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The Kissing Sailor


Well-Known Member
Guys, I posted this on the HAMB and wanted to tell you guys too.

There were many photos taken both during and after WWII. Two of which can be called iconic. The Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima and the photo of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square, NY, NY.

I was at my job at the VA Hospital in Houston today and stopped in one of the smoking areas for a cig. Surprisingly, it was almost empty, save for a few people and myself. I noticed a veteran in a wheel chair had a WWII Veteran cap. I went over to say a few words of thanks for doing a bag up job.

I asked where he had served and he stated in the Mediterranean theatre. I said my thanks and he continued. Then he said something that made the very hairs on my neck stand up. "I'm the swab that kissed that nurse."

Now, there are a few vets who tend to stretch the truth a little and oft times, you kinda take what they say with a grain of salt. But this was going too far, so I heard him out. He said he was Gunnersmate 3rd Class Glenn McDuffie and he was on leave when the announcement came and did the deed. He then said that there's a picture and a plaque of him in the hospital. So, now I'm acting like a girl who just met her first rock star. I asked him if he minded me taking a picture of him. He obliged.

Now, I didn't have a camera and I had wanted one, so I headed to the Canteen (store for you civilians:D) that they have here at the hospital, but on the way, I had to make sure he was on the up and up. I found the plaque and there he was. A young sailor posing in the kind of pic they make you take during boot camp (you vets know the one). It clear he was on the up and up. Next to it was the photo of him smacking that nurse. Awesome!

So, I go to the Canteen, drop $50 on a digi cam and head back to Mr. Mc Duffie. I took his pic. Here he is today:

It seems they had a ceremony here when it was finally proven that he was in fact the "real sailor" who planted the kiss. If you guys remember, it was up for debate for like 62 years. Anyway, he had a box of the photos that he had signed for a charity benefit. Well, today, he signed one for me:

After I took my pic, I explained that I belonged to a website of folks who are into traditional hot rods, the HAMB. I relayed how the history of hot rodding owes a great deal to the vets who came back from the war. He told me he was one! It seems he ran stockcars at an old track here. Meyers Speedway. He told me of a driver he had that used to drive for A.J. Foyt. He said the guy told him his car was so fast that he'd race for free!

We shared some more stories (meaning me listening) and then he had to go. Come to find out, he's a resident here in Houston. He's here at the hospital for a stay and will be going home in a week or so. He said he'd look out for me and share some more stories, if I wanted to hear 'em. So, now I'm gonna be smoking a lot for the next few days.

Visit your local VA Hospital or VFW, you never know who you'll run into.
Way to go Duffy!! Oh- Fred what does Iconic mean? LOL

In laymens terms.... kick a$$ cool in a historicly, representative way!
Great story, Fred.
Cool story. I never could get my father-in-law to talk much about the war. About the only things i really know is that he was in Guadalcanal and in the final sweep through Japan after we nuked 'em. I always thought it was kind of ironic that he died on December 7th.

So learn as much as you can from the few survivors. They're dwindling pretty fast.
And if you happen upon WWII vet shake his or her hand a give them a big hearty thank you. Without men and women like them there would be no United States Of America today.
I was treating the wife and son to dinner here in Kissimmee the other week and there was a fellow with his wife at the table next to us with the WW II hat on. My 12 year old is a history nut when it come to US conflicts and wars. He talked with the gentleman for about an hour mostly confirming things he had read and seen on the history channel. He spent another hour learning new things. When we left I took his bill to the cashier and added some chocoalate cake to it before I paid it. What a great day for my son.

Also, Take your kids and grand kids to museums. Most of the volunteers there are all old vets and can spend hours with kids that have an interest.

Id have to say that you have had some amazing experiences while remodeling that hospital and Im glad to read the stories that you have posted!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!
Fred - first, thanks for sharing your story. What was the date of your meeting this Hero?

Second, you're still smokin?

Third, who's the female? Betcha she was a real cutie, probably still is a looker.
Dec. 8, 2009
Yup, but I cut back.
I don't know her name, but it's on Google.
Fred, the day after D-Day you met the guy in the V-J Day photo.

Glad you've cut back on the cigs but if you hadn't gone for a smoke break you might never have met him right?

I found a Wikipedia article about the photo and an alternate view from another photographer is also available.–J_day_in_Times_Square

Great story... I hope you don't mind I emailed it to a few friends that also served during the war.

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