My grandson convinced me to do an AMA today and will be typing for me! Here I am awaiting orders (*Grandson's note: once a military man, always a military man!)! I've lived through the Great Depression, WWII, the birth of television, "from dirt roads to concrete and from kites to rockets!" Please ask away!

***** Edit: My grandfather served as the youngest Chief Petty Officer in the First US Naval District at 23 years old in 1946. He worked as a signalman. At that particular time, he was in charge of Signal Tower of Navy Operating Base in Newport, Rhode Island. "My jurisdiction was all ship-to-shore communication in the tower at that point." *****

***** Edit 2: Okay, to elaborate: my Grandfather worked as a golf course superintendent (building and managing greens; he built 132 of them) for 47 years, and was a Boy Scout leader for 9 years (Counselor, commissioner, Scoutmaster) *****

***** Edit 3: My sister is taking over typing for a while. My grandfather is still taking questions! (Edit--Sister's note: For anyone who is wondering, he is French/indigenous North American; he grew up speaking French, even though he lived in CT) *****

***** UPDATE: Wow! We didn't even expect this much of a response. I am back home now, but will talk with my grandfather this evening, so keep the questions coming! He is so happy to answer everything you've asked so far. *****

***** UPDATE 2: My grandfather has been having so much fun, he's actually going to try to start typing his answers right now. Play nice! ***** Proof:

Comments: 110 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

ed_benoit_ama43 karma

"If I was drafted into the service and they said, 'Ok, you're going to Afghanistan', I'd say, 'Ok, find me in Canada.' It's such a pointless war. We're doing nothing but hurting our young people and their country. And our young people can't afford to go to school, but we're pouring billions of dollars into this war. It's like Iraq: it's a long, pointless war. And in the end, who wins (between us and the terrorists)? They do. We're hurt and innocent people are hurt."

josephgordonreddit10 karma

If you were 23 in '46, that means you were fighting in WWII in your late teens. I've always wondered, what did it feel like to go to war so young, especially when you knew that the casualty numbers were so high? And also, where did you serve in the WWII theatre?

ed_benoit_ama9 karma

Theatre: South Pacific

Felt like: "I think it felt like any other teenage boy at the age to be a part of something that sounded so exciting...and to be in a crew, like being a part of a team in which you were just trying to be the winner. I had no fear of death until I saw all the people around me die. That was when my whole outlook on the service changed."

Casualty numbers: "No (it didn't affect him), it was almost like a football game. You didn't know who was gonna be the winner until it was over with."

ed_benoit_ama7 karma

"You tell the next ones, I'm gonna start charging for autographs!"

HeckleMagpie7 karma

Which operations were you a part of? Also, thank you immensely for your service.

ed_benoit_ama15 karma

"Throughout the South Pacific theater, mostly in the Bismarck Archipelago, through the Philippines, the coast of New Guinea...all over!" And on his service: "Well, what I see today of my grandchildren made it all worthwhile (:'))"

autumnbells6 karma

What was it like going through the Great Depression for you and your family? How great of an impact did it have on your way of life?

EDIT: Say hi to your sister for me :p

ed_benoit_ama14 karma

Going through: "Well, I was young, I was ten years old, but I do remember...I was one of seven, and I remember people bringing baskets of food to the house, and it embarrassed my father and mother so much, it was the first time I saw my father cry (laughs). But we lived through it, because our parents never let us know that we were going through hardships. You know, they never sat down and told us "Listen, kids, we don't have enough money for food." We made do. We farmed most of our vegetables and ate our own food. But I was one of millions who went through it, and there were a lot worse off than us. Many didn't have facilities to grow their own food."

And, "hey, there!"

