I think we all remember the day we raised our right hand and took our oath. After turning 18, I enlisted in the U.S. Army on Feb. 20, 1975 and left for Fort McClellan, Ala. As a 71L - Admin Specialist, I didn't do anything extraordinary or heroic. I just typed and answered the telephone, and was stationed at Fort Bliss and with the 71st Signal Battalion (Provisional) in Okinawa. However, I was proud to have served in some way.
I have been a member of the William W. Fahey American Legion Post 491 in Kennett Square, Pa., for about 17 years now.
On June 7, 1942, 12 other blacks and I in the Ft. Worth-Dallas area volunteered to be among the first black apprentice seamen in the U.S. Coast Guard. We were sworn in at the old Texas Electric Building, and as we crossed Burnett Park, a passerby’s voice rang out, “Suckers.”
That echo stayed with me for a long time.
From the beginning, our racial status was in conflict with stated and democratic principles and goals. My trip to New York was in a segregated coach, and I was forced to eat in a segregated section of the dining room, where incidentally my neighbor was a waiter.
We are indebted to Theodore (Ted) J. Plante for this photograph.
Bob Eisenberg and his best friend, Ted Plante, enlisted in the Navy together in February 1964, about 18 months after their graduation from high school. After boot camp together, Bob went to CT school and Ted went to ET school.
The two stayed in frequent touch and coordinated leave together just before Bob's assignment to USS Liberty. During that leave, Bob bought his dream car, a 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix convertible, and the two double-dated until they returned to their respective duty stations.
Eulogy by his daughter Deborah:
Who was Ronnie Campbell? That is what my uncle Mike told me to find out. "Just the basic information," he said. His date of birth, where he grew up, his parents' names, etc. Sounds like an easy enough task, doesn't it? After all, this was the man who brought me life. But that question, "Who was Ronnie Campbell?", has always been a mystery to me. I never had the opportunity to know this man, never gazed up into his kind loving eyes, never heard the gentleness of his voice as he told me he loved me, and never felt the warmth of his arms as he held me.
There could have been a light rain falling that morning, or the sun could have been waiting to burst on the scene. Such was the weather pattern in Yakima, Wash., and on the morning of Sept. 5, 1943, there was no difference. A ray of sunlight was evident when Allen M. Blue was born and a new life began.
Allen was the firstborn of four children. He, along with his brother and two sisters, grew up in Spokane, Wash., where at a young age he displayed unusual curiosity. His enthusiasm propelled his interests in many directions.
William Bernard Allenbaugh was born to William Francis and Elizabeth M. Allenbaugh on Jan. 23, 1944 at St. Joseph's Hospital in Baltimore.
Bill's early years were spent in Gardenville, Md. His two sisters, Mary and Eleanor, and brother Michael watched this mischievous kid grow into a gentle man who was admired by many. His primary education was at St. Anthony's School, and from there he graduated to Calvert Hall College High School. His interests paralleled those of many boys, with football and bowling topping his list.
Philip McCutcheon Armstrong was a 1953 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md.
His service included tours with USS Betelgeuse AKA-260 and USS Liberty AGTR-5 as the ship's executive officer. He was killed in the Israeli attack on Liberty when he was hit with aircraft fire while attempting to jettison flaming drums of gasoline.
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to
David Skolak, Interior Communications Electrician Fireman, United States Navy
for service as set forth in the following CITATION:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in connection with the armed attack on USS LIBERTY (AGTR-5) in the Eastern Mediterranean on 8 June 1967. During the early afternoon hours, USS LIBERTY was attacked without warning by jet fighter aircraft and three motor torpedo boats.
I find it very strange that some Americans can argue endlessly that the attack on USS Liberty was a tragic accident, and not the deliberate attack on a known American ship that survivors know it to have been.
A point that baffles me (and my shipmates) about that view is that the Israelis did NOT stop firing when they drew close enough to positively identify us as American.
I was lying in a stretcher in a starboard passageway just inboard of the wardroom and almost directly over the torpedo that exploded.
Every year, as Memorial Day approaches, my thoughts drift back to a little town in Nebraska. Other than those who live in or near this place, few ever heard of a little town named, Bruning.
My first encounter came when our group of control tower operators was assigned to a new base in Nebraska. Remote is an understatement. As we entered the area, we saw a small sign reading, Bruning, population, 232. It hasn’t grown much. Googling the town on my computer, I learned that in 2,010, the population was 279.
By Ralph Christopher
Around noon on Nov. 8, 1968, Chief Theodore Smith was leading a patrol with boat captains James Mildenstein on PBR 841 and Bloss on PBR 755, when they received a radio message to proceed to the Nga Ba River. The place, the Thi Vai - Go Ghia area, was known as a Viet Cong stronghold and had been the site of many enemy ambushes in the past. Smith was directed to steam up a narrow stream with his two patrol boats and act as a blocking force for Vietnamese commandos and their Marine advisers, who had been inserted by Army helicopters earlier in the day.
