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My Time in Uniform

French honor American WWII veterans with medal

World War II Army veteran James Sansom received the "Legion d'Honneur" from the French government. These medals, the highest France bestows, will honor Americans who helped liberate the country during WWII. Sansom and 13 others received the medals on Feb. 20 at a ceremony at the state capital building in Raleigh, N.C. Sansom crossed Omaha Beach on June 11, 1944. He served in four battles, eventually captured as a prisoner of war during the Battle of the Bulge. He was liberated from a Stalag, a German POW camp, on April 15, 1945.

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Vets plan 82nd Airborne Operation Power Pack 50th anniversary reunion

Vets plan 82nd Airborne Operation Power Pack 50th anniversary reunion

Photo | Some Operation Power Pack veterans in May 2014 at the 82nd Airborne Museum, in front of a C123 Aircraft From left to right: Gary Niethammer, Gib Lovell, Walt Rauscher, Jim Drainer, Bruce Harrell, John Urbach, Bob Hawkins, Fred Bolland, Ed Szalno and Ken Densmore The 50th anniversary ceremonies for 82nd Airborne veterans who served in Operation Power Pack will be in May 2015 during All-American Week at Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C. Operation Power Pack was a Marine and Airborne combat and stability mission, which lasted more than a year, in the Dominican Republic.

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My time in service

My time in service

Well, I had a whirlwind of a career. It started with boot camp in Orlando, Fla., then on to MM "A" School, USS Dixie AD-14, Nuclear Power School, USS Midway CV-41, J.E.S.T.

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Seabees

My father, Fred O. Bohl, served in the Seabees in World War II as a mechanic; and I, Larry H. Bohl, served in the Seabees in Vietnam as a heavy equipment operator.

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A sailor's memories of minesweeping during Korean War

I am writing my history in the U.S. Navy. I will tell and swear by the exact truth. I joined the service in 1952 in Burlington, Iowa. Passed the test in Des Moines, Iowa, and flew to San Diego, Calif., for basic training for 12 weeks. At the finish, I was stationed aboard the USS Swift AM 122, home port of Long Beach, Calif. The vessel was an auk-class minesweeper. It could sweep three different types of mines, including acoustic and magnetic. My station at minesweep detail was putting explosive cutters on the starboard wire.

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A POW’s tale of 'the last flight of the B-29 Peacemaker’

My name is Clarence Pressgrove and I’m 90 years old, a disabled veteran and an ex-POW of the Japanese. I was drafted in 1943. On March 9, 1945, we were to bomb an aircraft factory, but as the bombardier said bombs away, the light came on. Something was wrong. He said, “Press” —that was my nickname — “go in the bomb bay and see what’s going on.” I saw two live bombs back there. If there was turbulence, we’d all be blown up, so he sent me to disarm them — at 17,000 feet, saving 11 men and the plane.

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South Dakota WWII vet celebrates 70 years as Legionnaire

South Dakota WWII vet celebrates 70 years as Legionnaire

Earl Dahme celebrated 70 years of Legion membership this April, and received recognition from national headquarters. Dahme joined the Legion in 1944, the same year he enlisted in the Navy. Four of his brothers were in the Army. One was a Marine. But Dahme knew for him, the Navy was the right outfit. "I liked their cap, their winter cap and everything about them. Even nowadays I see a Navy (person) on TV or something — man, I stop and find out what it's about," he said. "I guess it was just like everything else," he said.

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'Let Me Tell You About my Infantrymen' (remarks on the Vietnam War)

'Let Me Tell You About my Infantrymen' (remarks on the Vietnam War)

This Memorial Day, I was privileged to give the keynote remarks on the Vietnam War at the National Cemetery at the Presidio of San Francisco. It was a beautiful day, and over 3,000 attended. I served two combat tours in Vietnam between 1968 and 1970, as infantry platoon leader and company commander in the 82nd Airborne Division and the First Cavalry Division.

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World War II veteran recounts pigeoneering in Pacific

World War II veteran recounts pigeoneering in Pacific

Pigeons swoop, dart and soar over and through World War II veteran Ed Schmidt’s life. The birds fascinated him in childhood, determined his job in the military, and pinned his career. Schmidt’s neighbor growing up, Homer Mann, had pigeons, and as a boy Schmidt was fascinated by them. Though he initially kept his distance, shy, by age 6 he eventually talked to Mann. “Little by little I got a little braver, I guess. ... And pretty soon I had pigeons,” Schmidt said. He learned to train them to know where they lived, then would take them away and set them free.

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WWII submarine veteran recalls experiences in Pacific Theater

WWII submarine veteran recalls experiences in Pacific Theater

The doctor's comment, without any reason given or documented, could have sealed Herman Prager's fate in 1942: not fit to perform active duty. Prager had been at Louisiana State University about a month when he received a recommendation to Annapolis from a local politician, but this physical kept him from attending the Naval Academy. Prager still isn't sure why the doctor made that decision. "He never did say what was wrong," Prager said. His parents asked him to wait until after the holidays to try joining the Navy again. On Jan.

