Halfway through his senior year in high school Ron York, who grew up in Griffith, Ind., decided he had had enough education and joined the Army. In June 1969 he arrived in Vietnam a member of the 34th Combat Engineers. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘Vietnam 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Andy Hawkinson is the last of a dying breed. He is one of the last of an estimated 400,000 American soldiers who took part in atomic bomb testing during World War II and throughout the Cold War up to 1992. Read the rest of this entry »
Mick Johnson of Bird Bay subdivision in Venice, Fla. was “sluffing off” on a football scholarship at Philadelphia’s Villanova University in 1968. At the end of the school year he was drafted as a minor league pitcher by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I played a half season with the Dodgers. In September ’68 I lost my military deferment when I dropped out of college and was drafted into the Army at the height of the Vietnam War,” the 64-year-old local resident said. “After eight weeks of basic at Fort Bragg, N.C. and several more weeks of artillery training at Fort Sill, Okla. I was sent to San Francisco and put on a TWA flight to Vietnam. Read the rest of this entry »
Retired Maj. Gen. Richard Carr of Burnt Store Isles was among the U.S. Air Force Academy’s first graduates in 1959. He spent much of his 35-year military career preparing to fight a war with the Soviet Union that never happened.
In 1962, he was involved in the “Cuban Missile Crisis.” Read the rest of this entry »
Jean Carr was an Air Force nurse during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War in the 1960s.
“I wanted to be a history teacher, but my patents didn’t have the money to send me to college for four years. They decided my twin sister, Joan, and I could both become nurses. So we went to St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing in Peoria, Ill. for three years and became RNs. It was the best decision they ever made,” the 74-year-old nurse explained sitting at the dining table in her Burnt Store Isles home south of Punta Gorda, Fla. 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 »
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 »
Staff Sgt. Raymond Jewett was a combat photographer in July 1964 attached to the U.S. military Assistance Command in Vietnam. 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.
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 »
Dan Byrd lived an idyllic life growing up as a kid on Longboat Key off Sarasota, Fla. half a century ago. In those days, he hunted rabbits on the key with his .22-caliber rifle while his mom and dad ran the bait shop and hamburger stand on the south end of the New Pass Bridge connecting the key with City Island. 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 »
Paul Elliott was trained as a Russian linguist and military intelligence agent and when he went to Vietnam in 1966. He had to use those skills and more to ferret out saboteurs trying to sneak into Camp McDermott — the main supply base for the 1st Logistical Command that provided American forces with most of their equipment during the 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 »
Sgt. Ed Schuppenhouer was part of what was called, “McNamara’s Last Chance” when he served as a counter-insurgency specialist aboard an EC-121R four-engine Super Constellation in Vietnam in 1967-68. Read the rest of this entry »
Arthur Anderssen of Burnt Store Isles south of Punta Gorda, Fla. graduated from Auburn University in 1962 on a Navy ROTC scholarship and joined the Navy immediately to complete his four year obligation. Thus began his 26 year military career. Read the rest of this entry »
Charlotte Sun (Port Charlotte, FL) – Sunday, April 15, 2007
Capt. Luis Chirichigno was piloting an Army Cobra attack helicopter high above a couple of low-flying observation copters eight miles south of Duc Lap, South Vietnam, on Nov. 2, 1969. What happened next would make this Peruvian-born American chopper pilot a POW for the next 3 1/2 years. Read the rest of this entry »
Sam Harris of Punta Gorda Isles, Fla. began his military career as a cable-splicer in the Army National Guard in 1970 and ended up in 1979 as a captain in the Air Force. He flew giant C-141 “Starlifter,” four-engine, jet transport planes around the world. In between he has lived a life filled with exciting incidents that propelled him into an airlines career in which he’s flow the globe these last four decades. Read the rest of this entry »
Walter Levasseur a former master sergeant in the U.S. Army, served two tours of duty in Vietnam in 1967 and 1970. By the time he was through, he had received the Purple Heart with an oak leaf cluster for being wounded a second time, the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars — one for valor the other for meritorious service — and the Air Medal for going on 25 combat missions in a helicopter. 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 »
Jim Mazy, who lives south of Englewood, Fla. was a radio operator in Hotel Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. He was wounded in “Operation Starlite,” the first major battle of the Vietnam War between American forces and the Viet Cong near Chu Lai, South Vietnam in 1965. 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 »
1st Lt. Thelma Daida was a surgical nurse working in the only in-country U.S. Army Air Force Hospital in Vietnam in 1965 located on the giant airbase at Cam Rahn Bay. It was an exciting time to be a 20-year-old nurse serving in Southeast Asia. Read the rest of this entry »
Charles Myers was born and grew up in the Panama Canal Zone in Central America in 1933. At 21 he enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 17, 1954 under agreement between the U.S. and Panama. Read the rest of this entry »
Lt. Fred Buckingham flew his C-130 “Hercules,” four-engine transport plane to Vietnam just in time for the North Vietnamese Army’s siege of the Marine base at Khe Sanh, the biggest single battle of the war, and the enemy’s massive Tet Offensive, where every major city and many American military bases were attacked in a countrywide coordinated assault. Read the rest of this entry »
Donald Gatrell of Port Charlotte, Fla. was a crew chief on a B-47 “Stratojet” six- engine nuclear bomber during the early 1960s. One mission stands in his mind after more than half a century.
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 »
John Zajdlik had a reason to dislike the Communists. He and his family escaped Communist rule when they took control of his Czechoslovakian homeland shortly after the end of World War II. Read the rest of this entry »
In September 1968, on his second tour of duty in Vietnam, Spc.-5 Bob Rogers’ squad walked into a Viet Cong ambush near Chu Lai in the Que Son Valley and was almost captured by the enemy.
POW Camp 101 is what it was called. The camp was a hell hole located 20 miles outside Hanoi, North Vietnam. It’s where 100 American MIAs languished during the Vietnam War and nobody in the United States knew they were there.
It made no difference that 23-year-old 2nd Lt. Stephen Leopold was a Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University who served as a member of the U.S. Army’s elite Special Forces in Vietnam. Three weeks after arriving in country he was captured by the North Vietnam Army near Ben Het, in the jungles of Two Corps, May 9, 1968.
Victor Craig of Harbor Heights near Port Charlotte, Fla. spent 21 years in the Air Force serving as a loadmaster. He was a sergeant in charge of loading giant cargo planes properly, flying with them to their destination and getting the planes quickly unloaded. Read the rest of this entry »
Bill McDermott of Lake Suzy, east of Port Charlotte on the way
to Arcadia, Fla. wound up as a 1st lieutenant in the 11th Armored Cavalry
Division based in Three Corps in the northern jungle of Vietnam. He
was a graduate of DePaul University and a member of the school’s ROTC
Jim Surber was a dogface in Company D, 6th Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam from March 1967 to March ’68. He rode to war in Huey helicopters.
Looking back on it all, Tom Gould of Venice says, “I was 17 and just out of high school. I was a rebel without a cause. My father told me I had three choices: ‘I could get a job, go in the service or go to reform school.’
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 »