Upon graduating high school, I snuck to Yuma, Ariz., to marry my sweetheart, Wilma, on June 6, 1943. I was only 19. But the next few years would be very different for me, as I was drafted into the Armed Forces in October that year. I reported to Fort Sill, Okla., then was transferred to Camp Wolters, Texas, where I trained for the U.S. Army Infantry for six weeks.
Next thing I knew, on my first wedding anniversary, I was on the high seas, looking at the beaches of Normandy in France.
I was on my first tour of duty as a Marine drill instructor at MCRD San Diego. Orders came down from Headquarters Marine Corps, as requested by the mother of Lance Cpl. Donald L. Bennett.
I had put him through boot camp a year earlier. I remembered him because at one of the mail calls, he had received a large box of home baked cookies from his mother and I made him share them with the other recruits and made the statement, "if you get anymore cookies or cakes from home, my favorite is chocolate!"
Well, I had forgotten that statement by the time the platoon graduated.
I entered the U.S. Air Force under the opposition of my mother - Oh, she was angry! However, I stood at the Greyhound station in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, in the early hours of Aug. 20, 1971. My best friend, Al, also joined me as we rode the bus to Cleveland and took the oath.
I never looked back after that day. The next several years were good years, not a bad day - except the day I prayed to God that if He got me through this I would be in His service forever!
D-Day, June 6, 1944, Omaha Beach, Normandy.
Staff Sgt. Robert Brant, U.S. Army, started his journey across France and ended it in the Rhineland a year later. He was then in the Army of Occupation until the magic point sent him home to be with his wife and new son (born May 4, 1944).
He didn't talk about the war very often. Neither did my Uncle Dick, U.S. Navy, or my adopted Uncle Hank (Army Air Corps. P-47 pilot). Although Hank was not my grandmother's son, she raised him along with my dad and his four brothers.
I’ve wanted to say thank you for some time now. In my Marine Corps travels, I’ve buried veterans, retirees and Marines killed in action. All totaled, there were over 300 Marines. I never once got to say thank you.
In my nearly 26 years of service to our nation I never went in harm's way, a subject that bothers me to this day. Not by choice, but by design. During my last three years of service I was assigned as a casualty officer, a duty I would not wish on anyone.
This was stressful and probably the most difficult of duties and it was certainly the most necessary.
A longtime member of American Legion Post 1 of Omaha, Neb., John Dickinson started his Legion affiliation when he was a delegate to South Dakota Boys State in 1942. He needed money to buy the new pair of pants he wanted. So he drove to Fort Omaha and joined the Marine Reserves. They paid $50 a month.
“I paid for that decision,” Dickinson said. “I didn’t know there was going to be another war!” He was one of approximately 404,000 Americans who fought in both World War II and Korea, according to a researcher at the Korean War National Museum.
ENLISTED AT BARKSDALE AIR BASE SEPT. 17, 1940. DISCHARGED AT CAMP SHELBY OCT. 5, 1945, AS S/SGT. LEFT FOR AUSTRALIA JAN. 31, 1942. ARRIVED BRISBANE GUEENLAND, AUSTRALIA FEB 27, 1942. MOVED TO CHARTER TOWER, QUEENSLAND FEB 10, 1942. MOVED TO PORT MORSBY, NEW GUINIA, NOV. 1943. MOVED TO NABNAZ, NEW GUINEA. JULY 1944. MOVED TO CLARK FIELD, PHILLIPINES AUG. 1945. SERVED MY ENTIRE TIME IN THE 47TH. SERVICE SQDN.IN AUSTRAILA WE WERE CHARTER MEMBERS OF THE 5TH. AIR FORCE AND REMAINED IN THAT ASSIGNMENT UNTIL I WAS DISCHARGED.
SLOW HAND ED - A WW II PLANE CAPTAIN
VERBAL INTERVIEW OCTOBER 9TH TO November 16, 2012 USING HIS NAVAL AVIATION LOG BOOK FROM THE SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS
ED JOINED 8/1942 US NAVY – IN Boston, Mass
HE TRAVELED FROM RECRUITING CENTER BY TRAIN TO NEWPORT RODE ISLAND FOR SIX WEEKS OF TRAINING AT BOOT CAMP
UPON GRADUATION FROM BOOT CAMP HIS SCORES ON THE TESTING WON HIM A SELECTION TO ATTEND AERIAL GUNNERS SCHOOL AT MAINE SIDE NAS JACKSONVILLE, JACKSONVILLE FL.
I have many experiences very unusual in nature, but here is one I shall never forget:
I joined the Navy in March 1941 to be a flier. Well, I washed out on my 21st birthday.
Because I had good grades and the war was coming, the Navy gave me an ensign AVS.
My first assignment was as a parachute officer at Corpus Christi, Texas.