Is it true that your grandfather Adrian 'Zeke' Downing was involved in World War II in the Pacific?
Yes, my grandfather served in World War II during the war in the pacific on a US naval boat.
My grandfather got his nickname because while serving as a cook (peeling potatoes and such), a battle broke out and the gunner was shot. My grandfather grabbed the gunner and pulled him out of the seat and then my grandfather jumped in the seat and proceeded to shoot down a japanese zero fighter plane. After that, my grandfather (Adrian) was known as Zeke (another name for a japanese zero). But how many cooks shot down enemy planes during World War II anyway?
My grandfather's favorite story about the war went like this, "There I was surrounded by tanks. And the enemy was dropping bombs all around me from every direction. Machine gunners all around rat a tat tat. Landmines were everywhere. And then, I died."