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Wrong Ken Barden?

Ken Barden


Department of Veterans Affairs

HQ Phone: (202) 273-5400

Email: k***@***.gov

Department of Veterans Affairs

810 Vermont Avenue, Nw

Washington Dc, District of Columbia 20420

United States

Company Description

DVA is committed to dealing with complaints quickly and learning from them. We will strive to deal with any complaint at the first point of contact wherever possible, but it in many instances it will be necessary to pass on the details to a specific secti... more

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Background Information

Web References

Times-Herald - Today's News

www.timesheraldonline.com [cached]

Ken Barden of Vallejo, a WWII Navy combat veteran, recalls the Okinawa Invasion, the 60th anniversary of which is today.Photo: David Pacheco/Times-Herald

One of those is Ken Barden, 82, of Vallejo, who stood watch on an attack transport ship alongside the famous war correspondent Ernie Pyle, whose sensitive dispatches brought World War II home to Americans.
"Many people don't realize Okinawa was the largest land and sea operation of the war - larger than Normandy," Barden said.
Today's anniversary could very well go unnoticed.Local veterans organizations were unaware of activities, and a Department of Veterans Affairs spokeswoman said she was unaware of any national events.
The April 1 fight on Okinawa led to former President Harry Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an act which eventually brought about the end of World War II, historians say.
Located 350 miles south of Japan, Okinawa was large enough to hold a base for staging the invasion.The battle lasted 82 days, resulting in the deaths of 120,000 soldiers, and more than 150,000 civilians.
Barden, who was 21 at the time, said luck was on his side 60 years ago.Anchored quite a distance from the island, Barden and his crew woke up to a dark, cold and windy day."Love Day," the code name for the invasion on Okinawa, had begun.
The USS Charles Carroll saddled up to a large chunk of corral reef, and the Navy set up transporters and took troops onto the island.
Barden and a colonel stood on the boat deck with Pyle watching hundreds of U.S. Marines clamor across the beaches.
The famous correspondent said little.He took a few swigs from a metal flask, and then handed it to the young lieutenant.Believing the flask held coffee, Barden took a drink and then spat out what he thought was probably rum or brandy.
Barden watched Pyle leave and follow the mMarines."He gave me a little wave and off he went," he recalled.
Pyle was a slight, thin man who seemed profoundly weary and sad, Barden said.
I realized that I would survive," Barden said.
"Even though I was wet and cold, I was grateful."
Barden never again saw Pyle, who died 17 days later.
Barden said this year's USS Charles Carroll reunion will probably be the last.A 1994 reunion drew 300 people, but ten10 years later, just 60 came, and half were wives.
"A lot of them are in walkers and canes.It's sad to see the demise of the crew," Barden said.
Barden is fit and alert for his age.He is the emcee for Veterans Day and Memorial Day events at Westlake Gold Country senior living center, and he stays physically and mentally health sharp through volunteer work, and daily exercise.
Sixty years after Okinawa, Barden is amazed that the younger generation of today knows next to nothing of World War II."Most of the younger generation is completely oblivious to the war," he said.

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