James “Murph” Murphy spent most of the Korean War transporting troops to and from Korea aboard the USS Montrose, an attack transport ship. He started as a deckhand and by war’s end was a quartermaster petty officer.
From Korean War
Paul Winemiller served on Korean War armistice commission
Paul Winemiller, who lives in Village on the Isle in Venice, Florida joined the Army and was shipped to Korea in 1954. After graduating from college at Ohio University he went on active duty for two years with the Panmunjom Armistice Commission.
Luck played big part in Bill Ring’s two-year Army career in the early 1950s
If Bill Ring’s two years in the Army could be summed up in one word that word would be LUCK. From the time he went in the service in 1949 until he got out in ’52 luck played a big part in his service career.
Master Chief Arthur Ortner saw world as Navy Seabee in WW II, Korea, and Vietnam
On Aug. 19, 1966 Master Chief Arthur Ortner retired from the Seabees. By then he had constructed buildings of all shapes and sizes all over the world for the Navy during his 20 years of service.
Ed Garrick of Port Charlotte one of 5 survivors of ‘Battle of Pork Chop Hill’ in Korea
Ed Garrick of Port Charlotte graduated from high school in time to got into the last few months of the Korean War. After boot camp he arrived off the coast of Inchon, North Korea and was taken ashore in landing craft in the middle of a snow storm.
Sgt. Larry Silver was tank commander with 1st Marine Division in Korean War
For former Marine Cops T-Sgt. Larry Silver of Venice, sailed into Inchon, North Korea with Gen. Douglas MacArthur and attacked the enemy. It may have been the most difficult amphibious landing in history because the the city had tides that rose and fell 36-feet each day making it very hard to land an attacking force.…
Joel Healy of Manasota Key served in 1st Marine Division and fought in Korean War
Joel Healy of Manasota Key was a member of Charley Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division when he was shipped to the front lines in Korea in 1951. He was an ammo carrier for a 60 mm. mortar squad.
Staff Sgt. Robert Wollitz flew 73 combat missions as gunner aboard B-29 bomber in Korea
Jane Russell was painted on the nose of a B-29, four-engine bomber flying out of Kadina Air Force Base on Okinawa in the Pacific during the Korean War. Emblazoned below her shapely form was “The Outlaw,” the name of her latest movie.
John Fanning of Warm Mineral Springs served 4 years in ’Nam with Special Forces
In May 1950 John Fanning of Warm Mineral Springs joined the Connecticut National Guard because it was where the socially-connected met to party. A month later, in June, the 21-year-old Army recruit learned his Guard unit provided more than good times. He marched off to war in Southeast Asia when his outfit was federalized shortly…
Pfc. Joe Battaglia Army communication specialist saw action along 38th Parallel in Korea
Shortly after Joe Battaglia was drafted into the Army in November 1951, he found himself in a bunker a few hundred feet behind the “Main Line of Resistance,” the front line, along the 38th Parallel separating North and South where the fighting was taking place during the Korean War.
103-year-old Air Force nurse, Grace Chicken, served in WW II, Korea and “Cold War”
One-hundred-three-year-old retired Air Force Lt. Col. Grace Chicken, who lives at South Port Square in Port Charlotte, Fla., was already a registered nurse when she signed up for the Army Air Corps during the early part of World War II.
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…
Seaman 1st/C Sylvia Scaruffi typed her way through Korean War on IBM Punchcard Machines
Sylvia Scaruffi of Port Charlotte, Fla. joined the Navy shortly before her 21st birthday near the start of the Korean War in 1951. She was following in the footsteps of her older brothers shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor that launched the U.S. into World War II.
Former Sgt. Jim Franklin of Port Charlotte, Fla. fought in 5 major campaigns during Korean War
Jim Franklin of Port Charlotte, Fla. fought in five major battles as a member of the 82nd Automatic Weapons Battalion attached to the 2nd Infantry Division during the 11 months and 19 days he served at the start of the Korean War in 1950.
