World War II Interviews
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World War II Interviews
Cordell Addison grew up on a farm in Jackson County, Illinois and later enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps. In October 1941, he was drafted into the Army and served as a gunner in the Pacific Theater.
Gerald 'Andy' Anderson fought with the fabled 1st Infantry Division (the Big Red One) from Sicily through the end of World War II. He landed in the second wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He was wounded twice, the first time during the battle for the German city of Aachen. He was evacuated to England, but rejoined the division during its fight in the Battle of the Bulge where it held the northern shoulder of the bulge despite repeated attacks. Andy insisted on staying with his unit when injured a second time, and after the war returned to the United States in September 1945. In 1949 he married Jo Hillman, the woman he had corresponded with throughout the war. In his later years he attended several D-Day reunions.
Barbara (Bartlett) Archer was born in the 1930s and raised in Springfield, Illinois. Her memories of being a young girl during Barbara (Bartlett) Archer was born in the 1930s and raised in Springfield, Illinois. Her memories of being a young girl during WorldII give insight into the day to day life of those left at home during the war.
Delbert Augsburger was a ball turret gunner in World War II. He was stationed in Bassingbourn, England and flew twenty-three missions as a gunner on a B-17, beginning in the fall of 1944. Augsburger was assigned to the 324th Squadron, part of the 8th Air Force.
Russell H. Baker is a Marine veteran of the Pacific theater. He was assigned to Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, where he served in the unit's Intelligence section (S-2). Russell subsequently participated in the invasion of Guam.
Harold Beard enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard prior to World War II, and in early 1941 was inducted into the active Army. He received training as a mechanic, and spent the last year of the war serving as a mechanic in an artillery unit in northern Europe. He experienced combat, and saw first hand the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp.
'Tuck' Belton joined the Army Air Force in the summer of 1942, and after a rigorous training regimen, was piloting a B-17 on bombing raids in Germany by January, 1945. He was shot down over Holland while returning from his fifth mission, and spent the remainder of his war with the Dutch underground, assisting with missions while they eluded the Germans. He was finally smuggled out of enemy occupied territory in April, and soon returned to the states.
Clarence Berbaum served as a radio repairman for the United States Army during World War II. He was assigned to a communications unit in the 100th Infantry Division in the European Theater, where he performed radio repair, usually a few miles behind the front lines. The 100th Division was involved with the liberation of the Vosges mountain region of France in November, 1944. After the war ended in Europe, Berbaum’s unit began training in preparation for deployment to the Pacific Theatre until Japan surrendered. He discusses his reluctance to discuss his wartime experiences for many years after the war.
Arthur Betts, a World War II veteran serving in the European theater, and one of 2,221 blacks who served with white infantry units during and after the Battle of the Bulge.
unit landed at Normandy within days of D-Day
George Boyd was seven years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941. Boyd recounts the war experience from a child's perspective. He recalls the rationing of items such as gasoline, meat, sugar, and tires and the war efforts of his community including the donation of scrap metals, buying war bonds, and growing victory gardens.
Magda (Perlstein) Brown was born in 1927 and raised in Miskolc, Hungary, growing up in a happy and loving home. Her world was shattered, however, when the Nazis first herded her family into a Jewish ghetto, then shipped the entire family to the Auschwitz- Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. Her parents and many other relatives perished there, but Magda was sent to Allendorf, Germany where she worked as a slave laborer in a munitions factory. As the allies approached, she was forced into a death march to a new location but managed to escape and was discovered in a barn by American troops. She immigrated to the United States after the war and settled in the Chicago area. In the 2000s Magda dedicated her life to speaking out on the Holocaust.
Charles Bruns served as an engineer in the 3rd Infantry Division during World War II. He was often on the frontlines and would diffuse mines to clear paths through minefields for infantryman. He was able to witness the atrocities at German concentration camp Dachau.
Hale Burge was an airplane mechanic in the Army Air Force during World War II. He was stationed in the Aleutian Islands, where American forces were stationed to prevent Japanese expansion. As an airplane mechanic, he worked on numerous aircraft, including P-40 (Warhawk) fighters.
Francis Callaghan served with the U.S. Army's 530th Engineer Light Ponton Company, which saw action in the Philippines in 1944 and 1945 on both Leyte and Luzon Islands. Callaghan's company built bridges during the Army's advance down Luzon Island, and also performed a wide variety of other tasks. While his unit was constructing a bridge across the Pasig River in Manila, Francis traveled through the dangerous streets of Manila and found his cousin and his three young daughters at the Bilibid Prison Camp. They had been held captives by the Japanese for over three years.
