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Archive for the ‘U.S. Navy’ Category

Jim Manning served aboard the USS Sea Devil, one of the hottest subs in WW II

In Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, U.S. Navy on April 11, 2014 at 1:38 am
 Seaman Jim Manning (left) and his buddy Lyle Hokenson about the time they got out of boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Receiving Center near Chicago in 1961, Photo provided

Seaman Jim Manning (left) and his buddy Lyle Hokenson about the time they got out of boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Receiving Center near Chicago in 1961, Photo provided

Two friends who served in the submarine service before Jim Manning talked him into signing up for the Navy and going to sub school when the time came. He didn’t regret it. Read the rest of this entry »

Christ Nielsen was crewman aboard Navy rescue helicopter during Vietnam War

In U.S. Navy, Vietnam on March 21, 2014 at 1:38 am
 Lt. Commander Christ Nielsen is pictured about the time he served as the Naval Aviation Supply Officer in Philadelphia in 1985. Photo provided

Lt. Commander Christ Nielsen is pictured about the time he served as the Naval Aviation Supply Officer in Philadelphia in 1985. Photo provided

Christ Nielsen of Punta Gorda, Fla. was a “Seadevil.” He was a member of U.S. Navy Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Seven that rescued downed pilots and seamen in trouble off the coast of Vietnam during the war. Read the rest of this entry »

USS Billfish sent Japanese tanker to bottom

In U.S. Navy, World War II on March 14, 2014 at 1:38 am
The USS Billfish sent 19 Japanese ships to the bottom and rescued the co-pilot of a B-29 Superfortress on its way back from bombing Japan. Don Alger, who is a resident at the Douglas T. Jacobson Veterans Nursing Home in Port Charlotte, sailed aboard the Billfish on her last two combats missions. Photo provided

The USS Billfish sent 19 Japanese ships to the bottom and rescued the co-pilot of a B-29 Superfortress on its way back from bombing Japan. Don Alger, who is a resident at the Douglas T. Jacobson Veterans Nursing Home in Port Charlotte, Fla. sailed aboard the Billfish on her last two combats missions. Photo provided

It was late in the war. Petty Officer 3rd Class Don Alger was on his first combat patrol aboard the USS Billfish (SS-286) sailing into Japanese waters. He was scared. Read the rest of this entry »

Brad Messick served as baker on destroyer USS Higbee and carrier John F. Kennedy

In U.S. Navy, Vietnam War on March 7, 2014 at 1:38 am
 This was Brad Messick when he served as a baker aboard the destroyer USS Higbee in the 1960s. Photo provided.

This was Brad Messick when he served as a baker aboard the destroyer USS Higbee in the 1960s. Photo provided.

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 »

Jack Monahan served 3 tours in Vietnam, now he barely survives on veteran’s pension

In U.S. Navy, Vietnam War on January 31, 2014 at 1:38 am
 Jack Monahan holds his M-14 assault rifle. He was 21 when this picture was taken in 1965 in his base camp in Da Nang, Vietnam. He was a Seabee in the 9th Mechanized Construction Battalion working with the 3rd Marine Amphibious Assault Force. Photo provided

Jack Monahan holds his M-14 assault rifle. He was 21 when this picture was taken in 1965 in his base camp in Da Nang, Vietnam. He was a Seabee in the 9th Mechanized Construction Battalion working with the 3rd Marine Amphibious Assault Force. Photo provided

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 »

Bob Pulver was a medic with the 1st Marine Division during the Cuban Missile Crisis

In Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, U.S. Navy on December 4, 2013 at 1:38 am
 Bob Pulver was 19 and just graduated from Navy boot camp in 1959 when this picture was taken. Photo provided

Bob Pulver was in his 20s when this picture was taken in the early 1960s. Photo provided

“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 »

Capt. Mike Clarity was skipper of destroyer, USS Cochrane and Port Commander at Pearl Harbor

In Cold War, U.S. Navy, Vietnam on November 15, 2013 at 1:38 am
Mike Clarity happiest days in the Navy was when he was the skipper of the guided missile  destroyer USS Cochrane based at Pearl Harbor. Photo provided

