Senior Services of America supports their veterans.

Virtual Veteran Wall of Honor: Our Residents Who Served

Today, there are more than 9 million veterans in the United States who are over the age of 65. We are very fortunate that some of those veterans choose to call one of our SSA Communities home. We are even more honored to share their individual stories and photos with you on our Virtual Wall of Honor. It’s just a small gesture to convey the gratitude that we feel towards their pledge to “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,…” We are humbled to live with, serve and support them in these golden years of their lives.

Mere words are not enough, but thank you for your service, Ladies & Gentleman.

Senior Services of America

(253) 267-8494

1201 Pacific Avenue Suite 450 Tacoma, WA

Broadmore Senior Living at Bristol

Bill Beckner

Bill BecknerBirthdate: 11/04/1925

Hometown: West Virginia

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: WWII

Wars or Battles Fought In: 1943-1946

Bio: Bill grew up in West Virginia and belonged to the US Navy between 1943 – 1946. He joined the military “to avoid being drafted” and to support his country during World War II. He was proud to serve in the Navy and remembers his comrades well. He worked as a store keeper and enjoyed being able to see different parts of the world while on a Navy ship. When asked of any advice to inspire young Americans about the military he states “Yes, join the Navy!”

Irvin Blevins

Irvin BlevinsBirthdate: 07/05/1928

Hometown: Bristol, Tennessee

Branch of Military: Army

Wars or Battles Fought In: Korean War

Specialty: Medical Clerk

Bio: Irvin grew up in Bristol, Tennessee and was drafted to join the Army. While serving in the Infantry division, he worked as a Medical Clerk and received the rank of Sergeant. He served in the Korean War and said it was a very hard thing to do, but he is proud he served his country well.

John Funk

John FunkBirthdate: 04/04/1911

Hometown: Speedwell, Virginia

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1936-1945

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Bio: John can still remember many war stories that are from more than a century ago from his hometown of Speedwell, Virginia. At 101 years of age, he still recalls many of his personal experiences while serving with the U.S. Army between 1936–1945. After joining the Army, he lived in areas such as Virginia, Hawaii, Iceland, England, France, and Belgium. He paved roads, built airports and runways, and fought with field artillery. He enjoyed living in Iceland the best. He says it snowed a lot, saw the beauty of the Northern Lights, and he learned how to live without trees. After Iceland, he served in England where he taught the English how to build machines (which would later be used in the war to keep the Germans from invading). After England, he was sent to France and then Belgium. While in Belgium, the Germans attacked and he was in the Battle of the Bulge “from start to finish”. When he was discharged from the Army, he had the rank of Staff Sergeant. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his work in the Battle of the Bulge.

Beachel Houston

Birthdate: 09/23/1919

Hometown: Ooltewah, Tennessee

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1940-1945

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: Observer / Artillery Director

Bio: Beachel was born in Ooltewah, Tennessee. He served in the U.S. Army from 1940–1945. His specialty was as an Observer and Artillery Director. While he was in World War II, he says he was “always fighting”. He was inspired to sign up for the military because all men had to serve one year. After college, he went ahead and signed up to avoid having to go in the middle of a school year. One of the stories he remembers most is of having to fly over a town but almost being shot down and then they ended up flying to the wrong town to begin with! Another was while he was Directing Artillery was how exact he had to be doing it. It all had to be done carefully and correctly when converting measurements to degrees while using the guns. He served in over 150 combat missions and worked with General George S. Patton who demanded him to fire on innocent people. Instead, Beachel picked an empty field to shoot at instead. He didn’t feel right shooting at the enemy while they were mixed in with women and children. When asked his thoughts on what to share with younger generations today, he says the military has a lot better incentives and opportunities from when he joined. Every person should serve their country and fight for it.

Pete Hyler

Birthdate: 04/22/1933

Hometown: Blountville, Tennessee

Branch of Military: Air Force

Wars or Battles Fought In: Korean War

Specialty: Air Craft Mechanic

Bio: Pete was born in Blountville, Tennessee and joined the Air Force when he was eighteen years old. At that time, the draft was in full effect so he said he had to join on his own or be drafted. He worked as an Air Craft Mechanic and served in the Korean War. His advice to young people is that they need to take their time and understand what you’re getting into. He loved his time in the military, but stressed the hard work and being away from your family can be tough.

