Jiggs Yeager was a sergeant in the 39th Signal Battalion attached to the 26th Yankee Division, part of Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army in Europe during World War II.
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.
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.
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.
The barrel of Cpl. Sam Burns’ .50 caliber machine-gun glowed red from the heat of 1,000 bullets. He was firing at the twin-engine German JU-88 “Junkers” bombers strafing their artillery outfit in the Tunisian desert of North African in December 1942.