Son of WWII veteran finds father’s hidden war box, shares incredible story

Veterans Voices

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Some stories are not easy to share, particularly for veterans. Joseph Tachovsky has a goal to share his father’s experience as a Marine — though it was too hard for the Marine to share those stories with his own son.

Tachovsky learned about the story of his father and his platoon in the Marines through a hidden treasure trove of information that was stored in a garage.

Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

It all started at the funeral for Tachovsky’s father, Frank.

Frank was the lieutenant for a platoon of elite scout snipers in the Pacific — but Tachovsky never knew it.

“No… he never spoke about the war at all, and if my mother ever brought up the topic, he would get very angry and just leave the room.”

Joseph Tachovsky, 40 Thieves on Saipan co-author

A eulogy at Frank’s funeral prompted Tachovsky to look into his father’s service.

He knew about a box in the garage but had never pulled it out.

“After the eulogy, it just, I’ve gotta look in this thing,” Tachovsky said. “It was always the green box in the garage that hadn’t been opened for decades.”

Tachovsky found personal letters, photos and his father’s platoon roster upon opening the box. He also discovered a link to Hawaii — the platoon trained at Parker Ranch on the Big Island and made port in Honolulu before shipping off to Imperial Japan.

Their squad leader even persuaded two Army servicemen to join the Marines.

“He had two buddies from high school who were in the Army and stationed at Schofield Barracks, and after a night of drinking, he convinced the two Army guys to go AWOL from the Army and join them for the invasion of Saipan,” Tachovsky said.

Tachovsky went through the box and tracked down the surviving members from the platoon roster, compiling their stories along the way for his book, “40 Thieves on Saipan.”

“All of these things and everything that was saved, it was just so apparent that it was a jigsaw puzzle that I had to put together,” Tachovsky said.

“And how to see that this mild-mannered, little gentleman today was once a warrior in the Pacific. It was a very eye-opening thing.

Joseph Tachovsky, 40 thieves on saipan co-author

Tachovsky visits the graves of all the platoon members who have passed, six of whom are in Punchbowl’s cemetery. He also donates half of the proceeds from his book to veteran organizations.

His final message?

“The biggest thing is seeing all these little old guys, like I said, with a cane or a walker or wheelchair or what have you, and the stories they had to tell — this is their story, it’s not my story,” Tachovsky said. “The little old people you see walking on the streets, you know, they have stories to tell.”

“40 Thieves on Saipan” is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and bookstores across the nation.

Check out what’s going on around the nation on our National News page

To all veterans of the United States armed forces, thank you. Your service will never be forgotten.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

More Hawaii News

More Local News

Trending Stories