Bill Cantrall grew up in Athens, Illinois, but when war came to America in December, 1941, he was repeatedly rejected for military service due to some scarring on his lungs. He finally found a way to serve his country by joining the American Field Service (an entirely volunteer organization), and spent the rest of the war driving an ambulance in Italy and into Yugoslavia for the British 8th Army. He supported troops from many nations, including Indians, Poles, Gurkhas, Brits and others. Cantrall wrote about his experiences in his book, "Just Like a Taxi: Frontline Ambulance, Italy, 1944-1945."
Olive Clark is the wife of World War II veteran George Cocker. When Cocker was stationed in Langley Field, Virginia, Clark worked for the United Service Organization (USO) where she made sandwiches, served soldiers, and attended dances. Later, Clark worked as secretary for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.
Ralph Contreras, the son of a Mexican-American living in Dixon, Illinois, was sixteen during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He immediately wanted to get into the Marines, but was not able to do so until 1943. His unit, the 6th Marine Division, saw action in Guam in July 1944 and in Okinawa in April 1945.
Dorothy Cordier is the wife of George Cordier, a Marine veteran of the Pacific theater in WW II. George Cordier went off to basic training at Parris, Island, South Carolina while Dorothy stayed at home with their son Richard. George started the war as a signal corps wireman assigned to the 3rd Marine Division, and was injured during the landings at Guam in 1944.
George Cordier is a Marine veteran of the Pacific theater in WW II. George started the war as a signal corps wireman in the 3rd Joint Assault Signal Company. The unit went to Guadalcanal for training, then participated in the invasion of Guam as part of the 3rd Marine Division. George describes his duties in combat as a wireman, and his injury after only a couple of days of service on Guam.
Walter Covert served as a half-track driver with the 19th Armored Infantry Battalion, part of the 14th Armored Division. Despite the fact that Covert did not arrive at the combat zone until December of 1944, he saw considerable action as his unit fought its way across Germany, including twice when his vehicle was disabled. He was injured in March of 1945, taking shrapnel in his leg, some of which he has lived with his entire life. Following the German surrender, Covert served in the occupation army before returning home in March, 1946.
Harold Cox served in the United States Army during World War II, enlisting in the Army in the spring of 1944. Upon arrival in Europe, his battalion was sent to Paris, France, and then on to the combat zone. Prior to the Battle of the Bulge he was wounded in the leg, which had to be amputated.
Malcolm Davis served in the United States Army during World War II. He was drafted into the Army in 1944 and was stationed in Liverpool, England. He was one of the first soldiers to fight in the Battle of the Bulge. Later, his division entered Germany through the Black Forest.
Tony DeVito is a Marine veteran of Iwo Jima. He was assigned as an infantryman in the 9th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, which landed later in the invasion. DeVito was shot in the left arm on March 17th as the Marines swept the island north of Mount Suribachi, suffering a permanent disability.
Jesse Dowell served in the United States Navy Air Corps during World War II. He trained at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas for a potential invasion of the Japanese mainland. However, the dropping of the atomic bombs meant the invasion that Dowell was supposed to be part of was cancelled.
Born and raised on the southwest side of Chicago, Dick Duchossois attended high school at Morgan Park Military Academy, then enrolled at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Kentucky. He left college in January, 1942, and by virtue of his military training in high school, was commissioned a lieutenant in the infantry and assigned to a tank destroyer battalion. LT Duchossois saw action with the 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion in northern France, including combat at the Falaise Gap, at the Moselle River (where he was injured), and during the Battle of the Bulge. Following the German surrender, he was the military governor for the region of Kreis Eichstätt for a short time.
Lieutenant Wes Duiker grew up during the depression, the son of an American Reformed Church minister, and planned on following his father into the ministry until he decided to enlist in the Army Air Force in November, 1942. After two years of intensive training, he became a B-26 Marauder pilot, and flew twelve combat missions over Germany and occupied France in April, 1945. Since he arrived in Europe late in the war, Lieutenant Duiker spent the next year on occupation duty, and during that time observed the horrors of Dachau as well as a day of the Nuremburg War Crimes trials.
