Archived Story

Alan Swindall meets father’s WWII comrade

Published 11:19am Monday, January 14, 2013

By CATHERINE LEGG / Community Columnist

Recently Alan Swindall’s daughter Sarah asked some interesting questions about her grandfather’s service in World War II, so they got out an old picture album and began going through it.

Jack Swindall (Contributed)

Sarah discovered a wonderful old photo of a guy in an aviator’s cap autographed, “Best of Luck to a 4.0 Rebel,” and signed “Stinkey.”

Stanley Sinitski (Contributed)

She turned it over and found a name and address on the back.

Alan’s curiosity was aroused so he “googled” the name, Stanley Sinitski, in the area around the Boston address. He immediately got three “hits,” and on his second telephone call, found Stanley, a 91-year-old, who had served with his father in Alaska during the Alaskan invasion in 1944.

As luck would have it, Alan has a friend, Kent Daum, who once lived in Montevallo and now lives in Boston. Of course, Kent and Kathy would love to have him for a visit; so the easy arrangements were made for them to meet him at the airport and take him to visit his father’s old friend.

It was a most unusual and delightful visit. Stanley had played drums in a band for 60 years and still gets together to play with friends occasionally. He lives alone in a retirement apartment complex, and was pleased to talk about the days of World War II and what he remembered about Alan’s father, Jack.

Both of these Navy volunteers worked as mechanics in the forces that followed the United States invasion of Japanese-occupied Alaska. Stanley was an aircraft mechanic and Jack a boat engine mechanic. They had lived in the same Quonset hut, sometimes snowed-in there for as many as eight days.

“I had wanted to learn more about my father who died several years ago,” said Alan, “but Stanley didn’t remember as much as I had hoped; though he did help me understand what they went through, and how it might have shaped them and affected their lives.”

Alan and his wife, Sandy, live in Montevallo. Sandy teaches at Meadowview and Alan is an ordained minister and a family and marriage counselor whose main office is at the Alabaster First United Methodist Church.

 

Catherine Legg can be reached by email at clegg2@bellsouth.net.

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