John Coine of Burnt Store Isles was a former private first class and a rifleman in the 78th Infantry Division that arrived in Europe just in time for the “Battle of the Bulge” in December 1944. It was the biggest battle on the Western Front that Americans took part in.
Jacob Walker of Punta Gorda, Fla. remembers, like it was yesterday, how he joined the service before the Second World War more than 75 years ago.
Only once during the whole time Joe Cigich fought his way through Europe with Gen. Omar Bradley’s 9th Army during World War II was he shot at by the enemy.
The European Theatre Ribbon on Pfc. Lavern Hampton’s chest had five bronze battle stars for five major campaigns he fought in during the Second World War —Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe.
Herb Brough of Bobcat Trail subdivision, North Port, Fla. is a medical miracle. Almost 60 years ago, while serving as a “foot-slogger” in the 3rd Battalion, 398th Infantry Regiment of the 7th Army at “The Battle of the Bulge” in Europe, he took a blow to the head he will never forget.
Victor Brenk of Burnt Store Marina, south of Punta Gorda, Fla. was 18 when he joined Gen. George S. Patton in Europe during World War II as a member of the 851st Ordinance Heavy Auto Maintenance Company. His primary job was to keep the trucks and machinery in “Old Blood and Guts’” army operating.
Ed Stecher of Punta Gorda, Fla. joined the 101st Airborne Division in February 1942 when he was 19-years-old. He jumped as part of the D-Day invasion at Normandy, France, 62 years ago today on June 6, 1944 (when first published in the Charlotte Sun newspaper).
When Billie Jo Forrester was a freshman in college she had to write a short paper for her English class. She entitled it: “My Grandparents’ Stories.”
Two dog tags — one worn by an American soldier, the other by a German soldier — were found in a Luxembourg woods near the German border more than half a century after hostilities ended. The men who wore them crossed paths during the closing months of World War II.
Everett W. Driggers was a quiet man whose friends and relatives say should be remembered for his devotion to God, country, family and work. He never did anything particularly important except fight in some of the major battles of World War II, help found Venice, Fla. American Legion No-Vel Post 159, be postmaster at Laurel…
Staff Sgt. Jerry Meadows was in the 106th Infantry Division. He was in charge of a .30-caliber machine gun unit dug in on a hill along the German border on Dec. 19, 1944, during the opening days of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. That afternoon, he was wounded and captured in…
Ralph Cook of Venice, Fla. ended up a chaplain’s assistant serving with the 104th Timberwolf Division in Europe during World War II after flunking an eye exam to enter pilot training in the Army Air Corps.
Keith Jones was too skinny to get in the Navy in 1942, but the Army took him anyway despite his lack of weight. He became a member of the 87th Infantry Division, part of Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army in Europe during the Second World War.
Joe Falis tried to sign up for the service the day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Trouble was, he was only 17 and he had to have his parents’ permission.
In 1942 when Glenn Magner of Tangerine Woods mobile home park in Englewood, Fla. enlisted in the Army he was 16-years-old. He told them he was 20 and got away with it.
More than half a century after he was shot in the back and hand in two major World War II engagements, the 77-year-old Punta Gorda, Fla. retiree still has trouble talking about what he went through. “It was hell,” he said.
His unit dug in outside St. Vith, Belgium, in the snow and waited that cold December afternoon in 1944. They were lost, outgunned and about to become cannon fodder in the largest German offensive on the Western Front during World War II — the Battle of the Bulge.
It was called “Operation Castle.” Camillo Balsamo was a civilian technician working for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in September 1954. “Operation Castle” was the detonation of the world’s first hydrogen bomb at Enewetak Island, part of the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific.
Former Sgt. Clyde Housel of Port Charlotte, Fla. found himself in the snow and cold huddled in a foxhole along the Siegfried Line searching for Germans to shoot with his 1903 Springfield sniper rifle and scope on Dec. 16, 1944. He was a 1st Army sniper.
Their target: A road intersection near Schonberg, Germany, at the close of the Battle of the Bulge. It was Hitler’s last and largest offensive on the western front during World War II, aimed at blunting the allied advance into the “Fatherland.”
Louis Basso of Venice, Fla. was a 155 mm gunner who served in Battery A, 258th Field Artillery Battalion attached to Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army that fought the Germans across France and into the “Fatherland” during World War II.
George Phillips of North Port, Fla. was an 18-year-old soldier serving in Company G, 347th Regiment, 87th Infantry Division, part of Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army in Europe during World War II.
First Lt. Adam Kubinciak was the pilot of a B-24 “Liberator” bomber named “Miss Liberty,” part of the 706th Bomb Squadron, 446 Bomb Group, 8th Air Force stationed at Bungay, in southwestern England, during World War II.
It was a cold, rainy, muddy night in November 1944, Sgt. Ted Sannella was on duty at 1st Army’s Headquarters near Aachen, Germany as Allied forces began their final push into the “Fatherland” near the close of World War II.
Maurice Forgotson, of Gulf View mobile home park on Burnt Store Road, south of Punta Gorda, Fla. was a forward observer with a mortar platoon. It was part of the 84th Infantry Division, attached to Gen. Bernard Montgomery’s army in Europe during World War II.
“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.
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.
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.
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 Baumer went down to the recruiting office in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he grew up to enlist in the Army in 1942 and ended up in the Merchant Marines before he walked out.
“WITH AMERICAN AIRBORNE FORCES, in Germany, March 24, 1945 — The greatest single airborne operation in all history was successfully launched east of the Rhine shortly before noon today by cooperating British and American forces.
For their support of Gen. George Patton ‘s 3rd Army that stopped the German offense in World War II at Bastogne, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge , 2nd Lt. Bill Wells’ P-47 Thunderbolt squadron received a Presidential Unit Citation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Combat Medic Sgt. Larry Earle was freezing his backside off in December 59 years ago.
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.
2nd Lt. Carl Citron hadn’t been in England but a few weeks when his unit, the 466th Bomb Group, 786 Squadron, of the 8th Air Force, was assigned to a low-level bombing mission in their B-24 Liberators against the German submarine pens at Brest along the coast of Nazi-occupied France.
Ralph Coffin fought all across Europe during World War II with the 274th Armored Artillery Battalion, part of Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army. He landed in Normandy on Aug. 19, 1944 at St. Mere L’Eglise and fought from there to Avaranches and on to the Muese River by Sept. 1 and then to the famed fort at Verdun held by the Germans.
He landed on Utah Beach on D-Day plus 6, took part in the breakout at St. Lo, the Battle of the Bulge, Hürtgen Forest, Remagen and stopped at the Elbe River near Berlin at war’s end. Edwin Erving of Port Charlotte, Fla. was trained as an ambulance driver and medic attached to the 5th Armored Division in World War II. He landed at Utah Beach in Normandy, France on D-Day plus 6 with the 5th Armored.
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.
Pfc. Robert Granche was a “Screaming Eagle” He served in the 101st Airborne Division that parachuted behind enemy lines in the dark on D-Day morning, June 6, 1944.
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.
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.
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.
1st Lt. Marcella Zaborac of Englewood, Fla. came ashore on Normandy beach in August 1944 with Gen. George Patton. She served as a nurse with the 110th Evacuation Hospital in “Ol’ Blood-N-Guts” 3rd Army that fought its way across France and into Germany during World War II.