90-year-old Battle of Saipan Navy veteran returns after 71 years for WWII pilgrimage

Posted on Jan 27 2014

Born in California on Dec. 28, 1923, Lloyd Glick was a naive 18-year-old boy watching a movie at a theater in downtown Berkeley on Dec. 7, 1941, when they stopped the movie to announce Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor.

A few days after the attack, Lloyd, already an accomplished trumpet player as 2nd trumpet chair for the University of California Symphony (even though he never attended the university), took his desire to serve his country, his lifelong passion for music (at 12 years old, he’d been the bugler for his Boy Scout camp) and his dream of attending the prestigious U.S. Naval School of Music, and showed up at the Navy recruiting office in San Francisco.

Four months later, with his parents’ signed permission, he joined the U.S. Navy as a way of entering its music program. That decision would ultimately land him the position of musician second class aboard the USS North Carolina as a member of the ship’s band while it participated in the bombings of Saipan, Guam, Palau, Pohnpei, and battles throughout World War II’s pivotal Pacific campaign.

For those of us who are not war buffs familiar with such things, it may come as a surprise that there would actually be a 20-piece band aboard a battleship during wartime. I’ve since learned quite a lot about what life was like as a swing band member aboard a U.S. battleship and was fascinated by his accounts of the role that music played in the daily lives of sailors while at sea as well as ashore. It makes for fascinating reading!

“I really believe that I grew and matured during my over two years aboard North Carolina,” Lloyd recalls. “I was still a relatively naïve kid when I went aboard; I had never even owned or used a razor. I was age 19 when I went aboard and 21 when I left the ship. And yes, I had by then used my first razor.”

The North Carolina participated in bombings of Palau, Pohnpei, the Marshall Islands, and other islands in the region. Lloyd found himself on or positioned near Majuro, Ulithi, Kwajalein, New Caledonia refueling, taking rest, entertaining, or actually engaged in providing bombing support in the battles against the Japanese empire.

Japan ultimately surrendered after the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima. During a refueling stop just off the coast of Japan while awaiting the call to enter the Japanese harbor at the time of Japan’s signing of the peace treaty, Lloyd’s band was replaced and were as sent back to the U.S. on another vessel.

Seventy-one years later, at age 90, he and his wife of 30 years, Judy, have arranged a cruise of the Pacific that includes a scheduled stop on the islands of Guam and Saipan.

“Our band never did get to actually go into Japan with her [USS North Carolina],” Lloyd recalls. “So this upcoming cruise to Saipan and eventually Japan will, in a way, be a finish to a long journey that started in New Caledonia in 1943.”

This will be the first time Lloyd has been back to Saipan in 71 years.

“After the war, I have played in many different bands, both so-called [big] swing bands and professional-level community groups. In 1990, upon my retirement from the Automobile Club of Southern California, I joined the Los Angeles Police Department Band, playing for department graduations and other official functions. In 1995 I accepted appointment as a reserve police officer and became the LAPD department bugler. I remained as both a reserve officer and as the bugler until my retirement from those positions three months ago.”

[B]A special surprise[/B]

So, a week from today, on the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, the cruise ship Crystal Serenity will be docking on Saipan with special passenger, Lloyd Glick, aboard. While making arrangements for his and his wife Judy’s WWII pilgrimage tour of Saipan (as well as in Guam), I’ve had the chance to correspond by email with him practically every day for the past few months. I’ve been using all the emails, journal entries, and photos he’s been sharing with me about his two years aboard the USS North Carolina to arrange a special gift to present to him upon his arrival. Shhhhh. The cruise ship is now surfing the high seas, and since he probably won’t be surfing the Web to discover this article, Lloyd doesn’t know that’s what I’ve been doing, or what we have planned for him, so please keep it a secret, okay? This is just between us here on Saipan for now.

It’s not every day a 90-year old veteran returns to our shores. If you’d like to come out, pay your respects, shake hands with a piece of history on that unique day, see the information below! Meanwhile, I’ll be sharing more fascinating details from my chats with Lloyd as well as a recount of his special return to Saipan. Stay tuned!

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– To see a few of Lloyd’s personal photos and to read a little more about what it was like aboard the USS North Carolina in 1943, visit www.bestofsaipan.com/bugleboy.

– For more information on his Feb 4 Saipan itinerary, to ask questions, arrange interviews, etc., contact Lloyd at bugleboy@bestofsaipan.com.

– For the last minute, day before arrival update as to where that informal presentation will take place, join the Saipan Facebook group at facebook.com/welovesaipan.

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