John Busse of Venice, Fla. celebrated his 101st birthday at Venice Post 8118 VFW a couple of days ago. He served with Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army in Europe during World War II. John was a member of the 16th Armored Division that began its march across the continent in France, went on through Belgium, Germany, Poland, and…
Staff Sgt. Wilbur Butler bombed Ploesti 9 times in B-24 ‘Liberator’ bomber
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, when tens of thousands of Allied troops were storming the beaches of Normandy, France, Staff Sgt. Wilbur Butler was flying as nose gunner aboard a B-24 bomber called “Boobie Trap” on a mission to bomb the Ploesti oil refineries in Romania.
‘Screaming Eagle’ wounded during Battle of the Bulge
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.
Sgt. Hugh Bennett was radio operator on B-24 dubbed ‘The Hard Way’ in WW II
Hugh Bennett of Englewood, Fla. was a radio operator on a B-24 “Liberator” bomber dubbed “The Hard Way.” They were part of the 854th Bomb Squadron, 491st Bomb Group, 14th Wing of the 8th Air Force flying out of a base 90 miles north of London at Metfield, England.
B-17 pilot Ernest Erickson wrote about a bombing raid on Berlin during WW II
Ernest Erickson flew a “Flying Fortress,” four-engine bomber dubbed “Lili of the Lamplight,” from a base near Ipswich, England on 35 combat missions over Nazi-occupied Europe in 1943 and ’44 during World War II. It was one of thousands of B-17s flown by the 8th Air Force that devastated Germany.
Lt. Matt Williams flew a B-24 on 35 combat missions over Europe during WW II
1st Lt. Matt Williams of Englewood, Fla. flew his first combat mission piloting a B-24 “Liberator,” four-engine bomber over Nazi-occupied France during the D-Day Invasion, June 6, 1944, along the beaches of Normandy in World War II.
He drove his truck through Omaha Beach mine field – Pvt. Bill Price was there on D-Day
Bill Price, who lives in Oxford House, Port Charlotte, was driving a 2 1/2-ton Army truck onto the beach at Normandy, France, D-Day, 60 years ago in June.
Chris Genovese served aboard the destroyer USS Rodman during WWII
By the time Radioman 3rd Class Chris Genovese and his destroyer, the USS Rodman, reached Okinawa during the closing months of World War II, the ship had taken part in the D-Day invasion, shot down a German JU-88 bomber, 15 Japanese kamikazes, sunk a German submarine during the invasion of Southern France, and escorted President…
Herb May of Port Charlotte, Fla. flew as tail gunner in B-24 called ‘Wild Pussy’
A tail gunner in a B-24 bomber dubbed “Wild Pussy,” Staff Sgt. Herb May was on one of the first daylight mission flown by the U.S. Air Force over Berlin in May 1944. He had plenty of company — there were 800 heavy bombers in the armada that day attacking the German capital.
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.
2nd Lt. Ted Weatherhead flew 101st Airborne to D-Day jump, June 6, 1944
Ted Weatherhead was a 21-year-old green 2nd lieutenant and co-pilot of a C-47, twin-engine, transport plane — a member of the 316th Troop Carrier Group, 44th Troop Carrier Wing, 9th Air Force — that dropped 19 fully-equipped 101st Airborne paratroopers behind enemy lines on D-Day hours before the June 6, 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy…
Julius Gervan was engine-room chief aboard destroyer Thatcher in WW II
Chief Julius Gervan of Burnt Store Isles subdivision south of Punta Gorda, Fla. was in charge of the forward engine-room aboard the destroyer USS Thatcher II (DD-514) when a kamikaze pilot crashed his plane into the the ship’s super structure and burst into flames killing 14 sailors and wounding 56 more during the Battle for…
Seaman’s troop ship, Susan B. Anthony, sunk in English Channel on D-Day
Despite the German U-boat packs prowling the Atlantic, Seaman 1/C Bob Frazier survived 10 round-trips in the USS Susan B. Anthony, an attack transport, without a scratch taking troops to Europe in World War II.
Navy nurse Millie Edsall treated sailors from D-Day Invasion during WW II
Millie Edsall was a registered nurse working in a doctor’s office in Joliet, Ill. when the Second World War erupted. At 20, in 1938, she graduated from St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in Joliet.
Art Nicholas and family on beaches at Normandy on 65th Anniversary of invasion
His dark blue ball cap with the orange patch and gold lettering read: “SCOUTS AND RAIDERS, 1942-1945, U.S. NAVY WW II, WE LEAD THE WAY.” It was what Art Nicholas of Englewood, Fla. wore when he, his wife and two grown daughters visited all five beaches in Normandy, France on the 65th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion during the summer of 2009.
‘Doc’ Schaeferle of La Casa survived Omaha Beach on D-Day
The citation accompanying his Bronze Star Medal reads: “LAWRENCE G. SCHAEFERLE, CAPTAIN, Medical Detachment, 32nd Field Artillery Battalion. For heroic achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy in the vicinity of St. Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, 6 June, 1944. Although subjected to heavy enemy fire, Capt. Schaeferle remained on exposed beach, administering first aid and assisting in evacuation of the seriously wounded. His heroic devotion to duty saved many lives. Entitled to wear six bronze battle participation stars on European Theatre Ribbon for campaigns in Sicily, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe. Awarded the Bronze Star Medal…
He landed at Utah Beach on D-Day in his M-7 self-propelled gun
Ed Kent was the gunner on an M-7, self-propelled 105 millimeter Howitzer, who landed June 6, 1944 at Utah Beach on D-Day in Normandy, France during World War II. The 20-year-old corporal survived 15 days before being seriously injured by shrapnel from incoming enemy fire, was sent back to England and eventually the States to recuperate.
Pfc. Buck Fields hit Normandy beach with his anti-tank gun squad on D-Day plus 2
A small American flag hangs from the brick wall outside the front door of Buck Fields’ Port Charlotte home. It’s a manifestation of the former World War II infantryman’s love of the country he fought for so long ago. He hit the beach at Normandy on D-Day plus two, June 8, 1944, with Headquarters Company,…
‘Screaming Eagle’ recalls D-Day Invasion and Normandy
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.