Charles Dukes served in the military during World War II. He was captured on November 24, 1944 by German soldiers and was a POW for six months. As a POW, he was forced to do manual labor at a labor camp in Rhondorf, Germany and had many unsuccessful escape attempts before being released and given a furlough in England.
Philip Dziuk served in the United States Navy during World War II. He was trained in electronics, radio material, transmission, radar, and sonar. Later, Dziuk was a petty officer on the U.S.S. Ajax which traveled to Hawaii and Bikini Atoll to test atomic bombs.
Charles Evans grew up in Illinois, and was working his way through college at the University of Illinois when he joined the Air Force in January, 1943. Following his training as a fighter pilot, he was sent to Europe, and spent the rest of the war flying a P-51 'Mustang' for the 8th Air Force. His combat missions included ones in support of the D-Day landings, and throughout the liberation of Europe. Upon his return from the war, Evans earned his law degree, and eventually became a judge in Springfield, serving in that role for more than thirty years.
Marvin Farmer was drafted into the Army in 1942, and was initially trained in anti-aircraft artillery, but was subsequently transferred to the infantry. Once he arrived in France in mid 1944, he was assigned to the 116th Infantry Regiment, part of the 29th Infantry Division. He saw heavy action in Aachen, and was fighting in Germany when he was injured, just days before the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge.
Evelyn Fields grew up in Nebraska on a small family farm ravaged by the Dust Bowl. In August 1942, she started working as a clerk-typist in the Adjutant General’s office in Washington, D.C., and in 1943 relocated to Chicago. She married William Fields in February 1944, before Fields shipped out to the Pacific with the Navy. For the rest of the war, Evelyn worked for the Office of Price Administration and corresponded with her husband.
Paul Findley grew up in Jacksonville, Illinois in the 1930s and early '40s. While attending Illinois College in Jacksonville he enrolled in the Naval Reserves. He began military training in January, 1943, and became a supply officer. In early 1944 he shipped out to Hawaii on the way to Eniweetok in the central Pacific and was assigned to a Seabee battalion. He spent the remainder of the war on Guam and met his future wife, who was a nurse stationed on the tiny island. Years later, he ran for the U.S. Congress from west central Illinois, and represented the 20th IL District from 1961 through 1982.
Immediately after graduation in 1943, Jonathan Fischer was drafted and chose duty with the Navy. He attended Basic Training at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, then gunnery school at Norfolk, VA. Fischer discussed his various duties during WW II on two Liberty Ships: SS Joseph F. Emery and SS James A. Wilder, as well as his experiences when he was recalled to active duty for a short time during the Korean War.
James Fisher served in the United States Navy during World War II. He served on an LST from March 1943 to September 1945 that traveled to Pearl Harbor, Samoa, New Hebrides, Australia, and New Guinea. At one point, Fisher’s ship was attacked by Japanese planes. He participated in the invasion of the New Breton islands.
The son of Irish immigrants, Joseph Flynn was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 7, 1920. Joseph and his brother were drafted into the Army prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Thinking he was going to fulfill his service in fourteen months, Flynn ended up serving as a medic for nearly four years. He was assigned to the 941st Field Artillery Regiment, part of V Corps of the 1st Army when the unit landed on Omaha Beach only seven days after D-Day in June 1944.
John Frothingham served in the Marine Corps during World War II in the Pacific theater. His battalion suffered a devastating defeat in the Fiji Islands in the spring of 1942, before moving to Guadalcanal to counter a Japanese invasion. He later was shipped around the Pacific before battling the Japanese at Iwo Jima in February and March of 1945.
Sidney Goldman was inducted into the Army shortly after Pearl Harbor, sent to Officer Candidate School, and then commissioned as a lieutenant in the Infantry. He was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division, and saw action in New Guinea and the Philippines. He received a mortar wound ten days before war's end. He met his wife while recuperating in a Veterans' Hospital.
Edgar Gottschalk was inducted into the U.S. Army Air Force in January 1943. He served in the South Pacific as a flight engineer and a top turret gunner. His squadron’s primary mission was to destroy Japanese airfields, oil refineries, and shipping.
James Graff was a U.S. Army infantryman serving in Europe in 1945. He was assigned to the 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division, and saw action from January of 1945 until the end of the war. Graff subsequently served on occupation duty in Germany until August 1945.
