Before Brad Messick graduated from high school in 1966 at 19 he had already been notified by his draft board. He signed up with the Navy and was allowed to graduate before going to sea. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘U.S. Navy’ Category
Jack Monahan served three tours in Vietnam during the war. He returned to Sarasota in ’69 and became a general contractor. He was doing well until the housing took a nosedive a few years back. He lost everything. At 70 he’s not in great health and he lives in an efficiency apartment in east Venice and subsists on a Wartime Veteran’s Pension of $1,054 per month. Life is tough. Read the rest of this entry »
“I knew things were getting serious when they issued us corpsmen morphine as we got off the C-130 transport at Guantanamo Bay,” Bob Pulver of Heritage Lake condominiums in Port Charlotte, a former Marine corpsman during the Cuban Missile Crisis said. Read the rest of this entry »
During his 30 year Naval career Mike Clarity of Punta Gorda, Fla. was the skipper of a guided missile destroyer and the Port Commander at Pearl Harbor by the time he retired from the service. Read the rest of this entry »
Jack Sanzalone of Port Charlotte, Fla. spent almost three decades under the sea in atomic attack submarines keeping an eye on America’s enemies as the boat combed the deep searching for adversaries. Read the rest of this entry »
When John Dickinson arrived at the airport in Saigon, Vietnam in 1969 aboard a commercial jet from the United States he was a recient graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who had just finished helicopter flight school in Pensacola. Read the rest of this entry »
Jay Stuart had two years behind him at North Carolina State in engineering in 1960 when he ran out of money for school. He decided to join the Navy and see the world. Read the rest of this entry »
Times were tough for Robert Smith’s family when he was inducted into the Navy.
“I sent 60 percent of my Navy pay home to my mother to help the family. My other three brothers did the same. I never played payday poker in the barracks,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »
Fleet Admiral William “Bull” Halsey sailed into the sea of Japan, between the Japanese home islands and the Chinese mainland, with Task Group 38.3 consisting of five aircraft carriers, two battleships, four light cruisers and a group of destroyers. Read the rest of this entry »
Helen Salins of Polynesian Village in north Englewood, Fla. joined the WAVES during World War II. She was 25 and already a talented artist and a graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in English. Read the rest of this entry »
Jerry Bauer of Village of Holiday Lakes mobile home park, near Port Charlotte, Fla., spent 22 years in the military, most of it in the “Silent Service” during the “Cold War.” Read the rest of this entry »
Joe Medina and a buddy were shooting pool in a Tampa, Fla. pool hall in 1946 when the two of them got the idea to join the Navy. Both were 18. Read the rest of this entry »
Dan Avenancio started as a seaman on Carrier Kennedy and retired a Lt. Cmdr. aboard Carrier RooseveltIn U.S. Navy on September 4, 2013 at 1:38 am
Dan Avenancio joined the Navy in 1976 as a teenage seaman, part of the flight deck crew, sweeping the decks on the carrier USS John F. Kennedy, sailing off the Virginia coast as a training ship. He ended his 24-year Naval career in 2000 as lieutenant commander in charge of maintenance aboard the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Read the rest of this entry »
After graduating from high school in Michigan in 1960, two days before he turned 18, James Dundas, who lives in the Burnt Store area, south of Punta Gorda, joined the Navy and took a “Kiddie Cruise.” The deal he made allowed him to serve three years and be out of the service shortly before his 21st birthday. Read the rest of this entry »
Howard Dole served on minesweepers, provided French Foreign Legion phones and worked for the Shaw of IranIn U.S. Navy on August 16, 2013 at 1:38 am
Howard Dole served on minesweepers, provided French Foreign Legion phones and worked for the Shaw of Iran
Howard Dole joined the Navy in 1948 after graduating from high school in Philadelphia. He went aboard the minesweeper, USS Sprig, the first radarman assigned to a minesweeper in the Atlantic Fleet. She was based in Charleston, S.C. Read the rest of this entry »
He shook Hitler’s hand and fought the Japanese aboard Battleship Tennessee at Philippines, Iwo Jima and OkinawaIn U.S. Navy, World War II on July 31, 2013 at 1:38 am
Bruce Rohn served as fire control officer aboard the USS Tennessee after the World War I-era battleship, sunk by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, was raised from the bottom, repaired and sent to war. The 95-year-old Venice, Fla. resident and the Tennessee (BB-43) saw action at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and numerous other engagements before World War II was over. Read the rest of this entry »
Until he sailed for Vietnam in 1967 aboard the USS Mathews, AKA-96, Richard Hartley of Port Charlotte, Fla. was a 21 year-old auto worker making Jeeps at Ford’s giant Rouge industrial complex in Dearborn, Mich. Read the rest of this entry »
John Schiro sailed into battle aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVL-22) shortly after she was commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in August 1943 as a member of the engine room’s “Black Gang.” When he left the carrier at war’s end he was the chief machinist-mate in the forward engine-room. Read the rest of this entry »
Like his father and grandfather before him, Noel Hyde graduated from pharmacy school. But he did his elders one better, Noel joined the U.S. Navy’s Service Corps in the pharmacy department and served 25 years retiring as a Navy captain. Read the rest of this entry »
When Roy Johnson of Port Charlotte went aboard the destroyer USS Wiltsie (DD-716) in December 1952, just before a shakedown crew, he was an 18-year-old apprentice fireman. Since the ship ran on steam turbine power Johnson was made a messenger aboard the Wiltsie.
