A Generation Later… What Uncle Bob Did Made a Big Difference! by Jeff Worthington

World War 2, WW2, World War 2 Contest, World War 2 Video Contest, You Tube Contest WW2, You Tube Contest World War 2, iHistory Project,   WW2 Volunteers, Jeff Worthington, Jeffrey Worthingon, Military History Contest, High School You Tube Competition, World War Two Video Contest, History Contest World War 2, Great Project for High School History, High School History Contest,The war was ended.  Civilian Robert H. McAllister, like many veterans, returned home and began the healing process.  He settled in the small town of Massapequa, NY, living at 12 Boston Avenue.  Baby-Boomers abounded and in his corner of Massapequa, former Sgt. (and now civilian) Robert H. McAllister was called “Uncle Bob” by the children of the neighborhood.  They grew up and some were called to serve during the Viet Nam War.  One, Kevin Hurley, was an Army MP stationed in Saigon during the Tet offensive of 1968.

In the early 1970’s Kevin’s sister, Deborah, was wed.  The McAllister family attended and in a conversation with former Sgt. McAllister’s son, Hugh, Kevin said that only he and one other person came out of their building alive.  Hugh recalled that Kevin told him how during the time they were under siege, he would lay at night and wonder: “What would Uncle Bob do?”  The stories of survival McAllister told had made a strong impression on Kevin.  He said he believed those stories and the survival strategies he learned, helped him survive.  Kevin carried out of the building his sole surviving comrade.            
          
“What would Uncle Bob do?”   The stories of a single soldier, one who enlisted because of an insult; who selected the rigors of an enlisted soldier over the relative comforts of a
seafaring officer‘s service, may be the difference between life and death for another; even though they were separated by a generation and served in a very different conflict.  

I hope you will support me (and hundreds of World War 2 enthusiasts and volunteers around the world) in challenging American teens across America, who are interested in military history, to participate in the iHistory Project-WW2.  We are committed to preserving these great World War 2 stories and memories and to bringing them to life so future generations will understand and appreciate the events of this conflict and how they shaped our world.

For more information, visit the I-History Project-WW2 or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org

What Would “Uncle Bob Do?” by Jeffrey Worthington, iHistory Project-WW2

World War 2, WW2, World War 2 Contest, World War 2 Video Contest, You Tube Contest WW2, You Tube Contest World War 2, iHistory Project,   WW2 Volunteers, Jeff Worthington, Jeffrey Worthingon, Military History Contest, High School You Tube Competition, World War Two Video Contest, History Contest World War 2, Great Project for High School History, High School History Contest,We see wars as individual events, periods of time that have beginnings and ends.  The connections across time are often ignored.  I’m not talking about political events that link conflicts, but rather, the individuals’ stories; the human connections.  One such story binds the European Theater of Operations in WW2 with Saigon in 1968.  It’s the story of a soldier in the 137th Signal Radio Intelligence Corps, Sgt. Robert H. McAllister, later known as “Uncle Bob.”

Sgt. McAllister was the son of Hugh Robert McAllister, an Irish born sea captain.  All his life, he was groomed to be a seaman.  The problem was, he hated the sea.  He earned his Third Mate’s papers at the age of 17, but left the service to pursue a career in business.  When the U.S. entered the war he was a sales manager for a cork company, a title which earned him a deferment.  He told his son, Hugh McAllister that one day while renewing his deferment, a soldier at the draft office commented that he was “another Irishman afraid to fight.”  A fight ensued Robert H. McAllister enlisted that day. His son recalls that “my Dad never got the connection that the army staffer got what he wanted, another recruit, and all it cost him was a black eye.”  McAllister selected the US Army Infantry because of his admiration for an uncle, James Kelly, who served admirably in the “Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment” during the First World War. 

Even following enlistment, offered based on his earlier commission as a Third Mate in the Merchant Marine; he was offered a commission in his choice of the US Navy or the Merchant fleet.  Hatred of the sea and admiration for his uncle “Jimmy” conspired to keep him in the army.  Radio operation, a skill learned on board his father’s ship, got him a ticket to the signal corps, where he served until the end of the war.  His unit arrived in France on September 3, 1944 and served in France, Luxemburg, Holland, Germany and Belgium, leaving Europe on August 14, 1945, from the port at Lahore, on the Liberty Ship “Joseph Leidy.”  Along the way the 137th Signal Radio Intelligence Company engaged Nazi troops in the Battle of The Bulge.  Sgt. McAllister experienced war, operating in areas frequented by German Panzers and SS units.  He was lucky.  He survived. 

In the next post we’ll fast-forward to see how Uncle Bob made a big difference in another soldier’s life, in another, very different time and place.

I hope you will support me (and hundreds of World War 2 enthusiasts and volunteers around the world) in challenging American teens across America, who are interested in military history, to participate in the iHistory Project-WW2.  We are committed to preserving these great World War 2 stories and memories and to bringing them to life so future generations will understand and appreciate the events of this conflict and how they shaped our world.

For more information, visit the I-History Project-WW2 or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org