Robert Green served in the United States Navy during World War II. During 1942, he was stationed at the Samoa Islands, Tulagi Islands, New Hebrides, and New Caledonia, as well as at Guadalcanal during the Battle of Santa Cruz. In 1942, Green helped secure Attu Island. In 1943, his naval fleet recaptured Tarawa in the South Pacific.
Paul Hackett served in the Pacific theater in the United States Navy during World War II. In 1944, a nearby ship, the U.S.S. Mount Hood, exploded, killing hundreds of men and leaving Hackett with a concussion. He later returned to duty and traveled to the Solomon Islands, Mantis Island, and the Caroline Islands.
Joseph Hamburg served in the United States Army during World War II, assigned as a radio operator with the 9th Infantry Division. He landed at Utah Beach in Normandy and was later transferred to Brest, France, where his left arm was struck with shrapnel as he was digging a foxhole. After recovering, he was stationed in Belgium.
Robert Hamm served as an engineer on the U.S.S. Franklin, an Essex class aircraft carrier, during World War II. He was involved in the battles of Saipan, Tinian, Guam, and Iwo Jima. Later, during the battle of the Philippine Sea, his hangar deck was hit by a kamikaze plane. After his ship was repaired, he continued to fight the Japanese.
Kermit Harden served in the United States Army during World War II. He saw combat with the 94th Division near Lorient, France, where he was captured while on patrol. Harden was interrogated before being held captive for forty-five days. He was released when Germany exchanged American prisoners for able-bodied German POWs. Later, Harden fought on the front lines at the Battle of the Bulge.
In 1941 Ann and husband Ray Hayden moved from Illinois to Seattle, Washington to work in the Boeing defense plant. Ray immediately secured a job, and Ann decided to pursue work shortly thereafter. Purchasing overalls and a bandana, she went to work holding the "bar" in the galley of an aircraft while the riveter set the rivets into the hull. Ann and Ray continued to work for Boeing for three years before moving back to Illinois and opening a Gambles General Store in Petersburg, Illinois in 1945.
Albert Helregel served in the 33rd Infantry Division Field Artillery during World War II. He served in several locations in the Pacific before contracting malaria in New Zealand. He then had to return to the United States because he had malaria, hepatitis, and a hernia. He later was responsible for guarding a prison camp in Monticello, Arkansas.
Muriel Helsel was the wife of a U.S. Navy officer assigned to Pearl Harbor in December, 1941. After witnessing the Pearl Harbor attack, Muriel worked as a stenographer at the Bureau of Yards and Docks while her husband served as the Incoming Stores Officer (logistics) in Hawaii throughout the war.
Margaret Henderson served in the Naval Intelligence Office in Washington, D.C. during World War II. Her specific assignment was to track German U-boats and plot their locations on a map before forwarding information to the military to coordinate sub attacks. She later served as an air transport officer in Norfolk, Virginia.
Eugene Houser served in an Army Replacement Battalion during World War II, working as a typist in Naples, Italy, where he would keep orders for incoming and discharging troops. He also cut dog tags (metal plates) for G.I.s headed to the front, which included the soldier’s name, religion, and blood type.
James Hull served in a Field Artillery unit with the 83rd Infantry Division during World War II. In Yeovil, England, Hull prepared and waterproofed guns for D-Day. The unit landed on Omaha Beach roughly two weeks after D-Day, and later saw combat in the Hürtgen Forest and during the Battle of the Bulge. Hull was with the unit which held the Truman Bridge, the only bridge at the Elbe River at the end of the war in Europe.
Bill Ingram joined the U.S. Navy in June, 1941 on his seventeenth birthday. At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack he was on a transport ship in the Pacific steaming toward a rendezvous with the USS Houston, a heavy cruiser sailing in the seas west of the Philippines. The Houston was sunk on February 28, 1942 in the battle of Sunda Strait, and Ingram was eventually taken captive by the Japanese. After being interrogated and being moved several times, Ingram spent the rest of the war as a POW working on the Burma Railroad; the brutal working conditions resulted in tens of thousands of deaths among the prisoners.
Eugene (Gene) Jaeger grew up in Geneva, Illinois during the Great Depression, and graduated from Notre Dame University in 1942. He received training as a Naval Officer and soon found himself assigned to LST (Landing Ship-Tank) #400, heading for the Mediterranean Sea. His ship supported the Allied landings at Sicily in July, 1943 and at Salerno in September of the same year. They then sailed north to England, and supported the D-Day invasion, making repeated trips to Utah Beach over the next several months.
