Author Topic: War years / The Soldiers  (Read 431 times)

Offline jbendick

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War years / The Soldiers
« on: June 04, 2019, 07:46:08 PM »



    With almost a 60 year relationship with the fire service, I have seen a lot. I began first going to fires with the Civil Defense in Yonkers, and then spent 37 years with the FDNY and  in some of the best companies ( E 96, Sq. 2, E 75, Bn 19, E 75, Lt E 68 and Capt. E 23) on the job. During those years I have worked with some of the best firemen in the world.  There were numerous medal winners among them. But getting a medal is not the only way to be known as a good firemen   A good fireman is a person who can overcome a natural human fear and get the job done. After evaluating a situation, weight the negative and positive  you must be recognized as a team player, know your job, and strive to do better. These firemen also are the mentors to the younger members and should pass their knowledge on. When the job gets tough he is the one you want with you. It is very difficult to say who was the best fireman . Ever department has individuals who have these qualities to get the job done.

   If I had to pick one out, it would be Lt. James McClay  ( The Sgt Major} of Squad 2. He was a tall impressive  man with a handlebar mustache. He looked  like a British Sgt. Major. IN MY OPINION HE WAS THE TOUGHEST MAN I HAVE EVER KNOWN ON OR OFF THE JOB. Like Tough Tim he was into contact sports. I heard he was playing semi-pro football into his fifties. He was also a Marine.  He was a fireman in the squad before being promoted. This was very unusual as they frowned on a promoted firemen returning to their company. However, being a very persuasive individual, it happened. I believe he was a founding member of the Emerald Society Band and a friend of John T O'Hagan. Most of my knowledge of Lt.  McClay came from the kitchen. Therefore please correct me if I am wrong.

    My first tour (6 pm to 9 am) with him we were riding out of the Tin House, as the first section of E 85. At that time the squad was doing a round robin, riding as first sections of E73, E82 and E85. During the Adopt Response times we would ride as an engine from 3 pm till 1 am and then revert to a Squad . Our first run was for rubbish in a playground , While we were operating one of the brothers got in a verbal spat with a local.  Upon returning to the Tin House, the Lt. called us to the rear of the apparatus floor. As I looked around I realized I was the only one who had not worked with him. The first thing he did is remind everyone he was the boss. If there was any exchange with the locals, he would be the one to handle the situation. Lastly, the part I liked best he told us if you did not want to go to fires get the f--king out of his group. He did not believe in R&R. When he got on the rig we better be ready for the next job. This is what I transferred in for.


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War years / The Soldiers
« on: June 04, 2019, 07:46:08 PM »

Offline nfd2004

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Re: War years / The Soldiers
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2019, 10:08:25 PM »
 Thank you Capt Bendick, aka "jbendick", for telling us a story from those FDNY War Years and one of the Soldiers (Lt McClay) who were among it.

 I didn't know Capt Bendick or Lt McClay at the time. But no doubt, I watched them work so many times together.

 Today of course, Retired FDNY Captain John Bendick and myself are very good friends, along with so many others on here.

 Over the years that we've known each other, there's never been a shortage of FDNY stories to listen to. I hope that Capt Bendick will tell us more of them. Add in a few more threads like "Glory Days", "Remembrance", "FDNY Firehouses and Fire Companies", "My Younger Buff Years", etc, Plus the pictures like "mikeindabronx" has on his web site ( www.fdnysbravest.com ), and you have some of the GREATEST Stories, written by, and told by, the guys who were right in the middle of it all.   

Offline *******

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Re: War years / The Soldiers
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2019, 08:09:31 AM »
I would like to add my admiration and respect for Lt. Jim McClay. During my time in 82 myself and Jim were in the same group number,7. As I have written before to keep 82's numbers down we were on forced interchange every second night tour to either E295 or 297. The night tours in between Sq. 2, Lt. McClay and guys rode 1st due for 82 from 1900 to 0100. Over the years I got to know Jimmy very personally. He was without a doubt one of the great and respected one's during this busy time period. Unfortunately though the beating he took shortened his life time and he passed much to soon on retirement. Rest in Peace Jimmy, was always, always a pleasure to work with you and have known you.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2019, 08:12:44 AM by ******* »

Offline 68jk09

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Re: War years / The Soldiers
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2019, 03:49:22 PM »
^^^^^ Although i never actually worked with Red McClay i have heard many of his exploits during the FDNY War Years....i had the privilege of having his Nephew Gary Mc as one of my original SQ*41 Chauffeurs....an all around great guy ....Gary's career was cut short later on due to medical issues while a LT in ENG*69.