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.
From U. S. Army
A soldier’s story – Sgt. Bill Nickell spent 250 days on front lines
“I saw a 60-ton German Tiger tank about 100-feet away. It had nine machine guns and one 88 mm cannon pointing right at us,” Sgt. William Nickell of Punta Gorda, Fla. wrote in his World War II memoirs.
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.
Punta Gorda, Fla. man writes book on uncle’s WWII diary
U.S. Army Capt. Leo F. Gowen of Nanticoke, Pa., was a surgeon in an aid station behind the front lines in the 9th Medical Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment of Gen. Courtney H. Hodges 1st Army that fought through Europe during World War II.
WWII buddies meet up 55 years later
Bill Tannatt of Englewood, Fla. and Milton Dorr of Worcester, Mass., started out as members of the Yankee Division, the Massachusetts National Guard’s 26th Infantry Division, and ended up in the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division of the 5th Army during World War II.
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.
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.
War dogs – ‘Prince’ was his protector in Vietnam
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…
Elmer Watson served as medic in 242nd Infantry Regiment in Europe in WW II
When Elmer Watson arrived in Marseille, France aboard a victory ship he was a medic in the 242nd Infantry Regiment. His unit made it to the war in Europe on Dec. 11, 1944, just in time for the Battle of the Bulge.
Sgt. Lawrence Stout guarded German POWs in N.C. during WW II
Lawrence Stout of Lemon Bay mobile home park in Englewood, Fla. never fired a rifle in World War II. Because he could type he was made a clerk typist after completing boot camp at Camp Buckner, N.C. in February 1943.
Elliott‘s military intelligence unit protected supply base
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…
Pfc. Keith Des Ermia served 28 days in Patton’s 3rd Army before being wounded
Pfc. Keith Des Ermia only fought as a replacement soldier in Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army in Europe during World War II for 28 days before he was severely wounded by shrapnel from a German 88. He spent the next eight months recovering from his war wounds in hospitals in England and the United States.
Port Charlotte, Fla. man served in Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army during World War
The first day former Sgt. Mike Labick arrived in Normandy in September 1944 he wound up in a front line foxhole at Saint-Lo as a newly-minted member of Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army.
Cpl. Walter Mitchell ran a truck farm on Guadalcanal during WW II
Cpl. Walter Mitchell of Englewood, Fla. turned part of Guadalcanal, a major South Pacific battlefield in World War II, into a 5,000-acre truck farm once Japanese troops had been defeated.
Pfc. John Silvani landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day plus 3; he was wounded at St. Lo a few days later
John Silvani grew up in an Italian neighborhood in Detroit, Mich., graduated from high school about the time World War II began and went to work at the Ford plant in Dearborn as a teenage tool-and-die maker after receiving a military deferment.
He was at The Bulge – Pfc. Floyd Gantzer was in the 17th Airborne Division
Trained as a paratrooper at Fort Benning, Ga., in July 1944, former Pfc. Floyd Gantzer was attached to the 193rd Glider Infantry Regiment, part of the 17th Airborne Division at the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium in January 1945 during World War II.
John Flower served in the ‘Fighting 69th PX Detachment’ during ‘Cold War’
John Flower of Oak Forrest subdivision Englewood, Fla. said facetiously, “I was a corporal in the U.S. Army’s ‘Fighting 69th, PX Detachment’ on Adak, in the Aleutian Islands in 1946”. He ran a bowling alley for the troops on the godforsaken atoll.
Lt. Harold Hewitt built bridges for the 9th Army in Europe during WWII
A couple of months after D-Day, 2nd Lt. Harold Hewitt of Port Charlotte, Fla. landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, with the 252nd Engineers Battalion, part of Gen. William “Tex” Simpson’s 9th Army fighting in Europe during World War II.
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.
