“When General Quarters sounded I went to my battle station,” 96-year-old Pete Cahill of Cape Haze, Fla. recalled a lifetime later. “I was one of six lookouts atop a 20-foot pole in the bow of the heavy cruiser USS Quincy off Guadalcanal. It was somewhere around 2 a.m.
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.
Master Chief and Valet Ricardo Sanvictores of North Port, Fla. had two jobs during his 44 year Naval career. He was Adm. John S. McCain Jr.’s steward for 14 years. After the admiral retired he was invited to join the White House staff as cook, butler and valet. He served seven presidents for 30 yeas…
Norm Holloway of Venice, Fla. had the best job in the Navy, he said. He was a cook aboard the carrier USS Independence (CV-62) during the Vietnam War era. He and 74 other cooks provided food for the ship ‘s crew of 5,000.
Tom Rebel of Burnt Store Isles, south of Punta Gorda, Fla. said, “I wanted to be a bomber pilot. I wanted to fly the biggest thing they had.” He ended up piloting a four-engine B-29 “Superfortress,” the largest bomber mass-produced in the United States during World War II.
Seventy-one years ago today, at 8 a.m. on a Sunday, Seaman Joe Kleiss was aboard the USS Dobbin, an auxiliary destroyer docked in Hawaii, writing a letter home to his mother.
The USS Intrepid sailed out of Pearl Harbor on Jan. 16, 1944 and headed for Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific during World War II. Fred Sauer of Arcadia served as an aviation electrician’s mate aboard the aircraft carrier.
Carl Gerold was the executive officer on LST-742 in the Pacific during World War II.
Jefferson Askew joined the Navy at age 23 in 1940, almost a year before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. By war’s end, he had made 38 trips across the Atlantic in a minuscule destroyer escort, the USS Amick, helping to protect 150-ship convoys making the hazardous voyage to Europe during World War II.
A flag with a single blue star in the center on a white field surrounded by a red border hangs in the window beside the front door of Kathy Leitsch’s home in Punta Gorda, Fla. A banner on the outside of her house reads: “Welcome Home Kristie Robson , M.D.”
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.
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.
The Battleship USS Missouri, flagship of Fleet Adm. William F. “Bull” Halsey’s Task Force 58, steamed into Tokyo Bay 150 ships-strong on the morning of Aug. 29, 1945. Quartermaster 3rd Class Ed Kalanta of Port Charlotte, Fla., was at the wheel of the 45,000 ton leviathan.