Paul Vansteenbergen's Military Experience

1768 Words 8 Pages
On December 14, 1945, Paul VanSteenbergen, my uncle, boarded a troop carrying liberty

ship. He went inside and placed his standard issue backpack on his cot and then returned to the

top deck to wave goodbye to his family and friends, who were waiting in the wooden pier below.

Men leaned over railings, climbed on lifeboats, and perched midway up the masts to catch a last

glimpse of their families. Now, at age eighty­nine he retells the story in his Guilford home. He

verbalizes how he managed to go from his childhood home in Hamden to the Air Force. He

explained that he joined because of his prior knowledge of motors and his curiosity of flying. Mr.

VanSteenbergen is an inspiration to me to succeed in doing what I desire in life. He also
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Mr. VanSteenbergen learned from experience that small choices can

influence the course of an entire life, which he choice to join the Air Force did. Mr.

VanSteenbergen’s decsion to join the service may have molded him into the kind, big­hearted

man he is now.

When I interviewed Mr. VanSteenbergen, he was excited for his military experience to be

written down, as it never has before. I am extremely honored to be the first to do so. Mr.

VanSteenbergen came to the interview armed with a notebook page full of dates and important

events in his military history. He also came prepared with pictures of his formal dress uniform as

a military policemen and images from a roll of film he found in his dresser drawer six months

earlier depicting the photos he took while in Japan. This willingness to help others inspired me

to write down his story and not let his extra work go to waste. Mr. Van even showcased the

Japanese rifle he used as a military policemen and the three swords he sent home on orders to

ship Japanese weapons out of Japan to keep the Japanese men from continuing to fight the

Americans. Mr. VanSteenbergen’s story shows that not all military experiences of the time of

World War II and the Occupation were

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