Port Charlotte, Fla. man was a 10th Mountain Division sniper in Italy – Partridge got shot at Riva Ridge
A harmonica stopped a bullet from hitting Pcf. Al Partridge ‘s heart during the 5th Army’s assault in Italy’s Apennine Mountains in January 1944.
Bible helped Pfc. Bill Waits survive Stalag 7-A in Germany during WW II
The steel-plated gold cover on the outside of Bill Waits’ “Heart Shield Bible” he carried in his breast pocket while a rifleman in the 26th Infantry Division during the Allied invasion of France in the closing months of World War II was inscribed in flowing script: “May this keep you from harm.”
Ray Kari was a front line medic in the Pacific – he was shot in the head by a sniper
Pvt. Ray Kari was the youngest, least-trained medic in Company B, 169th Infantry, 43rd Division when he waded ashore in the middle of the night on a small attol just off New Georgia Island in the southwest Pacific a lifetime ago.
Soldier’s WW I diary a treasured memory of the part he played in ‘The Great War’
A Farewell to Arms, tells the story of Lt. Frederic Henry, the main character in Hemingway’s novel about a World War I ambulance driver who deserts his unit because he can no longer face the maiming and killing on the front lines he had to endure. Anne Hilliard of Arcadia, Fla. whose father, Wesley Norman…
1st Lt. Bette Horstman says Japanese POWs were her best patients in WWII
Bette Horstman of Port Charlotte, Fla. was a physical therapist who graduated from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. near the end of World War II, joined the Army and was sent to Saipan as a 2nd lieutenant to help the troops recover from war wounds.
Sgt. Richard Nolan kept P-40s, P-47s in the air in WWII
Richard Nolan of Deep Creek, Fla. enlisted in the Army a year before the United States entered World War II, never dreaming it would be a six-year, world-shattering event for him and the rest of the human race.
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.
Vietnam POW presents prison garb to Military Museum
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…
Cpl. Ed Zanck provided hot showers for troops in Gen. Mark Clark’s 5th Army
Ed Zanck of Farmington Vista condominium complex, Plantation subdivision south of Venice, Fla. was drafted into the Army in early 1942. He took part in the Invasion of North Africa and served in Gen. Mark Clark’s 5th Army throughout much of the Italian Campaign.
Phil Lockwood hit Normandy beach with 29th Infantry Division in WW II
Phil Lockwood of Port Charlotte, Fla. was in the 175h Artillery Company attached to the 29th Infantry Division that stormed Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 spearheading the Allied invasion of Europe during World War II.
North Port, Fla. resident serves as Army reporter-photographer in Iraq
Specialist Bryanna Poulin of North Port, Fla. is a gung-ho Army reporter-photographer attached to the 25th Infantry Division station at a desert base called “Cob Speicher” just outside Tikrit — Saddam Hussein’s hometown.
Ed Lukach got DFC for bombing German 88 guns near Berlin in B-17
Like a lot of other young men his age, Ed Lukach wanted to be a pilot when he signed up at 19 for the Army’s Aviation Cadet Program in 1942 near the start of World War II.
Warrant Officer Mike Goff received 2 DFCs in Vietnam while flying ‘choppers
Warrant Officer Mike Goff never saw “The Valley of Death.” He wasn’t one of the 400 soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Division surrounded and attacked by 2,000 North Vietnam soldiers at the La Drang Valley in mid-November 1965.
Eisenhower knew Battle of Bulge was coming – 1st Lt. Ray Walker of Punta Gorda gave him the word
Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe in World War II, knew a couple of weeks ahead of time the Germans were planning the huge offensive that became known as the “Battle of the Bulge,” according to Raymond Walker of Punta Gorda, Fla.
Ray Starsman produced manual for building International Space Station
Producing the manual for designing the International Space Station was the most important and satisfying job Col. Ray Starsman of Punta Gorda, Fla. ever had during a long and varied working career.
