War took four brothers to a new world

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 12, 2001

Veteran Vinkley Boone is reflected in a framed picture of himself and three of his brothers, who also served in World War II. The Boone brothers are top, Daniel, left, and John Boone; and bottom, twins Vinkley and Vernon Boone.(The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUCAN)

[11/11/01]In 1943, 17-year-old Vinkley Boone had never been across the Mississippi River or out of Warren County, much less to the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.

But soon he and three of his five brothers would find themselves at different ends of a war that consumed much of the world for four years.

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While his two oldest brothers would fight the Nazis of Germany, he and his twin brother, Vernon, would find

themselves at sea for the next two years in the Navy.

“When you’re out there on the ocean during war time you never know what is going to happen,” said Boone, now 76. “You had your mind on trying to live each day.”

On the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the world rejoiced as the “war to end all wars” came to a close in Europe. In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery and the day became known as “Armistice Day,” a day to remember those who had fought in the war.

But after 16.5 million Americans took part in World War II, the name of the holiday was changed to “Veterans Day” to honor all veterans.

“They say that our generation won the war and saved the world,” Boone said. “That’s probably true, but I think today’s generation will probably have to do the same thing.”

The Gibson Road resident does not display many reminders of his time at sea. His prized possession from the war is a framed clipping from a 1943 newspaper that displays the faded photos of four men in military uniforms.

Among the images is a younger Vinkley Boone. Next to his photograph is one of Vernon Boone, also in a uniform, and above theirs are the pictures of two older brothers, Daniel and John Boone, both in Army uniforms.

Vinkley Boone said his time in the Pacific and Atlantic ocean on the USS Deede, a destroyer escort, was always dangerous because of the threat from submarines.

Boone says he was lucky during the war, but his two older brothers, both of whom served in Europe, never got over what they went through.

The oldest of the brothers, Daniel Boone, was 21 when he left home headed for Europe. There he would serve in Italy and later Germany.

John Boone, the second oldest, was 19 when he landed in France where he was wounded and spent part of the war in a hospital. Later, he too would see more fighting in Germany.

“They were over there fighting day and night for more than a year,” Boone said.

Vinkley Boone is the only brother still living in Warren County today. John Boone and Vernon Boone have both died and Daniel Boone is in a veteran’s hospital.

The Boone brothers weren’t the only members of the family who know what it is like to be away from home during war. Among his newspaper clippings from War World II are two other faded and torn papers Vinkley Boone saved after the war.

In one, a photo and story tell of the death of Vinkley Gill Boone, Vinkley Boone’s uncle and namesake, who died in 1918 while serving in the Navy during War World II. The other is a carefully folded telegraph received by the Boone family informing them of his death.

“The veterans are the ones that keep us alive,” Boone said. “I think this Veterans Day is so important because we’re at war again.”