In 1944, Val Gerald was a petty officer second class serving aboard the USS Randolph, an Essex Class aircraft carrier in World War II. Today the 89-year-old former Navy man is a resident, along with his wife Olga, of The Courtyard, an assisted living facility in Port Charlotte. Fla.
By the time Master Chief Herb Schmaeling retired from the U.S. Coast Guard in 1971 he had served in the Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Wasp in World War II and during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
When Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Diamond Trifilo went over the side of the USS Eversole, a destroyer escort, after she was struck by two Japanese torpedoes during the Battle of Leyte in World War II he was wearing nothing but his boatswain’s whistle on a chain around his neck.