Steve Johnson served as an engineer in World War II. He was stationed in New Guinea, where he was hospitalized with malaria. He first entered combat in March 1945. In June 1945, he flew to the Maluku Islands to assist with planning for the invasion of Japan, which became unnecessary after Japan surrendered in August, 1945.
Bill Klyasheff was drafted into the Army in February, 1943, but following basic training, was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Force. He served in the European theater with the 327th Fighter Control Squadron, whose mission was to help guide U.S. fighter pilots to enemy targets, then back home again safely. Klyasheff's unit landed at Utah Beach on June 9th, 1944, only three days after the initial landing. The 327th saw combat in France and Belgium before ending the war in Germany.
John Knoepfle was attending Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He joined the Navy's V-12 program for training officers, and in 1944 was assigned to the USS Deuel, an attack transport ship. He served as a small boat officer, and in that capacity led eight Higgins Boats (LCVPs) onto the beach at Iwo Jima in February1945. He was wounded while his ship supported operations on Iwo Jima, recovered and was still with the ship for the Okinawa campaign when his injury flared up. He was sent back through a series of naval hospitals in search of a surgeon who could perform a very complicated operation. That finally happened at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, where he was treated and later released in 1946.
Helen Laugher grew up in pre-war Birmingham, England, and was a nursing student during World War II when she met John Hambley, a convalescing American soldier, when she emerged from an air raid shelter following a German bombing attack in 1944. The two were married in 1947 in John's home town of Polo, Illinois.
Mary Ann Ladic was seven years old in 1941, and lived in Baguio, Philippines, where her father supervised a gold mine. In December, 1941 the entire family was taken prisoner by the Japanese . They spent the next three years as prisoners in a succession of camps, each with worse conditions and less food than the last. In February, 1945 the family was being held in Bilibid Prison in Manila when the American Army finally liberated the camp. Her liberators included a cousin who served with the 530th Engineer Company. The family returned to the U.S. and resumed a normal life. Mary Ann came of age in Taylorville, married when she was twenty, then decided to earn her bachelor's degree at age twenty-eight. She went on to a career in education and later as a stock broker, all while having nine children and earning several advanced degrees.
Kazimir Ladny is a Polish WW II veteran. He was captured by the Russians in late 1939, spending the winter in a Siberian POW camp. He was then exchanged with the Germans, and spent the remainder of the war as a slave laborer. Liberated in 1945, he struggled to survive, even dabbling in the black market before finally emigrating to America.
Alice Lain served in the Women’s Navy Reserves during World War II. She was stationed at Mercer Field in Trenton, New Jersey. As an Aviation Electronic Technician’s Mate 3rd Class, Lain installed radio and radar in airplanes. She later transferred to Florida, where she worked in an administrative position as a typist.
Lloyd Lain served in the United States Navy during World War II. He was stationed in several locations in the Pacific during the war. While in New Caledonia, Lain served on a Douglas SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber crew in Scouting Squadron 57, searching for Japanese submarines. In November 1943, Lain was promoted to Petty Officer-2nd Class and was responsible for planes out on missions.
Samuel Lanford was thirteen years old when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. His brother Don was serving in Hawaii at the time. Lanford recounts the home front experience, which included collecting scrap metal, purchasing war bonds, rationing, and the impact the war had on high school athletics. Later, Lanford served in the Korean War.
Ralph Langenheim served as an officer in the United States Navy during World War II. Langenheim received training in the amphibious force and then assigned to a Landing Craft-Infantry (LCI). His ship traveled around Gibraltar, the Azores, England, and France. The ship was involved in D-Day and later the invasion of southern France. He later shipped to Kodiak Island in Alaska to prepare for an invasion of Asia.
Edward Layden was drafted into the Army in early 1941, but due to an injured shoulder, he was classified as 4F (unfit for service) in November, 1941 and discharged. Instead, Layden returned to his family farm in Hoopeston, Illinois. His family hired German POWs as laborers from the POW camp located nearby.
Arlyn Lober, a tank crewman in the 11th Armored Division, arrived in France in late 1944, and had his baptism of fire during the Battle of the Bulge. Suffering from frostbite, he was hospitalized for several weeks, then returned to his unit, now as a tank commander. Lober served with the 42nd Tank Battalion, part of Patton's 3rd Army as it fought its way across Germany, and celebrated his 21st birthday on V-E day, May 8, 1945. A few days later he saw the horrors of Nazi Germany when visiting Gusen concentration camp, part of the Mauthausen concentration camp complex.
