Drafted into the Military Instead of Major League Baseball
By Kent Ansorge
George Alfred Gross grew up in the late 30’s and early 40’s in Grand Rapids, MI and loved to play baseball. He was a third baseman and outfielder and played ball for four years in high school and a year at Huntington College. His dream was to be drafted in the big leagues! Instead he was drafted into the Army in 1952 at the time of the Korean War.
George served over a year in Japan and later in Korea. He was trained as a cook, but also found himself serving as an MP. He returned home from the war in 1954 and later met his future wife, Mary on a blind date to a movie. They have been together and married for 61 years with a daughter and a son.
George had a successful business career and later moved to Sacramento, CA where they currently reside. His baseball prowess followed him and he was drafted to play in a “Golden Seniors” softball league. When he turned 80, he was kept in the age 70’s league as he was one of their best hitters. George finally got to show off his baseball skills late in life.
When health concerns arose, his daughter researched assistance programs and found the VetAssist Program from Veterans Home Care. It was the perfect program for George, with Mary his wife serving as his contact person for Veterans Home Care.
His VetAssist Program specialist, Val Carter, connected George with Access Home Care Aide Trianna Scott. Trianna cares for him six days a week including help with showering and shaving. Now George has a “travel chair” to get outside. He credits his home care team with help that keeps him going and enjoying life as best he can.
A Teenage Son’s Bravery and a Mother’s Concern
Veterans Home Care is proud to be able help our veterans who defended our homeland. One such person is Arthur Jaron. Mr. Jaron wanted to join the fight so badly that he doctored his birth certificate so he could enlist when he was actually only 17. When his mother found out, she had him go down and admit what he did and wait until he was 18. Mr. Jaron shared with us a letter his mother received after he was deployed to Alaska from Philip Bernstein of the Committee on Army and Navy Religious Activities, National Jewish Welfare Board. Veterans Home Care salutes Mr. Jaron for his service and the millions of other veterans and their families who were ready and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
The Forgotten Battle, the Aleutian Islands Campaign
Every American schoolchild is taught about the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The attack killed 2,403 U.S. personnel, including 68 civilians, and 1,178 others were wounded. Nineteen U.S. Navy ships were destroyed or damaged including eight battleships. The attack was the impetus for the United States to enter into the war against Japan, Germany and the Axis countries.
Surprisingly though, very few people know about the Japanese attack on the Aleutian Islands, which was part of the Alaska Territory at the time. On June 3, 1942 a small contingent of Japanese forces occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska. Due to the geography and weather conditions in the area, it took nearly a full year for a combined U.S.-Canadian force to drive them from the islands. The conflict is referred to as the “Forgotten Battle” due to it being overshadowed by the far larger Battle of Midway being conducted at the same time. Some historians have even surmised that the Japanese attack was actually a maneuver to draw forces in the U.S. Pacific Fleet away from the Midway Atoll to the Aleutians. Other historians believe that the Japanese invaded the Aleutians as a protection of Japan’s northern flank.
The fight to reclaim Attu was launched on May 11, 1943. The Japanese fought to the bitter end attempting one final banzai charge that was defeated by the larger U.S.-Canadian forces. On May 29, the island was officially back under U.S. control. On August 15, after a three week naval barrage of Kiska, the U.S.-Canadian forces landed only to find that the Japanese had abandoned the island on July 29.