SAM “Uncle Sammy” RING, a Great Man Always
9 April 2017, the 75th Anniversary of Bataan & Corregidor.
"The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering."
Inasmuch this pertains to each of the incredible Souls we have been blessed to know, Sam Ring’s life is beyond “story.” He was born on 18 January 1927 at Camp John Hay, an Army post in the Philippines. The stage was already being set. Sam’s Dad, whose photo you will see in this memento, a photo extracted from an Army Signal Corps Film that Sam had forgotten was even made until he saw it 65-years later, taught Sam to ride horses. Sam was a trophy-winning horseman. In 1943, at age 17, Sam joined the Army.
On his 18th birthday, he was wounded. Shrapnel in the body and a Japanese machine-gun bullet in his thumb. Just 9 days later, Sam was in The Great Raid that rescued over 500 POWs... again, some of whom he would not meet until 65 years later... and, ironically, who lived just minutes away.
You recently read my reactions to the “USS INDIANAPOLIS” Movie, and it’s more than upsetting disregard for History. On this 75th Anniversary of the 9 April 1942 Surrender, I watched the Director’s Cut version of THE GREAT RAID. I was blessed to have seen this movie with my “Uncle Sammy” in the theaters. He leaned over only 2 times during the film.
In the film, when the 6th Army Rangers were crawling over grassy flats, he said, “we were actually crawling over dirt dikes.” And when the plane flew over the camp, Sammy recalled with a crisp, vivid memory that it was a P-61 Black Widow and not the plane used in the film. Imagine such detail!
Sammy’s great memory aside, and given what we know about hollywood, should not the film’s director, John Dahl be given the greatest appreciation and respect for telling the story in such a way that a 6th Army Ranger who was there would only comment about the plane!? Thank you, John Dahl, for making this film. The many Men that we were blessed and honored to know, who were in those camps, will also attest to the realism you documented in such a meaningful way.
When you watch the movie, The Great Raid, you will see what this scrawny, just-turned 18, recently-wounded Sam was part of. And you will see in the mementi PDF a picture of Sam pointing to himself in one of the photographs used in the film.
But not even the very well done film could portray the impossible odds of Sam Ring rescuing his own Father.
Walter Ring was captured by the Japanese years earlier. He was on the Bataan Death March. Walt was assumed dead... yet when someone called, “Sargent Ring, Sargent Ring!” Sam turned to find out that the liberated POW was calling his buddy, Sargent WALTER Ring. Sam stumbled upon his Dad… by "accident" as he was visiting the field hospital before being shipped out to the front lines again.
After the war, Sammy was serving as a guard at the Nuremberg War Trials. One day he spotted 2 children playing with a grenade left over from the war. He got to the children and saved them, but the grenade went off and hit him in the face. After recovering, he then had multiple tours of duty in Korea and Viet Nam.
During his Time as an Army Ranger, he received the Bronze Star (twice I believe), the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. I always used to tell him, “Sam... you just haven’t done enough for your country!”
He would laugh! His laugh was like his Soul... hearty, strong, so alive. When I didn't call him "Uncle Sammy," I called him “Superman.” On top of all that this Man was and is... he is truly a Kind-hearted, Good and Great Man...
Always. Godspeed ! S