Jim Franklin of Port Charlotte, Fla. fought in five major battles as a member of the 82nd Automatic Weapons Battalion attached to the 2nd Infantry Division during the 11 months and 19 days he served at the start of the Korean War in 1950.
In his dark blue Marine dress uniform trimmed with red piping, wearing white gloves and a white hat, Ernie O’Brien of Port Charlotte, Fla. stands ramrod straight at 87. He looks as if he could hit the beach at Guadalcanal, as he did more than 65 years ago. His silver mustache adds a touch of…
Harry Weis of Punta Gorda, Fla. served aboard the escort carrier USS Santee. He took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval engagement in World War II. It was the first time the Japanese Imperial Navy used kamikaze airplanes to attack the Allied fleet.
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.
Bill Schultz flew from a field in Foggia, Italy, as the pilot of a B-17 “Flying Fortress” in World War II. The 87-year-old North Port, Fla. resident, who lives in the Lazy River manufactured home park, was a member of the 301st Bomb Group, 419th Bomb Squadron, 15th Air Force 65 years ago.
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.
John Rambo has nothing on Mark Bills. The Venice, Fla. dentist was once a member of an elite, secret Army Special Forces group dropped behind enemy lines during the Vietnam War.
It was the day after Christmas 1944 when the 704th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division of Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army broke through the German lines at Bastogne to rescue the 101st Airborne Division, dug in and holding back the enemy onslaught at the Battle of the Bulge.