Paul Marschalk

Birthdate: 03/04/1939

Hometown: Pierre, South Dakota

Branch of Military: Air Force

Years of Service: 1961-1969

Specialty: Pilot

Bio: Paul was born in Pierre, South Dakota. He joined the US Air Force in 1961 and served until 1969. Paul served with the Air Commando 609th Special Operations Squadron during Vietnam. He was a pilot for the A-26 Attack Bomber and his unit designation was “Nimrod” meaning “God’s first hunter”. In 1969 while he was serving in Vietnam, he flew over 155 night missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In April 1969, Paul was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight." While in the US Air Force, Paul piloted the T-37 and T-38 (jets), the C-124 and the C-141 (which are propeller driven, very large transport planes), but his favorite Air Force plane was the A-26 - the last plane he flew while in the Air Force. After his Air Force career, Paul went to work for Pacific Southwest Airlines in California ("PSA") in July 1970. US Airways bought out PSA in the late 1980's and Paul continued with US Airways until his retirement in March 1999. During his nearly 29 years with the airlines, Paul started out as a First Officer, and through the years was a Chief Flight Instructor and retired as a Captain. In his over 50 years of flying, Paul has flown 27 different aircraft and has over 21, 000 hours of flight time. He was often referred to as "a Pilot's Pilot."

Gary Tankersley

Birthdate: 06/01/1944

Hometown: Kingsport, Tennessee

Branch of Military: Navy

Wars or Battles Fought In: Vietnam War

Specialty: Illustrator Draftsman

Bio: Gary was born and raised in Kingsport, Tennessee. After he completed two years of college, he was drafted into the US Navy during Vietnam. He worked as an Illustrator Draftsman. While he was serving on the ships, he was responsible for also helping fire rounds of ammunition. He enjoyed the travel side of the the Navy and got to live in beautiful places such as Argentina, Canada, and Norway. He says it was an honor to serve the United States and to be an American.

Charles Waybright

Charles Waybright​Birthdate: 12/20/1922

Hometown: Huntington, West Virginia

Branch of Military: Army Air Force

Years of Service: 1942-1945

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Bio: Charlie is from Huntington, West Virginia. When he became of age, World War II was going “full-blast” and he joined the military as part of his patriotic duty. He served with the US Army Air Force between the years of 1942 to 1945 and served in Europe for the majority of that time. His jobs included working with the Air Crew and as a Radio Operator. His group delivered a lot of fuel to Gen. Patton’s group which could be highly dangerous at time. He spent a lot of time in London where the “Buzz Bombs” were at. He remembers the war as being tough but he also has good memories of being there. For example, his group often transported musicians to and from concerts for the troops such as the Andrews Sisters. Charlie feels that every young man should do his duty and fight for this great Country to keep it free.

Broadmore Senior Living at Lakemont Farms

Ray Beech

Ray BeechBirthdate: 01/02/1931

Hometown: Alrama, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: Korean War

Specialty:Squad Leader, Machine Gun Crew

Bio: I joined the military because I wanted the military experience. I trained new recruits. I volunteered for Korean duty but was refused and sent to Germany while my best buddy to to go to Korea and died. I found out of my buddy's death while I was riding a bus reading Argosy Magazine. It was a shock to learn of the Korean Death March and the death of my buddy. What I have to say to current or aspiring members of the US Military: "Join the military for maturity and the discipline gained."

Fred Carchidi

Fred CarchidiBirthdate: 05/01/1930

Hometown: Finleyville, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1950-1952

Wars or Battles Fought In: Germany - Army of Occupation

Specialty: Artillery

Bio: I joined the National Guard and was activated into the Army. I made drawings of artillery areas. I was all over Germany. My son was also in the Air Force, he passed away. His advice to those considering enlisting: Join the Air Force.

Frank Checca

Frank CheccaBirthdate: 04/28/1918

Hometown: Cecil, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: ir Force

Years of Service: 1942-1946

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII / North Africa

Specialty: Engineer / Dynamite Specialist

Bio: I was drafted and became a Technical Sergeant. I build camps and runways - bombed land to create airfields in North Africa. I had three brothers in the military at the time. One in the Army, one in the Navy and one in the Marines. All are deceased. Join the military if it's peacetime, but not if there is a war going on.

Robert Colwell

Birthdate: 03/25/1925

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Navy Air Corps

Years of Service: 1943-1946

Specialty: Radio Man on Airplanes

Bio: I was young and crazy and didn't want to serve but was drafted. I served in Panama and Brazil. I was in Radio School and heard a loud noise. They were loading torpedo's outside (in Richmond). One fell and people were killled. I was kept from going into active battles after that. I learned to drive a motorcycle with radio gear on top in front and a dog and monkey on top of the side car.

Everett Fahey

Everett FaheyBirthdate: 03/02/1918

Hometown: Kalamazoo, Michigan

Branch of Military: Air Force

Years of Service: 1941-1945 (Active); 24 Years in Reserves

Wars or Battles Fought In: Suez Canal to Turesia - North Africa to Algoria

Specialty: B25 Pilot

Bio: I tried to join the Air Corps but had a bad ankle and couldn't get in, then was drafted into the Armyand then made it into the Air Corps. Wherever Romel went we followed his maneuvers and retreats for a year. I saw a lot of action.

