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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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,…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,…
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.