Gilbert and Phyllis Butson of Oak Forrest condominiums in Port Charlotte are pictured 70 years ago when they were married in the Detroit, Mich. area in 1944 when he was an anti-aircraft gunner on the destroyer Cowell during World War II. Photo provided

USS Cowell helped rescue sailors from USS Indianapolis during WW II

What Gilbert Butson of Oak Forest Condominiums Port Charlotte, Fla. remembers most about the three years he served aboard the destroyer USS Cowell (DD-547) in the Pacific during World War II was the time his ‘tin can” rescued sailors from the ill-fated heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis in the Philippine Sea during the “Great Mariana Turkey…

Cpl. Pete Marlo saw a picture identical to this one showing him at the left, his father Joseph, his older brother John, his older brother John, his younger brother Rossi, hanging on the wall of a cottage in southern Sicily during World War II. It was just like the one his father had in their home in New York. When he saw it, he knew he had found his grandparents in Vittoria, Sicily. Photo provided.

This picture was American soldier’s clue in WW II

Pete Marlo of Holiday Estates in Englewood, Fla. served in the 62nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion from Totten, Long Island, N.Y. His unit was attached to Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army during part of World War II. They fought Field Marshal Irwin Rommel during the disaster at the Kasserine Pass shortly after the Invasion of North…

Lt. Holland, at the left, and Al Meersman of Port Charlotte, Fla. on the right, take a Jeep across the Rhine River on a pontoon bridge at Remagen after the original bridge collapsed during World War II. Photo provided

He landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day plus one

Pfc. Al Meersman was behind quad-fifty caliber machine guns mounted on a halftrack when it rolled out of an LST onto Omaha Beach on D-Day plus one, June 7, 1944. Eleven months later he and his four buddies were on their halftrack when they met the Russians, who were advancing westward fighting the last of…

Marine who fought at Iwo Jima makes last trip home

Ray Richards’ latest battle is as tough as the one he fought more than 60 years ago, when, as an 18-year-old Marine in the 3rd Marine Division, he saw action and was wounded at the start of the Battle for Iwo Jima during the final months of World War II.

John Nemeth of Port Charlotte looks at pictures on the wall of his home of his medals and the B-26 "Marauder" bomber he flew in World War II. Sun photo by Don Moore

Port Charlotte, Fla. man flew B-26 ‘Marauder’ in WWII

By D-Day, June 6, 1944, former 1st Lt. John Nemeth of Port Charlotte, Fla. had flown 40 combat mission over Nazi-occupied Europe in a Martin B-26 “Marauder” bomber named “Johnny Come Lately.” He would fly 27 more in his bomber dubbed “The Widowmaker” by some because of its propensity to crash during takeoffs and landings.

The horse-drawn caisson arrived at former Capt. Harold Sandler's grave site last Tuesday in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C. with his honor guard bringing up the rear. In the background a 20-piece military band played funeral music for the occasion. Sun photo by Mary Auenson

World War II hero’s burial

A caisson flanked by an honor guard and drawn by six matching brown horses held Harold Sandler’s remains in a steel-gray casket draped with an American flag. The eight soldiers in impeccable Army dress were commanded by an equally resplendent captain. All waited in statue-like silence last Tuesday on a road in Arlington National Cemetery,…

Nelson didn't want to come home from Vietnam and face the protesters. Photo provided

Sgt. Derek Nelson served 3 1/2 years in Vietnam from 68-71

Derek Nelson of North Port, Fla. served 3 1/2 years in Vietnam. He first went there in 1967 as an 18-year-old member of the 9th Infantry Division located in the Macon Delta. During his second tour in 1969 he served with the 1st Logistics Command in Saigon. His last 18 months over there he was…

IMG_0783

40 Months at the Front

The inscription on the front of the white ball cap siting on the coffee tale says it all: “America’s most Decorated 34th Infantry Division.” Below the inscription was an irregular shaped patch showing the head of a bull in red on a solid black background the 34th Division’s insignia.

Ardolino

John Ardolino faced the Cuban Missile Crisis

John Ardolino of Burnt Store Marina, south of Punta Gorda, Fla. served a couple of years as a member of Company B, 25th Signal Battalion in Germany during the early 1960s. He and his buddies strung telephone lines from the command center to the front lines if war broke out.

This is the only picture Gene Kopec has of himself in a Marine Corps uniform. It's from a yearbook type publication produced by the Corps given to all those who survive basic. He is just one of many faces in the book. Photo provided

Gene Kopec of North Port received 3 Purple Hearts fighting in Vietnam

Three times Gene Kopec of North Port was wounded while fighting in Vietnam with the Marine Corps. He received three Purple Hearts and took part in the Battle at Khe Sanh. Here North Vietnam Army regular troops and Vietcong guerillas went head-to-head against American and South Vietnamese soldiers along the Demilitarized Zone in the biggest…

U. S. Air Force Sgt. Jim Laurent was a pioneer in electro-magnetic spying on the Soviet Union during the "Cold War. Photo provided

Jim Laurent worked in spy business and White House 24 years

Jim Laurent’s 24 years of service in the U.S. Air Force was shrouded in secrecy. He was a high frequency radio communication expert who spied on the Russians, kept the radio equipment running in the SR-71 “Blackbird” spy plane and spent more than five years working in White House Communications for three presidents.