Joe Gavita

Joe GavitaBirthdate: 04/16/1928

Hometown: Allison Park, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1946-1947

Wars or Battles Fought In: Korea

Specialty: Weapons Dispenser

Bio: I joined via draft. I was in Seattle for 21 days to get to Korea. Hit a typhoon and was in the bow of the ship. Everyone was sick. Crossed the international dateline and was 250 miles from Hawaii. I was discharged as Sargent T4 (technician 4th grade).

Leonard Gerlowski

Leonard GerlowskBirthdate: 04/20/1928

Hometown: Carnegie, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1948-1952

Wars or Battles Fought In: Germany - Army of Occupation

Specialty: Cook

Bio: I was in Signal Corp - on alert because the Korean War was breaking. We had to be battle ready at all times. I retired a Corporal. What I have to say to current or aspiring members of the US Military: "Live a good clean life. Choose friends wisely. Save your money."

John Haines

John HainesBirthdate: 11/02/1924

Hometown: North Strabane - Canonsberg, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Army and Air Force

Years of Service: 1943-1946

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: B17 Top Turret Gunner

Bio: I joined the military because it seemed like the right thing to do. I was in the 11th Airborne in the Army. I served in Florida, Texas, California, Indiana and 11 months in Italy. I didn't see any combat.

Jack M. Hayson

Jack M. Hayson

Birthdate: 09/12/1916

Hometown: Reserve Township, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1930-1933

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII / South Pacific

Specialty: Artillery - Pulled Lanyard

Bio: I was drafted along with my two brothers. One brother never came home from Germany. I served three years in the South Pacific as a Staff Sergeant in the 6th Field Artillery. I would like to forget all experiences of the 3 years abroad but I have lifelong friends - one an officer who comes to see me to this day. My captain automatically made citizens of my whole platoon and at that time my baptized name "Jacob" was changed to "Jack." What I have to say to aspiring members of the military: "Don't join. Go to college."

William Legg

Birthdate: 04/30/1925

Hometown: Mt. Vernon, New York

Branch of Military: Air Force

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII / European Theatre

Specialty: Pilot - Bomber

Bio: I joined via draft. I flew in England, France, Italy and Germany. I was engaged in dog fights - i never knew when I was going to get shot down. It's a sad period of my life. We lost many good pilots who were shot down.

Olga Claire Mooney

Olga Claire MooneyBirthdate: 02/11/1919

Hometown: West View (PGH), Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Army Air Force

Years of Service: 1941-1945

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII in Europe, Champs-Elysees

Specialty: Top Secret / Classified

Bio: When I got out of business college I wanted to do something interesting so I joined the military. I was personally selected from 600 applicants by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. I had the honor of delivering the certified message to General Eisenhower that the war in Europe was over. He was so elated that he gave me a hug and a kiss!! I was also lucky to travel to Switzerland where I experienced a weather phenomena that does not happen anywhere else in the world! For women interested in military service I say, "Join! It is a worthy cause because you are doing it for the United States of America!" In general I encourage all veterans to take advantage of available benefits, like aid and attendance which helps pay for personal care.

Don Oelschlager

Don OelschlagerBirthdate: 01/23/1922

Hometown: Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 4 years in the 1940's

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: Infantry Squad Leader in Combat

Bio: I didn't sign up, I was drafted. I liked receiving packages from home - my family and girlfriend. I served at Gearge Mead Army base, then Camp Shelby Mississippi (where I was hot) for mountain training. I thought I was going to Europe but went to Panama Canal and into the Pacific. Three other brothers were in at the same time and they all came home safely. I met up with my brother Clyde in the Philippines (artillery). Lloyd was in Texas and Millard was in Alaska.

Frank Sujdak

Frank SujdakBirthdate: 02/04/1923

Hometown: Carnegie, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1942-1945

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII / South Pacific Theatre

Specialty: Botswan Third Class

Bio: I was originally drafted into the Army but joined the Navy instead. I received 11 battle stars. I was mostly ob board ship and cruised all through the South Pacific. I was in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombing. I saw children eating out of garbage cans and trying to find a few drops of water or milk.

Robert Vandergrift

BirthdateRobert Vandergrift: 10/14/1917

Hometown: Manchester, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 3 Years

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII - Europe, Africa & South Pacific

Specialty: Medical Corp, Master Sergeant

Bio: I was drafted into the Army and sent wherever I was needed. I was all over. War is hell and I just wanted to get out. I wanted to fight AGAINST the war.

