Our Goldstein family has just recently begun to learn the early life story of my Grandpa, Irwin Goldstein, a sailor in the Pacific theater during WWII. Irwin grew up in New York City and enlisted in August 1943. According to family lore, he brought enlistment papers home weekly, but his Mother tore them up until he turned 18.
Grandpa Irwin completed boot camp and was assigned to the Navy’s amphibious training programs at Little Creek VA (October 1943) and Ft. Pierce FL (January 1944). In February 1944 he reported for duty with Boat Group Commander Joseph B. McDevitt aboard a brand new attack transport, the USS Leon APA 48.
The events and memories of WWII were a part of Grandpa Goldstein’s life that survived quietly in a sealed box of photographs and documents for nearly seven decades. After his passing in 2013 our family discovered these treasures which chronicle his time at sea and the men with whom he served. As we are able to identify Grandpa’s shipmates, we will post pictures and names at this site soon.
Along with many pictures there was a set of greeting cards that Irwin received on or about June 2, 1945, as the Leon was transporting 300 Navy Waves from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor. His older sister Junie wrote, “I’m hoping your next birthday will be spent on Seabury Place.
In another card brother Bernard offered birthday greetings… “With loads of love to you.”
And in a final card his parents wrote, “May good luck follow you throughout all times.”
Irwin Goldstein rarely spoke about his war experiences. But his grandchildren recently learned from his brother Bernie that Irwin sustained a knee injury while transferring wounded soldiers to another boat in the midst of dangerous hurricane weather. Despite the injury, he didn’t seek help from the corpsmen—he didn’t want to be separated from the guys.
I can confirm this story based on Grandpa’s personality traits: an enduring work ethic; a stubbornness to accept any kind of help; and—the trait that I can personally authenticate—an unyielding loyalty about those he cared about most. This was true in his role as a father, as a grandfather, and… based upon carefully preserve photographs in the box… as a crewman aboard the USS Leon.
Submitted by: Susan Goldstein Colon, Grand daughter of Irwin Goldstein