Maureen (Macy) Lober grew up in Litchfield, Illinois, but following the attack on Pearl Harbor, her father joined the U.S. Army and moved the family to West Los Angeles, California, where he was assigned to an anti-aircraft unit. Maureen shares her memories of the war, and her experiences attending University High School in West Los Angeles. She was with her mother in San Francisco on VJ Day, and remembers well the streets being flooded with sailors celebrating and hugging all the girls they could find, to include the Macy girls.
Ruth Whittington Lockart worked as a riveter at the Howard Aircraft Corporation in Chicago, Illinois during WW II. After training to be a riveter at the American Aircraft Institute, Ruth worked as a riveter on the G3-H Nightingale, a U.S. Navy trainer. Following this, Ruth worked at the Signal Depot.
Dick Lockhart served in the 423rd Infantry Regiment's anti-tank company, part of the 106th Infantry Division, a unit that saw its first action during the Battle of the Bulge. The entire regiment surrendered to the Germans on December 19th, and Lockhart spent the rest of the war in Stalag IX-B during a time when the Germans were unable to adequately care for their POWs. Those American POWs of Jewish descent in Lockhart's camp were sent to a brutal work camp in Eastern Germany..
Richard Lowe grew up during the Great Depression on a southern Illinois farm, then spent World War II in the Navy. He served on the destroyer USS Wadsworth, which saw action in several of the most important naval battles in the Pacific theater. Following the war he returned to Illinois, went to college on the G.I. Bill, and spent a long and productive career teaching ag. and ag business courses both at the high school level and to farmers in the St. Elmo area of southern Illinois. In that capacity, he helped modernize Illinois farming during an era when farm yields were exploding.
Robert Marion was born and raised in rural Mississippi, and was drafted into the Army in April, 1943. Following his training, he was assigned to the Quartermaster Corps, and served with the 3201 Quartermaster Company. The unit participated in the Normandy campaign and the liberation of France, and also in the Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns.
George Marquis dropped out of college in 1943 to join the Navy, and was soon accepted into submarine duty, where he was assigned to the USS Bergall following a rigorous training program. He was on board for all five of the Bergall's combat patrols, hunting in the Japanese shipping lanes around Saipan, near French Indo-China, and in the South China Sea, Java Sea and Indian Ocean.
Rayburn Martin joined the Army 1940, and became a medical supply NCO in France with the 84th Infantry Division. Seriously wounded in 1944, he recuperated in a hospital in England, then returned to service in time to see action in the Battle of the Bulge. Discharged in October 1945, he worked for forty years with International Harvester.
Wesley Matthews served in the 99th Division of the U.S. Army during World War II. Matthews fought in the Battle of the Bulge and later saw action in Germany. At one point, his leg was hit with German shrapnel, which ultimately led to him receiving a disability discharge.
Joseph McCormick served in the European theater with the U.S. Army in World War II, assigned to a Quartermaster unit. He also was an interpreter, helping communicate with the Free French forces as the allies moved across France. McCormick traveled throughout the European Theater and helped maintain the flow of supplies to infantrymen.
DeLoyce McMurray enlisted in the Marines following high school in 1944, and was assigned to an all-black Service Battalion in the 2nd Marine Division. Stationed at Wake Is., he helped evacuate wounded troops from Iwo Jima. Following the war he worked as computer operator in the early days of computers, serving as a civilian overseas.
Bob McPeek grew up during the Depression and talked about coming of age on the home front during World War II. Bob left high school in March, 1945 prior to graduation, and joined the Coast Guard. The war was over by the time he made his first overseas cruise on the USS Howze, a troop transport. He worked as a cook in the galley while on the Howze. During the next year, from mid 1945 to May, 1946 the Howze made one trip to the Philippines to pick up troops, followed by a trip from California to England with a load of German POWs, and then two trips across the Atlantic bringing U.S. Army troops back to the United States.
Frank Merkley had already been driving trucks for several years when he was drafted by the Army in November of 1942. Six months later he was driving a truck in Persia, helping deliver supplies from the port of Kharramshahr in modern day Iran to Andimeshk, the first leg of the Allies efforts to get war supplies to the Soviets. In early 1945 his unit, the 3949th Quartermaster Truck Company, was transferred to the China-Burma-India theater, where Merkley spent the rest of the war. He drove the famous Burma Road over some of the most treacherous terrain of the war, and survived a couple of near death experiences.