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Wounded Vietnam veteran steps into painting that hung over his bed

Wounded Vietnam veteran steps into painting that hung over his bed

Army veteran Johnny Brooks was drafted only three weeks after his 20th birthday, three weeks after marrying his high school sweetheart, Flora. In 1969, Johnny had been in Vietnam for less than three months when his whole company came under attack, Flora said. He was shot in the back and both legs in Vietnam. One leg was amputated in Japan, another in San Francisco. The blood loss would lead to a cardiac respiratory arrest a month after the attack, causing brain damage.

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Vet shares Infantry training experiences in Korean War

When the Korean War started in June 1950, I, along with a shipload of men whose orders had already been cut, loaded the USNS Buckner in San Francisco Harbor. We set sail for Okinawa. During the post-World War II occupation of Japan, regiments were in a peacetime mode: two battalions instead of three. We new arrivals were formed into a third battalion of the 29th. The officers and NCOs were canonized from other units on the island, none of which were Infantry. If a commander is asked to send off men, is he going to send his best men? Toilets were flushed!

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Pearl Harbor hero recalls attack more than 70 years later

Pearl Harbor hero recalls attack more than 70 years later

Ed Johann was aboard USS Solace, a hospital ship, in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese military attacked on Dec. 7, 1941. Though he rescued many casualties, what he remembers most aren't the heroics, but the horrors, the fires, the men. He was only 17. Johann had joined the military before the war to receive the salary - $21 a month, sending $10 home each month to his parents.

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Memories of a U.S. 3rd Infantry Division man on 50th anniversary of service

One night about 50 years ago this March, in the Chorwon area in North Korea, there was an earthquake. I was serving with the Third Infantry Division. The next morning - early - I crawled out of my foxhole, made it to mess hall and asked my sergeant if I could go off premises and look around. He said OK. I walked about a quarter or three-eighths of a mile parallel to the frontline trench, and I saw some fresh dirt to my right. I went about 200 yards and there was a hole in the ground about 40 or 50 feet across, and the dirt on top of it had fallen against the side nearest me.

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An interview with a guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns

An interview with a guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns

An American soldier only dies when they are forgotten, and a Tomb Guard never forgets. These men and women are few, only 621 of them have stood watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier since 1958. But why do they remember? Why do they stand guard 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day? These questions and more were answered by the newest of the Tomb Guards, or Sentinels — Riley Krebsbach.

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R&R during Vietnam War Becomes Nightmare Experience

R&R during Vietnam War Becomes Nightmare Experience

Having served in the U.S. Coast Guard regular active duty from July 1968 to July 1972, it was no surprise when the second cutter I was stationed on, a 378-foot weather cutter, the USCGC Morgenthau - then based at the former Governor's Island in New York City - was ordered to set sail for Vietnam in 1970. As with most servicemen going overseas for the first time on a war mission, I, too, was apprehensive. It was, for me, going into the unknown and uncharted territory. I did't know what to expect or encounter, of course, and wondered what our chances of a safe return would be.

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Vietnam Medal of Honor recipient befriends, assists young girl with limb disability

Vietnam Medal of Honor recipient befriends, assists young girl with limb disability

Vietnam veteran Gary Wetzel and his wife, Kathy’s, act of kindness would sprout a seemingly unlikely but deep friendship with a “boisterous” and “sassy” 4-year-old and her family. But Gary, a Medal of Honor recipient, has been working to help others for nearly 50 years. He often speaks with school groups about military history and patriotism.

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World War II veteran of 2nd Marine Division recalls Tarawa, family's service

World War II veteran of 2nd Marine Division recalls Tarawa, family's service

I was living in Fairfield, Conn., when World War II broke out. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1942, and was soon followed by two brothers and a sister. My brother Bernard joined the Army and fought in France and Germany. My brother Harry joined the Navy. A kamikaze pilot sunk his ship.

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Second Chance

Second Chance

(I wrote this for an essay project as if someone else interviewed me, just to make the story flow.) ------------------------------------------------ Second Chance - TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) survivor hopes to inspire If you had a second chance at life, what would you do with it? Randy Davis, a recently honorably discharged soldier of the U.S. Army Reserve, is living proof of triumphing over tragedy. He is a survivor of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that almost claimed his life. He survived being shot in the head.

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World War II Purple Heart recipient recounts time as medic in Europe

World War II Purple Heart recipient recounts time as medic in Europe

Ernest Shepherd was drafted into the Army in 1943. He hadn't yet graduated high school and had spent his whole life on his father's small farm in Tennessee - twice transplanted by eminent domain - but would soon serve as a medic across the Atlantic in the European theater. While treating wounded troops in a hospital in Liege, Belgium, Shepherd heard what sounded like a modern-day helicopter. "You knew to hunt a place to hide, find something to get behind," he said. Then, a blast. "It hit about I'd say probably 300 feet from where I was on the second floor." It was a German buzz bomb.

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