Alex Haak was 8-years-old when the German Army defeated the much smaller Dutch Army in May 1940 and marched into Amsterdam, Netherlands his home town and occupied the country for five years. As World War II progressed conditions for him and his family and friends grew worse and worse.
Archive for the ‘Korean War’ Category
As a kid Hal Johnson wanted to be a fighter pilot. When he joined the Army Air Corps in 1943 they made him a B-24 “Liberator” bomber pilot. Read the rest of this entry »
Cpl. Robert Robb was a sniper attached to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment, 1st Marine Division in Korea during the war. His unit took Hill 749, a volcanic mound known as the ‘Punchbowl,’ away from a regiment of North Koreans holding the high ground in mid-September 1951. Read the rest of this entry »
The day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, 1951, Marvin Aronow from Bronx, N.Y. was drafted. He wound up in Korea as a member of I-Company, 31st Regiment, 7th Infantry Division.
“It wasn’t my idea to get drafted. When I got put in the Army I told them, ‘My teeth were bad.’ They said, ‘Here’s a rifle. You don’t have to bite the enemy with your teeth.’ Then I said, ‘I’ve got bad eyes.’ They replied, ‘We’re gonna put you up real close to the enemy.’
“They did.” Read the rest of this entry »
Ron Kocher of Arcadia, Fla. started out to join the Navy in 1951, but ended up in the Marines because the Navy recruiter wasn’t there when he showed to sign up.
Before Bill Ditto of Englewood, Fla. went aboard the battleship USS Missouri as a Marine guard in 1949, growing up in West Virginia, he had never seen the sea or a ship the size of the “Mighty Mo.” Read the rest of this entry »
Everett Charles of Vizcaya Lakes mobile home park in El Jobean skippered a PBR (Patrol Boat River) that prowled the Upper Saigon River hunting for North Vietnam Army regulars and Vietcong irregulars moving enemy supplies into South Vietnam. He made 216 combat patrols as captain, plus an additional 89 patrols into enemy territory as an advisor aboard South Vietnamese gun boats during the three years he served over there. Read the rest of this entry »
Sgt. Sandy Branzei talked away his war nightmares 5 years after his outfit was over run in Korean WarIn Korean War, U. S. Army on February 27, 2013 at 4:38 am
A month before the armistice was signed in July 1953, putting the Korean War on hold, Sgt. Sandy Branzei was in a bunker with his .30 caliber machine-gun atop “Boomerang Hill” when his unit, King Company, 7th Regiment, 3rd Division, was attacked and overrun by waves of Chinese soldiers. Read the rest of this entry »
In his dark blue Marine dress uniform trimmed with red piping, wearing white gloves and a white hat, Ernie O’Brien of Port Charlotte, Fla. stands ramrod straight at 87. He looks as if he could hit the beach at Guadalcanal, as he did more than 65 years ago. His silver mustache adds a touch of manliness to a face that has seen war up close and personal. Read the rest of this entry »
Don Schilke joined the Navy Reserves while still in high school in Oak Park, Ill. in 1947. After graduation he found himself in Composite Squadron 21 at North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego training for a job as an anti-submarine warfare crewman aboard a Grumman “Avenger” torpedo bomber. Read the rest of this entry »
Ed Jaworek was a co-pilot who flew a Mitchell B-25 twin-engine attack bomber on low-level combat missions for the 8th Air Force in Europe during World War II. He took part in the Berlin Air Lift, in 1949 and piloted a C-46 twin-engine “Commando” transport in and out of Berlin. When the Korean war rolled around, in the 1950s, he flew a medical air transport C-47 “Gooney Bird” during the last months of that war. A C-119 “Flying Boxcar” was his plane during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Read the rest of this entry »
When Melitta Gay of Venice called me a while back and said she was going through all her late husband’s stuff from a 31-year military career that spanned World War II, Korea and Vietnam and wanted me to come check it out for possible inclusion in the Sun, I was perplexed. He had already gone on to Valhalla 18 years ago like all good warriors, so what did she want me to do?