Highchair6 karma


ed_benoit_ama6 karma

My grandfather says, "Tell him 'my grandfather is a smart man!!'"

ed_benoit_ama6 karma

He also mentions that your great grandfather may have been one of the men he dropped off and then felt guilty about it. (See earlier comments)

Highchair3 karma


ed_benoit_ama2 karma

Happy New Year to you, too! Thank you for commenting, and thank you for your service.

citoloco6 karma

No questions, thank you for your service fellow!

ed_benoit_ama16 karma

"Appreciate it, man!" (laughing, he had a real hippie work for him on one of his golf courses and loved the fact that he called everyone "man". My grandfather: "He's gonna turn around to his family, 'Hey, everyone, this old geezer just called me 'man!'")

kilroyishere894 karma

Were you in the European or Pacific theater?

ed_benoit_ama5 karma

Pacific; see below.

ashydubs3 karma

What would you say your most dangerous operation was? Thank you so much for your service, sir!

ed_benoit_ama6 karma

"The most dangerous? There was a few harrowing ones there (laughs). There were quite a few...I guess it would be Finch Haven, that's F-I-N-C-H H-A-V-E-N, New Guinea. We were under heavy fire, it cut down three of our flags and our radio tower and our light (for signaling). Luckily, we were in an enclosed tower, but we could hear fire hitting us. It was scary, when we converted to a rocket ship (, converted to They fired 476 rockets in 10 seconds if they emptied their racks (which they did--it took four hours to reload.)), some of the rockets would summersault overhead instead of going towards their target. But you didn't feel afraid; you were just focused on the job to do and your mind is so occupied with what you're fulfilling that you don't have time to listen to any dangers like that."

VenomEater5523 karma

Did you ever find yourself lonely? If so how did you overcome it?

Thank you for your service!

ed_benoit_ama6 karma

"I guess all veterans during the war find yourself many times lonely, and that is because of the lack of family. But you're never alone, because your other friends, after a while, become your other family. And there's always so much going on that you don't have to much time to worry."

"My service I now feel was all worth it."

rumorasit3 karma

I actually created an account just to be able to comment and reply to this AMA. First: Thank you, Sir, for your service.

My father grew up during the Great Depression and served in WWII. He was at Anzio. North Africa, Italy, all that area. Reading your replies to questions has brought back a lot of the stories he told me. He was also in Korea but unlike WWII he never talked about Korea. I never did figure out why not and sadly, we lost him in 2003 and now I can never ask him. He stayed in the Army for 23 1/2 years and retired as a CSM.

Thank you for stating that for our kids today entering the military is not a good option. I was AF, my brother was a Ranger, my son was Army. The military has changed so much since I was in and I can honestly say I would never advise anyone to enter the military today. Not the way it's being run now nor the types of actions we're engaged in. I tried to persuade my son not to join but also knew it was his choice. Thankfully he's home now and compared to many many men and women, he's fairly much in one piece.

And a big thank-you to your grandkids for helping you with this! All 3 of you rock!

ed_benoit_ama1 karma

(Granddaughter here) Thank you for reading and commenting-- our grandfather is so excited to know that people want to hear his stories and talk about history! I'm glad to hear that your son is home safe, but I'm sorry that you lost your father. Do you know who any of the other soldiers were who he served with in Korea? Perhaps they could offer some insight into why he didn't discuss it.

LivingAlterity3 karma

Thank you for your service!

I'm 19. If you could only tell people my age one thing about World War 2, what would it be?

ed_benoit_ama14 karma

"Don't look forward to going through one of them. Avoid it at all costs (laughs)."

Darwin_Saves3 karma

Do you feel like this country has evolved into a bunch of pansies? My grandfather dropped out of high school to fight in WWII, but kids today just seem to whine about everything.

ed_benoit_ama16 karma

"No, I don't think so. You've gotta remember that when the war broke out, I was in High School and dropped out to go into the service. You've gotta remember that at the time we felt that we'd been attacked, and that we had to protect our country and, more importantly, our families. And all the young American boys thought that was the best thing today. Today, I would hesitate greatly before going into the service, because I feel as though the warfare going on is doing our families nothing good, and it's doing a great deal of damage to families that are coming home in pieces or not at all, and like Vietnam we have nothing to show for it but casualties."

NVnative3 karma

After the war, did you stay in the military or enter civilian life? Did you or your crewmates find yourselves dealing with what we now call PTSD?

ed_benoit_ama3 karma

**** Grandson answering (Pepere had to answer the phone) *****

Eddie was up for another promotion when he was found to be suffering from combat fatigue. He entered civilian life shortly thereafter. He is quite an amazing handyman: he can work as an electrician, plumber, and most anything else. He became a golf course superintendent and worked for years, including many for Oak Hill when they held the Masters (I'll fact check that one when he gets back).