The son of Sicilian immigrants, Sam Million speaks extensively about his parents and their struggles as immigrants in a new country. He enlisted in the Army in October of 1946, and by early 1948 was assigned to Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, where those Japanese accused of war crimes were imprisoned. He spent six months on suicide watch over General Hideki Tojo, the former Japanese Prime Minister.
Robert Mitchler enlisted in the U.S. Navy in November 1941. In 1944, he asked for combat duty and assigned to the USS Oxford, which supported lands in the Philippines and at Okinawa. In 1945, he was reassigned to the USS Scoter. In 1950, when the Korean War started, he was recalled to active duty and served for a time as a Chief Petty Officer for Admiral Allen Smith before being assigned as a stenographer at the Panmunjom armistice talks.
Frank Moscardelli served as an infantryman with the 353rd Infantry Regiment, 89th Infantry Division, part of Patton's Third Army as it fought its way through central Germany in the spring of 1945. Frank saw combat at the Rhine River crossing, making that journey in a DUKW amphibious vehicle. For the next two months his unit fought its way across Germany. Frank's company was just miles from the Czechoslovakia border when the war ended on May 8. He then served near Linz, Austria as part of the occupation force.
Following his graduation from college in 1943, Warren Musch joined the Marines. By early 1945 he was an Intelligence officer with the 3rd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment of the 5th Marine Division, which stormed the beach at Iwo Jima, then fought its way up Mount Suribachi. He survived the brutal combat on Iwo Jima, then helped plan the invasion of Japan before the war ended with the dropping of the atomic bomb. Following the war, he served as part of the occupation force in Japan.
Edwin George Myers served with the Navy in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was commissioned as an Ensign, and served on a Landing Ship Tank, where he was responsible for decoding messages and astrological navigation. Although Myers’s ship had practiced for the invasion of Japan, the war ended when President Truman used the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Donald E. Palmer served as a sailor with the 4th Beach Battalion in the Mediterranean theater during World War II. The 4th Beach Battalion was a newly organized unit that prepped beaches for army amphibious forces. He saw action during the landings at Sicily, Salerno, and St. Tropez in southern France.
Marjorie (Brown) Pasley was born in 1927 and lived in Margate, England, a town on the English Channel, when the country declared war on Germany in September, 1939. Her parents decided to send her to Stafford in Staffordshire County for three years during the war. She shares many memories of the war years, including the Battle of Britain, seeing wounded soldiers and prisoners of war. In 1953 she married Richard Pasley, an American, and immigrated to the United States in 1955.
Webster Phillips was drafted in November, 1942, and after basic infantry training at Ft. Benning Georgia, was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 117th Infantry Regiment, part of the 30th Infantry Division. The unit landed at Omaha beach just days after the D-Day invasion, and soon saw action at the St. Lo breakout. Serving with the unit's Intelligence and Reconnaissance section, Phillips earned a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars during the unit's fight through northern Europe. The division held the crucial northern 'shoulder' during the Battle of the Bulge.
Cornelius P. (Pappy) Price is an African-American WW II veteran who saw action in North Africa and the Mediterranean in a segregated Quartermaster unit. Price served in both Sicily and Italy, driving trucks and performing other quartermaster duties with a truck unit that often worked near the front lines.
Perry Rannebarger was drafted into the U.S. Army in early 1941, initially serving in the Illinois National Guard. Following Pearl Harbor, he was assigned to 132nd Infantry Regiment and was deployed to the Pacific theater where his unit, now part of the Americal Division, fought in the Guadalcanal Campaign. After that, he had a furlough in the Fiji Islands, where he contracted malaria. He later served briefly in France at the end of the war.
Gerald (Jerry) Raschke served as a tail gunner on a B-26 Marauder medium bomber in the European theater during World War II. Flying missions with the 320th Bomb Group, first out of Sardinia, then Corsica, and finally from a base south of Dijon, France, he chalked up sixty-one missions before being sent home. His plane was forced to crash land three times, but miraculously, not a single crew member was ever wounded or killed on any mission. Jerry shared his many detailed memories about the war, specific missions, and what it was like to serve in one of the most dangerous assignments of World War II.