Capt. Mike Clarity happiest days in the Navy was when he was the skipper of the guided missile
destroyer USS Cochrane based at Pearl Harbor. Photo provided

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 was a command master chief in the U.S. Navy, a rare breed

In U.S. Navy on October 30, 2013 at 1:38 am
Jack Sanzalone was the command master chief of Sub Squadron-2 in Groton, Conn. when this picture was taken in 2000. Of the 350,000 members of the U.S. Navy, there were only about 750 chiefs in the navy with this rank. Photo provided

Jack Sanzalone was the command master chief of Sub Squadron-2 in Groton, Conn. when this picture was taken in 2000.  Photo provided

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 »

Kamikazes were biggest problem during Battle for Okinawa, old sailor says

In U.S. Navy, World War II on October 21, 2013 at 1:38 am
John Wrublevski with his three brothers. John is the sailor on the right. All four brothers made it home from the war. Photo provided.

John Wrublevski with his three brothers. John is the sailor on the right. All four brothers made it home from World WAr II. Photo provided.

Okinawa was the bad battle as far as John Wrublevski was concerned. He served as a 3rd Class fitter aboard a liberty ship converted to a mother ship for 150 mine cutters, not minesweepers, named the USS Mona Island (ARG-9). Read the rest of this entry »

Lt. j.g. John Dickinson was a ‘Seawolf’ in ’69 who fell in love with a Vietnamese girl

In U.S. Navy, Vietnam War on October 16, 2013 at 1:38 am
Ngoc-Ha and John were young lovers pictured holding hands in Ca Mau, Vietnam. They were  caught up in a war that would make their lives difficult for decades until they finally found each other again a world away in the U.S. in 1992. Photo provided

Ngoc-Ha and John were young lovers pictured holding hands in Sog-Ong Doc, Vietnam. They were caught up in a war that would make their lives difficult for decades until they finally found each other again a world away in the U.S. in 1990. Photo provided

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 »

Getting Navy to pay for his education made big difference for Lt. Cmdr. Jay Stuart

In U.S. Navy, Vietnam on October 4, 2013 at 1:38 am
Ensign Jay Stuart is pictured aboard the U.S. Navy minesweeper USS Phoebe during his first day on patrol off the coast of Vietnam in 1967. Photo provided

Ensign Jay Stuart is pictured aboard the U.S. Navy minesweeper USS Phoebe during his first day on patrol off the coast of Vietnam in 1967. Photo provided

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 »

Aviation-mechanic Robert Smith kept Navy flying during WW II

In U.S. Navy, World War II on October 2, 2013 at 1:38 am
This is Aviation-mechanic Robert Smith's boot camp graduation picture. He's the fellow under the ink-arrow on the top row center. This was Company 283 at the Green Bay, Wis. Naval Training Center in March 1943. Photo provided

This is Aviation-mechanic Robert Smith’s boot camp graduation picture. He’s the fellow under the ink-arrow on the top row center. This was Company 283 at the Green Bay, Wis. Naval Training Center in March 1943. Photo provided

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 »

Lt. j.g. Bill Timmis got Navy Cross for sinking Japanese battleship

In U.S. Navy, World War II on September 30, 2013 at 1:38 am
Lt. j.g. Bill Timmis is standing on the wing against the Curtis SB2C Helldiver. He was an instructor at Daytona Naval Air Station teaching this group of would-be Naval Aviators how to fly. Photo provided

Lt. j.g. Bill Timmis is standing on the wing leaning against the Curtis SB2C Helldiver. He was an instructor at Daytona Naval Air Station teaching this group of would-be Naval Aviators how to fly. Photo provided

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 »

A Savannah hurricane is what Helen Salins remembers most about WWII

In U.S. Navy, WAVES, World War II on September 18, 2013 at 1:38 am
Helen Salins of Polynesian Village in north Englewood is pictured as a 25-year old WAVE when she first entered the Navy in 1941. She served during all of World War II. Photo provided

Helen Salins of Polynesian Village in north Englewood, Fla. is pictured as a 25-year old WAVE when she first entered the Navy in 1941. She served during all of World War II. Photo provided

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 »

Port Charlotte, Fla. man spent years in the ‘Silent Service’

In Cold War, U.S. Navy on September 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm
Former submariner Jerry Bauer of Village of Holiday Lakes mobile home park looks at a copy of "United States Submarines" that contains pictures of many of the subs he served on during the "Cold War."

