Crack shot, trained on hare, awarded military honors

James B. Tippin, the author of “Encouragement, Loyalty and Make-Do” recounts hunting for survival with his oldest brother in Vero Beach, Florida.

Tracking hare in the disced fields of Vero BeachIt was a time of Great Depression groaning. My father sold his technical reference books so that my older brother, with the aid of groups of Lutheran Farmers, could enter pre-seminary study in a small town in Missouri. He would often arrive back home for a visit following closely behind my completion of the discing of summer fire guards around Storm Grove, 160 acres of citrus trees. Lush green plant tid- bits would again be poking up where I had so recently disced, This was an overwhelming temptation to the large population of rabbits of that day. A platter of fried rabbit would well feed our family of six.

We had a 1926 model T truck. One of my other brothers had boosted the head lamps. Ultimately my seminary brother would raise the money to by a box of 22 caliber ammunition. The sun would set. I would crank the old model T Ford. My seminary brother would climb up in the back with a wired together, single-shot, 22 cal. rifle and away to the fire guard we would go. I would drive and brother would shoot over my head as the head lights reflected from the rabbits’ eyes. We made so much noise that the shooting distance would be twenty to thirty yards. Many a platter of rabbit came from these forays, happy relief from Great Depression fare. At that time I told my father ” in cleaning those rabbits, I several times, encountered fully intact bunnies, minus eyes.

No one had ever known that the eldest brother had been awarded the bronze star.

No one had ever known that the eldest brother had been awarded the bronze star.

WWII came down upon us all and my seminary brother enlisted in the navy. Soon he was a diesel engineer on a Destroyer Escort. They were part of the protection for convoys to North Africa, Italy and Sicily. My brother’s battle station was as a gunner on a 20mm deck gun. In one of the attacks from the air, in the Mediterranean, The Destroyer Escort was credited with shooting down two German JU 88 bombers.

Recently my brother, long retired from the ministry, died. His wife telephoned in an effort to learn if my brother had ever told me that he had been awarded the Bronze Star. She knew nothing about it. A veteran’s group had approached her to honor my brother for the bronze star award at the grave side services. I did not nor did any of the other living relatives.

I went back to walk that old fire guard. I couldn’t. It is full of houses and children’s laughter………….

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