Letter to My Granddaughter, No. 20

By | August 25, 2023

[August 25, 2023]  The room smelled of stale cigarette smoke and spilled beer.  My uncle DJ (Douglas James, and my namesake) Satterfield, much older than my dad served as a cook in the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II.  Later in life, he was a long-serving member of the Pine Bluff, Arkansas VFW, where he spent many Friday nights having nickel beer with his buddies, telling those stories only they could appreciate.  Our family visited him, his lovely wife, and my cousins one week in the summer of 1963 or 64; I was used to hearing great veteran stories from the small Louisiana town where we lived.  One weekend, Uncle DJ took me to his VFW to meet some friends.  I remember the place.  It was dark inside, and as the sun shined through the dirty windows, I could see the smoke as it drifted past, and more smoke curled up from cigarettes and slowly turned to ash.

I was in no way intimidated by those rough-looking men.  But some of the older veterans were the kind of tough men you don’t want to meet alone in a dark alley without a handgun and extra magazines.  To my surprise, I felt calm around them.  Why, I don’t know.  I was a young boy, and looking back, I could see why.  If they liked you, nobody would ever think of messing with you for any reason at school, work, church, or a ball game.  My uncle DJ, was grossly overweight but was fast on his feet.  He said his speed had “saved my ass at the Battle of the Bulge.”  Indeed, he was there.  He didn’t know it then, but this would be one of the most incredible, most famous, and most deadly battles in the history of the 20th century.  Uncle DJ volunteered for the Army in his mid-20s in 1942.  He had not finished High School, only getting as far as the 10th grade, as standard practice at the time.

 Uncle DJ told me the story of the first day of the Battle of the Bulge.  His unit was alerted that a big battle was brewing somewhere east of his location, and the 82nd Airborne Division was to play a significant role in what was about to happen.  He told me that all the cooks and support staff were lined up and given M1 Garand rifles, ammo, and grenades.  Uncle DJ complained to his commander that all he knew was cooking.  The response from the officer was something like, “Now you’re an Infantryman.”  And then, “The Germans are that way.”  A few days later, my uncle was wounded in the ankle in a firefight.  It would be over a month before the Allied lines would be re-established, and Uncle DJ would finish the war without further wounds.  He was proud of his military service, as it seemed to be the case for the other veterans at his local VFW.  I’m sure many of his buddies embellished their war stories, much like the fisherman’s big fish that got away.  Interestingly, my future dad and mom graduated in the same High School class in 1946.  My Uncle DJ graduated with them at nearly 30 years of age. 

 On the way home, my dad asked what I thought of Uncle DJ’s VFW.  I said, “It had a bunch of old guys drinking cheap beer and smoking cigarettes; it smelled awful.”  I would not want to go back; it was too dark, smelly, and scary.  My clothes smelled worse than a skunk, and Mom had us roll the car windows down all the way home.  We froze, and we were happy to get home and warm up.  Mom made me strip my clothes off before going into the house.  I was embarrassed, standing buck naked in our front yard.  My brother laughed at me.  Dad smiled.  But I  learned a lot about my Uncle DJ and am proud of him and his Army service during WW2.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

24 thoughts on “Letter to My Granddaughter, No. 20

  1. Wesley Brown

    Gen. Satterfield, another excellent letter. I sure hope you continue writing these. I’m loving them all. Sir, you gave me the idea to do the same. I’m writing letters to my kids (all 3) and doing it at least once per week and putting them into a chest under lock and key. Someday, when I’m gone, they will discover the chest and open it to a treasure of letters that tell them about their childhood and my time with them.

    1. Neat Man II

      Wow, nice. We all should be doing this. That is what makes America great, adopting great ideas.

      1. Rides Alone

        We all should find a way to put our thinking into words on paper or recordings of our actual voices so that our future generations can read or listen to us. It is a good idea for them to read about our thoughts and why we did so and so. They will appreciate it.

  2. Eric Coda

    Imagine being a cook and one day you get handed a rifle (that you maybe never shot) and told “you are now an Infantryman.” Ack! Shock!

  3. Eddie Gilliam

    Excellent article my friend. I remember those days when I was before the no smoking 🚭 policy was in place in all public places. I went home smell like butt and cigarettes. I as you did Gen got butt naked to get bath. The life lessons i learned hanging out in the pool hall talking to older adults which some were veterans was worth it. Being naked exposed our areas of vulnerability in life. It’s the shame it brings. David in the bible was exposed when he had a man killed to cover his own sin. He got the man wife pageant,the husband was in battle. David was on the roof top while looking out he saw her bathing.

    1. Wild Bill

      Ah, Eddie you are a good religious man. Good to have you aboard Gen. Satterfield’s blog. I’ve been here for a couple of years and enjoyed each day I read his articles. Thank You!!!!!

  4. Max Foster

    Happy Friday all and a great way to start the weekend with another Letter to My Granddaughter from the writing pen of Gen. Satterfield. This is becoming a very popular series and Gen. S’s longest to date. I hope that Gen. S. thinks a long time about actually turning these into a book. With his last book, “55 Rules for a Good Life” (which is very helpful and useful to anyone), I know he can write. These “letters” takes his skills to a new level. For those new to the leadership forums, you can get a copy of his books on Amazon, and elsewhere. His Amazon link for this book is:

  5. Desert Cactus

    Gen. Satterfield being a great writer, “Uncle DJ took me to his VFW to meet some friends. I remember the place. It was dark inside, and as the sun shined through the dirty windows, I could see the smoke as it drifted past, and more smoke curled up from cigarettes and slowly turned to ash.” Well said. Paints a picture in my mind.

    1. USA Patriot II

      Yep, damn good article.
      Be an American Patriot like Gen. Doug Satterfield.

  6. Army Vet

    Great day for another great article from Gen. Satterfield and one about his uncle, a WW2 veteran who was at the Battle of the Bulge.

    1. Pink Cloud

      Hi Army Vet, great to see you back on Gen. Satterfield’s personal blog and to know you are still ‘kicking.’ We are anticipating your next article where you are out kicking the butts of the crazy socialists who love killing innocents (kinda like those supporting abortion). Thanks for what you do. Please write another article very soon. I know the folks here, esp. your fans, would appreciate it.

        1. Army Vet

          Thanks DocJeff. I’ll message you shortly. Hang in there. We can work on it.

  7. Lizzy from Utah

    Wonderful. As a new reader, I’m impressed with this series. As a woman, I’m happy you are a real man’s man who is educating your granddaughter who will use this as her future with knowing what a man is and is not.

    1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      Welcome aboard, Lizzy. I hope you enjoy yourself here in the leadership forums, a great place to bounce ideas around without undue criticism to personality attacks.

  8. JT Patterson

    Excellent, another great and useful article for your granddaughter. Thanks, Gen. Satterfield.

  9. Edward M. Kennedy, III

    Gee, Gen. Satterfield, I’m impressed with now 20 letters to your granddaughter. Each letter is getting better and more informative and entertaining too. Keep them coming to us on a regular basis. Did you ever have a favorite movie or tv series as a kid? You could write about that.

    1. Emma Archambeau

      Hi Mr. Kennedy, I’m one of your big fans. Looking forward to reading more about your actions to help us understand the spooks who destroy bad nations.

      1. José Luis Rodriguez

        Emma and Mr. K, thanks for your contribution to Gen. Satterfield’s blog. I will say that Emma is always bragging about you, Mr. K. and she is right to note that you are all over the stupidity that is happening today in the Democrat Party.


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