Born in Germany on Feb 5, 1921, Hans Wex of Port Charlotte, Fla. spent the early part of his life living in Europe then he moved to Hollywood, Calif. before ending up back in Germany in 1934, the year Adolph Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany.
Former Sgt. Ed Strnad pulled a massive 8-inch artillery piece behind a modified Sherman tank through Europe during World War II as part of Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army.
Almost a week before D-Day, Seaman 1st Class Jim Kolka was waiting in the English Channel aboard a liberty ship, the USS Ezra Cornell off the coast of France, along with tens of thousands of other American servicemen, for the Invasion of Normandy to begin.
Because he could type Merle Branstetter of Burnt Store Marina south of Punta Gorda, Fla. got a job shortly after graduating from high school in 1939. He went to work for a small newspaper in his Iowa home town running a Linotype machine producing newspaper type. Two years later he received an athletic scholarship from…
1st Lt. Wallace Spencer of Tangerine Woods in Englewood, Fla. was on his 28th and last combat mission on March 24, 1945 when the B-24 “Liberator” four-engine bomber he served as bombardier in was shot out of the sky at 20,000 feet by anti-aircraft flak while bombing a railroad marshaling yard in Münster, Germany.
Pfc. William McWha, Serial No. 31305306, was a replacement soldier. He was one of the tens of thousands of American infantrymen from the “Repo Depot” who were put on the front lines in the heat of battle during World War II to replace killed or wounded soldiers.
Pvt. Richard Erdley was a member of the 35th Infantry Division, part of Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army, in World War II. He was wounded at the battle for Nancy, France shortly after the general’s 3rd Army began to push the Germans into Germany during the final assault of the Second World War.
The commendation accompanying 1st. Lt. Charles Maloney’s Bronze Star and Purple Heart doesn’t tell the whole story about the terrible time he and his heavy-machine-gun outfit had in the Hürtgen Forest along the German-Belgium border during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
Jack Miller loved his P-51D Mustang fighter. Twice he was shot down when he was a 20-year-old 2nd lieutenant serving as a member of the 354th Pioneer Mustang Group, 9th Air Force stationed in France during World War II.
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.
They were supposed to fly their final bombing mission, their 35th, over Cologne, Germany on Friday 13th, 1944. They didn’t do it. That was a big mistake.