Bud Lounsbury of North Port, Fla. may have had the cushiest job in he Navy! He served as a seaman aboard the fleet admiral’s barge in the Mediterranean during the Korean War. Read the rest of this entry »
Philip Merrill almost missed World World II. Two weeks before graduating from high school at 17 he was sworn into the Navy on May 17, 1943. Read the rest of this entry »
Harold Tyson was a teenage quartermaster 2nd class at the helm of the USS Sheridan (APA-51), an attack transport, in seven major Pacific battles during World War II. He and his ship took part in the Invasion of Tarawa, Kwajalein, Saipan, Guam, Leyte, Philippines and Okinawa, the largest island engagement during the Second World War.
The hand-written note on the back of the framed 8 X 10-inch black and white photo on the wall of Earl Swillum’s Port Charlotte, Fla. home reads: “Iwo Jima, Day 3.” On the flip side it shows LST-121 on the beach with its bow in the island’s black volcanic sand two days before the Marines put an American flag atop Mount Suribachi. Read the rest of this entry »
It was pitch dark 64 years ago this past week, when Seaman 1st Class James Friel of south Punta Gorda, Fla. jumped from the fantail of the USS Walke (DD-416) into Iron Bottom Sound at Guadalcanal after his destroyer was hit by a Japanese torpedo. Read the rest of this entry »
Wilbur Kinney of Port Charlotte, Fla. was aboard the carrier USS Yorktown when it was sunk by a Japanese submarine during the decisive Battle of Midway that began June 4, 1942. Read the rest of this entry »
After bootcamp at Great Lakes in 1958 and a stint in Aviation Electronics School in Patuxent River, Md., Radioman 3rd/Class Jim Spence wound up as a radio operator aboard a U.S. Navy four-engine, Super Constellation patrol plane flying out of Argentia, Newfoundland in Airborne Early Warning Squadron 13.
The USS Cavalla (SS-244) was considered by some to be the luckiest ship in the submarine service.
She sank the Japanese carrier Shokaku that participated in the Pearl Harbor attack, made 570 dives and sank 34,180 tons of enemy shipping near the end of World War II without sustaining any serious injuries to the crew. Read the rest of this entry »
Glenn Jenkins is dead. In 1945 he was a 17-year-old sailor who grew up in Nokomis, Fla. and joined the Navy near the end of World War II. After graduation from boot camp in Bainbridge, Md. he volunteered for a secret Naval mustard gas experiment that made him the focal point of a headline-grabbing Congressional investigation in Washington on military’s misconduct more than half a century later. Read the rest of this entry »
Richard Cook looked the part with his short cropped hair, weathered face and ramrod-straight military gait. The old salt would fool no one.
The real giveaway was the navy blue shirt with five rows of campaign ribbons complete with six battle stars on his chest. Underneath, embroidered in gold, it read: U.S. NAVY. Down the left arm of his long-sleeve shirt were the names of seven Vietnam cities. Even more interesting, also embroidered in gold, were four more lines of words in gold that read: “CAN’T TELL YOU.” Read the rest of this entry »
Former Venice, Fla. coach served aboard USS Intrepid, during WW II – Dick Brown coached football, baseball and basketball at Venice HighIn U.S. Navy, World War II on January 28, 2013 at 4:38 am
Dick Brown thought he was going to be an 18-year-old naval aviator in 1944. He quickly found out the military had more young flyboys than it needed. Read the rest of this entry »
Punta Gorda, Fla. man knows all about tsunamis – Seaman George McNeill’s troop ship was hit by a tsunamiIn U.S. Navy, World War II on November 26, 2012 at 4:38 am
George McNeill knows all about tsunamis like the one which devastated large portions of the southeast Asian coast of the Indian Ocean in 2005. He and the sailors aboard the troop transport, SS Denali, were hit by one in November 1942 while sailing from Seattle, Wash., to Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Read the rest of this entry »
Norm Meissner attended the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y. in the 1960s.