“Come see me,” she said. “I have more than enough information to make a long story about my husband for your newspaper.” Read the rest of this entry »
From the end of World War II, through the Korean War of the 1950s and halfway into the Vietnam War, late in the 1960s, Granville Pennypacker of Englewood, Fla. served as a yeoman, a Navy administrator, in strategic hot spots around the world. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Meehan of Englewood, Fla. received a Silver Star, the third highest commendation awarded an American soldier for gallantry under enemy fire, when his unit, the 17th Regiment of the 7th Division, was trying to capture a hill held by North Koreans. Read the rest of this entry »
Col. Charles Milam begins 30-year military career at Okinawa – He served in WW II, Korea and VietnamIn Korean War, Silver Star, Vietnam War, World War II on October 3, 2012 at 4:38 am
Charles Milam of Port Charlotte, Fla. was a freshman on a football scholarship playing for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks in 1944 when he decided to join the Marine Corps. Read the rest of this entry »
Roger Burton is no war hero. In fact, he missed the whole war.
The infantry corporal was a couple of weeks too late for the Battle of Pork Chop Hill, one of the nastiest engagements of the Korean War. Read the rest of this entry »
Sgt. Lawrence Gilbert of North Port, Fla. was a member of the 1st Ranger Battalion attached to the 1st Division, part of Gen. George Patton’s 7th Army that landed in Sicily on July 10, 1943 during the middle of World War II. Read the rest of this entry »
With her wispy white hair, her frail body and her tiny voice, Harriette Moore is the epitome of someone’s grandmother. Looks can be deceiving.
Tom Peterson’s baptism of fire came during the Battle of the Bulge, the biggest battle on the Western Front during World War II. He was a young 2nd lieutenant commanding a platoon of M-4 tanks, part of the 781st Tank Battalion attached to the 7th Army. Read the rest of this entry »
Bernie Strapp of North Port, Fla. joined the Navy at 17 in February 1943 during the middle of World War II. Because he had taken carpentry in high school he wound up working in a ship repair unit in San Diego, Calif. Read the rest of this entry »
Col. Clark received Silver Star for actions at Guadalcanal during WWII – He also saw front-line action in Korea and VietnamIn Korean War, Silver Star, U. S. Army, Vietnam War, World War II on August 10, 2012 at 4:38 am
Col. Al R. Clark of Port Charlotte, Fla. joined the Oregon National Guard in 1935 at the age of 15. Before his 33-year regular Army career was over, he saw action on the front lines in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Read the rest of this entry »
David Weaver, who grew up in Charleston, S.C. and joined the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in 1943 when he was 21, was sent to the Pacific Fleet and assigned to Escort Carrier Group VF-60 at Saipan. Read the rest of this entry »
Col. Ivar Svenson, United States Marine Corps, was in charge of plans and operations for the III Marine Amphibious Force headquarters unit stationed in Da Nang, South Vietnam in 1968. Ann Byerlein was head nurse of the intensive care unit at Da Nang Provincial Hospital in May of that year, during the height of the Vietnam War. Read the rest of this entry »
Rodger Craig had just graduated from high school in 1950 and signed up to be a Marine about the time the Korean War started. He was in boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. when war broke out. Read the rest of this entry »
Army was turning point for 17-year-old Punta Gorda, Fla. soldier – Abraham Coleman received two Purple Hearts while fighting in KoreaIn Korean War, Purple Heart, U. S. Army on June 8, 2012 at 4:38 am
Former Cpl. Abraham Coleman joined the U.S. Army in 1947 at 17, “just to get the hell away from Punta Gorda.” He wanted to find a better life with more opportunities for a young black man than living in a small Southern town. Read the rest of this entry »
U.S. Navy pilot almost Japanese hero in WWII – Capt. ‘Slim’ Russell flew off USS Saratoga at GuadalcanalIn Korean War, U.S. Navy, World War II on May 11, 2012 at 4:38 am
“At Guadalcanal, I was almost a war hero to the Japanese,” Allard Guy “Slim” Russell of Sarasota, Fla. said with a smile. “I dropped the first 500-pound bomb on the 75-mile long, 25-mile-wide enemy-held South Pacific island. Read the rest of this entry »
It was 1953 and the Korean War had ground to a halt when Dick Cooley of Columbus, Ohio got word to report to his local draft board. Read the rest of this entry »
Otis Manchester of North Port, Fla. always wanted to go to sea and see the world. His father had served in the U.S. Navy during World War I and he volunteer for the Navy a year before the start of the Korean War. Read the rest of this entry »
Charlie Kukla arrived in Korea in June 1950 as a 19-year-old “grunt” in the 1st Marine Division.