Former submariner Jerry Bauer of Port Charlotte, Fla. looks at a copy of “United States Submarines” that contains pictures of many of the subs he served on during the “Cold War.” Sun photo by Don Moore

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 »

When he wasn’t keeping the Navy afloat Joe Medina was tending bar in Key West

In U.S. Navy on September 6, 2013 at 1:38 am
Joe Medina of Port Charlotte was just getting out of boot camp at Bainbridge, Md. in 1946. Photo provided

Joe Medina of Port Charlotte, Fla. was just getting out of boot camp at Bainbridge, Md. in 1946. Photo provided

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 Roosevelt

In U.S. Navy on September 4, 2013 at 1:38 am
Dan Avenancio is pictured as a lieutenant commander in his Navy dress uniform in 2000 when he retired. Photo provided

Dan Avenancio is pictured as a lieutenant commander in his Navy dress uniform in 2000 when he retired. Photo provided

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 »

James Dundas spent most of his 20 years in the Navy serving on nuclear subs

In U.S. Navy, Vietnam War on August 21, 2013 at 1:38 am
James Dundas was a 20-year-old petty officer third class when this picture was taken in 1963. Photo provided

James Dundas was a 20-year-old petty officer third class when this picture was taken in 1963. Photo provided

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 Iran

In U.S. Navy on August 16, 2013 at 1:38 am
Lt. Cmdr. Howard Dole of Port Charlotte in his summer Navy uniform. He began as a 1/C radarman aboard a minesweeper in 1948 and ended up working with Navy seal teams in Hawaii in 2001. Photo provided

Lt. Cmdr. Howard Dole of Port Charlotte Fla. in his summer Navy uniform. He began as a 1/C radarman aboard a minesweeper in 1948 and ended up working with Navy seal teams in Hawaii in 2001. Photo provided

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 Okinawa

In U.S. Navy, World War II on July 31, 2013 at 1:38 am
 Bruce Rohn was a 19-year-old plebe at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1937 when this picture was taken. Photo provided

Bruce Rohn of Venice, Fla. was a 19-year-old plebe at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1937 when this picture was taken. Photo provided

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 »

Two former local sailors helped rescue survivors from the Indianapolis sinking

In U.S. Navy, World War II on July 29, 2013 at 1:38 am
MM/3 Grover Linsley (left) of Port Charlotte, Fla. and two of his buddies, Virgil Vandiver and Kemdle Stobbiefield, in the engine room of the USS Register during World War II. Photo provided

MM/3 Grover Linsley (left) of Port Charlotte, Fla. and two of his buddies, Virgil Vandiver and Kemdle Stobbiefield, in the engine room of the USS Register during World War II. Photo provided

Sharks, injuries and exposure killed many of the 883 sailors lost aboard the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis after being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea shortly before the of World Wr II. Read the rest of this entry »

Richard Hartley served 2 tours aboard USS Mathews, AKA-96, off coast of Vietnam

In U.S. Navy, Vietnam War on July 26, 2013 at 1:38 am
Seaman Richard Hartley of Port Charlotte is pictured in one of three battered pictures he still has of himself in 1967, about the time he served aboard the USS Mathews, an attack transport, in Vietnam. Photo provided

Seaman Richard Hartley of Port Charlotte, Fla. is shown in one of three battered pictures he still has of himself in 1967, about the time he served aboard the USS Mathews, an attack transport, in Vietnam. Photo provided

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 saw 37 engagements in Pacific aboard USS Independence in WW II