EDIT: He was hired to redo all of the Oak Hill greens for the 1995 Ryder Cup (eh, close enough on my guess? :P). He ended up working for 47 years in that business. He took part in the design/construction of 132 greens! And about PTSD: "There were times, yes. I think we all did, at times. It sticks with you throughout life. But it helps to be in groups, until it eventually becomes past-tense. You know, when you're a human being, everyone will have a stress in their life at some point in time. It's all about how you prepare yourself. That's why I've always told kids in Scouts (he was a Scoutmaster for years, as well), 'you can apply that ("Be Prepared" is the BSA motto) to everything you do in life."

Plopperizer3 karma

With the amphibious invasions, did each one seem to be different, as in a new experience, or did you sort of "get used to it", that is, they became 'routine', so to say?

I can't imagine what it must have been like to serve during the time you had. Thank you for your service :)

ed_benoit_ama10 karma

Amphibious invasions: "The anxiety on each one never changed, knowing first of all that you were landing 165 fully equipped men and officers (that's how much his boat [LCI] deployed at a time). And when you're standing on a beach, all of the bullet tracers are flying out of the woods and seems to be heading right for you...(pauses) always had the same feeling. You always knew that you were dropping off men to be killed or wounded. And that was the worst for me, that you were dropping off these next men who wouldn't know where they could sleep or get their next meal, and you would pull away thinking almost, 'well, our work is done' felt almost like you had done something (bad), and it hurt. Almost every invasion felt like it had a pattern. The results were the same...(as was the process) bomb 'em, shell 'em, drop 'em off, back away. The excitement when the larger battleships and cruisers that were out of range for you but their shells flew overhead at the enemy, and the's really hard to explain it. The feeling was never quite the same each time, but it was never good."

"The selfish feeling, I'll tell you! After you've pulled away from the beach and you're three or four miles out and you have a hot cup of coffee, and a warm bed, and a meal is getting ready, you almost feel guilty, you know?"

korainato3 karma

Hello Sir! I just wanted to thank you for your service and tell you that I have a huge respect for you :)

ed_benoit_ama1 karma

Thank you-- he is so glad to know that people are participating in this AMA.

MudkipCheese2 karma


ed_benoit_ama5 karma

"Well first of all, my Dad was reluctant, because at that time he was called into the service as he was a lieutenant in the guard and was called into active service. He didn't want me to go in as I was the oldest boy at home (needed to earn money; men earned more than women in his area). But then, after December '42 (Pearl Harbor), he let me."

"No. A couple of girls I would've like to, though! (laughing) But my mother wouldn't let me!"

xenha2 karma

As an Australian it was generally thought that the Aussie troops copped a lot of crap from the better, well-paid, dressed and armed American troops. What is your thoughts on the Australian troops and do you have an cool stories about the Aussies? (I'm Australian.)

ed_benoit_ama3 karma

(Granddaughter here) The most harrowing story I've heard from my grandfather about the war was about an Australian soldier. Some of the things he saw he has only told me about once, because they are so horrific, and this is one of them. After a bout of fighting, Ed spotted an Aussie soldier, sitting there with a strange smile on his face. Ed went to rouse the man, but when he touched him, the back of the soldier's head fell off. Ed was horrified-- he hadn't been expecting the man to be dead, let alone to see something so gory in that moment. If I remember correctly, that body was lost while being passed between two ships with a rope (they were trying to put the remains back on the ship that could return them to the family, but they were unsuccessful.) I'm sorry that I couldn't get the story in exactly Ed's words, but there are some things that I do not bring up to him out of respect for the trauma he and the other servicemen endured. We will call him and ask him if he has any cool Aussie stories, though! I know that the Americans worked closely with both Euro-Australian and aboriginal Oceanian troops, so I'm sure he'll have something interesting for you.

MrSorryBunch2 karma

Thanks for doing the AMA!

