Pain and Purpose in the Pacific

Pain and Purpose in the Pacific book cover-1

Pain and Purpose in the Pacific: True Reports of War
Pain and Purpose in the Pacific offers a unique glimpse of Marines, Air Corps, Soldiers, and Sailors to include Coast Guard at war and the family and friends they leave behind. Bright bridges a historical look at World War II with vignettes of the realities of war, giving the reader a clear-eyed view of what it means to live and die in service of your country.

In Pain and Purpose in the Pacific: True Reports of War (published by Trafford Publishing), author Richard Carl Bright tells the stories of his uncle Carl Johnson, an American Marine who spent 30 months in the Pacific during WWII. As the United States Marine Corps fought costly campaigns in the Pacific, Carl saw bitter combat on the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Okinawa.

In this moving work, Bright, who lived for seven years on Saipan, puts a human face on the tragedies of war, ushering readers into the darkest pits of destruction (the pain) and into the brightest views of hope and redemption (the purpose). Bright traces his Uncle Carl’s travels during World War II, from his homeland in Minnesota to the battle-torn islands of the Pacific, all the way to Japan. Bright, a veteran of Vietnam, colors his prose with his personal experiences and observations by traveling to many of the Pacific locations, including Iwo Jima, the Marianas Islands, Peleliu and the Philippines. He also personally interviewed Carl’s Platoon Sergeant, Arthur Wells, who fought at Carl’s side.

During his time in the Pacific, the author spoke with several of the veterans of the Pacific War. About that he says: “Doing so has in some cases allowed me in some small way to understand a sense of the hell they had to suffer through.” With gratitude, he acknowledges the Military Historical Tours of Alexandria, Virginia for helping to make his reporting possible. Bright includes in Pain and Purpose in the Pacific stories from the veterans, as well as stories from some of the people of the islands who, in one way or another, were involved in the conflict.

Not only a story of war, Pain and Purpose in the Pacific is ultimately a love story. Carl would return to his hometown to marry Clara Young, the woman who awaited his return. Together they would raise a family and live out the American dream.

Bright writes of Carl’s return, and that of other veterans who were able to make it home alive. Sadly, the facts of war demanded that many Americans did not return home. Bright writes too of those Americans who died in battle. In the following excerpt, Bright writes of two relatives, Bud and Lois Voigt, who Carl would meet on Saipan and Okinawa.
Recently promoted Corporal Carl Johnson arrived in the United States, achieved civilian status honorably, arrived in Akeley, Minnesota on the 29th of February, 1946, and was married to Clara (also from Akeley) two weeks later on the 13th of March. Then they fulfilled the American dream. They raised a family. Bud went to the states, got his discharge, and lived also in Minnesota.

I was privileged to meet and know Bud when I was a young boy in Northern Minnesota. He passed away a number of years ago. After the war, Louis went to Northern China to help repatriate the Japanese soldiers there back to Japan. He spent 4 months in Northern China. Then it was back to the states for him too. For my uncle Carl, and for Bud and Louis, members of my extended family, things turned out pretty well. Perhaps they have had to suppress a number of memories, and have had to deal with some sleepless nights (occasionally interrupted by a nightmares), but they survived. I’m grateful that they did.

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