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Going to My Brother Joe
by Frank (Buddy) Sisco Sr.
Copyright 2001 Frank Sisco Sr.
This short story is about the journey of the writer (a Sea Bee) to meet up with his brother Joe (a Marine) in the Pacific during World War II. It is a tale of overcoming obstacles in joining with his brother for a precious few minutes.
(This photo of my brother Joe (on left) and I was taken in the summer of 1946, back in America at 53 North Street, Mt. Vernon, NY).

(This photo is of me at 17 years old when I was in the SeaBees).

I was born on April 30, 1927 to Mary and Joseph Sisco. At the age of 5, we moved to Mt. Vernon, New York from Westerly, Rhode Island. I attended public schools until the March of 1944.
I start my story by saying I was not a high school graduate. At the end of the 11th grade in 1944, I joined the Navy. After 5 weeks, I changed to the Sea Bees and was sent to Norfolk Virginia.
Six weeks later I was on my way to the Hawaiin Islands. After 40 days of circling, I arrived as a member of the 121st Division, attached to the 4th Marine Division to which my brother, Joe, belonged.
We made arrangements to see one another. After getting permission from Joe's commander, we were supposed to spend Christmas together, but it was put off until the 2nd week in January because he had been wounded at Iwo Jima.
Going to see my brother Joe, one morning at 8 o'clock, I took a mail boat to Guam which was 200 miles away, and arrived at 5 that evening in the pouring rain. The 6th Marine Division was camped there. After asking where the 4th Marine Division was, I was told they were 15 miles up the road. After trying to hitch hike for some time, a Marine M.P. picked me up. When he saw me in a blue shirt and blue dungarees, he asked me why my shirt sleeves were cut and if I knew what was the uniform of the day. I told him I did not know and I showed him my orders. He asked if I had any other clothes, and I answered "Yes, I have Marine Greens." He said "Put them on" because Admiral Nimetz headquarters was there.
After arriving at Admiral Headquarters, I asked for PFC Joe Sisco. The Marine officer said Joe was on duty at Personnel Headquarters 15 miles back where I just came from. Now the tears started from my eyes. I then hitch hiked back to Personnel Headquarters and again asked for Joe Sisco. I now was told he was on guard at Admiral's Headquarters and so I went back there. After arriving back at Admiral's Headquarters, I was told he was shipped to Port of Embarkation, which was at the far end of the 60-mile long island. After hitch-hiking again, I arrived at the campsite at 1 o'clock in the morning.
The camp was loaded with all tents. I walked past all the tents with lights on, calling "Joe, Joe" I got the answer I was looking for.
He cried out "Bud! Over here!" He was all dressed and told me to grab his sea bag, and to follow him. He jumped onto a truck.
I said "Where are you going?"
He said he was going to receive a Purple Heart on the carrier Saratoga and then he was going home.
I said "I'll see you again in April when I get discharged."
The total time together was less than 5 minutes, after spending 13 months in trying to get together.
After leaving my brother and on my journey back, while hitch-hiking, a lieutenant stopped to pick me up. It happened to be an old buddy of mine. He was in charge of a P.O.W camp, which he took me to. There I was fed a hot cooked meal, served for the first time on a dinner plate, cup and saucer. He then made arrangements for me to be flown back to Saipan. After arriving at Saipan, the next morning looking out over the ocean from my room I saw the carrier Saratoga, moored out less than one mile away. I snapped a photo of the carrier which was carrying my brother back to America, whom I would join again in a few months.
My journey to see my brother was filled with obstacles, but was worth it even though I had only a few moments together with him. My brother Joe passed away on March 18, 1995. I hope I'll see him again someday. This time in heaven.