The Way It Was

 World War II Memorial

 

Korean War Memorial  

America's wars during our lifetime have had enormous impact on our history. While there is extensive material about them, many of you have "lived it" and can give an insight beyond the history books. Your experiences are important, and this is an opportunity to let the rest of us hear about them.

If you are a Veteran, and would like to write about your Wartime experience - anything you'd like to share - click here.



Thank you ... for then and now.

Your Stories


Edward F. Willi
World War II

In World War II,  I was aboard the USS Radford which was one of America's most decorated distroyers, earning the Presidential Unit Citation and 26 battle stars.

    Operating out of Guadacanal, we took part in the landing at the island of Rendova and the following battle of Kula Gulf where we sank a Japanese cruiser and set two Japanese destroyers on fire. ...

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George Fullmer
World War II

 To set the time era, think of two songs based on places at the time.  Our troop train from pre-cadet indoctrination at Boca Raton, Florida, en route to our cadet school at Grand Rapids, Michigan, went through both:  Chattanooga, and Kalamazoo!

      There were six places at the time for training meteorology cadets from recruits in the top of their first two years of science or engineering:  Cal Tech, MIT, UCLA, U. of Chicago, NYU, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Whereas the college campuses were somewhat informal, ...

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Paul McGrew
World War II

 I spent 3 1/2 years with the U S Navy during WWII. The last year and a half, I served with ACORN 13 (aviation, construction, ordnance, repair, navy) in The Philippines on Mindoro Island. We had a Wing of 15 Privateers. It’s the same airplane as the B-24 except the tail has a 10 ft. structure as opposed to the twin rudders on the B-24.

I was in charge of the Operation Shack at the airport. Each morning at 6:30 AM, I greeted the pilots with the Skipper's Orders and a copy of the weather report before they took off to patrol their "Pie Sector". ...

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C. H. (Hutch) Hutchinson
World War II  

In 1944 the Army established a large medical supply depot on the island of Leyte in the Philippines to serve the entire Pacific Theatre of Operations. We had our own Japanese Prisoner of War stockade with 200-250 POW’s to serve as our labor pool. I ran the Receiving Department and each day a dozen or more POW’s were assigned to my operations. On rare occasions ...
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Bill Bryson
World War II

I became a Tin Can Sailor on October 8,1944 when I swung aboard the USS Burns (DD 588), a Fletcher class destroyer operating with the Task Force 38 in the Pacific. Joining my first ship involved transportation on a troop transport, an ammunition ship and culminated in a mail bag highline transfer at sea from the USS Reno (CLAA 96).

Two days after reporting aboard, our task group came under air attack from Japanese shore based aircraft. As I rushed to my general quarters station, a Japanese twin engine torpedo plane fell trailing smoke and flames, crashing into the water near the USS Burns. ...

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Earl Pampeyan
World War II

I was drafted into the US Army on April 5, 1943 at age 18. Owing to my brief after-school and summer work experience, I was classified as an Automotive Mechanic and assigned to the 538th Ordnance, HM (Tank) Company, headquartered in Fort Knox, KY.  Upon completion of Basic Training, the 538th was sequestered in a Special Training Area where we were trained to understand and maintain a “secret” device* that “would change the course of WW II.”   ...
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Charles J Cook, Pilot
World War II

World War II started as a grand adventure for me. I always wanted to fly and what fun it was to learn all about flying - and for free: Piper Cubs, PT22 Ryans, Vultees, Cessna twins, AT6s, B17s and many more.

Bomber crew training was exciting, especially the night we ran into a thunderstorm at 27,000 ft, got severely tossed about and came out of the bottom of the storm, flying straight and level. My crew suffered many bruises, but soon recovered and the 10 of us were proclaimed ready for combat. We flew a B17 from training Headquarters at Lincoln, Nebraska, where I had lived since I was 11 years old, to England via Reikjevic, Iceland, where I celebrated my 21st birthday. ...

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Hal Knowlton
World War II

I started my Navy career in 1943 at the University of Texas in the V-12 program, which would lead to becoming an ensign. However,I did not finish, so went to boot camp at San Diego. I was then assigned to Photo school in Pensacola where I became a Photographer Mate, 2nd class. I was assigned to the USS Teton, a general comunication ship, where I stayed until the end of the war.

We were at the Okinawa invasion dry run in the Philippines,...

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Whitey Wright
World War II

I was a fighter pilot in WWII, flying P 38's and P 51's in Europe (66 missions and 300 combat hours). We flew both Bomber Escort and Ground Support missions, including flying cover over Omaha Beach on D-Day.

I grew up in Massachusetts and had two years at Tufts College. Running low on funds, I went to work for General Electric in the Summer of 1941. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, I immediately applied to become an Army Air Corps flying cadet. There were so many applications ...

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Bill Palmer
World War II

My military experience started in August 1941 when I reported to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida to start my naval career as an Aviation Cadet. I had completed The Civilian Pilot Training Program and had a private pilot’s license and my pilot’s log-book credited me with about 80 hours of pilot experience. So, I was not a complete beginner pilot.

I was about halfway through flight training when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

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