George Eyster started off driving a 2 1/2 ton army truck in the 254th Engineering Battalion attached to Gen. Omar Bradley’s 1st Army when it came ashore on Omaha Beach June 6, 1944. He saw the war from the vantage-point of a deuce-and-a-half starting with the invasion beach to the Battle of the Bulge, on…
Joe Falis tried to sign up for the service the day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Trouble was, he was only 17 and he had to have his parents’ permission.
It was called “Operation Castle.” Camillo Balsamo was a civilian technician working for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in September 1954. “Operation Castle” was the detonation of the world’s first hydrogen bomb at Enewetak Island, part of the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific.
John Silvani grew up in an Italian neighborhood in Detroit, Mich., graduated from high school about the time World War II began and went to work at the Ford plant in Dearborn as a teenage tool-and-die maker after receiving a military deferment.
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.
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.
Eugene Pentiuk joined the Michigan National Guard in 1939 on a dare from a buddy. They signed up shortly after graduating from high school in Pontiac, Mich. He and his friend trained for a year in the Louisiana wilds as members of the 32nd Infantry Division.
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…
Mike Stata was a “hot shell man” on a 5-inch gun aboard the destroyer USS Harding 1500 yards off Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 during the Normandy Invasion. He also served aboard the Harding off Okinawa on April 16, 1945 when his ship was hit by a kamikaze and 22 sailors aboard the destroyer were killed.
Bert Rockower was a corporal in the 9th Army that landed on Omaha Beach five months after D-Day during World War II. By then U.S. troops had advanced across France and liberated Paris. American forces were at the Siegfried Line, the massive concrete and steel fortification protecting Germany’s Western Front.