Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The past couple of weeks have been historic for our family - literally. We were contacted by Becky Clarke, daughter of Duane "Swede" Nelson.  Swede and my father-in-law, Carmine Ronzino, were buddies in the Marines together, living in the filth of foxholes and battling the Japanese in combat on Okinawa and Peleliu.  Swede kept personal journals during his time in the Marines from boot camp until the end of WWII.  Becky took his journals and made a book for family and friends - friends including Swede's buddies during the war.  Thus, she is hunting for as many WWII brothers or their family members as she can find.

Having looked for Carmine Ronzino's family for about 6 weeks, Becky finally found my youngest son, Andrew's, blog.  (Yeah for blogs!)  Becky sent us an email copy of her book - a compilation Swede's journals and photos of the combat in WWII.  With great emotion and some tears, all of us were transported to the battlefield via his journals. Seeing Dad's photos with Swede and the other men did our hearts proud.

Christmas Day menu
with Dad's band of brother's
My father-in-law never spoke of his time in battle - only a few of the antics that he and his buddies pulled.   His years in the war were a never-talked-about mystery.  Until two weeks ago.

Reading Swede's first-hand account of the war and seeing "Carmine Ronzino" written in his logs was life-changing for our family. Dad died back in 1981 from a sudden, massive heart attack while vacationing in Canada.  My son, Andrew, never even got to meet his grandfather.  Reading of his part in WWII has been an amazing gift for Andrew - for all of us Ronzinos.  To read someone's first-hand account makes the war ever so real and truly personal, not Hollywoodish.

The Marine's motto: "Semper Fi" means "always faithful". To me that was just a saying - until now.  I now understand the camaraderie of those living and dying on the battlefield.  I would say that Becky has inherited her Marine Dad's maxim. She has been most faithful in sharing her father's story; faithful in searching for the brothers he fought beside; and ever faithful in giving everyone her time as she corresponds with all the family members of the soldiers. We, as a family, are  so grateful for her diligence and care.

We are so proud of Dad, his buddy, Swede, and all the rest of the men of 81MM Mortar, 2nd Bn 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division Marines  who courageously fought on the front lines until Japan surrendered. We are honored and blessed beyond measure to know their story.

God bless all the surviving men and their families! God bless Swede for capturing and preserving a part of the Ronzino history that we otherwise would never have known. I don't think Swede will ever know how many lives he and Becky have touched.

Thank You, LORD God, for sparing these men's lives - had You not, Joe would never have been born, nor my children.  Thank You for allowing us to know more about the man Dad was, and thank You for this blessing of getting to know Swede and his family - truly Your Divine Appointment in our lives.  Please bless all the survivors, LORD, and help Becky find the remaining men and/or their families.  Thank You, LORD.

Because of Him and Unto Him


wordglow said...

I am again amazed by this story...yes this whole thing has to be by Divine appt! So glad Becky was able to find Andrew's blog and bless you all this way!


Diane said...

Thanks, Pam! I appreciate you taking the time to comment!