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website is dedicated to my father, Frank Padden and all of the
"boys" who served in World War 2 and in later conflicts. This
site is not a glorification of war, but a glorification of the people who
did what they had to do for their country.
Frank was raised in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and embarked on the greatest, and most frightening adventure of his life at the age of 17 1/2 when he enlisted in the Navy. The day he enlisted he shipped out for training at Sampson Naval Base in Geneva, New York. Through the power of the internet, I've been able to locate some of the men he trained with at Sampson as well as number of men from his ship.
My father served in the Pacific Theatre on a Amphibious Troop Transport, the Neshoba-APA 216. He was with the Neshoba while it was being outfitted and during it's shakedown cruise. While on the Neshoba, he saw action in the Philippines and at the battle of Okinawa. He served briefly on several other ships.
Like many of the men who served in the Second World War, he spoke very little about his experiences. His was a generation that didn't need to preach or boast about their patriotism, they lived it. Their love for their country wasn't about plastic flags, empty slogans and partisan politics. Their patriotism was about doing their duty to protect their country, their families and their shipmates.
When he died in 1995, I knew very little about his war time experiences. My search started when my wife brought home the book "Flags of our Fathers" by James Bradley. I started reading it in the afternoon and didn't stop until late that night. Never ate dinner. By morning I had learned a lot - from the few scraps of information I had available. It has spun out of control since then.
Thanks to the power of the internet, I have been able to discover the "boy" I never knew. In building this website, I hope to be able to share with you a glimpse into another time when patriotism wasn't proclaimed, it was lived.
A number of his shipmates and other veterans have shared information and pictures of their experiences in the Navy, Marines and Army during this pivotal period in history. Some of the anecdotes were amusing, others depressing, but they all added to my knowledge of Frank "but why" Padden (his nickname in High School).
I would like to thank all of the men who shared their memories and pictures with me, with special thanks to Ray Allen of the Neshoba APA 216 and Glen Ayer of the Mountrail APA 213 who went above and beyond. They provided me with a large number of pictures, information and contacts and helped me bring this website to life in it's early days.
Glen Ayer-who took the time to scan an entire book so that it could be shared. He also helps keep me motivated to add more.
His material is found in the Mountrail and the Sampson areas of the website.
Many others have added to the site since it started, but Glen and Ray
were the first with the most.
I would also like to give special thanks to Bill Allingham for giving me his copy of the Neshoba Cruise book. This was the "holy grail" in my quest for information.
Ray Allen put me in contact with other men from the Neshoba. He was my first link.
He also shared his Xerox of the cruise book, all of his pictures, helped get the Deck Log project started and also helped share the cost of the Neshoba album bought on eBay.
Thank you Ray