Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Courtesy of the Union Tribune San Diego -- WWII: Those who served tell their stories

The Legacy of WWII -- How it shaped a generation and San Diego, by U-T San Diego writers Peter Rowe and John Wilkens

WWII: Those who served tell their stories -- U-T San Diego brought 32 vets to the Midway to be videotaped

They were a walking, talking World War II history book — 32 San Diego vets who came aboard the USS Midway Museum recently to share their stories. Collectively, they were at many of the war’s most significant battles, from Pearl Harbor to Iwo Jima, from D-Day to the Bulge. They talked about what they remembered. And what they would never forget. Their videotaped oral histories were recorded on June 5-7 on the flight deck of the Midway as part of the U-T’s yearlong series, “The Legacy of WWII.” The U-T’s video partner on the project, Media Arts Center San Diego, produced the videos, which can be seen here in their unedited form. Here are some of their stories, as captured by U-T San Diego writers Peter Rowe and John Wilkens.

Videos: Those who served tell their stories...

Charles Gus Apostolos

Robert L. Barto

Sheldon Bernstein

Jim Brayshay

Jack Clabaugh

Evelyn Coy

Basil Duncan

Ed Fitchhorn

George W. Glicker

Charles Goldsmith, Jr.

Frank Guidone

Robert Guthrie

Bob Jacoby

Glen Kanig

Willis “Bill” Lunt

Walter Mazzone

Jim Merriken

Eldon "Mike" Meyer

Rita O'Neil

John Preston

Alan Reeves

James Reily

Russell "Buddy" Rodgers

Dave Severance

Norman Sokay

Richard Stutzman

Forrest Trimm

Leo Tuck

Stephen Voit

Robert L. Watson

John Williamson

Malcolm "Mac" Winslow

The stories...

Taking care of the wounded; Rita O'Neil was a nurse during World War II, taking care of the wounded on a hospital train. -- Video

At 12,000 feet, a fiery moment of truth; "You know, I'm Jewish," Voit said. "The possibility of being in a German camp was really frightening." -- Video

A POW remembers;James Reily was shot down during World War II and survived several months of captivity. -- Video

Iwo Jima's long shadow; 67 years since landing on Iwo Jima as a 21-year-old Marine Corps corporal, Glen Kanig still remembers that battle's ferocity. -- Video

Recalling the white, bomb-blasted, cliffs of Dover; Bob Jacoby's unit fought in the Battle of the Bulge, but the local WWII veteran noted they suffered their heaviest casualties in England in 1944. -- Video

Earning his wings in another way; Robert Guthrie was a fighter pilot in World War II, trained to kill. But his proudest moment involved saving lives. -- Video

Going to the movies; Eldon "Mike" Meyer was injured in the Battle of Tarawa. -- Video

WWII battle against a relentless enemy -- the Pacific; Waves reach 60 feet, while 150-knot winds buffeted the destroyer. -- Video

A lucky man, jumping into combat; Jumping into Nazi-occupied Holland, paratrooper Rodgers thought about his good fortune: "How lucky I am. How lucky I am." -- Video

He saw MacArthur return; It was a signature moment in World War II -- and Forrest Trimm saw it. -- Video

Cannon fodder; Gus Apostolas was drafted into the Army at age 18 in 1944. "Don't be a hero," his dad told him. -- Video

Growing up fast; Jim Merriken joined the Marines before World War II started. "They snuck that in on me," he said. -- Video

Witness to D-Day; As a beach master, Watson's job was to take control of a quarter-mile-wide swath of Omaha Beach. -- Video

For Pfc. Williamson, fear turned into heroism; Williamson risked his life on the streets of Leipzig, making repeated trips under enemy to rescue two wounded GIs. -- Video

French connection; Alan Reeves spoke French. During World War II, it came in handy. -- Video

A slap on the back; Robert Barto ferried the wounded to aid stations on Iwo Jima. -- Video

A Raider's tale; The Marines are the few and the proud, but Frank Guidone spent part of his military career among the even fewer: the Corps' First Raider Battalion. -- Video

Flying over "the hump," and landing in a ditch; Charles Goldsmith Jr., a native San Diegan who grew up in North Park, always wanted to fly. -- Video

In war, a charmed life; Fighting in the Pacific during World War II, Basil Duncan sometimes felt lucky. -- Video

"Sleepy Time Gal's" 51 missions over Europe; His crew of 10 flew 51 combat missions -- and all survived the war. -- Video

Stars for an admiral; Jack Clabaugh was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. -- Video

A mad dash; Norman Sokay earned a Bronze Star in Germany. -- Video

"What the hell is an atomic bomb?"; One of this naval aviator's most vivid memories of World War involves a mission he never flew. -- Video

Memories -- and nightmares; Mac Winslow saw 102 straight days of combat in Europe during World War II. -- Video

A corpsman on Iwo Jima, trying to save lives; Heading to Iwo Jima, "we didn't anticipate any problems," the San Diegan remembers -- Video

A month-long fight for survival; Richard Stutzman loved to fly. -- Video

PBY's rear gunner saw the good and the bad; George Glicker thought the weather in Florida was hellish -- but in the South Pacific, he saw a vision of real hell. -- Video

Tea with the First Lady; Evelyn Coy wanted to do her part after Pearl Harbor. She joined the WAVES. -- Video

That famous flag photo; Dave Severance played a key role in the famous flag raising on Iwo Jima. -- Video

Also see »

WWII: Those who served tell their stories

A WWII vet's final story

Poem captured surprise, horror of Pearl Harbor

Also of interest...

WWII: Those who served tell their stories


Vet reaches 10,000 volunteer hours at WWII Museum

WW II: A U-T oral history project

Exhibit marks 67th anniversary of D-Day landings