In U.S. Navy, World War II on July 24, 2013 at 1:38 am
 John Shiro of Port Charlotte served as chief machinist-mate in the forward engine-room aboard the carrier USS Independence. She saw a phenomenal amount of action in the Pacific during World War II. Photo provided

John Shiro of Port Charlotte, Fla. served as chief machinist-mate in the forward engine-room aboard the carrier USS Independence. He saw a phenomenal amount of action in the Pacific during World War II. Photo provided

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 »

Capt. Noel Hyde Served in Naval Hospitals Around the World for 25 Years

In U.S. Navy, Vietnam War on June 7, 2013 at 2:38 am
When Noel Hyde retired after 25 years in the Navy he was a captain in the Medical Service Corps. He served as executive officer, second in command, of the Naval Hospital in Oakland, Calif. Photo provided

When Noel Hyde retired after 25 years in the Navy he was a captain in the Medical Service Corps. He served as executive officer, second in command, of the Naval Hospital in Oakland, Calif. Photo provided

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 »

Roy Johnson served aboard the destroyer USS-Wiltsie during Korean War

In Korean War, U.S. Navy on May 31, 2013 at 2:38 am
Roy Johnson is pictured about the time he graduated from boot camp in San Diego, Calif. in 1952 during the Korean War. He was 18. Photo provided

Roy Johnson is pictured about the time he graduated from boot camp in San Diego, Calif. in 1952 during the Korean War. He was 18. Photo provided

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bud Lounsbury had the cushiest job in the Navy during Korean War

In Korean War, U.S. Navy on May 29, 2013 at 2:38 am
Seaman Bud Lounsbury was exploring the French Riviera, one of the 27 Mediterranean ports he visited while serving in the Navy during the Korean War. He was part of the four-man crew that operated the admiral's barge. Photo provided

Seaman Bud Lounsbury was exploring the French Riviera, one of the 27 Mediterranean ports he visited while serving in the Navy during the Korean War. He was part of the four-man crew that operated the admiral’s barge. Photo provided

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 »

World War II was almost over when Philip Merrill got aboard the USS Hornet

In U.S. Naval Reserve, U.S. Navy on May 22, 2013 at 2:38 am
 Cmdr. Philip Merrill is pictured in his summer dress uniform. He served in the U.S. Navy and the Reserves from 1943 until 1976. Photo provided

Cmdr. Philip Merrill is pictured in his summer dress uniform. He served in the U.S. Navy and the Reserves from 1943 until 1976. Photo provided

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 »

Quartermaster Harold Tyson took part in 7 major battles aboard USS Sheridan during WW II

In U.S. Navy, World War II on April 24, 2013 at 2:38 am
By the time this picture was taken, Harold Tyson who lives in River Walk mobile home park North Port, was a quartermaster 2nd class with three years at sea at the helm of Attack Transport-51, the USS Sheridan. He saw action during many of the major battles in the Pacific in the Second World War. He was 20 years old, home from the war at the time of this picture was taken. Photo provided

By the time this picture was taken, Harold Tyson who lives in River Walk mobile home park North Port, Fla., was a quartermaster 2nd class with three years at sea at the helm of Attack Transport-51, the USS Sheridan. He saw action during many of the major battles in the Pacific in the Second World War. He was 20 years old, home from the war at the time of this picture was taken. Photo provided

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lt. Earl Swillum served aboard LST-121 at Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima & Okinawa

In U.S. Navy, World War II on April 17, 2013 at 2:38 am
 Lt. Earl Swillum is pictured in his Navy dress uniform during World War II. Photo provided

Lt. Earl Swillum is pictured in his Navy dress uniform during World War II. Photo provided

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 »

He was aboard USS Walke when she sank off Guadalcanal – Seaman James Friel was gunner on destroyer

In U.S. Navy, World War II on April 8, 2013 at 2:38 am
At 18, Friel was on liberty in Honolulu with the rest of the fleet during World War II. Photo provided

At 18, James Friel was on liberty in Honolulu with the rest of the fleet during World War II. Photo provided

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 »