I was wondering about something that no one has asked. What invention did you like the most that was invented during your life? What amazed you the most?

ed_benoit_ama1 karma

The television-- "you could suddenly see what people around the country were seeing, at the same time."

ed_benoit_ama1 karma

When he was a child, airplanes were also relatively new. If his mother saw an airplane flying overhead, she'd call all of the children out of the house to come look at it!

snowmantackler2 karma

Have you ever gone back and visited any of the invasion sites you were involved in?

ed_benoit_ama4 karma

"No, it was too far (served in the South Pacific Theater). I wouldn't recognize the jungles we landed troops in (smiling and laughing). It's probably all grown over by now."

conto2 karma


ed_benoit_ama2 karma

I'm not sure how other veterans feel, but Ed saw the Japanese soldiers as part of "the other team"-- in other comments threads he uses sports/game metaphors. Not that he didn't recognize the dangers or horrors of war, but rather than he saw his "enemy at the time" as guys like him who were just on the other side of a conflict.

FluffySharkBird2 karma

There are so few WW2 veterans alive today. Do you think people will sort of "forget" about the war after all the people in it are gone? People don't talk about WW1 very much, for example.

ed_benoit_ama6 karma

Granddaughter/sister taking over typing He says: "The government has started a new program in which they interview the existing veterans for information that will be in the national archives, and be available for anyone in the future who wants information pertaining to WWII and what each individual man did. I don't think it will be forgotten, but it's going to have to be remembered in schools-- so that they can remember what can happen, so that it won't happen again. Too many innocent people are killed. Like our situation today (Afghanistan/Iraq). We don't seem to have gained anything, and so many are being killed or coming home crippled. We're supposed to be proud of this? I don't think so. It's my belief that wars should never be forgotten, so that (the next generation) will not be the ones to start one."

Edit: spelling Edit 2: clarity

FluffySharkBird1 karma

I agree. That's why we need to study history so much, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us.

ed_benoit_ama3 karma

That's a big part of why my brother set up this AMA. I think that a lot of future suffering could be avoided if more people would just work through the discomfort of facing the past.

FluffySharkBird2 karma

While not WW2, I've had people say that schools should be allowed to not teach the slavery days and the Civil War because it makes southern students uncomfortable. So? It's so bad that reading about it 200 years later makes you uncomfortable. That's all the reason we should understand why it happened so it never happens again!

We must remember that those fighting on both sides were just people. People who weren't generic villains or heroes. These are people who did good and horrible things and we have to remember that.

ed_benoit_ama5 karma

Ed says: "First of all, all of our history is history. Whether it was Civil War, religious, (race)-- you can't deny history, and it should be taught in the schools. I have no ill feeling for my enemy at the time. The best way I can put is that we were playing a game. I was on one team, and they were on another team. Whoever won that particular battle was the winning team. I did not see the enemy no more than they probably saw me. They were gun range away. I have no ill feeling toward anyone now. Those who survived raised families like I did, and have families that they can enjoy... But history is history, and it should be taught in schools, no matter what war, no matter who it might offend."

DoodleBug93611 karma

Thank you for your service. Our country is in deep gratitude to vets like you.

What is your favourite colour m&m?

ed_benoit_ama6 karma

"Well, my favorite colors are always red, yellow, and blue (the primaries). But once the coloring is off, my favorite color is chocolate!"

ed_benoit_ama7 karma

Speaking of favorite colors, my grandfather does fantastic paintings as a hobby. He also makes what we call whirligigs (moving sculptures propelled by the wind), and paints saw blades!

missambs1 karma

I was wondering if you liked to read, and if so, what are your favorite books?

ed_benoit_ama1 karma

"Autobiographies. All history books. Or anything to do with nature."

missambs1 karma

Thank you for doing this, sir. It has been a pleasure to read your answers.

If you don't mind, one more question: What is the best advice you've ever received?

ed_benoit_ama3 karma

"My father used to tell me, 'keep yer mouth shut and listen!' (his wife from the other room: "You didn't follow that very well!"). He also said, 'Keep smiling, because when you do, it makes people wonder what you're up to.'"

ed_benoit_ama3 karma

He also says, which is one of my favorites: "My father also told me, 'Always do your best. It doesn't matter if you're a ditch digger; you be the best damn ditch digger you can be.'"