The “Cuban Missile Crisis” was erupting about the time he left the academy. The U. S. was on the verge of going to war with Russia over missiles the Soviets snuck into the island nation that were aimed our way. Read the rest of this entry »
The toughest day of World War II for 17-year-old Seaman Ed McFadden was partway through the battle of Okinawa in March 1945.
That day, he was not at his normal battle station in the foretop lookout 150 feet above the deck of the World War I battleship USS Colorado. That day he was on a small deck one level below and behind the bridge. Read the rest of this entry »
Every gun on the destroyer was firing at the diving kamikaze – Seaman John Wilson knew he was in harm’s wayIn U.S. Navy, World War II on October 29, 2012 at 4:38 am
Seaman John Wilson knew his ship was in harm’s way when the kamikaze plane at which he was firing continued to grow in the sights of his twin 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns. 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 »
USS Crevalle led wolf pack through minefield – Seaman 1/C Leonard “Bull” Durham of Port Charlotte, Fla. was aboardIn U.S. Navy, World War II on October 19, 2012 at 4:38 am
“Hellcats” is what Admiral Thomas Lockwood, commander of submarines in the Pacific, dubbed the first “wolf pack” to breach the Tsushima Straits minefield and anti-submarine nets between the southern island of Kyushu in the Japanese chain and the Korean peninsula during the closing months of World War II. Read the rest of this entry »
Before Louie Wilson of Port Charlotte, Fla. joined the Navy in May 1943 he and his late wife, Bea, had a roller skating act on stage in Vaudeville call The Wilson Duo. After boot camp and preliminary naval gunnery training he went aboard a destroyer escort, the USS Barr (DE-576), headed for battle in the Pacific. Read the rest of this entry »
A dozen times or more Jim Clawson, who lives in Cross Creek RV Resort north of Arcadia, Fla. on US-17, crossed the Atlantic as the bow gunner on the William Gilles, a merchant ship, bringing tanks, planes and troops to North Africa and Europe during World War II. Read the rest of this entry »
Ted Schulz of Port Charlotte, Fla. had already crossed the Atlantic three times aboard a destroyer escort, USS Fiske, protecting transports full of military supplies on their way to North Africa when his ship was reassigned to a hunter-killer group in the North Atlantic searching for German U-Boats. Read the rest of this entry »
It was March 7, 1944 when Charles Kueny of Punta Gorda, Fla. got drafted. After a month’s basic training, instead of the usual 12 weeks, at Bainbridge, Md. he was sent aboard the USS Escalante a Navy tanker as a loader on a three-inch gun forward. Read the rest of this entry »
Operation Tiger was a man-killer – Manasota Key man participated in mock invasion that killed 749 American GIsIn U.S. Navy, World War II on August 20, 2012 at 4:38 am
Operation Tiger was supposed to be a dry run, a dress rehearsal for the D-Day Invasion during World War II a few weeks away. What it turned out to be was a disaster for the Allied troops that has been covered up for almost 60 years. 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 »
By the time Radioman 3rd Class Chris Genovese and his destroyer, the USS Rodman, reached Okinawa during the closing months of World War II, the ship had taken part in the D-Day invasion, shot down a German JU-88 bomber, 15 Japanese kamikazes, sunk a German submarine during the invasion of Southern France, and escorted President Franklin Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference. 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 »
Ted Sivyer of Country Club Estates in Venice manned a 20 mm antiaircraft gun on two destroyers, one during the Invasion of Sicily and North Africa and the other at Iwo Jima and Okinawa in World War II. Read the rest of this entry »
Lawrence Frazer of South Gulf Cove, Fla. was a 16-year-old sailor on the main number-2 five-inch gun aboard the USS Killen (DD-539), a Fletcher Class destroyer, during the battle of the Surigao Strait off Leyte in the Philippines on Oct. 25, 1944, in World War II.
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