Heroes in unexpected places
On Friday, Oct.8, The Boerne Star ran a picture of Bob Whelan and his wife Jane, celebrating Bob’s 95th birthday at Shang Hai Chinese Restaurant. A few months ago, my wife Jo-Ann and I met Bob and Jane in a doctor’s office. While waiting, I learned that at the ripe old age of 17, Bob joined the Marine Corps right after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He and his brother joined together. Their first assignment was a hellhole called Guadalcanal.
As we spoke, names like Edson’s Ridge or Bloody Ridge, Carlson’s Raiders, the Slot, the Tokyo Express and Henderson Field came alive right before me. These were no longer just names in history but real and meaningful things. A man who was there – and there are not many of them left – was talking to me about them.
The battle for Guadalcanal lasted six months. Bob and his brother survived the Canal. After recuperation and retraining, Bob and his brother were sent to another hellhole. They went to fight for the liberation of the Philippines. They both survived that one, too.
How do you thank such people? I guess all you can do is say “Thank you” and try to live a good American life. Thank you, Bob.
– Gregory Drollinger, Boerne,