Les Thompson says he’s no war hero. He was just a seaman 1st class who served aboard the USS Abner Read, a destroyer sunk by a Japanese kamikaze at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944 during the final months of World War II. The 76-year-old Englewood, Fla. man joined the Navy at 17…
Boatswain’s-mate Clarence Moore of Englewood towed ‘Nimitz’s Secret’ to Pacific war
They called it “Nimitz’s Secret.” All 10, 100-foot-long steel sections were towed by ship from San Francisco to Espiritus Santo, the main island in the New Hebrides chain. This floating steel dry dock for America’s Pacific Fleet during World War II was a military secret and a game changer.
Elbert Bishop and crew of ‘Betty-J’ watched mushroom cloud rise over Nagasaki
It was their last mission aboard “Betty-J,” a B-24 four-engine bomber named for the pilot, Jack Bates’ wife, that Elbert Bishop of Paradise Park, east of Punta Gorda, remembers most. The crew was part of the 42nd Bomb Squadron, 11th Bomb Group, 7th Air Force.
Ed McFadden served aboard USS Colorado during WW II
The toughest day of World War II for 17-year-old Seaman Ed McFadden was partway through the battle of Okinawa in March 1945. That day, he was not at his normal battle station in the foretop lookout 150 feet above the deck of the World War I battleship USS Colorado. That day he was on a…
Louie Wilson served aboard destroyer escort USS Barr at Iwo Jima & Okinawa
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…
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.
Sgt. Harold Glover fought at Salerno, Anzio, Monte Cassino, France & Germany during WW II
Harold Glover of La Casa mobile home park in North Port, Fla. was a sergeant in the “Fighting 36th Infantry Division” that first saw battle in North Africa in World War II, went on to Italy and before the war was over made the invasion of Southern France and marched into Germany. He received three Purple Hearts while fighting at Salerno, Anzio, Monte Casino and finally crossed the Rhine River into Germany at war’s end.
Vern Nelson served aboard PT-108 in the S.W. Pacific during World War II
By the time Radioman 2nd/Class Vern Nelson came aboard PT-108 in the South Pacific in 1944 the torpedo boat had seen lots of action against the Japanese in World War II. As part of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron FIVE the 80-foot plywood craft first operated out of the Panama Canal Zone starting in July starting in 1942.