Bob Schaeffer of Maple Leaf Estates served as medic in Korea with 1st Marine Division
Bob Schaeffer of Maple Leaf Estates Golf & Country Club in Port Charlotte, Fla. was a Navy medic attached to the 1st Marine Division during the Korean War. Most of his overseas service was in a slit trench atop Hill 229 overlooking Pyongyang, North Korea. He was on the Main Line of Resistance, The MRL,…
Sea duty for Arnold LeMoine aboard carrier USS Cape Esperance was dull & dangerous
During the Korea War era—from 1951 to 1955—Arnold LeMoine of Deep Creek subdivision near Punta Gorda served as a machinist-mate 3rd Class aboard the escort aircraft carrier USS Cape Esperance (CVE-88).
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.
Sp-3 Francis D’Urso was on H-19 helicopter crew that flew Cardinal Spellman around Korea in ’55
When Francis D’Urso of North Port. Fla. arrived in Korea in 1955 as a member of the 13th Helicopter Company based in Uijongbu, South Korea, approximately 80 miles north of Seoul and 30 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone, he was a 19-year-old specialist-3rd class crew chief on a 19-H “Chickasaw” Sikorsky-built helicopter.
Jim Koder served aboard 6 aircraft carriers during his 22-year Naval career from ’60 to ’82
Jim Koder of Port Charlotte, Fla. spent more than 20 years in the Navy. Much of the time he served aboard six aircraft carriers—the Ranger, Bennington, John F. Kennedy, Saratoga, Forrestal and the Lexington—as an Aviation Ordinance-man to begin with, then he became an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Expert starting with the Cuban Missile Crisis in…
Budd Brown fought the Korean War with a sax in his hand
Budd Brown of Port Charlotte, Fla. fought the Korean War with a saxophone in his hand. He serve as a member of the 2nd Platoon, 10th Special Services Company, 8th Army from January 1952 until February 1953.
Lt. Col. Bill Richardson of Port Charlotte, Fla. served in WW II, Korea and Vietnam
Lt. Col. Bill Richardson (Ret) of Port Charlotte, Fla. fought in three of this country’s wars—World War II, Korea and Vietnam — during his 33 – years of military service.
Local veteran photographed Ted Williams’ crashed jet during Korean War
Richard Gross of North Port, Fla. remembers the late Ted Williams more a war hero than a baseball superstar.
‘Medal of Honor’ recipient Hector Cafferata of Venice, Fla. dies at 86
Hector Cafferata, a Korean War “Medal of Honor” recipient died Tuesday, April 12, 2016, of natural causes at his Venice, Fla. home. He was 86.
Sgt. James Hawn had both feet frozen in march to Chosin Reservoir with 1st. Marine Division
The week before James Hawn of Port Charlotte, Fla. graduated from Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. in June 1950 the Korean War began. He and the other recruits in his company became part of the 1st Marine Division that played a major role in the Inchon Invasion and the historic march to…
Ed Crosby sailed around Cape Horn aboard destroyer escorting Carrier USS Oriskany
Ed Crosby of Port Charlotte, Fla. served aboard a couple of destroyers, the USS John V. Powers (DD-839) and the USS Samuel B. Roberts (DD-823), during the Korean War era. What he remembers best about his four years in the service is escorting the carrier USS Oriskany around Cape Horn abroad the Powers and making…
Military intelligence was his job in three wars – Lt. Col. Bill Richardson saw action in WW II, Korea and Vietnam
By the time World War II rolled around, Bill Richardson had just graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in industrial management. He had already been commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
Bob Adams unites with buddies from USS Libra who served with him during Korean War
Bob Adams, like Henry Fonda in the hit 1955 Hollywood movie “Mr. Roberts,” was stuck in the backwater of the Korean War aboard an attack transport, the USS Libra, AKA-12. In the movie Fonda served aboard the USS Reluctant,’ a similar ship, going no where during World War II in the Pacific.
Sgt. Ray Wiseman spent most of his 27 years in the Air Force repairing communication equipment
Ray Wiseman of Port Charlotte, Fla. served 27 years in the U.S. Army. He began his military career as a 17-year-old private from the hills of North Carolina in 1951 and retired as a chief master sergeant in 1979. He never fired a shot in anger during the Korean or Vietnam wars.
