Thursday, February 6, 2014

90-year-old WWII veteran Lloyd Glick overwhelmed with Saipan visit

Lloyd Glick

A MUSICIAN and former Los Angeles Times proofreader returned to Saipan on Tuesday and was honored for his service in the Battle of Saipan 70 years ago.

90-year-old Lloyd Glick, who served on the USS North Carolina that bombarded Saipan along with the Fifth Fleet during WWII, arrived on Saipan aboard the cruise ship Crystal Serenity that pulled into Saipan harbor for a daylong stopover.

Glick, who was awarded the medallion by 70th Battle of Saipan and Tinian Committee Chairman and Military and Veterans Affairs Office Director Vicente Camacho, stepped on Saipan for the first time ever.

Asked of his reaction to the surprise award given him, Glick, accompanied by his wife, said, “It’s overwhelming to start with. And it probably embarrasses me because I think it really belongs to troops that came ashore and faced much more hardship than I ever did.”

He said if there was way for them to be there with him, “I would certainly welcome that.”

“All I can say, I am overwhelmed at the warmth of the reception,” said Glick.

He said he had no idea that it would occur.

“It’s all kind of a shock,” he said referring to the award ceremony that was organized immediately following the film showing at the American Memorial Park Visitor Center.

Glick had been communicating with author and entrepreneur Walt Goodridge before his trip to Saipan aboard the Crystal Serenity.

Of the extraordinary things he did as mentioned by Woodridge, Glick said, “Maybe I didn’t give the correct facts. I didn’t do anything exceptional.”

He said he didn’t do anything that could be classified as “bravery.”

“I was there because the Navy wanted me there. I had no choice,” he said.

For Glick, the true honor should be accorded to the Marines that came ashore and took the island in 1944.

His wife, Judy, disagreed. “But you were there for support.”

However, coming to Saipan for Glick had been overwhelming.

“It’s a bit overwhelming. Probably by the end of the day I will come to terms with it,” he said.

For Judy, they were looking forward to seeing more of Saipan as they had just gotten off the ship.

“We’re just getting started,” she said.

Glick said he never set foot on Saipan prior to yesterday.

“I never got off the battle ship. Our function as a battleship was not to come ashore. We participated for several days of intense bombardment of the islands from about 12 miles out with our 16-inch guns.

We along with several other battleships we tried the clear the lands so there would be no obstructions to the Marines or as few obstructions as possible,” he said.

He said the pictures that most have seen on the landings, the beaches were virtually stripped of vegetation from their bombardment efforts.

“Nothing to impede the Marines,” he said.

He said they bombarded Saipan for several days.

He also said they also went to Tinian to do the same.

“So we did extensive bombardment of Tinian. I don’t know how long we were in this area,” he said.

From the Marianas, Glick said they proceeded westward and participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea — Marianas Turkey Shoot.

He said this battle was significant.

He said the success here had a lot to do with the Saipan and Tinian campaign.

“All of this occurred before the Okinawa campaign. That is where we first ran into the ‘kamikazes’,” he said.

He said they ran into kamikazes “which changed completely our lives board the ship.”

He said nobody knew when a kamikaze would come diving down the ship.

He said the “war changed to a different pace — in my recollection — after Saipan.”

He recalled their amphibious landings in Tarawa — the first landings in the islands.

“The Navy learned a lot from Tarawa. They put it to better use in the landings here by using different type landing craft that could deal with the coral. The coral would rip the bottoms right out of the some of the landing craft,” he said.

While in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Glick said they were never the targets of any aircraft.

“WWII was basically a battle between aircraft carriers,” he said.

Enemy planes would fly past their ships to get to the carriers.

“I remember one day standing on the deck toward the rear of the North Carolina on a clear day with nothing happening. Then all of a sudden a Kamikaze came down and struck a carrier and set it on fire,” he said.

Glick, reiterated, that he did nothing heroic.

“To classify myself in any way having done heroic, I will not accept it,” he said adding that his role during the war was nothing more than modest.

According to the yet to be circulated copy of the Woodridge’s biography of Glick, the latter was born on Dec. 28, 1923 in Berkeley, California.

His father was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War I and a pharmacist. His mother was a teacher.

At an early age, Glick was into playing the trumpet.

“I had taken up studying the trumpet at a very early age. And by the time I finished high school, I was fairly accomplished with the horn and had earned the second trumpet chair with the University of California symphony even though I did not attend the college,” he said in the book.

When Pearl Harbor was attacked, Glick had just finished practicing for an hour and was going to the movies in Berkeley when the movie was stopped.

Glick had wanted to join the prestigious U.S. Navy School Music.

He was told that to get into the program, he would have to be enlisted as a regular Navy.

He enlisted on April 24, 1942.

He finished the program in June 1943 which was shortened from 18 months to 12 months.

After graduation, he was assigned along with 19 others to form a band for assignment in the USS North Carolina.

According to his biography, he told Woodridge via email, “We fought in every major campaign until the end of hostilities in 1945.”

He narrated that on June 13, 1944, his ship was with the Fifth Fleet bombarding the western shore of Saipan.

In an 85-minute period, he said, they bombarded targets ashore at an average range of 15,000 yards.

“We fired 360-rounds from our 16-inch guns and 2096 rounds from our 5-inch guns,” he said.

While on board the USS North Carolina, he said they did not have the luxury of the time to play music.

Most of the time, they manned their battle stations.

He was aboard the ship until war was declared over in 1945.

After the war, Glick found a job as a proofreader for the Los Angeles Times where he stayed for six years.

He then worked as a police officer and served for 20 years.

Then he worked an insurance firm, climbing the corporate ladder from insurance investigator to management level for 35 years.

Glick was on Saipan yesterday with his wife Judy.

Judy said Glick is a wonderful husband and she admires his sense of humor.

They have been married for 38 years.

Asked for any advice to those in the service, he told Variety, “Do everything to the best of your ability. That will be the key."

[Lloyd Glick and Judy were among the close to 1000 passengers aboard Crystal Serenity cruise ship that pulled into Saipan harbor on Feb. 4.]

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