Within a week he was a prisoner of war. Read the rest of this entry »
Fred Winterbottom has been a soldier for most of his 92 years. Winterbottom, who lives at the Village on the Isles retirement complex in Venice, Fla. with his wife, Gwen, saw service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Read the rest of this entry »
By the time 2nd Lt. Will White reached Korea in the fall of 1953 the war was over, but the repatriation of POWs at Panmunjom, North Korea was just getting started. The 22-year-old Army lieutenant served as a public information officer for the world press that came to the North Korean border crossing to cover the prisoner exchange. Read the rest of this entry »
EDITOR’S NOTE: Second of a two-part story.
When the Korean War broke out in June 1950 George Hardy’s World War II service was long behind him. He flew a P-51 “Mustang” in the 99th Fighter Squadron as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black fighter group, during the Second World War. Read the rest of this entry »
EDITOR’S NOTE: First of a two-part story.
George Hardy of Sarasota, Fla. was a Tuskegee Airman. The retired lieutenant colonel began his military career as a member of the all-black 99th Fighter Squadron, flying 21 combat missions over Germany during the final two months before V-E Day in World War II in a P-51 “Mustang” fighter plane. Read the rest of this entry »
Jim Crowell of Port Charlotte, Fla. was enjoying himself as an 18-year-old occupation soldier with the 7th Infantry Division in Japan when the Korean War broke out in June 1950. Over night the teenaged soldier was sent to Inchon, North Korea by ship, together with a division or two of infantry and a like number of U.S. Marines and told by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, in command of NATO Troops, to attack the North Koreans holding the shoreline. Read the rest of this entry »
Dorothy Arft loves the Navy. She spent one four-year hitch in the service as a seaman and 29 years working as a civilian employee for the Navy. Read the rest of this entry »
Frank Bloom joined the Marine Corps Aviation Cadet Program while still in high school and learned to fly F4U Corsair fighters during World War II. He was called back during the Korean War. Read the rest of this entry »
Sol Shuman of Lake Suzy, east of Port Charlotte, Fla., was a platoon sergeant in the Indian Head Division, 2nd Infantry Division that went to Inchon, North Korea with Gen. Douglas MacArthur and his troops, in January 1951. Mac Arthur was headed for China. Read the rest of this entry »
John Brophy of Heron Creek subdivision in North Port at 21 was 6-feet 3-inches tall and 120 pounds when drafted in 1951 during the Korean War. He was too skinny to fight. Read the rest of this entry »
When the Korean War broke out in June 1950 Larry Haynes of North Port, Fla. was an 19-year-old Army corporal serving in H-Company, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division in Japan. Read the rest of this entry »
1st Lt. Richard Burns almost “bought the farm” on his 95th combat mission over North Korea in his F-84 “Thunderjet.” His squadron’s objective: knock out an enemy bridge. Read the rest of this entry »
For the past year, in addition to writing war stories about local veterans, I’ve provided DVD interviews of these same veterans to the Library of Congress’ “Veterans History Project.”
This week I reached a milestone in these interviews. A couple of days ago I sent 25 DVDs and supporting material on each disk to the Library of Congress. That’s a total for the year of 100 interviews, 100 DVDs the “Veterans History Project” has received since this time last year. Read the rest of this entry »
David Wade of Overbrook Gardens in Englewood, Fla. was a crewman aboard a B-45 four-engine jet bomber during the Korean War era. It was this country’s first jet bomber after the Second World War designed specifically for a nuclear payload.
Wade returned from a tour in Korea and Japan and ended up at the Air Force base in Yuma Ariz. Col. James Jabara was base commander.
1st Lt. Rex Anderson (Ret.) of Burnt Store Isles tangled with Russian MIG-15 fighters over the Yalu River in dogfights during the 100 combat missions he flew in an F-86 “Sabre Jet” during the Korea War. The commendation accompanying the second Air Medal he received doesn’t tell the whole story.
When Eugene “Fuzzy” Fazekas of Spanish Lakes mobile home park in Nokomis, Fla. sailed to war as a corpsman with Naval Advance Group 56 in 1944 he hadn’t been given any medical training. Read the rest of this entry »
Kil Kilcauley of North Port has seen a lot of life in his 97 years of living. He’s fought in three of this country’s wars–World War II, Korea and Vietnam–and lived to tell about it. Read the rest of this entry »
Alex Magno was a 17-year-old Italian boy from Chicago who joined the Army and ended up in L-Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division in Korea a month after the Korean War broke out in June 1950.