From U.S. Navy

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…

Englewood, Fla. man’s sub sank carrier that attacked Pearl Harbor

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.

Richard Cook fought with the Seals in Vietnam

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.”

Ed McFadden served aboard USS Colorado during WW II

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…

Radioman 3rd Class Chris Genovese is pictured in his early 20s after getting out of boot camp during World War II. Photo provided

Chris Genovese served aboard the destroyer USS Rodman during WWII

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…

Ralph Styles sea devil crew 3

Jap sub sunk in Tokyo Bay by USS Sea Devil

The enemy submarine, I-374, sailed out of Tokyo Bay into the open Pacific shortly before sunrise on Sept. 22, 1944. Capt. Ralph Styles, skipper of the sub USS Sea Devil, was laying in wait submerged near the harbor’s entrance.

Port Charlotte man survived WWII torpedo attack

Nine German torpedo boats attacked eight American transport ships in Lyme Bay off the southern coast of England near the village of Slapton Sands in South Devon, during the wee hours of April 28, 1944. By dawn, 749 Americans died and 1000 more were casualties of war.

Two sailors meet 40 years after Vietnam War

Forty years after rockets rained down on their Tango Boat operating in South Vietnam’s Cau Lon River delta country, killing or wounding all seven crew members, Soan Ngo, skipper of the beleaguered boat, and Jim Milstead, his American advisor, were recently reunited in Venice, Fla. thanks to the efforts of a friend and the internet.

Typhoon was worst day of World War II for John Wisse

It wasn’t the bombing of the carrier USS Franklin off the coast of Japan on March 19, 1945, or the attack by 31 Kamikazes on the four destroyers leading the Franklin’s task force off Okinawa on April 14, 1945, that John Wisse of Rotonda, Fla. considers his worst day in World War II.

Jefferson Askew made 38 Atlantic convoy trips during WWII

Jefferson Askew joined the Navy at age 23 in 1940, almost a year before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. By war’s end, he had made 38 trips across the Atlantic in a minuscule destroyer escort, the USS Amick, helping to protect 150-ship convoys making the hazardous voyage to Europe during World War II.

Julius Gervan was engine-room chief aboard destroyer Thatcher in WW II

Chief Julius Gervan of Burnt Store Isles subdivision south of Punta Gorda, Fla. was in charge of the forward engine-room aboard the destroyer USS Thatcher II (DD-514) when a kamikaze pilot crashed his plane into the the ship’s super structure and burst into flames killing 14 sailors and wounding 56 more during the Battle for…

Abe Wolson recalls one mission worth 20 years of service

Former Lt. Col. Abe Wolson of Port Charlotte, Fla. served 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He piloted Marine Corps 1, the presidential helicopter, during the administrations of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. He served three tours in Vietnam in 1961, ’67 and ’72, flying helicopters in combat for Special Operations missions, among other…

USS Arizona survivor Vernon Olsen remembered

Vernon Olsen, 91 — who survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor aboard the battleship USS Arizona, swam away from the carrier USS Lexington as it was sinking during the Battle of the Coral Sea months later, and took part in the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests after the war — died Friday, April 22,…

He fought at Okinawa the last big battle in the Pacific

Right out of high school Clyde Leininger, who lives in Alligator Mobile Home Park south of Punta Gorda, Fla. joined the Naval Aviation Cadet Program to become a pilot. Before he got his wings the program was canceled in October 1944 because the Navy had too many pilots.

He took President Roosevelt to Malta to Attend the Conference at Yalta

Angelo Marinelli is the swabbie in the center.  He and his buddies had just dropped FDR off at Malta and were touring the island on a sunny Sunday. President Roosevelt met with Egyptian King Farouk  aboard the USS Quincy in July 1944. Photo provided Boatswain’s mate Angelo Marinelli knew something big was up when a bathtub was brought aboard his ship, the heavy cruiser USS Quincy, in December 1944 while it was moored at the Boston Navy  Yard.