Fred Paulsen heard the 20 mm guns on the carrier USS Saratoga firing at will as she cruised off Iwo Jima on Feb. 21, 1945. That’s when he knew they were in trouble.
WWII Vet and crew pursued Japanese fleet at Battle of Midway Island
Frank Arcidiacono was the radio operation aboard a U.S. Navy seaplane assigned to find Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto’s armada. The huge Japanese fleet was steaming toward Midway Island in the North Pacific on its way to attack what was left of the much smaller American battle group during the pivotal days of June 1942.
Seaman Francis Cynkar aboard heavy cruiser USS Vincennes sunk by Japanese
A couple of weeks after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor launching the United States into World War II, Francis Cynkar of Maple Leaf Estates, Port Charlotte, Fla. joined the Navy. He was 15.
Guadalcanal was his first assignment, Okinawa his last – Oscar Hettema was a Seabee
By the time World War II ended, Oscar Hettema of Port Charlotte, Fla. had seen a lot of this world as a chief warrant officer in the Navy Seabees.
Sgt. Gasper Buffa survived Battle of Midway 72 years ago today
Seventy-two years ago today MSgt. Gasper Buffa, a resident of Lexington Manor Assisted Living facility in Port Charlotte, Fla. served with the 1st Marine Division on Midway Island in the Pacific. He survived an attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy’s planes commanded by Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto.
He served in WW II, Korea and Vietnam – Col. Paul Vnencak fought at Iwo Jima and Chosin
Long before his squad slogged through the black volcanic beach on Iwo Jima in February 1945, Sgt. Paul Vnencak, who winters in Port Charlotte, had seen considerable action as a member of the 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division.
A Marine at Guadalcanal – Pfc. John O’Donnell was in the 1st Marine Division
Guadalcanal was where the Japanese were stopped in their westward advance by American air, land and sea power. Former Marine Pfc. John O’Donnell, 84, of Holiday Park in Englewood, Fla. was a tiny part of that historic Pacific invasion. The battle began on Aug. 6, 1942, and continued for seven months during the early part…
Eddie Hrycaj served as Army corpsman on Guadalcanal during WW II
About the time Corpsman Eddie Hrycaj landed on Guadalcanal in 1943 with the 101st Medical Regiment that took charge of the 52nd Field Hospital attached to the Army’s Americal Division the tide of war was starting to turn against the emperor’s troops.
He was aboard USS Walke when she sank off Guadalcanal – Seaman James Friel was gunner on destroyer
It was pitch dark 64 years ago this past week, when Seaman 1st Class James Friel of south Punta Gorda, Fla. jumped from the fantail of the USS Walke (DD-416) into Iron Bottom Sound at Guadalcanal after his destroyer was hit by a Japanese torpedo.
Search continues for Marines killed during battle for Guadalcanal in WW II – Ken Budd has spent 25 years looking for older brother
Ken Budd has an obsession. For 25 years he’s been trying to locate the remains of his older brother who was killed on Guadalcanal during World War II.
He was a Marine doctor at Guadalcanal, New Briton in WW II
Lt. j.g. Vernon Martens United States Marine Corps was in the first wave of “Leathernecks” on the beach at Guadalcanal on Aug. 7, 1942. A doctor in the 3rd Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division, he came ashore with his 1906 Springfield rifle in one hand and his medical supplies in the other.
Southwest Florida man was expert marksman in WWII
Pfc. Hugo Filizetti was an “expert marksman” in World War II. That was his undoing.
Col. Clark received Silver Star for actions at Guadalcanal during WWII – He also saw front-line action in Korea and Vietnam
Col. Al R. Clark of Port Charlotte, Fla. joined the Oregon National Guard in 1935 at the age of 15. Before his 33-year regular Army career was over, he saw action on the front lines in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Cpl. Walter Mitchell ran a truck farm on Guadalcanal during WW II
Cpl. Walter Mitchell of Englewood, Fla. turned part of Guadalcanal, a major South Pacific battlefield in World War II, into a 5,000-acre truck farm once Japanese troops had been defeated.
Homer Beach ‘Buffalo’ driver in 3rd Marine Division at Iwo Jima during WWII
Homer Beach was a “Buffalo,” amphibious vehicle driver, in the 3rd Marine Division. The 20-year-old corporal drove assault troops ashore on Guam, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima during World World II.
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.
Ray Kari was a front line medic in the Pacific – he was shot in the head by a sniper
Pvt. Ray Kari was the youngest, least-trained medic in Company B, 169th Infantry, 43rd Division when he waded ashore in the middle of the night on a small attol just off New Georgia Island in the southwest Pacific a lifetime ago.
U.S. Navy pilot almost Japanese hero in WWII – Capt. ‘Slim’ Russell flew off USS Saratoga at Guadalcanal
“At Guadalcanal, I was almost a war hero to the Japanese,” Allard Guy “Slim” Russell of Sarasota, Fla. said with a smile. “I dropped my first 500-pound bomb on the 75-mile long, 25-mile-wide enemy-held South Pacific island.
Merchant Mariner makes 3 world trips supplying troops during WWII
Ralph Weir graduated from Kings Point, the Merchant Marine Academy, on Long Island, N.Y., during the middle of World War II. He went to sea as a cadet-midshipman aboard a liberty ship full of war supplies, the John Carroll, sailing out of San Francisco, Calif., for Australia on June 3, 1943.
Old Soldier went back for her
A VFW chaplain said a few words, two soldiers in dress uniforms folded an American flag into a precise triangle and handed it gently to the widow, a rifle squad fired three volleys and Taps was played as 50 mourners bowed their heads.
South Pacific romance – Love letters sustain WWII couple
His story could have been a page out of “South Pacific,” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s hit musical set in the Solomon Islands during World War II.
He served aboard light cruiser, USS Phoenix, during Pearl Harbor attack
“We were anchored at Pearl about 1,000 feet from Battleship Row when the Japs attacked,” the 85-year-old former sailor recalled. “We got underway in 17 minutes, but our path to the open sea was blocked by the battleship West Virginia that had been torpedoed and run up on a shoal to keep from sinking.”
Last thing he remembers is bomb exploding near USS Claxton during WW II
Long before the Kamikaze attack during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, off Luzon in the Philippine Islands during World War II, the USS Claxton with George Bothum aboard saw considerable action in the Solomon Islands off Guadalcanal, Bougainville and Tillage earlier in the war.
Merchant Mariner recalls his time at sea during World War II
Harold Clark served as a 3rd Mate in the Merchant Marines during World War II. He sailed the Atlantic and Pacific in slow-moving Liberty and Victory ships filled with life-saving cargo for the war front and the home front.
John Seelie was to box night Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor
John Seelie of Englewood, Fla. was supposed to box the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. He was a champion welterweight who just joined the 25th Infantry Division stationed at Schofield Barracks outside of Honolulu, Hawaii.
‘Jap had me in his sight’
Hal Ross of Port Charlotte, Fla. was trained as a member of the 10th Mountain Division in World War II, but ended up fighting the Japanese in the jungle islands of the South Pacific.
Last of the 7 Bailey Brothers was Tuskegee Airman
Lt. Charles Bailey, Sr. was the last of the line. He was the last of Punta Gorda, Fla.’s “Fighting Bailey Brothers.” The last of a family of seven sons and two daughters who distinguished themselves in war and in life during World War II, Korea and much of the 20th Century.