The hand-written note on the back of the framed 8 X 10-inch black and white photo on the wall of Earl Swillum’s Port Charlotte, Fla. home reads: “Iwo Jima, Day 3.” On the flip side it shows LST-121 on the beach with its bow in the island’s black volcanic sand two days before the Marines put an American flag atop Mount Suribachi.
Wally Weber of Burnt Store Country Club didn’t have to sweat the draft during World War II. His father was the chairman of the local draft board in the little town in Oklahoma where he grew up.
Bill Stevens of Deep Creek near Port Charlotte, Fla. was a member of a four-man Coast Guard crew on a plywood “Higgins Boat” that transported Marines and soldiers to South Pacific beaches during five major invasions in World War II.
Drennon Judy was a quartermaster who served aboard the Battleship USS Pennsylvania. He saw action during many of the major battles in the Pacific during World War II.
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.