Port Charlotte, Fla. man survived the Yorktown’s sinking at Battle of Midway

In U.S. Navy, World War II on March 25, 2013 at 4:38 am
This was Wilbur Kinney at 17 when he went aboard the carrier Yorktown at Portsmouth, Va., right out of boot camp in 1942. Photo provided

This was Wilbur Kinney at 17 when he went aboard the carrier Yorktown at Portsmouth, Va., right out of boot camp in 1942. Photo by PhoM2/C Bill Roy

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 »

Radioman Wayne Mengel took part in ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’ of 1962

In Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, U.S. Navy on March 13, 2013 at 1:38 am
Wayne Mengel is pictured about the time he graduated from boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Processing Center outside Chicago in 1960. Photo provided

Wayne Mengel is pictured about the time he graduated from boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Processing Center outside Chicago in 1960. Photo provided

Radioman 3/C Wayne Mengel of Rotonda, Fla. played a small part in the history-making “Cuban Missile Crisis,” the high point in the “Cold War,” between the United States and the Soviet Union, in October 1962.

Read the rest of this entry »

Radioman Jim Spence survived crash of Super Constellation during Navy stint

In U.S. Navy on March 6, 2013 at 1:38 am
Jim Spence of South Gulf Cove is pictured at the time he graduated from Great Lakes Naval Training Station outside Chicago, Ill. in 1958 at 18. Photo provided

Jim Spence of South Gulf Cove is pictured at the time he graduated from Great Lakes Naval Training Station outside Chicago, Ill. in 1958 at 18. Photo provided

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

In U.S. Navy, World War II on February 25, 2013 at 4:38 am
Louis Roybal of Village of Holiday Lakes in Englewood holds an honorary “Plank Owner’s” certificate given to sailors who served aboard ship when they were commissioned.

Louis Roybal of Village of Holiday Lakes in Englewood, Fla. holds an honorary “Plank Owner’s” certificate given to sailors who served aboard ship when it was commissioned.

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, a Navy vet who caused a federal inquiry on mustard gas, dead at 85

In U.S. Navy, World War II on February 25, 2013 at 2:05 am
At 17, Glenn Jenkins was the typical teenaged serviceman who sailed off to war during World War II. Hardly old enough to shave, Jenkins was homesick for Venice and volunteered to take part in a secret assignment to get 11 days' leave to come home. After signing up, he learned the secret duty was to be a guinea pig in a Navy gas chamber. Photo provided

At 17, Glenn Jenkins was the typical teenage serviceman who sailed off to war during World War II. Hardly old enough to shave, Jenkins was homesick for Venice, Fla. and volunteered to take part in a secret assignment to get 11 days leave to come home. After signing up, he learned the secret duty was to be a guinea pig in a Navy gas chamber. Photo provided

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 fought with the Seals in Vietnam

In U.S. Navy, Vietnam War on February 6, 2013 at 4:38 am
  Richard Cook of Port Charlotte took boat rides with Navy SEALs while serving in Vietnam in 1967-68. Sometimes they were wild rides.  Sun photo by Dana Clausing

Richard Cook of Port Charlotte, Fla. took boat rides with Navy SEALs while serving in Vietnam in 1967-68. Sometimes they were wild rides. Sun photo by Dana Clausing

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 High

In U.S. Navy, World War II on January 28, 2013 at 4:38 am
 Dick Brown is the sailor at the left smiling from a PBY “flying boat” with his two buddies, Manuel Rodriguez from Texas and Art Loveland of Pennsylvania on Saipan Island during World War II.  Photo provided

Dick Brown is the sailor at the left smiling from a PBY “flying boat” with his two buddies, Manuel Rodriguez from Texas and Art Loveland of Pennsylvania on Saipan Island during World War II. Photo provided

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 tsunami

In U.S. Navy, World War II on November 26, 2012 at 4:38 am

Members of the crew of the battleship USS South Dakota hold a Japanese battle flag during a reunion at the Super Dome in New Orleans on Oct. 17, 2004. George McNeill is second from the left. Former President George Bush kneels in front with Saint’s owner Tom Benson to his left. The flag was taken by a south Dakota crew member from the Battleship Nagato at the surrender ceremony on Sept. 2, 1945. The Nagato was Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto’s flagship when he commanded the attack on Pearl Harbor. Photo provided by George McNeill

