Earl Swillum went aboard an LST as a “90-Day Wonder” third officer and sailed into the war zone at the Battle for Saipan. Before the fighting in the Pacific was over he and the LSTH-121, which also served as a hospital ship, took part in three other major battles during World War II.
Richard Smith of Port Charlotte, Fla. served in the 500th Port Battalion, an all black unit in World War II, that kept front line troops supplied with ammunition and equipment.
The British tried it, the Canadians tried it and elements of the 5th U.S. Army gave it a shot to no avail. Now it was the American 10th Mountain Division’s turn to take on German Gen. Fridolin von Senger’s entrenched troops in the Apennines Mountains of Italy during the winter of 1944.