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HesperiaStar.com
  • Hesperia vet who met Gen. Patton releases book

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  • HESPERIA — After hearing about him meeting various World War II legends and experiencing the horrors of war in Europe, family and friends of Joe Grubb knew that it was time for the Army veteran to write his story.
    The Hesperia resident says his recently released book, “We Are Not Alone; Memoirs of a World War II Infantry Officer,” was birthed after he dictated his war story to his daughter, Barbara Flood, and friends John and Laura Tovar.
    “The war was a long time ago, but some of the memories are still fresh, like a wound that doesn’t heal,” said Grubb, 92, as he wiped away tears. “I lost a lot of friends and there were times that I thought I was not going to make it.
    “During the Battle of Normandy, I saw leaflets float down from planes very gracefully. It wasn’t until they found their target that I realized that those were actually bombs falling from our planes.”
    Born in Bellflower, Grubb came to the Victor Valley in 1978, moving in with Flood and her husband, Mike.
    “My dad used to do military maneuvers out here in the desert so he’s not too fond of this place,” Flood said. “He does enjoy visiting the girls and having a good meal at Denny’s in Apple Valley.”
    In his book, Grubb said the escalation of the war on the European stage in 1940 motivated him to forgo enrollment at Lakewood City College or a career with the California Highway Patrol.
    During his training around the country, Grubb found himself in California during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Grubb said his was one of many units that were armed and equipped as they waited for the Japanese Imperial Army to invade the state.
    Some time after Officer Training School, Grubb found himself on a ship headed to Europe, where he would eventually endure frigid temperatures and eat dehydrated food on base.
    “One day they sealed the camp — nobody in or out,” Grubb said. “Next thing I know, about 40 of us were standing before General George Patton with his pearl-handled pistols. He was bigger than life, just like in the movies.”
    Grubb said the essence of Patton’s message to the troops was “you will not be alone” in battle and that a million men were ready to cross the English Channel with them.
    “Even though I was awarded a Bronze Star and received two Purple Hearts, the real heroes of the war were those that gave their lives,” Grubb said.
    Grubb’s book also covers his encounter with famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle and General Theodore “Ted” Roosevelt III, son of President Theodore Roosevelt.
    Bound for home aboard the RMS Queen Elizabeth, Grubb and a group of men sat around Pyle on the promenade deck, listening to his tales of war.
    “Everybody loved Ernie because he got right up on the front lines and got the real story,” Grubb said. “He would write stories where readers felt like they were on the front lines too.”
    Grubb said as a young man he was not a strong believer in God until he observed various situations on the battlefield where only divine intervention could have explained the outcome.
    “The greatest of sacrifice is the thing that produces liberty and freedom,” Grubb said. “Freedom can never be had without the will to sacrifice.”
    Grubb’s book can be purchased online at www.roystongrouppublishing.com or by calling 714-739-2167.
    Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLa Cruz@VVDailyPress.com or on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.
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