George Zimbicki

BirthdateGeorge Zimbicki: 09/14/1931

Hometown: Heidelberg, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1949-1952

Specialty: Anti-Aircraft

Bio: I enlisted to go away for a while, and then was drafted to stay a while longer. August 25, 1950 I was in Ft. Hood Texas when the Korean War started. I helped train the reserves to go there. I was supposed to go to Korean but was sent to Germany instead. I was in Germany for 2 years - dug in around an old airfield where they were bringing in troops. What I have to to say to current and aspiring members of the military: "Don't volunteer for anything where you could get into harms way."

Broadmore Senior Living at Murfreesboro

Tommy Bristow

Tommy BristowBirthdate: 07/14/1943

Hometown: Paris, Texas

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1967 - 1978

Wars or Battles Fought In: Vietnam

Specialty: Helicopter Gunner

Bio: Tommy "Sarge" Bristow was born in Tyler, Texas on July 14, 1943 but considers Paris, Texas his hometown. Sarge was drafted during his third year of college at the University of Oklahoma into the Army in 1967 and was part of the 1st Air Cab Recon during the Vietnam War and was an M-60 expert. He did three tours during the war with the third lasting even after the war was officially over. During his last tour, he was a gunner on an Army helicopter that was shot down over Cambodia. Sarge spent 3 years, 9 months and 18 days as a prisoner of war in Cambodia. He spent a total of 11 years in the Army. After being release from the Cambodian prison, Sarge returned to the states and became a truck driver which gave him the opportunity to travel all 48 continental states and Canada. He ended up in New Orleans but was relocated to Murfreesboro during Hurricane Katrina. Sarge's advice to anyone in the military or aspiring to be in the military is: " If you can make it through the first 3 to 4 months, you can make it through the rest."

Keith Egli

Keith EgliBirthdate: 12/12/1944

Hometown: Worthington, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: National Guard

Specialty: Audio/Visual

Bio: Keith was born in Worthington, Pennsylvania on December 12, 1944. Keith was inspired to join the National Guard after receiving encouragement from a friend that was a Lieutenant in the National Guard. He was trained on the movie projector and was in charge of the videos used for training of recruits. During his service, he was involved in crowd control during the Civil Rights Protests in Pittsburgh. At that time, the National Guard was disliked and the members were instructed not to take foods like muffins or apples from people for fear that they would be poisoned or contain razors. Keith's advice is: "Go and get it done. Get it over with. When, you're in, do the best you can."

Mary Nelson

BirthdateMary Nelson: 09/13/1924

Hometown: Lebanon, Tennessee

Branch of Military: Army

Specialty: Medicine

Bio: Mary was born on September 13, 1924 in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee but grew up in Lebanon, Tennessee. She remembers waking up one morning to see the lawn of the college across the street covered in pup tents from where the 2nd Army Maneuver moved in over night. Getting to know these soldiers and their families, many whom rented rooms in her parents' home, inspired Mary to join the Army. She became a member of the WACS Medical Corps. Due to an injury as a result of a surgery while in the Army, she was medically discharged just 3 months in. She has always been very grateful for the learning experience and the opportunity because she feels like the training has continued to be beneficial throughout her life.

Glen Thornton

BirthdateGlen Thornton: 01/27/1947

Hometown: Florence, Alabama

Branch of Military: Marine Corps

Wars or Battles Fought In: Vietnam

Bio: Glen was born in Florence, Alabama on January 27, 1947. His father and grandfather were both in the Army and inspired him to join the military. Glen chose to join the Marine Corps because he thought they were the toughest of them all. As part of the 27th Marines, he became a 45 expert in rifle and a Squad Leader and led his squad in combat throughout Vietnam including Guang Tri. During his last operation, the Tet Offensive, he was wounded by a grenade. He always walked out first because he felt like protecting his squad was the most important thing and this last time, he saved their lives by stepping out first. He said the scariest thing about the war was trying to keep 12 men alive with gunfire coming from all around.

A memory that really sticks out to him was a time when, during a battle, he was sent out to retrieve the body of a fellow Marine. Because of his location among trees, he was under fire from both sides because no one could tell which side he was with but he is a Marine and "No Marine gets left behind." Glen would advice aspiring or current military members to "Be sure to pay attention when they teach you. Don't blame yourself for things you think went wrong because there was nothing different you could do."

Broadmore Senior Living at Teays Valley

Hank Evers

Hank EversBirthdate: 10/10/1921

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1944-1959

Wars or Battles Fought In: Philippine Islands

Specialty: Line Officer

Bio: I had a Chemical Engineer Degree from the University of Illinois and opted to get a commission to be an officer. I had a duty that had to be done. I was the Commanding Officer for both ships, the USS SC 746 and the Ship YP620. What I have to say to current members of the US Military: "Pay attention to your superieor officers and stay away from 'Good Time Charlies'. Come home safe! We appreciate what you are doing.

