A Marine at 15 before serving in the Air Force - News - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

By Bob Enanderas told to Abby Weingarten

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Bob Enander enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 15 (with altered paperwork) in 1945, after only a year of high school. Because of his late arrival overseas, he missed any World War II combat and was discharged in the summer of 1946. Enander went onto join the Air Force and ultimately enjoy a 35-year career as a pilot for United Airlines. Now 86, Enander lives at The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch in Sarasota with his wife, Patricia.

‘I was only 15 when I joined the Marines. Like all of the young men at the time, I thought war was extremely glorious. But it seemed like the war was coming to an end soon, and people my age weren’t going to be able to participate in it. So three of us joined the Marines and what we didn’t know at the time was that they were expecting quite a slaughter with the invasion of Japan. Anybody that was dumb enough to sign up, no matter what their age was, was taken because they needed cannon fodder.

I was only six weeks in the states when I was sent to Okinawa with an assault team, and we were waiting for the invasion. We did the rest of our training there in preparation. But then they dropped what we, at the time, heard was a super bomb. Nobody had heard of atomic or nuclear bombs. Two days later, they dropped the second one.

We were a little disappointed, being the idiots we were, because we had looked forward to action. I had no idea about the horrors of war; none of us did. Hollywoo....

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