Pork Chop Hill, along the 38th Parallel in Korea was 1st Sgt. Dave Evans’ baptism of fire
It was winter time in 1953 when Dave Evans’ Marine Ranger unit arrived on Pork Chop Hill, just north of the 38th Parallel that would separate North Korea from South Korea. He was an 18-year-old Leatherneck just out of boot camp experiencing his baptism of fire.
Ed Robins painted his way through Navy during Korean War
Ed Robins was in the Navy during the Korean War. He was an airman who never set foot in an airplane and never went to sea. He spent most of his four-year hitch painting murals om the wall of the mess hall at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station.
Sgt. Jim Foster of Punta Gorda with 1st Marines at Chosin in Korean War
Former Marine Sgt. Jim Foster of Blue Heron Pines mobile home park south of Punta Gorda, Fla. was a member of George Battery, 3rd Battalion, 11 Regiment, 1st Marine Division. He marched to the Chosin Reservoir and back in the opening months of the Korean War.
Medic at war – He treated No Gun Ri massacre wounded
Robin Matthews was an Army medic aboard a hospital train dispatched to treat the wounded from the massacre at No Gun Ri during the early stages of the Korean War more than half a century ago.
The man who closed down Abu Ghraib Prison talks about conditions in Iraq
After a hitch in the Navy at the end of the Korean War, Don Bordenkircher, who lives in Maple Leaf Estates in Port Charlotte, Fla., went to work as a correctional officer at San Quentin State Prison in 1957. In the vernacular of the penal system, he was a “screw.”
Cpl. Robert Borboro served in the 97th Engineering Battalion during Korean War
Robert Borboro of Cross Creek RV Park north of Acadia, Fla. served the better part of two years in Korea during the war. It’s been 60 years since he was a corporal in the 97th Engineering Battalion attached to the 1st Infantry Division based at Young Dong Po and his memory is not what it…
Pilot flew F-94C interceptor before he joined the Navy’s Ordinance Lab
In 1947, the year before George Kalaf’s freshman year, at the University of Florida, the school’s Gator football team lost every game. Some 8,000 students attended the university in those days.
Sgt. Eugene Schweiss of Arcadia assembled Atomic Bombs during Korean War era
Eugene Schweiss of Arcadia, Fla. was a teenaged Air Force armorer who saw to it bullets and bombs were loaded into swept-wing F-84 Thunderjets and F-86 Sabrejets during the Korean War.
Two old soldiers find each other – They were in the Army in Korea 43 years ago
It was like old times when Sal Russotto of Port Charlotte, Fla. and Charles Wilson of Tampa, Fla. two Korean era vets, met for the first time in 43 years, at Russotto’s home.
Rudy Raymond fought at Okinawa in WW II and was called back for the Korean War
Rudy Raymond of Bay Isles Estates in Nokomis, Fla. like thousands of other guys, was called back into the service when the Korean War broke out. In World War II he served as a Marine in the 2nd Air Warning Squadron at Okinawa.
Englewood, Fla. man kept F-84 ‘Thunderjets’ in air during Korean War
Doug Danforth of Englewood, Fla. was a precocious kid. He graduated from high school at 15, joined the United States Air Force at 17 and went to war with the 27th Fighter Escort Wing, 8th Air Force in Korea on Dec. 7, 1950.
David Eshelman was command sergeant major in 82nd and 101st Airborne
Most of David Eshelman’s 29 years in the service were spent as an airborne trooper. In 1979 he retired a command sergeant major, the highest rank an enlisted man in the U.S Army can achieve.
CWO-4 Bill Wyld served 41 years in Naval Reserve aboard 21 different ships
During his 41 years in the Naval Reserves Chief Warrant Officer-4 (CWO-4) Bill Wyld Jr. of Port Charlotte, Fla. may have served on more ships than just about anyone in the service. From 1948 until he retired from the Navy in 1989 he went aboard 21 ships, some of them a couple of times.
