John Henry Barrow II of Royal Palm Retirement Centre in Port Charlotte, Fla. served aboard a destroyer and a sub chaser in the Pacific during World War II. He took part in some of the major battles—Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa to name three. Saipan is the one the 90-year-old former local sailor remembers best.
It wasn’t long after Navy Medical Corpsman Steven Bizeur of North Port, Fla. came ashore on Kwajalein with the 4th Marine Division he became a casualty himself during the war in the Pacific.
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…
Marty Mestre of Port Charlotte, Fla. came to the United States from Puerto Rico when he was 20 years old in 1936. It was the depth of the Depression, so he lived with Frances, his older sister, in New York City and worked in a factory for 35 cents an hour.
Harold Tyson was a teenage quartermaster 2nd class at the helm of the USS Sheridan (APA-51), an attack transport, in seven major Pacific battles during World War II. He and his ship took part in the Invasion of Tarawa, Kwajalein, Saipan, Guam, Leyte, Philippines and Okinawa, the largest island engagement during the Second World War.
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.
Bette Horstman of Port Charlotte, Fla. was a physical therapist who graduated from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. near the end of World War II, joined the Army and was sent to Saipan as a 2nd lieutenant to help the troops recover from war wounds.
D-Day was June 15, 1944. It was the baptism of fire for the crew of the new attack transport USS Comet (APA-166) off Saipan Island in the Pacific’s Marshall Islands chain during World War II.
When the Japanese attacked the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, Baker 3rd Class Dale Augerson had just put a batch of apple pies in the oven aboard the battleship USS West Virginia. The battleship was moored at “Battleship Row,” together with most of the fleet’s other capital ships.
It wasn’t the bombing of the carrier USS Franklin off the coast of Japan on March 19, 1945, or the attack by 31 Kamikazes on the four destroyers leading the Franklin’s task force off Okinawa on April 14, 1945, that John Wisse of Rotonda, Fla. considers his worst day in World War II.
Nick Melone of Port Charlotte, Fla. sat in a big gray cushy chair, a tether running from his nose to a nearby oxygen bottle. He reached for a folded flag stuffed in the top of a blue plastic storage tub of World War II memorabilia. The 89-year-old Marine sergeant shook the folds out of the…
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.
Right out of high school Clyde Leininger, who lives in Alligator Mobile Home Park south of Punta Gorda, Fla. joined the Naval Aviation Cadet Program to become a pilot. Before he got his wings the program was canceled in October 1944 because the Navy had too many pilots.
Electronics Technician 2nd Class Richard Berry of Venice served aboard the USS Hudson (DD-470), on picket duty off Iwo Jima and Okinawa during the closing months of World War II.
Ed Bremen was a Marine sharpshooter in Company F, 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment, 4th Marine Division. He became a Browning Automatic Weapon man who saw action in the Pacific on Roi and Namur islands near Kwajalein Atoll in February 1944 and Saipan in the Mariana Island chain in June, 1944. He was wounded there and spent the next 16 months recuperating in a trio of hospitals throughout the country.