The War is Over

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Marshall Ralph Doak Chief Pharmacist's Mate United States Navy

The War is Over
When Japan surrendered they told me they were gonna keep me as they needed me. I found out, however, that I had the most discharge points of anyone in that 3rd Naval District. I said, "I wanna go home." They said that they would give me Lieutenancy or Chief Warrant Officer to keep me in, but I said, "I'm sorry, I'm going home. I've got time. I wanna go back and go into medicine. You try to keep me and I'll be like a log and won't do anything."

I was finally discharged and came on back home and went to the University of Michigan. I'd gotten my credits from school and went to talk to the counselor at the University of Michigan. All my education and credits from the Navy wouldn't qualify me for credit there. They wouldn't accept them. They said, "You're gonna have to go back and take pre-med." I said, "These last seven years have broadened me and rounded my education considerably." I felt insulted. So, I took a special business/administration course offered to vets and it was very helpful. I always had frustration that I should have gone ahead and got a medical degree, but I never did it. I found college very difficult. I was constantly arguing with the professor (who hadn't experienced war) and I was very opinionated. The younger college students would have nothing to do with the veterans. The vets would hang out together because of necessity. When I was discharged from the Navy on October 8, 1945, at Great Lakes I had a speech impediment. That eventually got better but I still cannot speak before groups of people. I have always been a perfectionist (what a cross to carry) and that was difficult for my family to understand. I was never a drunk or a dope addict, but I was a strict family disciplinarian. I had a wonderful family, a loving, understanding wife for 54 years, three wonderful sons who have done well and I'm very proud of them. But two of them told me and their mother that they would never have children.

Two years ago I went to Washington, D.C., to help dedicate the World War II memorial and the day before I paid my respects at the Iwo lima memorial, and accidentally wandered into an area honoring FDR. As I stood before "The Day of Infamy" plaque I lost my mental control and anger took over, and I expressed myself vehemently. "That's not the way the war started!" I was led away. Soon after I was diagnosed with PTSD, and I now understand my many mood swings with anger. I lost some close friends and accounts that I will never know that caused my source of anger. I never knew, but I know now.

On the 15 of August, 2006, I was taken to the local emergency room having experienced a severe seizure on Lake Michigan. The hospital took an MRI and a cat scan of my brain and there were no recent strokes. But it did show that I had experienced a stroke a long time ago. I never had a history of a stroke, but I stated that I was within 15 feet of a Japanese bomb blast on board my ship at Singapore at the start of the war. I asked if the concussion from the blast could have caused the brain injury that would also account for the three days after the blast that I cannot account for. The doctor said yes. So we never know when or where we will find war injuries. But at least I have answers to problems that I have carried for 66 years, and I am undergoing treatment at the Veteran's Clinic and the Veteran Hospital. My wife lost her only brother on his first mission on a B-17 Bomber in October of 1944 (Sgt. Edward Ankli). Through 54 years of marriage, Lorraine never complained about my many mood swings but always remained very supportive and understanding. She knew, by instinct evidently, what was causing these swings. She was a very special person, and my sons are like her in many respects. God Bless them all.