Tommy Hammond joined the Air Force in 1950 after his girlfriend jilted him
Because his high school sweetheart jilted him Tommy Hammond of Shell Creek mobile home park, south of Punta Gorda, Fla. decided to join the Seabees. He was 17, the date was 1950– the year the Korean War started.
Dale Davis got in Naval aviation 2 days after Hiroshima was bombed ending WW II
Dale Davis of Punta Gorda, Fla. got into Naval aviation on June 8, 1945. It was two days after Lt. Col. Paul Tibbets dropped the first Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan from a B-29, four-engine bomber named for his mother–Enola Gay–ending World War II.
Steve Logsdon fought North Koreans at ‘Pusan Perimeter’ during Korean War
Steve Logsdon of Rotonda, Fla. joined the Army at 17, shortly after graduating from high school, just in time for the start of the Korean War. He went from basic training to the front line holding back advancing waves of North Korean infantry during the monumental battle of the Pusan Perimeter in the summer and…
Larry Cote of Holiday Park III in Englewood kept Ted Williams fighter flying in Korea
Larry Cote of Holiday Park III in Englewood, Fla. former Marine Corps sergeant, kept baseball great Ted Williams’ F9F “Panther” jet fighter plane in the air while serving as an airplane mechanic with the 1st Marine Division at the end of the Korean War in the early 1950s.
Bob Goff joined the Army in 1948 to escape being a fisherman or farmer
Bob Goff grew up in Placida, south of Englewood, Fla., joined the Army at 16 after he dropped out of Venice-Nokomis High School in 10th grade. He lied about his age and signed up for the service, “because I didn’t want to be a fishermen or farmer.”
Airman 1st Class John Perdue decoded secret North Korean codes during war
Airman 1st Class John Perdue of Punta Gorda, Fla. spent most of his four years in the U.S. Air Force decoding secret messages from the North Korean Air Force during the Korean War of the 1950s.
He served in WW II, Korea and Vietnam – Col. Paul Vnencak fought at Iwo Jima and Chosin
Long before his squad slogged through the black volcanic beach on Iwo Jima in February 1945, Sgt. Paul Vnencak, who winters in Port Charlotte, had seen considerable action as a member of the 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division.
Sgt. Dusek fought in Korea’s Chorwon Valley; got Silver Star in Vietnam
It was the middle of the Korean War, August 1952, when Charles Dusek enlisted the U.S. Army. He was 19-years-old at the time living with his family in Chicago.
Jack Bohan was CIA agent before working for Central Intelligence Agency 3 decades
Before he worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency, Jack Bohan of Englewood, Fla. began his second hitch in the Navy serving aboard a destroyer during the Korean War.
He flew 1st mission in B-17 to Japanese base at Rabaul – Lt. Col. John Pickering was also a ‘Candy Bomber’ in the Berlin Airlift
Five days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941, 2nd Lt. John Pickering graduated from the U.S. Army Aviation Cadet Program. He had his wings, but he wasn’t qualified to fly anything but an AT-6 trainer.
Col. Jim Bowden got his baptism of fire on ‘Jane Russell Hill’ in Korea
After graduating from the University of South Dakota in 1951 with a degree in math and an ROTC commission as a 2nd lieutenant, Jim Bowden was sent to Korea in ’52.
Pfc. Tony Mercurio goes to Korean War toothless and battles VA for next 60 years
Tony Mercurio of Punta Gorda, Fla., who served in the 24th Infantry Division as a gun-toting, front line rifleman near the end of the Korean War, spent the remainder of his life fighting the Veterans Administration over his teeth or the lack of ’em.
Roy Johnson served aboard the destroyer USS-Wiltsie during Korean War
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 had the cushiest job in the Navy during Korean War
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.
Port Charlotte, Fla. man flew in three wars
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.
Robert Robb battled for the ‘Punchbowl’ during Korean War
Cpl. Robert Robb was a sniper attached to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment, 1st Marine Division in Korea during the war. His unit took Hill 749, a volcanic mound known as the ‘Punchbowl,’ away from a regiment of North Koreans holding the high ground in mid-September 1951.