Raffaela Marie "Teddy" Gabbert

Raffaela Marie "Teddy" Gabbert​Birthdate: 11/24/1921

Hometown: Norwich, Connecticut

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: June 1944 - November 1945

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII / Belgium / England / France

Specialty: Nurse

Bio: My friends joined the military so I did too. I earned a Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and a WWII Victory Medal. All of my fellow servicemen were missing their husbands, wives and sweethearts. It made me feel bad because I didn't have one. We made our own Penicillin with sugar and water, among other ingredients, because we didn't have any way to get it. My advice to current or aspiring members of the military: "Just look at yourself and don't worry about home."

Bobby Arnold Hunt

Bobby Arnold HuntBirthdate: 03/10/1934

Hometown: Walton, West Virginia

Branch of Military: Marines

Years of Service: 1954-1957

Specialty: Combat Photography

Bio: I signed up before the draft so I could choose the branch I wanted. I had top secret clearance. My specialty was combat photography. I did a lot of pictures around the camps. Some of my fellow servicemen were sent to Turkey to take pictures of tire imprints in the sand, etc. for future training. To our soldiers: you are in a dangerous place...watch each others' backs.

William Darrell Moore

William Darrell Moore​Birthdate: 10/04/1925

Hometown: Hurricane, West Virginia

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1943-1947 / 1951-1953

Wars or Battles Fought In: Japan and Atlantic

Specialty: Underwater Demolition (UDT)

Bio: Everyone was joining the military at the time and so did I. Ten of my fellow servicemen and I went to Southern Japan and secured a Japanese Base. We checked out the surrounding buildings and one turned out to be a girls school. They were frightened because they were told to be afraid of us, that we had knives and would cut and kill them. So we took our knives out and some of the men carried tropical chocolate (a chocolate that doesn't melt in the heat). We shaved the chocolate and gave it to the children. Once they were brave enough to take it they laughed and jumped for more. Their only food was fish heads and rice...leftovers after the Japanese ate. We also brought them food. My advice to our current US Military members: Pay attention and do what your Sargents tell you or you may find yourself wounded or dead.

Broadmore Senior Living at York

Paul Campbell

Paul CampbellBirthdate: 03/20/1924

Hometown: Lewistown, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Air Force / National Guard

Years of Service: March 1943 - December 1945; October 1948 - October 1951

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII / Korean War

Specialty: Aircraft Repair

Bio: I was born in Shermensdale, PA, raised in Lewiston, PA and have lived in York, PA since 1950. In March 1943 I entered the service with the 9th Air Force, 7th Air Depot Squadron with service in England, France and Germany repairing P47 fighter planes having battle damage. I was discharged 12/31/1945. After WWII i joined the PA National Guard in 1948 which was activated to active duty in 1950 with the 112th Aircraft and Warning Unit. This service included keeping personnel records and operations while stationed at Grenier Air Force Base in New Hampshire during the Korean Conflicts. I feel very lucky to have served our Country and would recommend a tour of duty for physical and mental training discipline.

William Lanis

William LanisBirthdate: 02/14/1930

Hometown: Stewartstown

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1951-1953

Specialty: Army Cook

Eugene Miller

Eugene MillerBirthdate: 09/11/1924

Hometown: Wrightsville, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 3 Years

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: Medical Gas Treatment Battalion

Bio: Gas treatment Battalion was never used but it was a spectacular thing. We were trained and ready to go but never had to be used against Germany. Gas attacks were a treat to soldiers, I was trained to treat those types of casualties. They dropped mustard gas on us for part of our training. The soldiers wore impregnable clothes so it didn't affect us very much. It was scary though. I was impressed that my commanding officer stood right by his men. After training in the States, we were transferred to Europe. I was relieved whtn the war was over. My unit was in a ship outside New York City. I would encourage anyone to join to help fight for our Country. You will have everything. The best equipment and the best people to fight beside.

David Noll

David NollBirthdate: 01/14/1932

Hometown: Dallastown

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1951-1953

Wars or Battles Fought In: Korean War

Specialty: Artillary

Bio: I was drafted. It wasn't a picnic. Hot in the Summer and cold in the Winter.

Richard Senft

Richard SenftBirthdate: 04/12/1929

Hometown: York, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1945-1947

Specialty: Leading Seaman

Bio: My Dad inspired me to sign up for the military. He was in the Navy at the time. My specialty was Leading Seaman - I stocked the ship to get ready to depart. The military is a good place to get an education and great experience.

