After you were there for a couple of months you were used to the sirens going off all the time — when you were in Honolulu you were very conscious that there was a war going on. In bombing Pearl Harbor the Japanese had devastated many areas that you saw every day. It could happen again at any time.
My research after the war uncovered the fact that one in 26 Mariners died during WW II. Over two dozen ships were sunk off the West Coast, and about 300 ships along the East Coast. After spending time in the Merchant Marine, those numbers were not just statistics to me.
Before participating in Operation Crossroads, I knew very little about nuclear weaponry. We were told very little. But I was not afraid because I figured the military would not risk the lives of their personnel.
One time I was in the hospital. A doctor there asked me, “How do you guys do it? How do you get in an airplane to fly a mission… go through hell and high water with bullets flying all over the place? You may make it back, but some of your buddies don’t. And when you’re called on, you climb back in the airplane, get behind the controls and fly another mission. How do you do that?” I told him I was trained to do that. To defend my country. And that’s what I did. Continue reading →
It was while I was in New York, that President Roosevelt died. I was at a canteen when some other servicemen and I saw the headlines in the paper. From the photo in the newspaper, I can see that I was just as upset as the other guys – even the English sailor displayed concern. We wondered how Roosevelt’s passing would affect the war. — Bob Allured Continue reading →
By ZANE ORR As told to Maureen Carden I am a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, yet my most dramatic memories come from our role in two land campaigns: the Battle of Anzio, and Operation Dragoon, the invasion … Continue reading →
By HARVEY “DUSTY” RHODES As told to Kathi Bramblett, Kathy Nunes and Chris Bateman Childhood on the ranch I was born in early 1918 in Banta, a small town just northwest of Tracy in San Joaquin County. My parents, Harry and … Continue reading →
I feel that my three years in the Air Corps were perhaps the most rewarding years of my life. I was afforded a fabulous aviation education and was able to travel to many foreign countries, which allowed me to serve my country and help end a horrible war. I am very proud of the experience and training I received.
— Allen Penrose Continue reading →
In early June my plane was badly damaged by ground fire and, on a wing and a prayer, I flew to an emergency landing field on one of the islands … It took three days to repair the plane
before I could return to the carrier, so all of us relaxed by sitting around drinking and telling stories. After that we continued our flights over North Korea through the withering ground fire but I was never hit again.
— Stanley Olsen Continue reading →
After arriving at Kodiak I boarded the transport ship USAT Barinov bound for Seattle. We were going back to get ready for the invasion of Japan.
As we pulled into Prince Rupert, Canada, we got word that a huge bomb had been dropped on Japan, wiping out a whole city. The captain tied the whistle down and just let it blow.
— Gerald Doescher Continue reading →