Harry Reed served as a flight engineer on a C-54 Skymaster during World War II. His aircraft supported the Presidents’ mission to the Potsdam Conference, the Quebec Conference and the Yalta Conference, delivering secret service agents ahead of the President’s arrival. During the Malta Conference, his airplane was shot at while he was flying over Italy. His aircraft also flew Eleanor Roosevelt following the death of Franklin Roosevelt.
Ralph Rinehart served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific theater during World War II. He was attached to a Quartermaster unit while in Sydney, Australia helping load and unload transport ships. Then, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, he was involved in an air raid against the Japanese and helped construct a Landing Craft Mechanized. He finished the war in Manila, Philippines working on tugboats (which the Army operated) helping transport supplies to ships in the harbor.
Merle Roughton enlisted into the Illinois National Guard in November, 1940. Following his initial training, he was sent to Panama and patrolled Panama Canal Zone until 1943, when he returned to the United States and was reassigned to the 14th Cavalry Regiment. His unit arrived in Europe in the fall of 1944, and eventually served with General Patton’s 3rd Army at the Battle of the Bulge.
Alexander Samaras served in the United States Navy during World War II, commanding a Landing Craft-Tank, which was often transported on board the larger LSTs (Landing Ship-Tank). During one convoy of LSTs, they were attacked by German submarines, resulting in the loss of three ships. In Europe, Samaras’s ship assisted with the preparation for Operation Overlord and the Allied landings on D-Day. In 1945 he was dispatched to the Pacific theater where he was when the war ended.
William Shimatowsky (which he later legally changed to Schimm) was born in 1924 and raised in Sioux City, Iowa by his single mother, who worked as a nurse. Bill was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, trained as a tanker and was shipped to England in the spring of 1944. While there, he worked as a clerk/typist. He was sent to France in June as a replacement for the 4th Infantry Division. He saw combat during the fight in Normandy, and following the Allied breakout, he worked for several months in Paris as a unit clerk. Following the German winter offensive (Battle of the Bulge), Schimm returned to 4th Division and served as an infantryman for the rest of the war as the Division fought its way across Germany.
Frances Schneider was a civilian instructor of Morse code during World War II. She worked in a transmitter room and educated soldiers who would become B-17 gunners or radio operators. Her husband was a sergeant in the military. He served in the Pacific theater and was involved in communicating weather reports to the aircraft that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan.
Salvador Sciortino of Rockford, Illinois served in the United States Navy during World War II. Assigned to the USS Neville, an attack transport ship, as the ship's cook, his battle station was on one of the ship's anti-aircraft guns. The USS Neville supported the landings at Utah Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Sciortino went on to serve in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters during the war. Following the war, Salvador was employed as a chef at Rockford’s famous Faust Hotel for thirty years, working his way up to becoming to an executive chef in five years.
Charles Sehe, originally from Geneva, Illinois, graduated from high school at seventeen, and soon joined the U.S. Navy in late 1940. By December, 1941 he was assigned to the USS Nevada, one of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor on December 7th when the Japanese launched their devastating surprise attack on the Pacific Fleet. The Nevada suffered heavy damage that day, but survived the attack. Sehe spent the rest of WW II on the USS Nevada, and saw action in the Aleutian Islands, at Utah Beach on D-Day, in southern France, at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. His amazing first-hand accounts will bring these bloody battles to life.
Bob Serra joined the Navy in October of 1940 and began serving on the USS Yorktown, a fleet aircraft carrier, in the summer of 1941. The Yorktown conducted patrols in the north Atlantic during the months prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (sometimes accompanying British convoys), then transferred to the Pacific theater. Serra served as an F4F Wildcat aircraft mechanic on the Yorktown, and saw combat at both the battles of Coral Sea and Midway, where the Yorktown was sunk in June, 1942 after repeated hits by both bombs and torpedoes.
James E. Smith was a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot in Europe during World War II. Assigned to the 527th Squadron, 379th Bomb Group, Smith's first mission was against the ball bearing plants at Schweinfurt, Germany. Smith eventually flew 25 combat missions over Germany and France as the pilot of 'Ruthie.'
Joseph Smith served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He was an African American serviceman who experienced discrimination and segregation during his military service. He served in the Pacific Theater as a truck driver in the Okinawa Campaign.
Winton Solberg was an infantry lieutenant during WW II, serving with the 29th Infantry Division from October of 1944 through the early occupation period in Germany. Solberg saw action in Belgium and central Germany, and witnessed first hand the devastation of central Europe and the Nuremburg War Crimes trial, before returning to the states.