Ernie Rutherford of Sandlehaven in Cape Haze was aboard a Navy communication boat during the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, one of the pivotal days of World War II.
Giff Stowell of La Casa mobile home park in North Port, Fla. was a gunner on an A-20 Havoc twin-engine bomber in the Pacific during his first nine months of combat in World War II. The rest of the war he flew as the nose gunner in “Lucky Strike,” a B-24 “Liberator” in the 380th…
Before Bill Ditto of Englewood, Fla. went aboard the battleship USS Missouri as a Marine guard in 1949, growing up in West Virginia, he had never seen the sea or a ship the size of the “Mighty Mo.”
First Lt. Bob Normile, now living in Pine Brook in Venice, Fla. was copilot of the C-54 that flew Gen. Douglas MacArthur from Manila to Okinawa, Japan on Aug. 28, 1945, for the surrender ceremony ending World War II.
John Campbell was gung-ho to join the Marine Corp. He quit high school in his sophomore year at 17 and became a “Leatherneck” in 1946.
Jerry Hemphill served aboard the USS Missouri as a Japanese intercept operator. He was the first American to intercept the official code from Tokyo that the emperor was calling it quits. World War II was almost over.
When the Japanese surrendered abroad the Battleship Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945 America’s airborne military might was on display. An armada of U.S. fighters and bombers flew low and slow over the “Mighty Mo” to hammer home to the Japanese they had been vanquished.
The Battleship USS Missouri, flagship of Fleet Adm. William F. “Bull” Halsey’s Task Force 58, steamed into Tokyo Bay 150 ships-strong on the morning of Aug. 29, 1945. Quartermaster 3rd Class Ed Kalanta of Port Charlotte, Fla., was at the wheel of the 45,000 ton leviathan.
Andy Knef joined the Navy in 1942 at 17 with his parent’s permission. Trained as an aviation machinist mate, he spent most of his time as a tail-gunner on a Martin Mariner (PBM) twin-engine seaplane flying combat missions in the Atlantic and Pacific.