Robert Jones of Florida Pines Mobile Home Court in Venice recalls the war years like they were yesterday. He saw action in the Pacific during World War II in New Guinea, Cape Gloucester, New Britain, Peleliu Island, Okinawa, and the Ryukyu Islands.
Sgt. Francis Drab of Venice, Fla. was a member of the 5th Air Force stationed in the Pacific during World War II. He has a war story that almost rivals James Mitchner’s “Tales of the South Pacific.”
For James Broner of Englewood, Fla., Dec. 7, 1942 is a day he will always remember. That was the day his older brother was killed by a Japanese machine gunner and he lost his left leg to a sniper’s bullet. Both incidents took place within hours of each other a few hundred feet apart at…
Carl Driver of Alligator Mobile Home Park on Taylor Road south of Punta Gorda, Fla. was the tail gunner in a B-24 “Liberator” four-engine, heavy bomber dubbed “Passionate Witch.” They were part of the 13 Air Force, 50th Bomb Group, 23 Bomb Squadron that flew from captured island air bases built by the Japanese in…
Carl Gerold was the executive officer on LST-742 in the Pacific during World War II.
Harold Hayden of Punta Gorda, Fla. was a flight engineer aboard a C-47 twin-engine transport plane attached to Troop Carrier Wing 322, 374th Group, 24th Squadron, part of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s army in the Southwest Pacific during World War II.
Bernie Strapp of North Port, Fla. joined the Navy at 17 in February 1943 during the middle of World War II. Because he had taken carpentry in high school he wound up working in a ship repair unit in San Diego, Calif.
Tom Edwards of Deep Creek, Fla. was a Navy man through and through. He joined the Navy when he was 17 on Nov. 25, 1940 — his birthday — and made it his life for 22 years .
John Callahan , of Punta Gorda Isles, Fla., was the coxswain of a Higgins Boat, a plywood and steel landing craft built in the New Orleans area. He and his wooden boat played a part in the Battle of Okinawa, the biggest battle in the Pacific during the Second World War.
The old man held a shadow box of World War II memorabilia on the couch beside him at his home on the Island of Venice. There were first lieutenant silver bars, dog tags, a picture of a serious-looking young officer, and a gold medal with a yellow ribbon and two attached bronze battle stars signifying…
Bob Liebold of Englewood Beach, Fla. wears a tan ball cap with a brown beak. On the front of his hit are two gold crossed cannons, a couple of campaign ribbons with three bronze stars and on the beak is a set of silver captain’s bars.