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 served as engineer aboard U.S. flagged ships for 38 years

In Cold War, Merchant Marines, U.S. Navy on November 21, 2012 at 4:38 am

This is Norm Meissner’s yearbook picture in 1961 as a Midshipman when he attended the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Photo provided by Norm Meissner

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 »

Ed McFadden served aboard USS Colorado during WW II

In Bronze Star, Pacific, U.S. Navy, World War II on November 5, 2012 at 4:38 am

Ed McFadden (left) and a buddy are obviously pleased about being on shore leave in Honolulu, Hawaii during the Second World War. Photo provided by Ed McFadden

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 way

In U.S. Navy, World War II on October 29, 2012 at 4:38 am

Seaman John Wilson of Harbor Isles mobile home park in North Port, Fla. was 19 years old when this picture of him was taken. Note the five battle stars on his campaign ribbons signifying five major engagements aboard the destroyer USS Isherwood, DD-520, in the Pacific during World War II and the “Ruptured Duck” insignia on his other shoulder signifying he had been discharged from the service. Photo provided by John Wilson

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 »

For 22 years he served as a Navy yeoman all around the world

In Korean War, U.S. Navy, Vietnam War on October 24, 2012 at 4:38 am

In this old scrapbook picture, Yeoman 3rd Class Granville Pennypacker is pictured shortly after he arrived in Hawaii in 1947 to begin his 22 year military career. Photo provided

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 aboard

In U.S. Navy, World War II on October 19, 2012 at 4:38 am

Leonard “Bull” Durham was about 18 when this picture was taken. He had just graduated from boot camp. Photo provided by “Bull” Durham

“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 »

Louie Wilson served aboard destroyer escort USS Barr at Iwo Jima & Okinawa

In Pacific, U.S. Navy, World War II on September 12, 2012 at 4:38 am

Louie Wilson is pictured with his dog, Buddy in Norfolk, Va. shortly after he got out of boot camp. He was about to ship out to war in the Pacific during the closing months of World War II. Photo provided

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 »

Seaman Jim Clawson sailed Atlantic a dozen times in transport ship in WW II

In U.S. Navy, World War II on September 5, 2012 at 4:38 am

Jim Clawson is pictured more than 65 years ago when he served as a gunner aboard a transport ship that made a dozen or more trips across the Atlantic with military supplies during World War II. Photo provided by Evelyn Lewis

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 was aboard USS Fiske when she was sunk by German U-boat

In U.S. Navy, World War II on August 29, 2012 at 4:38 am

Motor Machinist Mate 1/Class Ted Schulz (center) of Port Charlotte, Fla. and two of his buddies were out on the town in Honolulu during World War II. Photo provided.

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 »

Seaman Charles Kueny had one of the most dangerous jobs in the Navy in WW II

In U.S. Navy, World War II on August 22, 2012 at 4:38 am

Seaman 1st Class Charles Kueny of Punta Gorda, Fla. is pictured in his dress uniform while serving aboard a Navy tanker that brought aviation gasoline to Allied forces in Europe during World War II. Photo provided

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 GIs

In U.S. Navy, World War II on August 20, 2012 at 4:38 am

                  Art Nicholas is shown in his Navy uniform. Operation Tiger, which Nicholas was involved in,                                                                                        was hushed up for more than half a century. Photo provided

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 »

Carpenter’s Mate 2nd/C Bernie Strapp in ship repair unit in Pacific during WW II

In Korean War, U.S. Navy, WACS, World War II on August 15, 2012 at 4:38 am

This was Seaman Bernie Strapp of North Port, Fla. when he was 17-year-old sailor serving in the Navy during World War II. Photo provided

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 »

Chris Genovese served aboard the destroyer USS Rodman during WWII

In U.S. Navy, World War II on August 13, 2012 at 4:38 am

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

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 »

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