By Gerry Roe
Suffering – silently is not particularly healthy but in the days after war it was expected. Unknown
Let me start by saying that my Uncle Jay was my favorite uncle. His mother, my grandmother, died when he was two. One of his older sisters, my mother, took him and his four year old sister to raise. She was a sixteen-year-old newlywed when they came to live with her. Although he was much older than me, we were raised by the same people. When he said he was going home to visit; anyone who knew him understood he was referring to the home of my mother and father.
Even though he had already left home and joined the Navy by the time I was born in 1946 I know that I was special to him also. I was almost 50 years old when he gave me the birth announcement my mother sent him after I was born. I was very surprised that he had kept it as a special memento all those many years.
Although Uncle Jay never discussed his Navy years with me, I knew something bad had happened. I remember (being told by older siblings) my mother and her older sister whispering and crying over his situation. He was too sensitive for war, he couldn’t take some of the sights that he saw, he missed his ship, he was thrown in the brig. What would he do? Those are snippets of conversations I heard. All I ever got was bits and pieces of the story.
I always wondered if he left the Navy dishonorably. I recently learned from his military history that he didn’t. Quite the opposite. What I found made me proud. After serving in the brig for seven months he was reassigned to another ship. His military history revealed that he received many medals and awards and that he was honorably discharged.
I wish I knew why he felt he couldn’t share his experiences. He had good experiences to share. But I never asked him about them, so I will never know because he has passed away without my asking him any questions. Those of us who have not experienced firsthand the savages of war can not imagine the effects it had on the men and women who served. Like my uncle so many went solo dealing with their experiences.
SIGNIFICANT DUTY STATIONS FOR JAMES ROLAND ISAACS
USS PARKS DE-165 – PLANK OWNER
USS SAN SABA APA-232
SIGNIFICANT MEDALS AWARDED JAMES ROLAND ISAACS
Philippine Liberation Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia Clasp
World War 11 Victory Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 4 Stars