Capt. Ray Starsman commanded 105 mm Howitzer battery in Vietnam
“I was a 27-year-old captain who commanded Delta Battery, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, 1st Division. That battery was the longest serving unit in the history of ‘The Big Red One.’ It went back to the Revolutionary War when its original commander was Alexander Hamilton,” the 72-year-old retired Punta Gorda, Fla. bird colonel said. “That was kinda cool.”
John Albanese of Deep Creek gets American flag from nephew back from Afghanistan
John Albanese was surprised when he opened the door of his Deep Creek, Fla. home Saturday two weeks ago and found Richard Young, his nephew who recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan with the United States Army, standing there.
Pvt. Carl Cooley was in 26th Infantry Division, ‘The Yankee Division,’ fought in Patton’s 3rd Army
Five days after Carl Cooley of Grove City, Fla. graduated from Fremont High School in Fremont, Ohio, on June 2, 1943, he took his physical and officially became a private in the United States Army.
PGI woman served as Army nurse in Philippines during WWII
Former 2nd Lt. J.J. Jones of Punta Gorda Isles, Fla. was an Army nurse who served in the Philippines during World War II.
Rotonda man received Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars in Vietnam War
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…
John Meloney spied on the Vatican, British and Russians after WW II
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second of two parts. World War II was over, but not for Sgt. John Meloney. He was on his way from Oslo, Norway to London where he held a quick meeting with his O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services) handlers and off he flew to Salzburg, Austria.
John Meloney served as O.S.S. spy and decoder during WW II
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of two parts. John Meloney was smart and had an ability with foreign languages, that’s why the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.), the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency, selected him to be a World War II spy.
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…
Sgt. Ed Vuolo and 1st Armored Division threw Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait
1st Sgt. Ed Vuolo of Port Charlotte, Fla. drove into Kuwait on Jan. 17, 1991 aboard a Humvee behind the M1A1 Abram Tanks of “Old Iron Sides,” the United States’ 1st Armored Division as part of “Operation Desert Shield.”
Sgt. Ed Vuolo went to Vietnam with a computer, but used his M-16 during ‘Tet’
Ed Vuolo grew up on Long Island, NY, graduated from high school in 1966 and two years later he was drafted into the U.S. Army.
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…
Larry Izzo fought at ‘Old Baldy’ and ‘Pork Chop Hill’ in Korea
Larry Izzo of the Oak Forest subdivision in Englewood, Fla. was a 21-year-old corporal attached to the G-Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. He was a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) man.
‘One-man army’ knocks out two German Tiger tanks in World War II
George Burns, who lived in Punta Gorda, Fla. for 28 years until his death in March 1994, received the Distinguished Service Cross for his exploits with the 104th Infantry Division, “The Timberwolves,” in World War II.
German bullets flying over Pfc. Vito Mancine’s head ‘sounded like a whip cracking’
Pfc. Vito Mancine of Port Charlotte, Fla. was a 21-year-old Browning Automatic Rifleman when he landed in Normandy, France, about a month after D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was a member of the 5th Division in Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army.
Pvt. Bob Boliere was in the horse cavalry in 1938 before joining Navy during WW II
At 90 years old, Bob Boliere of Stillwater Villas in Englewood, Fla. may be the last of the U.S. Army’s horse cavalry.
Lemon Bay High School grad back from Afghanistan
Sgt. 1st Class Larry Reyes was recovering several years ago from injuries sustained in a tour with the 301st Military Intelligence Battalion that returned from Afghanistan. He and his wife, Michele, were vacationing at the home of his mother, Linda Reyes, in North Port, Fla..
Roy Kroesen fought with the 696th Field Artillery in WWII
Ninety-one-year-old former Sgt. Roy Kroesen of Rotonda commanded “The Priest,” a 105 mm, M-7 self-propelled Howitzer in World War II that looked a lot like a tank. He served with the 696th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, which came ashore at Pont-Scorff, France, on Aug. 7, 1944, and fought through France, Belgium and Germany, eventually meeting the Russian Army at the Elbe River near Berlin.