Allen Ziegler

Allen ZieglerBirthdate: 09/14/1925

Hometown: Windsor Park/York, Pennsylvania

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 2 Years, 9 Months

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII / D-Day

Specialty: Tank Destroyer / Gunner

Bio: I joined the military because I was a young fellow at the time looking for adventure. November 12, 1944 my tank was hit by enemy fire. I was the only one that survived that horrible mess. I was in the hospital for 4 months due to injuries. When I got out of the hospital I got reassigned to the Military Police as a jeep driver stationed at La-Harve France for the remainder of the war. I looked my brother up after I got out of the hospital incident. He was also stationed in France. I didn't know where so it took me a long time to find him. In the end I was lucky to see him. If you want to join the service and get a good education, join the Air Force

Broadview Assisted Living at Pensacola

Zygmund O. Chuhay

Zygmund O. ChuhayBirthdate: 02/14/1921

Hometown: Lorain, Ohio

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 8/16/1940 - 2/1/1971

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII / Korea / Vietnam

Specialty: Ordnance (warfare), Gunnery

Bio: Other people who had previous military service in the U.S. Navy were my inspiration to join. Nothing can be better than a career serving your country. Ships Aboard: USS Mississippi Battleship (1940-1943), USS Adams Destroyer Minelayer, USS Magpie Mine Sweeper. Retired at Naval Support Activity, Panama City, Florida.

Edwin Hacker

Edwin Hacker

Birthdate: 02/10/1925

Hometown: Pensacola, Florida

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: June 1946 - June 1967

Wars or Battles Fought In: WW2 / Other Conflicts (not specified)

Specialty: Line Officer

Bio: My father and two brothers were career military men. They were my inspiration to sign up. During my military career I spent many years in the European Armed Forces as an entertainer. We tried to keep the troops spirits up. I love to sing and entertain residents at Broadview. It is something to be proud of to be part of a military family.

Ivy Roberson, Jr.

Ivy Roberson, Jr.Birthdate: 12/22/1926

Hometown: Wichita, Kansas

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: February 1948 – August 1969

Wars or Battles Fought In: Korea / Vietnam / 5 Tours in Germany / 2 Tours in France

Specialty: Field Artillary

Bio: I always wanted to be in the military. I was the Sergeant of the all black units. I was a first lieutenant in the National Guard from 1969-1979. I was wounded in Korea and Vietnam and received the Purple Heart. After retiring from the Military I took on a career as a minister.

Broadview Assisted Living at Tallahassee

Byron Clark

Byron ClarkBirthdate: 01/31/1920

Hometown: Community of Hardaway

Branch of Military: Air Corp/Air Force

Years of Service: January 1943-October 1945

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: Air Craft Service

Bio: I was pulled into the military in the draft. My wife and I were working in an airplane factory. I was asked where I wanted to be assigned and I chose the Air Corp because I knew planes. I was part of the ground crew for bomber planes from the coast of France to Greece. I was in Armament School in Denver, CO in 1943. FSU Military Archives holds my recorded story. After the European conflice I had 30 days furlow and remember how joyful I was to see my wife after 22 months over seas. My wife had no idea where I was or what I was doing. That was also the first time I saw my daughter. She was 15 months old.

Robert B. Lang

Robert B. LangBirthdate: 11/11/1924

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Branch of Military: Army Air Corp/Air Force

Years of Service: 1943-1946 Air Corp / 1946-1966 Air Force

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: Aviation and Operations

Bio: I joined the military because I wanted to serve my Country during time of war. I served with pride and honor. I served during WWII but was never assigned to go over seas. My advice to those currently serving in the military: be proud you are in the United States of America.

Clynton Peterson

Clynton PetersonBirthdate: 12/02/1921

Hometown: Port St. Joe, Florida

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1942-1952

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII - Leg Horn, Italy / Gothic Line, Italy / Mount Ramichi, Italy

Specialty: Infantry

Bio: I joined the military because I knew it was my duty to do my part for my Country.

Del Obispo Terrace

Claude Gayer

Claude GayerBranch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1941-1946

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII / European Theater of Operations

Specialty: Warrant Officer, Top Secret Control

Bio: Claude was among the first troops to land in the British Isles. His responsibilities included set-up and maintenance of the war room and ensuring top secrecy. He worked with General’s Dwight Eisenhower, John Hodges Lee, George Griner, George Patton and Omar Bradley. Claude was stationed in London from April 1941 through October 1944 and in Paris from October 1944 through 1946.

Merlin Givens

Merlin GivensBranch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1944-1946

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: Pilot

Bio: In the later part of 1944 I flew Submarine patrol in the Caribbean. In the early part of 1945 I flew sub patrol in the Pacific. A special event that I remember regarding my military days occurred when I was stationed at Whidbey Island, WA. Our PBY plane was in the water for takeoff when the tower radioed for us to return. At the base they put onboard our plane the most pregnant woman I ever did see and ordered us to take her to a hospital in Seattle to deliver her baby! Later on into that lonely night flight I thought of that mother and baby and realized what I was fighting for.

