg, but nurses were determined to save him. After an agonizing wait, he finally was able to go to surgery. Before entering surgery, he looked down at his mangled leg and couldn’t possibly bear the thought of that being the very last time he would ever look at his leg.
A long and grateful breath of relief was breathed when he awoke after surgery and looked down to see that he still had both legs. The surgery had been a success. But the long healing process had just begun. For the next couple weeks would be the most strenuous, painful weeks of his recovery. The doctor told Lloyd that he would never be able to use that leg again, but Lloyd was determined to prove him wrong. He preserved through the exhausting physical therapy, rehabilitation and an unbelievable mental stress. He pushed through the pain and the worry and all his hard work paid off; he was able to use his leg again. He had defied the doctor’s words and prevailed against all odds.
When Lloyd was fully recovered, he wished for nothing more than to go home. Lloyd asked the nurse if he could go back and see his company first. The nurse had a heavy heart when she told him that the doctor never let anyone go back to their company. Lloyd asked if he could just simply talk to the doctor about going back to see his company. He would do anything to see his company one more time.
Now one thing was different about Lloyd’s doctor. He had a reputation of never talking to his patients. He had never spoken to any of them outside of the operating room or after he was done treating them. Nonetheless, Lloyd was determined to talk to the doctor first and foremost about going back to see his company one more time before taking the lengthy journey home.
The nurse informed Lloyd that she could talk to the doctor and see what he thought. Remarkably, the doctor said anyone that worked as hard as he did deserved to go back to see his company. Lloyd would be the first patient the doctor would ever talk to. When he talked to Lloyd, he told him, “You are the best patient I have ever had.” With tears in his eyes and the thoughts of a hopeful future, Lloyd packed up and headed back to see his company before finally traveling home to see his family once again.
After a fulfilling visit with his company, he headed back to Manila bay where he would get picked up by the U.S.S Comfort to finish the last leg of his journey and make it home. The U.S.S Comfort was a hospital ship that would take the injured soldiers to California and from there, they would find their way home.
The voyage on The U.S.S. Comfort was a treacherous one. The ocean was raging and relentless. The waves would soar higher than the top of the boat. With each and every monster wave, the boat would sway back and forth and leap up and down. Those on The U.S.S Comfort were at the mercy of the waves. As each day dragged on, the passengers never forgot that they were always one day closer to being reunited with their families again.
After 30 long days, The U.S.S Comfort finally made it to California. The passengers spilled out of the ship and onto dry land, with any food imaginable awaiting them on the shore. All Lloyd wanted was a candy bar and a can of Coca-Cola. With his stomach full, and his hopes high he started home on the bus. After countless means of transportation, Lloyd ended up in A.P. Fort in Virginia. The last stretch of his journey was in view. All he had to do was call his family and they would be on their way to pick him up and bring him on home.
Home sweet home. After such a dreadful excursion home, Lloyd was overjoyed to be reunited once again with his beloved family. He would also be able to see his beautiful, newborn daughter who had been born while he was on duty. What a sweet reunion that was! Lloyd was with his family, and was complete once again.