Lily Marlene was the song they liked the best
It was a voice from the past typed in blue on the sheet of yellowing copy paper that dropped from the little book about the 2nd Armored Division’s exploits in Europe during World War II.
He served with Audie Murphy in WWII – Murphy received 33 commendations
Ed Kantz of Punta Gorda, Fla. served in the 15th Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division of Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army during World War II. He also soldiered through Italy, France and Germany with Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier in World War II.
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.
Harbor Cove’s couple’s son is new director of U.S. Army Band in D.C.
When it comes to martial music and popular songs of a certain era, Col. Thomas Palmatier, recently appointed commander of the U.S. Army Band stationed at Fort Myer, outside Washington, DC., is the Army’s “Music Man.”
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.
Cpl. Don Vicalvi fought on Bougainville and the Philippines in WW II
John Vicalvi’s discharge notes he received two Bronze Service Arrowheads and two Bronze Battle Stars on his Asiatic-Pacific Theater Campaign Ribbon for two landings and two major battles: Bougainville and the Philippines.
His eyes kept him out of Air Force and Navy, but Army gave him a thumbs up
Lowell McCarty want to be a fly boy. “I tried to enlist in the Air Corps when I was 17. I passed the written exam with no problems, but when I took the physical exam they found out I was color blind and they told me, ‘We don’t want you!’” the 84-year-old Port Charlotte man…
Sgt. Pat Farino served 2 tours in Vietnam with ‘Screaming Eagles’
Pat Farino of Port Charlotte, Fla. went to Vietnam in 1968 with the 101st Airborne Division. He was a 22-year-old airborne trooper who served with the ‘Screaming Eagles’.
Warrant Officer II Charles Myers fought Army’s administrative war for 2 decades
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.
Capt. Eugene Pentiuk received a Purple Heart at the Siegfried Line in WW II
Eugene Pentiuk joined the Michigan National Guard in 1939 on a dare from a buddy. They signed up shortly after graduating from high school in Pontiac, Mich. He and his friend trained for a year in the Louisiana wilds as members of the 32nd Infantry Division.
Venice man delivered ‘Top Secret’ messages to MacArthur, Eisenhower
The old man held a shadow box of World War II memorabilia on the couch beside him at his home on the Island of Venice. There were first lieutenant silver bars, dog tags, a picture of a serious-looking young officer, and a gold medal with a yellow ribbon and two attached bronze battle stars signifying…
Pfc. James Johnson protected an Atomic Bomb during war games at Ft. Polk
When James Johnson joined the 82nd Airborne Division, an elite fighting force, in the fall of 1955 as a 20-year-old soldier he took part in one of the largest ground maneuvers the Army ever staged in the United States.
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…
Pfc. Harold Snyder served in 2nd Division of Pattons’s 3rd Army in WW II
Harold Snyder was a rifleman and anti-tank gunner in the Indian Head Division, 2nd Division, in Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army in Europe during World War II.
Former Sgt. John Zajdlik served with the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam in 1968-69
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.
Bob Rogers was awarded 3 Purple Hearts; almost captured by VC during Vietnam War
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.
Sgt. Fred Strass remembers ‘Gardelegen Massacre’ at close of war
Fred Strass was a rifleman in an infantry company that fought in Europe during World War II. He served as a sergeant in K-Company, 406th Regiment of the 102nd Infantry Division.
Army medic veteran remembers bell better than WWII’s ‘Battle of the Bulge’
Although he served as a private in a medical unit in Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army, took part in the “Battle of the Bulge” and the Hurtgen Forest Campaign, two of the worst battles on the Western Front, what Andrew Napolitano of Venice, Fla. remembers most about World War II is a small bell he…
2nd Lt. Stephen Leopold was Vietnam MIA for almost 5 years before his release
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.
He was a peacetime warrior in the 82nd Airborne in 1955
Long before he joined the 82nd Airborne Division as a peacetime warrior in the mid-1950s, Lou Drendel of Venice was fascinated with things military. It began when he was a kid and his father built balsa wood airplane models for him.
