The Rough Life of a Tough Dude

Liam Murray

My grandfather, Dexter Murray, age 91, choose to go into World War II at the age of 17 out of high school due to a strong sense that he wanted to help his country against “the evil that was threatening our world”. When Dexter was 17, three of his brothers were already in the war fighting for our country and Dexter was sitting at home waiting for his turn. Unable to wait until after high school, Dexter enlisted into the navy and became one of the youngest members of the seabees.


After training Dexter was shipped off to the Marshal Islands to fight the Japanese for the invasion of Guam. As part of the seabees, which is a branch of the navy, it was Dexter’s job to be the second wave of people to go in and dig the holes and trenches in the ground after the initial battle has been won.

The weird part about this interview was talking to my grandfather. He is usually a very talkative person, I thought I would be on the phone for hours with him telling stories about anything he could think about because that’s what usually happens when I talk to him. However, this wasn’t the case. He would keep asking “Anything else?” like he didn’t really want to talk about his experiences that much. Towards the end I think I got my answer, I don’t think he really liked talking about the war because he experiences symptoms of PTSD. He said that he wants to try and forget the awful things that he saw in war, but he cannot. He always sees things on t.v. that take him back there and bring the memories back. I think this shows what war can do to a person. My grandfather, I was told, was one of the toughest guys out there, and him being afraid of the memories he had says something to me, that these memories are painful, and they impact you for the rest of your life.