Never Too Late

Roy Richard Wolfe was born in Indiana in 1925. On October 23, 1943 at the age of 18, he joined the Marines as a member of the Second Marine Division. He was part of a platoon that was the second wave to storm the beaches at Saipan. He was back-up BAR man and shortly after hitting the beaches became the only BAR man when his partner was wounded.

He recalled there were days he fired until the barrel was so hot you couldn’t touch it. Waves of the enemy tried to overrun their position. He said it was like a bad dream, as he and his fellow Marines fought to liberate and take the island.

On one occasion he was ambushed by two machine gunners and all he could hear was his grandmother calling to him: “Run, Dicky, run!” He survived, but with both of his canteens on his hips shot through, his boot heel was shot off, his helmet shot off and a graze on his arm.

He was part of the first wave that was deployed to take the island of Anatahan. After taking the island he was cycled back to Saipan where he was gassed when the U.S. bombed a Japanese storage depot. The mustard gas stored in the depot burned his lungs and exposed flesh. The gas masks were less than effective.

He was transferred to the field hospital for a week and then shipped to a VA hospital in Hawaii for three months, then to the San Diego Naval hospital, and finally to the Great Lakes VA hospital. The diagnosis was damaged lungs due to exposure to mustard gas. He was honorably discharged on April 3, 1945. For the next 2.5 years he slept in a chair as it was the only way he could sleep.

Roy and his trophy buck

Seventy-three years later, after a visit to the VA clinic in Ft. Myers, FL and consequently being transported to a local hospital, the attending doctor began to question him about where he served. When Richard told him about Saipan, the doctor got very emotional and explained that it was the division that he served in that liberated his young mother who was a prisoner of war there. He told Richard that he was a doctor today, because of the soldiers who liberated the island.

At 95, Roy is slowing down and the lung problems still have an effect on his health. Roy has always been a hunter and longed for the day he could harvest a trophy buck. His son looked for a place where he could possibly harvest a quality animal. A friend told them about Bob Easterbrook and his preserve.

Bob called and asked to meet Roy and his son. Bob turned out to be an individual who was compassionate and truly cared for our veterans. He worked to put Roy at ease and showed him a blind that he could easily access and be comfortable in. He showed him around the property and then proceeded to take him back to the lodge and share part of his life story, while also listening to Roy’s stories.

Bob gave us a phone number to schedule the hunt and we parted ways. Randy, Bob’s ranch manager, was a great host and a pleasure to work with. The next week we met the caretaker at the ranch and proceeded to the hunting blind.

On the way to the stand, Roy’s son spotted a nice buck grazing in the woods. Roy waited for a good shot and then harvested his four-by-four buck. The trophy buck was finally off his bucket list. The next day, Bob called to check on Roy and see how the hunt went.

The good Lord knew that Roy’s desire was for a good buck and it was provided, thanks to Bob Easterbrook and his kind heart.

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