Illbjammin1 karma

What was your favorite thing to do as a kid? Thanks for your service.

ed_benoit_ama3 karma

"(laughs) Hiking, hunting, fishing. All outdoor. Some baseball, a little football, but basically anything pertaining to fishing rods and guns (laughs). Also, camping. I think I'm a real naturalist. I love nature more than....anything. Anyone can build a ship or a building but no one can build a tree."

ed_benoit_ama7 karma

"We lived in the woods. One of the nice things about my Dad being a half-Indian, he was able to teach us all sorts of woodland things. We could identify trees and tracks, and we learned it all when we were young."

Edit: parentheses

Lexdon1 karma

what to you think of concrete and kites?

ed_benoit_ama5 karma

"What do I think of concrete AND kites? Well, first of all, I think it would have to be a pretty light concrete to be attached to a kite, and it would hit the ground pretty hard."

(he's always joking. It's endearing.)

PhiAlphaUSA1 karma

Thank you for serving the U.S. You seem very happy with what you have accomplished in your time. What is one piece of advice you would give to a 22 year old man, trying to figure out his future?

ed_benoit_ama7 karma

"Perseverance, would be the one word (laughing a bit). You know, set your goals and what you want to do and then keep working for it until you get it. I didn't realize I would be in the golf course business, but I ended up spending 47 years doing it, building and managing. The one thing I always had was a prayer, 'Thy will be done' (he is a Catholic)."

gipoe681 karma

From one veteran to another, thank you. Just was wondering what the down time/living conditions were like in WW2. What did you and the other guys do for fun?

ed_benoit_ama5 karma

"First of all, on a small ship, there wasn't much other than card playing. Singing, I bought a guitar in Texas and I was the only one who could play guitar. So every evening we would sing songs we all knew, and new songs would be brought on by replacements. We had a monkey and a cockatoo, and they were at each other's throats all the time. They were into everybody else's business but their own! For fun, we had a turn (when the ship was beached) to go on shore and pick up souvenirs and coconuts. We'd trade cigarettes with the natives for bananas. That was about the extent of our recreation. There was not much else to do."

"You develop a close relationship with your crew. Each one becomes like a member of a family."

gipoe681 karma

A monkey!? The only pet a had over there was a lizard. So jealous. How long were the deployments? How did the natives react to you guys being there?

ed_benoit_ama2 karma

"The deployments were the length of the time it took to achieve the goal of the landing (it varied). The natives were scared of us when they first saw how many of us. Then they became friendly when they realized we weren't going to hurt them. One occasion, we were playing ball and we had coconuts we would use as baseball, and when we were running to a base, they'd run with us without knowing why! Sometimes, they would grab the ball and run off!"

"The natives were aboriginals, with their fuzzy hair."

EDIT: Grandson is back.

gipoe681 karma

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

ed_benoit_ama1 karma

Absolutely! He has really enjoyed this so far. Send your friends!

deraser1 karma

No question, but thanks for serving in the war and for braving reddit too!!

ed_benoit_ama4 karma

"Thank you! As you were."

pxlhstl1 karma

Do you think that the American Dream still exists today?

ed_benoit_ama3 karma

"Oh yes. The American Dream is always there-- it's up to the individual to pursue it. Nobody's going to hand you anything, you have to work for it."

ed_benoit_ama1 karma

"That's my own version of it"

pxlhstl1 karma

Thanks for the answer! Would you say that you've achieved it?

ed_benoit_ama3 karma

"Yes, at 91 years old, a father of 5, wonderful grandchildren, homes, autos...what else is there to dream for?"

mississippiwildman1 karma


ed_benoit_ama5 karma

Grandson here So, my grandfather didn't work too closely with the Army except in landings on occasion. However, it's really an interesting question from a historical standpoint; look up the Port Chicago Disaster ( It talks a lot about the segregation and reluctance to use the Army.

camaro79-1 karma

You a patriot even today? Is this the country you wanted and fought for?

ed_benoit_ama8 karma

"Oh, yes (laughs)."