Bill Cunningham of Viscaya Lakes Mobile Home Park in El Jobean, Fla. was in his early 20s when he signed up for the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in July 1942. He was sent to Siena College in Loudernville, N.Y. were he received 40 hours of civilian flight training.
Marine Pfc. Frank Garcia attacked in first wave at Iwo Jima
A week after the Japanese bombed the Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, dragging the United States into World War II, Frank Garcia joined the U.S. Marine Corps.
‘Suddenly, I saw the Zero coming toward me’ – Sgt. Mel Clark rode shotgun in dive bomber during WWII
“We were flying over Rabaul at 15,000 feet and went into a dive in our (Douglas Dauntless) SBD dive bombers. Suddenly, I saw this Japanese Zero coming toward me. The pilot looked right at me as I started firing,” former Sgt. Mel Clark recalled six decades later.
He was Dauntless dive bomber gunner in WWII
More than 60 years ago, former Sgt. Robert Martin of Englewood, Fla. was a back seat gunner in a Douglas Dauntless SBD single-engine dive bomber flying against Japanese fortifications on Bougainville in the New Georgia Islands in the Pacific during World War II. He was a member of Marine Dive Bomber Squadron 234.
Southwest Florida man landed on Iwo Jima – Among third wave of Marines, Crossley ate roasted chicken during battle
U.S. Marine Pfc. Bob Crossley of Venice, Fla. hit the beach on Iwo Jima in a Higgins boat in the third wave on Feb. 19, 1945. He was a member of the 5th Marine Division, 26th Regiment, 2nd Battalion D-Company.
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.
He served aboard destroyer, USS Hudson, off Iwo Jima and Okinawa in WW II
Electronics Technician 2nd Class Richard Berry of Venice served aboard the USS Hudson (DD-470), on picket duty off Iwo Jima and Okinawa during the closing months of World War II.