Bill McDermott was an APC gunner with 11th Armored Cavalry in Vietnam
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 program.
Pfc. Mark Vanderveer took part in Battle of Hürtgen Forest during WW II
Mark Vanderveer only fought in one major battle during World War II, but it was a doosie. He served as a PFC in E-Company, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division of the 1st Army during the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest fought along the Belgium-German border.
Old soldiers never die – Venice resident among oldest West Point grads
Col. James Oliver Stephenson of Venice, at 93, may be the oldest West Point graduate in southwest Florida.
1st Cavalryman rode to war in Huey
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.
The little book that gave American GIs their first taste of England during WW II
Getting it right: This little book was given to all American GIs who set foot on English soil during the Second World War. Its purpose: To teach them British customs in a hurry.
Old Soldier went back for her
A VFW chaplain said a few words, two soldiers in dress uniforms folded an American flag into a precise triangle and handed it gently to the widow, a rifle squad fired three volleys and Taps was played as 50 mourners bowed their heads.
Pete Self fought in Italy with 5th, France with 7th, Germany with 3rd Division
Pete Self of Englewood was a rifleman in H-Company, 143rd Regiment of the 36 Infantry Division when he first came ashore at Naples, Italy on Sept. 9, 1943 during World War II.
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.
Sgt. Richard Smith provided life blood for fighting World War II
Richard Smith of Port Charlotte, Fla. served in the 500th Port Battalion, an all black unit in World War II, that kept front line troops supplied with ammunition and equipment.
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.
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.
Pfc. Billie Hopkins received 3 Purple Hearts fighting in Europe during WW II
Billie Hopkins, who winters at Little Charlie Creek mobile home park in Wauchula, was only 5-feet, 3-inches tall and weighed 112 pounds. His size made him a perfect candidate to be a ball turret gunner on a B-17 or B-24 bomber in World War II. But the Air Corps didn’t want him because he was…
Jim King and his buddy, Charley, found out about life before serving in Vietnam
Jim King and his buddy, Charley Carr, joined the Army right out of high school. The two 18-year-old California boys got an education about life long before they reached Vietnam and faced the enemy.
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.
1St. Sgt. Jim Tankersley of Brookside Bluff fought with Patton, Bradley in Europe
1st Sgt. Jim Tankersley, who lives in Brookside Bluff Condominium Park north of Arcadia, Fla. was in charge of ground communications for the 95th Infantry Division’s artillery battalion. He and a squad of 25 soldiers laid and maintained the phone cables connecting division headquarters with front line troops during some of the major battles in Europe in World War II.
Jim Broom found out being a truck driver in Vietnam could be deadly
Jim Broom of Edgewater Manor, Port Charlotte, Fla. was no war hero. He was just a Specialist-5th class who drove a five-ton dump truck and got shot at by the enemy in Vietnam in 1967-68 while serving with the 815th Engineer Battalion for 11 months and 15 days.
John Krusinski Sr. manned quad .50s on the DMZ in Vietnam
John Krusinski, Sr. was a 19-year-old draftee who grew up in the Chicago area and went to war in Vietnam in 1967. He was a member of the Army’s 1st Battalion, 44th Artillery, G-Battery station at a base camp in Dong Ha, along the DMZ separating North and South Vietnam. He spent a year being shot at or shooting at other people.
He served with 82nd Airborne and 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam War
Charlie Householder served in Vietnam in 1969 as a Platoon Sergeant. with the 82nd Airborne Division at first and end up in the 25th Infantry Division in ‘Nam. He retired a decade later as a 1st Sergeant with the 82nd at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Japanese machine-gunners were waiting for ramp on landing craft to drop!
When Cpl. Kermitt Hampton’s landing craft hit the beach on New Britain Island in the South Pacific during World War II the Japanese knew they were coming and had a deadly trap waiting on the beach for the American forces.