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.…
Sgt. Ron Kocher’s 1st Marine Division unit was overrun by Chinese during Korean War
Ron Kocher of Arcadia, Fla. started out to join the Navy in 1951, but ended up in the Marines because the Navy recruiter wasn’t there when he showed to sign up.
Bill Ditto was a Marine aboard USS Missouri when battleship got stuck in mud
Before Bill Ditto of Englewood, Fla. went aboard the battleship USS Missouri as a Marine guard in 1949, growing up in West Virginia, he had never seen the sea or a ship the size of the “Mighty Mo.”
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…
Sgt. Sandy Branzei talked away his war nightmares 5 years after his outfit was over run in Korean War
A month before the armistice was signed in July 1953, putting the Korean War on hold, Sgt. Sandy Branzei was in a bunker with his .30 caliber machine-gun atop “Boomerang Hill” when his unit, King Company, 7th Regiment, 3rd Division, was attacked and overrun by waves of Chinese soldiers.
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…
Don Schilke helped rescue wounded 1st Division Marines in his ‘Avenger’ fighter plane
Don Schilke joined the Navy Reserves while still in high school in Oak Park, Ill. in 1947. After graduation he found himself in Composite Squadron 21 at North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego training for a job as an anti-submarine warfare crewman aboard a Grumman “Avenger” torpedo bomber.
John Schoell made two combat jumps in Korea with the 187th Airborne
John Schoell of Port Charlotte, Fla. took part in the first combat jump involving American paratroopers since World War II. He was as a member of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, and jumped on Oct. 20, 1950, near Sunchon, North Korea — just over the 38th Parallel dividing the North from the South.
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.
Old soldier had great career – John Franklin Gay was command sergeant major, fought in 3 wars
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…
For 22 years he served as a Navy yeoman all around the world
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.
Pvt. Michael Meehan got Silver Star for taking Korean hill
Michael Meehan of Englewood, Fla. received a Silver Star, the third highest commendation awarded an American soldier for gallantry under enemy fire, when his unit, the 17th Regiment of the 7th Division, was trying to capture a hill held by North Koreans.
He flew The Hump 160 times – ‘I flew into the middle of a squadron of Japanese Zeros ‘ – Col. Baxendale
On one of the 160 missions he flew over “The Hump,” Lt. Col. Tom Baxendale ran head-on into a flight of Japanese Zero fighters. He was piloting an unarmed C-46 twin-engine transport loaded with 55-gallon drums of gas.
Col. Charles Milam begins 30-year military career at Okinawa – He served in WW II, Korea and Vietnam
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.
He missed the war, but didn’t miss the action – Roger Burton was editor of the Bayonet
Roger Burton is no war hero. In fact, he missed the whole war. The infantry corporal was a couple of weeks too late for the Battle of Pork Chop Hill, one of the nastiest engagements of the Korean War.
He was in 1st Ranger Battalion in WW II – Sgt. Lawrence Gilbert landed in Sicily, Salerno and Anzio
Sgt. Lawrence Gilbert of North Port, Fla. was a member of the 1st Ranger Battalion attached to the 1st Division, part of Gen. George Patton’s 7th Army that landed in Sicily on July 10, 1943 during the middle of World War II.
Two old war horses recall their service to the troops in WW II, Korea and Vietnam
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.
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.
Carpenter’s Mate 2nd/C Bernie Strapp in ship repair unit in Pacific during WW II
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.
Col. Clark received Silver Star for actions at Guadalcanal during WWII – He also saw front-line action in Korea and Vietnam
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.
Ensign David Weaver and Squadron VF-60 arrived on Saipan just before WW II’s end
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.
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…
Rodger Craig served in Korea and Vietnam before becoming ROTC instructor
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.
Army was turning point for 17-year-old Punta Gorda, Fla. soldier – Abraham Coleman received two Purple Hearts while fighting in Korea
Former Cpl. Abraham Coleman joined the U.S. Army in 1947 at 17, “just to get the hell away from Punta Gorda.” He wanted to find a better life with more opportunities for a young black man than living in a small Southern town.
