Segment 13


After the war George Griffenhagen went back to pharmacy school. He went to Fresno State for one year then went to the University of Southern California where he got his pharmacy degree and a graduate degree. He was the curator of the division of Medical Sciences at the Smithsonian for seven years and the editor of the Journal of American Pharmacists Association. He also does the Wavy Arrow [Annotators Note: the Wavy arrow is the newsletter of the 20th Combat Engineer Association]. He gets inquiries from people looking for information on their relatives. Griffenhagen feels strongly that World War 2 should be taught to future generations. He wonders how things would have been if the Germans would have sunk the HMS Andes. It would have set the war in North Africa back for at least a couple of months. He is glad to see that there are several museums like The National WWII Museum. After the war Griffenhagen did not talk about it for years. When he first got home he suffered from fainting spells. Finally he and his doctors associated the problem with his service in World War 2. In the early 1980s he was attending a pharmacy conference at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington DC. The American Legion was holding a conference there at the same time. Griffenhagen was down in the hotel bar and the guys he was with started talking to the American Legion guys. Griffenhagen was talked into joining the American Legion even though he did not want to. He did not want to relive the war. In the first Legionaire Magazine he got he noticed an advertisement for a reunion of the 20th Engineers. He attended the reunion and enjoyed it very much. Soon after that one of the officers asked him to take over the Wavy Arrow. Griffenhagen has spoken a couple times to groups about his service. One of his friends asked him to come talk to the man’s two adopted sons who were from Russia. Griffenhagen and his wife went back for the 50th Anniversary [Annotators Note: to Normandy for the 50th Anniversary of the 6 June 1944 landings]. Griffenhagen’s wife had been in London during the bombings. They started the trip in London. A reception was held in an underground facility. During the reception a recording of a bombing raid was played. That was not bad but when a smoke bomb was set off his wife freaked out. That incident aside the whole trip was great. He understood what they were trying to do. There were heads of state at the ceremony on Omaha Beach. When Griffenhagen got there he saw lines of trucks that looked like they had just come off the assembly line. He stopped to look at them and learned that French locals had salvaged them and restored them to mint condition. On the last day they went to Paris for a march down the Champs Elysees. The Parisians were terrible. They were fussy and cussed them and blocked traffic. They forgot about why he had been there before.


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