been reading my website, you know that I'm a genealogy buff. In fact, one
of the main reasons that I decided to quit my job in Portland in 2001 was to
travel around America so I could research my family's roots. I compiled
much of what I learned during my journey and put it into this section. I'll be adding information to this section as time permits, so check back soon. Here's what I've got so far:
Dad's ancestors included some of the earliest settlers of North America,
arriving in Massachusetts in the 1620s.
Here are some of their stories:
My Mother's Side
Mom's ancestors were mostly from Norway and Germany who emigrated to the
U.S. in the late 1800s and became pioneers, homesteading on the Midwestern prairies. Here
are some of their stories:
World War II
Dad's brother Bill joined the U.S. Navy in 1941 at age 19 and signed onto the Navy
oil tanker U.S.S. Neosho (AO-23).
This ship, the largest tanker in the world at the time, had a fascinating
history. Bill was on the Neosho at Pearl Harbor on December 7,
1941 during the Japanese attack and watched the assault while
manning the Neosho's forward gun. Six months later, the Neosho was
furiously attacked by Japanese dive-bombers during the Battle of the Coral Sea. Bill and 122
other men clung to the deck of the listing tanker for five days until they
were rescued by an American destroyer.
people know about the Neosho so I've put together a section describing
this ship. I've posted its fascinating story, several photos and battle maps, and audio
and video recordings of
Bill's description of the battles at Pearl Harbor and the Coral Sea. It
all starts on my
U.S.S. Neosho Home Page.
left: Fireman 3rd Class, Bill Leu, soon after he
enlisted in the Navy in 1941.
center: The U.S.S. Neosho (AO-23) in Norfolk, Virginia
on August 7, 1939, about three months after it was launched. This was just after
it was commissioned by the U.S. Navy. For a supersized photo, click
right: One of the maps I've drawn to illustrate the Battle
of the Coral Sea, in May of 1942.
Table of Contents:
The day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, my father, who was 18, tried to
enlist with the U.S. Navy. Since my Dad had just started college, the Navy
recruiter suggested that he finish two years of school first and then enroll in
the Navy's new V-12 Officer Training Program. My father entered the V-12
program in 1943 and a year later became one of the first Navy SEALs.
In July of 1945, my father
was sent to China where he fought the Japanese with a unique but little-known
American outfit known as SACO. My father, an Ensign and later a Lieutenant Commander,
engaged in guerilla warfare against the Japanese and was placed in charge
of training 1,200 Chinese guerilla troops at SACO's main base near Chungking.
SACO was the first and only
American military unit ever completely integrated into a foreign military
force. Unfortunately, due to wartime secrecy, not much was published about this
highly-effective and fascinating group of 2,500 Americans, so I put together
this section describing them.