Ensign Harlan Twible recalls sharks, sea and fight for life after USS Indianapolis sank
Minutes after the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis‘ bow was blown away by a torpedo fired by Japanese submarine I-58 on July 30, 1945, Ensign Harlan Twible was treading water in the shark-infested, inky waters of the Philippine Sea.
‘Jap Zeroes were diving on our fantail, I ordered: ‘Blast the SOBs out of the sky!’
After 20 years of service in the U.S. Navy, Eugene Maresca retired in 1983 as a full commander. He served three years in the regular Navy and the rest in the Naval Reserve.
U.S. Navy pilot almost Japanese hero in WWII – Capt. ‘Slim’ Russell flew off USS Saratoga at Guadalcanal
“At Guadalcanal, I was almost a war hero to the Japanese,” Allard Guy “Slim” Russell of Sarasota, Fla. said with a smile. “I dropped my first 500-pound bomb on the 75-mile long, 25-mile-wide enemy-held South Pacific island.
He escaped 6 Chinese soldiers while driving to Seoul to get mail for 25th Division
It was 1953 and the Korean War had ground to a halt when Dick Cooley of Columbus, Ohio got word to report to his local draft board.
Sailor takes cruise and sees the world during Korean War era
Otis Manchester of North Port, Fla. always wanted to go to sea and see the world. His father had served in the U.S. Navy during World War I and he volunteer for the Navy a year before the start of the Korean War.
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.
Old soldier remembers the Hurtgen Forest and Battle of the Bulge during WWII
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.
2nd Lt. Will White was PIO officer at Panmunjom during Korean POW exchange
By the time 2nd Lt. Will White reached Korea in the fall of 1953 the war was over, but the repatriation of POWs at Panmunjom, North Korea was just getting started. The 22-year-old Army lieutenant served as a public information officer for the world press that came to the North Korean border crossing to cover…
Lt. Col. George Hardy flew 45 B-29 missions in Korea and 70 in Ac-119 in ‘Nam
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.
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…
Dorothy Arft of Harbor Cove joined Navy during Korean War to see the world
Dorothy Arft loves the Navy. She spent one four-year hitch in the service as a seaman and 29 years working as a civilian employee for the Navy.
Frank Bloom flew F4U gull-wing Corsair fighters during WW II and Korean War
Frank Bloom joined the Marine Corps Aviation Cadet Program while still in high school and learned to fly F4U Corsair fighters during World War II. He was called back during the Korean War.
Sgt. Sol Shuman of Lake Suzy was injured by enemy mine during Korean War
Sol Shuman of Lake Suzy, east of Port Charlotte, Fla., was a platoon sergeant in the Indian Head Division, 2nd Infantry Division that went to Inchon, North Korea with Gen. Douglas MacArthur and his troops, in January 1951. Mac Arthur was headed for China.
John Brophy was too skinny to go to war during Korean Conflict
John Brophy of Heron Creek subdivision in North Port at 21 was 6-feet 3-inches tall and 120 pounds when drafted in 1951 during the Korean War. He was too skinny to fight.
Larry Haynes fought with 17th Regiment, 7th Division during Korean War
When the Korean War broke out in June 1950 Larry Haynes of North Port, Fla. was a 19-year-old Army corporal serving in H-Company, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division in Japan.
1st. Lt. Richard Burns almost shot down in his F-84 in Korea
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.
Library of Congress receives 100 DVDs for ‘Veterans History Project’
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…
Dave Wade crewman in B-45, first jet bomber in America’s air defense
David Wade of Overbrook Gardens in Englewood, Fla. was a crewman aboard a B-45 four-engine jet bomber during the Korean War era. It was this country’s first jet bomber after the Second World War designed specifically for a nuclear payload. Wade returned from a tour in Korea and Japan and ended up at the Air…
1st Lt. Rex Anderson fought Russian MIG-15s in his F-86 over Yelu in Korea
1st Lt. Rex Anderson (Ret.) of Burnt Store Isles tangled with Russian MIG-15 fighters over the Yalu River in dogfights during the 100 combat missions he flew in an F-86 “Sabre Jet” during the Korea War. The commendation accompanying the second Air Medal he received doesn’t tell the whole story.