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.
Combat engineer in Vietnam recalls the lighter moments in war
Gordon Quick, who lives off Burnt Store Road south of Punta Gorda, Fla. near the county line, served in the 588th Combat Engineer Battalion in Vietnam in 1965-1966. His unit was under command control of the 1st Infantry Division—the “Big Red 1” with division headquarters and the support command located at Tây Ninh.
Pfc. George Sheldon’s unit took Gen. MacArthur ashore at Leyte in WWII
A year after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, dragging the United States into World War II, George Sheldon, who grew up in Haverhill, Mass., joined the Army and eventually ended up in an amphibious brigade.
DMZ was a dangerous place along the border with North Vietnam in 1969
Dennis Wesley Clark volunteered for Vietnam in 1969. He ended up fighting the North Vietnamese Army along the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Vietnam.
John Seelie was to box night Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor
John Seelie of Englewood, Fla. was supposed to box the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. He was a champion welterweight who just joined the 25th Infantry Division stationed at Schofield Barracks outside of Honolulu, Hawaii.
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…
‘Black Lions’ faced death in Vietnam
The ”Black Lions” were looking for a fight. The battalion had been on a search-and-destroy mission for more than a week. Now the men of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Regiment, 1st Infantry Division were exhausted from chasing the Viet Cong through the jungle 50 miles north of Saigon.
A penciled sketch is all she has of her first husband drawn by prisoner during WW II
A penciled drawing of a young man in Army garb is the most tangible remembrance she has of her first husband, 2nd Lt. Frank Burrows. Ruth Arnold of Heritage Oak Park in Port Charlotte had the drawing matted and framed to preserve it.
‘Jap had me in his sight’
Hal Ross of Port Charlotte, Fla. was trained as a member of the 10th Mountain Division in World War II, but ended up fighting the Japanese in the jungle islands of the South Pacific.
Fighting for Gen. George Patton at the Bulge
It was the day after Christmas 1944 when the 704th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division of Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army broke through the German lines at Bastogne to rescue the 101st Airborne Division, dug in and holding back the enemy onslaught at the Battle of the Bulge.
He helped capture Remagen Bridge over Rhine River
The red, white and black Nazi flag was in as good condition, swastika and all, as the day Mike Clemente pulled it off a flag pole that stood in a tiny public square in Remagen, Germany almost 60 years ago.
He fought “The Desert Fox” at Kasserine Pass
Sgt. Mike Sovan, a Sherman tank commander, and his men had just crossed the Nied River in France during World War II as part of Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army when their third tank was shot out from under them.
He saw the gates of Hell
Irving Ross saw the “Gates of Hell.” He was among the first American soldiers to help liberate Dachau concentration camp in Germany at the end of World War II.
Jewish POW swapped by Germans in World War II
Harry Glixon couldn’t believe his ears when he answered the phone at his Sarasota, Fla. home one day in June 2001. He wasn’t expecting to become a war hero after 57 years. The old soldier had been a member of a 55-man combat patrol from the 94th Infantry Division captured by the Germans near Lorient,…
Harry Long was a POW with Patton’s son-in-law
It was his baptism of fire. Ten days before, in early August 1944, 2nd Lt. Harry Long, a member of the Medical Administration Corps of the 318th Infantry Regiment, 80th Division landed on Utah Beach in Normandy, France as part of Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army.
Cpl. Bert Rockower wounded while capturing German pillboxes on Siegfried Line in WWII
Bert Rockower was a corporal in the 9th Army that landed on Omaha Beach five months after D-Day during World War II. By then U.S. troops had advanced across France and liberated Paris. American forces were at the Siegfried Line, the massive concrete and steel fortification protecting Germany’s Western Front.
Charged German Machine-guns
Harold Sandler didn’t start out to be a “Ninety-day Wonder” or a war hero, but that’s what he became by the time World War II was over.