From Korean War

Joe Dinish served as combat medic in Army during Korean War

In 1948 President Harry Truman passed a law integrating the U.S. military. Three years later Joe Dinish in Kings’ Gate Subdivision, Port Charlotte, Fla. was drafted into the Army out of high school and was eventually sent to Korea. He served 13 months in the war zone as a combat medic in 1952 and ’53…

Captain faced tough challenges during WWII

Capt. Herbert Peters (Ret.) of Punta Gorda, Fla. landed at Utah Beach during the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944, and continued fighting throughout Europe during the rest of the war. After the fighting was over, he became part of the occupation troops.

Marvin Aronow was wounded serving as a mortar-man in Korean War

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.…

Everett Charles ‘had no peers’ as skipper of PBR gun boat in Vietnam

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…

Gunnery Sgt. Ernie O’Brien served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam

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…

Ed Jaworek flew bombers and transports in WW II, Berlin Airlift, Korea and Cuban Missile Crisis

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.

Tom Peterson survived ‘Battle of the Bulge”

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.

Love and War in Vietnam and elsewhere

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…

He was a Korean War POW

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.

George Hardy of Sarasota was a Tuskegee Airman in World War II

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.

Jim Crowell fought at Yalu River against Chinese hordes

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…

Pvt. Andy Ellul of Emerald Point fought as mortarman during Korean War

Andy Ellul of Emerald Point condos in Punta Gorda, Fla. arrived in this country from the island of Malta on Christmas Eve 1950 as a 21-year-old immigrant. He went to work for the Ford Motor Co. in Detroit. Two years later he found himself serving as a private in the 461st Heavy Mortar Battalion holding a defensive line along a river near the 38th Parallel that would separate North and South Korea.

Al Gosselin was radioman who served aboard freighters in WW II

At 90 Al Gosselin of Big Tree mobile home park in Arcadia, Fla. no longer remembers all the details of the 10 trips he made across the Atlantic and Pacific as a radioman aboard six freighters and one landing craft he served on during World War II. But there are instances aboard ship he still recalls as clear as a bell.

At 75 George Speidell is still a Navy man

George Speidell was a “Snipe” aboard the USS Cushing, DD-797, during the Korean War. He worked as a throttle-man in the aft engine room on the Fletcher Class destroyer. “I was 17 and a disenchanted junior in high school when I convinced my father and mother to let me joint the Navy in 1952,” the former 75-year-old Port Charlotte, Fla. sailor explained. “My grandfather and great-grandfather had been in the Navy and that’s where I wanted to be.”

John Arens served in the Merchant Marines, Rangers and Navy

John Arens served as a teenage Merchant Mariner in World War II, become an Airborne Ranger in the Korean War, graduated from diving school in the 1960s, spent 11 years as a Navy SCUBA diver in the Arctic before skippering a Navy spy ship during the Cold War and completed his 40-year military career as the captain of a fast transport ship during “Operation Desert Storm” in 1991.

Master Chief recalls his part in Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962

Joe Rex joined the U.S. Navy at 17 in February 1945 near the end of World War II. In 1970, twenty-five years later, he retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer. Although he was in the service during the Second World War, he served aboard the destroyer, USS Mole –DD-693—at the start of the Korean War and served as a Mobile Electronic Technician near then end of his quarter century in the Navy, Rex’s finest hour may have been during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Naval aviator Al Boyd flew off USS Ranger (CV-4) before WWII

After graduating in 1936 from Naval Aviation in Pensacola as an ensign, Capt. Al Boyd’s first assignment aboard the Battleship Tennessee was as a catapult pilot flying a pontoon spotter plane. Twenty –five years later, as a captain commanding a Navy base out west, he flew an F-4 “Phantom II” jet fighter-bomber faster than Mach-2…

He flew POWs out of Hanoi at end of Vietnam War

Second Lt. Russell Ogan was returning from a fighter sweep over the Battle of the Bulge flying low and slow because of the weather, in “Gloria May,” his P-47 “Thunderbolt,” when his fighter took a direct hit from enemy ground fire.

Battle of Pork Chop Hill

More than 50 years after the rifles fell silent and the cannon fire ceased in the hills north of the 38th Parallel dividing North and South Korea, no one who was there seems to know why both sides put so much stock in controlling Pork Chop Hill during the closing months of the Korean War.

First blood during Korean War

About Life’s cover shot “The first U.S. infantry outfit to shed blood in the Korean War was the 24th ‘Victory’ Division. Three of these men are shown aboard a jeep in Korea. Last week the men of the 24th fought heroically to hold the key city of Taejon against superior Communist forces. They were forced…

He helped CIA depose Diem regime

Lt. Col. John Dyer had no idea the planeload of .50-caliber machine-gun ammunition he flew to Tonsonnhute Airport in Saigon was part of a CIA plot to topple the Ngo Dinh Diem government in South Vietnam.

One of ‘The Chosin Few’

Joe Quick is one of “The Chosin Few”. He’s one of the members of the 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division that led the way up and back from the Chosin Reservoir during the early months of the Korean War. For nearly eight long weeks, Quick and 20,000 other U.S. Marines braved overwhelming enemy odds in…

Fox Company saved the day

Pvt. Hector Cafferata was a 20-year-old green Marine replacement. He joined Fox Company’s 2nd Platoon a few days before the first wave of Chinese troops attacked his listening post at the Toktong Pass during the early months of the Korean War that cold November night half a century ago.

He fought Viet Cong in jungles of Vietnam

From the looks of him you’d never know Rufus Lazzell is a highly-decorated Airborne Ranger with two wars under his belt. He is a little guy with a matter-of-fact attitude who doesn’t spend much time talking about his military exploits in Korea or Vietnam decades ago.

Last of the 7 Bailey Brothers was Tuskegee Airman

Lt. Charles Bailey, Sr. was the last of the line. He was the last of Punta Gorda, Fla.’s “Fighting Bailey Brothers.” The last of a family of seven sons and two daughters who distinguished themselves in war and in life during World War II, Korea and much of the 20th Century.