Orland Haynes

Orland HaynesBranch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1944-1946

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII / Invasion of Okinawa

Bio: At the age of 18 Orland was drafted into the Navy to serve our country during WWII. While in boot camp he married his 16 year old sweetheart, Wilma, then shortly after was shipped to Pearl Harbor. He served for 30 days in the Battle of Okinawa, the last battle of WWII resulting in the highest number of causalities in the Pacific Theatre. He earned a medal for his service in the invasion of Okinawa.

Ted Jarmie

Ted JarmieBranch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1942-1946

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: Engineering

Bio: Ted spent most of his military career as a liaison officer for the U.S. Army Signal Corp Engineering laboratories New Equipment detachment. This unit had the job of taking newly invented electronic systems overseas and teaching how to use them. Ted was involved with radar systems, aircraft blind landing systems & the first coast to coast radio telephone towers. He was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation and retired a First Lieutenant.

Richard Johnstone

Richard JohnstoneBranch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1944-1946

Specialty: Electrical Technician

Bio: Richard served in the South Pacific. He was trained as an electrical Technician and served on the island of Guam. Richard did repair work on U.S. Navy ships as well as other allied ships. He retired a Private Second Class.

Leslie Nelson

Leslie NelsonBranch of Military: Marine Corp

Years of Service: November 1942-January 1946

Wars or Battles Fought In:

Specialty: Communications

Bio: Leslie was a corporal in the Marines with weapons qualifications in rifle & bayonet. He had special military qualifications as a field telephone man. He served in the Pacific Theatre. Leslie’s unit was recognized with a letter of accommodation from General Dwight Eisenhower for cooperation with the Navy in field technical communications.

Marvin Ross

Marvin RossBranch of Military: Army Air Corp

Years of Service: 1942-1945

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: Rifle Expert / Air Traffic Control

Bio: Marvin served in the Pacific theatre during WW II. He was a rifle expert and earned a letter of gratitude from President Truman. Marvin worked as an air traffic controller on the Pacific Islands of Enowetak & Tarawa. Marvin had a good time with his buddies and made many long lasting friendships.

Herbert Sigwell

Herbert SigwellBranch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1942-1945

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: Aviation Ordinance

Bio: Herb earned a Pacific Theatre Ribbon, two Presidential unit citations and the Freedom Medal. Herb was an Aviation Ordinance Man 1st Class during WWII. He served in the Marshall Islands, Mariana Islands and Leyte Gulf Philippines. One story that Herb related was how his ship took a shell to the bow and a bomb to the fantail that split the bottom of the ship. A bucket brigade had to work for 3 days to keep the ship afloat, until another ship came to their rescue.

Stanley & Adele Wanetick

Stanley & Adele Wanetick​Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1942-1946

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: Technician / Communications

Bio: Stanley was a Tech. Sgt. And served in the medical detachment. He was in charge of all technicians in the Army hospital in Leominster, England as well as the hospital at Fort Benning, Georgia, where many paratroopers were trained.

 

Adele was in communications and ran a teletype machine at the hospital. They were married in West Virginia and Adele’s captain, Jean Holm gave her away. Captain Holm was later to become the first female Major General in the Army Air Force.

 

Alex Weitzel

Alex Weitzel​Branch of Military: Roayal Canadian Air Force

Years of Service: 1940-1945

Specialty: Pilot / Morse Code

Bio: Alex started his military career as a sergeant who taught Morse Code to signal platoon members. Alex later transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force & was sent to the University of Edmonton where he graduated as a radio navigator on a two man fighter bomber plane, the De Haviland Mosquito. He also flew Eastern Coastal Patrol in Canada.

Sallee Westberg

Sallee WestbergBranch of Military: Coast Guard

Years of Service: 1944-1946

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: Dental Assistant

Bio: Sallee was a Dental Assistant while in the Coast Guard. Her boot camp consisted of living in the Biltmore Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida. They would march to the beach to go swimming and she lived in the Bridal Suite with six other girls. She served on land not sea while in the Coast Guard in both New York City and Washington D.C. In 1946 she had the honor of being in the funeral procession of President Roosevelt.

Frank White

Frank WhiteBranch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1943-1946

Wars or Battles Fought In: Asiatic-Pacific / Philippine Liberation

Specialty: Communications

Bio: Frank served on the U.S.S. Churchill County as a navigator & communications specialist. His first military action was in Manila joining a convey of 100 ships. The ship encountered attacks by Japanese kamikaze’s and mines and thankfully wasn’t injured. He retired a Lieutenant JG.