‘Fuzzy’ Fazekas was Navy corpsman at Royal Victorian Hospital in ’44
When Eugene “Fuzzy” Fazekas of Spanish Lakes mobile home park in Nokomis, Fla. sailed to war as a corpsman with Naval Advance Group 56 in 1944 he hadn’t been given any medical training.
Kil Kilcauley fought in 3 wars: WW II, Korea, Vietnam during 25 year career
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.
2nd Infantry trooper went to Korea a month after war declared
Alex Magno was a 17-year-old Italian boy from Chicago who joined the Army and ended up in L-Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division in Korea a month after the Korean War broke out in June 1950.
Marine loses two yellow tractors in the Aleutian Islands fighting the Cold War
Fred Holzweiss of Englewood, Fla. was a first lieutenant in the 1st Engineering Battalion attached to the 1st Marine Division in Korea in 1953.
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.
Port Charlotte man haunted by Vietnam memories
Bill Schwartz was a “River Rat.” He was a brown water sailor who skippered a PBR patrol boat in the Mekong Delta area of South Vietnam in 1968 during the Vietnam War.
Tim Bryant, a ‘Mosquito’ who served in the Air Force during Korean War
Tim Bryant was a Mosquito. During the Korean War he served as a forward observer for the Air Force. He called in air strikes on the enemy with the help of a pilot in a World War II single-engine, two-seat T-6 training plane and a radio.
Master Sgt. George Hire watched first Japanese bomb hit dry dock at Pearl Harbor
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor shortly before 8 a.m., Dec. 7, 1941 George Hire was a Marine recovering from coral poisoning at the Naval Hospital. He was looking out the window while washing dishes and saw the first bomb hit the dry dock 100 yards from where he was standing.
Chance encounter with Kamikaze pilot changed Col. Gilchrist’s life
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Doug Gilchrist was waiting at the airport terminal in Tokyo in 1967 for a flight that would take him to the war in Vietnam when a chance encounter with a Japanese couple changed his life.
Lt. Col. Doug Gilchrist flew a C-130 over N. Vietnam with MIG fighters on their way
Lt. Col. Doug Gilchrist was flying a four-engine C-130 Hercules cargo plane, used as a command ship, from a base in Thailand over North Vietnam when he came as close to “buying the farm” as he did during any of his 102 combat missions over enemy territory during the Vietnam War.
Jack Potter took an LCM landing craft ashore at Inchon in Korea
Most of the time during the Korean War Jack Potter served as a coxswain aboard a LCM (landing craft) attached to the attack transport USS Andromeda (AKA-15). He made the second landing at Inchon, South Korea and brought Marines ashore in the first wave.
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.
Sgt. Tom Miller fought the North Koreans to a standstill on Arrowhead Ridge in ‘52
In Korea Sgt. Tom Miller was a forward artillery observer. It was a risky job because his observation outpost sat on the tallest hill in the area for all the world to see.
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.
Sgt. Stan Smith taught the ladies to become U.S. Marines at Parris Island
Master Gunny Sgt. Stan Smith of Venetian Lakes, south of Punta Gorda, hit the beach at Inchon with MacArthur early in the Korean War, marched up and back to the Chosin Reservoir with the 1st Marine Division and served with the 3rd Marine Division at Danang in 1965 as one of the first Marines units…
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…
Sgt. Gil Rynex of Lakewood Village was the luckiest soldier in the U.S. Air Force
Former Sgt.Gil Rynex believes he was just about the luckiest soldier in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.
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…
Airborne Ranger tells his Korean and Vietnam war tale
A Ranger Born tells the story of a man of arms. Col. Robert Black, a highly decorated Korean and Vietnam War soldier wrote a book about his military adventures.
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.