My father, an Army veteran, passed away late last week, at age 90. William R. Woofenden was a technician, 5th grade, in Company A 13th Engineer Battalion, and among other engagements, took part in the assault landing on Leyte in the Philippines.
He didn't talk much about the war until late in his life, and even then he mostly wanted to talk about shenanigans away from the combat lines -- "borrowing" heavy equipment from other units, stockpiling and hiding food supplies acquired through non-standard channels, and so on -- and not so much about the war itself. In his post-war life, he was a scholar of philosophy and a minister. I wonder how many people who knew him in those roles even knew that he was a veteran.
Of the photos I have from his wartime service, most are of unidentified locations and unidentified soldiers. There are a few captions, but not much to go on, overall. It will be a work of research and time, to put names to the faces. One day I hope to do that.
I've been struck in these past several days with lots of different thoughts: what it means to lose a parent, the mercy of a release from his physical pain, the end of a long life, and some of the things he and I had in common, including a love for research and history. I hope that when I'm gone, there will be someone else in the family who will continue with the research.
--Todd Woofenden, editor