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.

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,…

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 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.

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.

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.