Both ships and both sailors have memories of their time aboard that would be better off forgotten, but they relive their experiences too often and remember close friends who did not “make it back”. Many memories are good though and they delighted in retelling them.
I, as an Air Force Veteran found much of their tales standard G.I. talk, but I must confess that much of their Navy verbiage, albeit maritime lingo is thousands of years old, found me scratching my head. Bells for hours and the confusing rank system still stymie my meager knowledge of naval nomenclature. Nomenclature is an example of the kind of words that are tossed around in the military.
Read more about Mr. Wilcox and his life here.
Mr. Joseph was aboard the USS Iowa and was scheduled for number two turret duty that infamous day in April, 1989 when the turret exploded, killing 47 sailors. He was excused for duty, after working an extra shift the evening before. All of the sailors who died were friends of his and he thanks God for his mercy in sparing him to retell the story.
Read about the USS Iowa explosion here.
Recognizing the importance of honoring our Veterans, Mr. Joseph brought 2 of his sons to meet the great WWII hero and they sat in quiet observation as the two war veterans chatted.
Mr. Wilcox has been ill for the last month and is in the San Jacinto Methodist hospital, Alexander Campus, but tells me he is on the comeback trail after gaining ten pounds. He hopes to live two more years, as he has a lot of work to do, but Mr. Joseph assured him, he would live many more, as he is a hero and a... survivor.