U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Doug Gilchrist was waiting at the airport terminal in Tokyo in 1967 for a flight that would take him to the war in Vietnam when a chance encounter with a Japanese couple changed his life.
Tagged World War II
Marine turned part of USS Arizona’s teak deck into jewelry box
John Henry Thomas was a Marine who served in the Pacific during World War II, but never fired a shot in battle. He was a carpenter before the war who worked in the woodworking shop at the Marine Corps barracks in Pearl Harbor almost a year after the Japanese bombed the Pacific Fleet at Pearl dragging the United States into war.
He served aboard USS Harding at Normandy and Okinawa in WW II
Mike Stata was a “hot shell man” on a 5-inch gun aboard the destroyer USS Harding 1500 yards off Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 during the Normandy Invasion. He also served aboard the Harding off Okinawa on April 16, 1945 when his ship was hit by a kamikaze and 22 sailors aboard the destroyer were killed.
His dad received the Medal of Honor at Iwo Jima
To everyone else, Sgt. William Harrell was a war hero. He was the recipient of the Medal of Honor, “…for conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” at Iwo Jima during World War II. To Gary Harrell he was just dad.
Hank Abajian put radar on anti-aircraft guns in the field during WW II
Besides the 16 million service men and women who took part in World War II, there were also thousands of civilians on the front lines involved in fighting against the Germans and the Japanese, too.
A penciled sketch is all she has of her first husband drawn by prisoner during WW II
A penciled drawing of a young man in Army garb is the most tangible remembrance she has of her first husband, 2nd Lt. Frank Burrows. Ruth Arnold of Heritage Oak Park in Port Charlotte had the drawing matted and framed to preserve it.
Dutch Underground rescued B-17 crew
Second Lt. Leonard Pogue knew he and the other eight members of his B-17 bomber crew were in for a bad day when they were informed of their target. For the second day in a row, the crew of “Straighten Up and Fly Right” was ordered, along with the rest of the 493rd Bomb Group,…
He flew first firebomb raid over Tokyo
It was March 9, 1945. Sgt. Bob Wallace was a radioman aboard “Pride of the Yankees,” a B-29 Superfortress flying lead bomber on the first firebomb raid over Tokyo during World War II.
‘Screaming Eagle’ recalls D-Day Invasion and Normandy
Pfc. Robert Granche was a “Screaming Eagle” He served in the 101st Airborne Division that parachuted behind enemy lines in the dark on D-Day morning, June 6, 1944.
Col. Paul Tibbets dropped first Atomic Bomb on Aug. 6, 1945
Before he dropped the world’s first Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima in a B-29 Super Fortress named for his mother, “Enola Gay,” Lt. Col. Paul Tibbets flew a B-17 Flying Fortress over Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.
Nimitz bet country at Midway
The god of war smiled on United States forces at Midway. “In 30 hours, at the Battle of Midway, the fate of World War II was changed in the Pacific,” according to commentary from newsreel footage taken at the time.
‘Jap had me in his sight’
Hal Ross of Port Charlotte, Fla. was trained as a member of the 10th Mountain Division in World War II, but ended up fighting the Japanese in the jungle islands of the South Pacific.
He attacked the Yamato, world’s biggest battleship
It was Ensign Woody Lindskog’s lucky day. The Navy pilot was plucked from Wasile Bay off Halmahera Island in the South Pacific by an Army Air Corps Catalina flying boat, right under the nose of a Japanese gun emplacement and thousands of enemy troops after his Hellcat fighter was hit by an antiaircraft flak and…
Fighting for Gen. George Patton at the Bulge
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.
He helped capture Remagen Bridge over Rhine River
The red, white and black Nazi flag was in as good condition, swastika and all, as the day Mike Clemente pulled it off a flag pole that stood in a tiny public square in Remagen, Germany almost 60 years ago.
He fought “The Desert Fox” at Kasserine Pass
Sgt. Mike Sovan, a Sherman tank commander, and his men had just crossed the Nied River in France during World War II as part of Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army when their third tank was shot out from under them.
He saw the gates of Hell
Irving Ross saw the “Gates of Hell.” He was among the first American soldiers to help liberate Dachau concentration camp in Germany at the end of World War II.
A ‘Guest’ of the Fuhrer
They were supposed to fly their final bombing mission, their 35th, over Cologne, Germany on Friday 13th, 1944. They didn’t do it. That was a big mistake.
Jewish POW swapped by Germans in World War II
Harry Glixon couldn’t believe his ears when he answered the phone at his Sarasota, Fla. home one day in June 2001. He wasn’t expecting to become a war hero after 57 years. The old soldier had been a member of a 55-man combat patrol from the 94th Infantry Division captured by the Germans near Lorient,…
He flew with Jimmy Stewart in WW II
“Jimmy Stewart was just one of the guys after we got to know him,” Jim Myers said. The Englewood, Fla. aviator flew with the movie star in a B-24 Liberator bomber during World War II.
He saw first Iwo Jima flag raisings
The light cruiser Vicksburg laid a half-mile off the beach at Iwo Jima. Her 5-inch and 8-inch guns had pounded Mount Suribachi and the surround shoreline for days.
Anne Frank was his babysitter
As a child Pieter Kohnstam of Venice, Fla. grew up in Amsterdam, Netherlands during the late 1930s and early ‘40s. His family lived in an apartment house at 17 Merweideplein St. in a lovely section of the city’s south side.
USS Perch first American sub sunk by Japanese in World War II
Thomas Moore was an 18-year-old street-smart kid who grew up on his own in Monticello, N.Y. He joined the Navy on Sept. 10, 1940.
Harold Tayler – Marine at Okinawa
Okinawa was the end of the line in the Pacific for the Japanese Imperial Army. The island invasion included 548,000 Allied forces and 1,200 ships. The initial assault force totaled 182,000 men – 75,000 more than landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, a year earlier. They were facing 100,000 entrenched Japanese.
He flew P-51 Mustangs for the 309 Polish Air Force Squadron in WWII
Before Flying Officer George Stanton joined the 309th Polish Fighter Squadron in England during World War II, he spent 18 months in a Russian slave labor camp in Siberia chopping down trees.
Army Nurse played important role in Patton’s 3rd Army during Battle of Bulge
1st Lt. Marcella Zaborac of Englewood, Fla. came ashore on Normandy beach in August 1944 with Gen. George Patton. She served as a nurse with the 110th Evacuation Hospital in “Ol’ Blood-N-Guts” 3rd Army that fought its way across France and into Germany during World War II.