King's Manor Senior Living Community

Everette Scearcy

Everette Scearcy​Birthdate: 09/24/1925

Hometown: Ceylon, Minnesota

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1943-1946

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII / Battle of Angaur / Battle of Peleliu / Island of TurawaSpecialty: Coxswain for LCM Boats

Bio: Hitler and Japan's Hirohito (Emperor Showa) inspired me to sign up for the military. I was a Coxswain for Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) boats, which were used to land troops or tanks during allied amphibious assaults. During the first bombing raid on the Island of Nukufetau, I recall going through a typhoon on an LCM boat while winds blew 80 mph. One of my vivid memories from the first bombing raid on Funafuti was the very bright full moon that offered the only light during the night. Bombs were dropped from Japanese airplanes onto the runway where American planes were waiting. Also while on Funafuti, there was a night when I was jolted awake by a man yelling, "Raid!", right outside of my sleeping tent. To hide from the gunshots, I escaped from my tent into a nearby foxhole. I jumped in the hole immediately, but should have looked more closely. As I jumped into the hole, I saw something that looked like a coconut...but soon found out was a fellow soldier's head! Luckily, there were no major injuries but it could have ended very badly. When I was in a very long beer line one night, I saw a man i recognized drive to the front of the line to pick up two cases of beer. Moments later when I met up with the man I realized it was Dick Nicholson, my old high school friend and pilot for a four-engine B-24 Bomber. Dick offered me some b eer and we spent hours that evening talking and drinking. Overall, I enjoyed my experience in the military and do not regret my years of service. My advice: Keep your powder dry, so if you have to shoot you can.

Tallahassee Memory Care

George Kolias

George KoliasBranch of Military: Air Force

Years of Service: 4 Years

Specialty: Interpreter

Bio: Married to Gloria Kolias.

Robert Ross

Robert RossBranch of Military: Navy

Specialty: Naval Aviator / Training Pilot / Chief Warrant Officer

Bio: Stationed in Jacksonville, FL during his service.

The Lodge at Mallard's Landing

Henry John Blixt

Henry John BlixtBirthdate: 08/01/1924

Hometown: Tacoma, Washington

Branch of Military: Coast Guard

Years of Service: December 1942-March 1946

Specialty: Guard Duty / Beach Patrol

Bio: This group of kids I hung around with all decided to join so I did too. I didn't get to fight any battles. They held me back. The first assignment I ever had was to install telephone wire into lookout towers at Lake Ozette. One day tat I was there walking on the beach I saw a mother bear and her two cubs. She chased them up a tree as we walked on by. I was also stationed at Bay Ocean, Oregon. We took over a family's house as our base and our meals were mostly Spam. Towards the end of the war we guarded a Russian ship as they loaded up with TNT. That is all they were allowed to do.

Ed Boyle

Ed Boyle

Birthdate: 12/22/1929

Hometown: Corinth, New York

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: January 1947-October 1967

Wars or Battles Fought In: Korean War, Vietnam War

Specialty: Salvage Diver / Explosive Ordnance Disposal / Nuclear Emergency Training

Bio: I joined the military to get out of my small town. I was on a rescue and salvage ship in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. I was on the USS Oriskany off of Vietnam (an attack carrier) on salvage/repair and towing vessels/locating sunken vessels. I provided disaster relief, performed search for downed planes, recovered Jupiter Nose Cone. I was involved in secret work tracking Russian ships during the Cold War. Unclassified information now. After retiring from the military I worked as a Deck Hand on Washington State Ferries and worked my way up to skipper.

Dan Brockmire

Birthdate: 04/17/1926

Hometown: Cape Girardeau, MO

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1944-1946

Wars or Battles Fought In: South Pacific

Specialty: Signal Man

Bio:I signed up for the military when I was in high school so I would have a choice of what branch of the military I joined. When I was 18 I was aboard a ship and we went under the Golden Gate to sail to the South Pacific, Philippines and Shanghai. I was a Signal Man. I used lights to flash Morse Code to other ships. I was as the Navy men referred to as a "Scivvy Waver." We got our orders through Morse Code. I was on a transport ship - transporting Marines. I remember having liberty for 3 hours and I drank 3 warm beers. I loved the sun rises and sun sets out at sea. I didn't get home the whole 2.5 years I was aboard the ship. It was very hot in the Pacific. Some nights you could stretch your hammocks from the gun turrets and sleep outside. It was a bummer when it rained. We were very isolated on the ship. I didn't know when Roosevelt died or when the war was over. I benefited from my time in the Navy. It was where I learned how to live outside of what my parents taught me.

Richard "Dick" Collins

​Birthdate: 11/07/1928

Hometown: Harrisville, New York

Richard "Dick" CollinsBranch of Military: Airforce and Navy

Years of Service: Airforce 1950-1958; Navy 1960-1977

Wars or Battles Fought In: Korean War (Air Force) / Vietnam War (Navy)

Specialty: Supply / Weapons Engineer

Bio: I got my draft notice so I joined the Air Force. I joined the Navy because the Air Force wouldn't take me back in as an officer after I finished school because they said I was too old. I was stationed along the roadside of the bataan death march. If I was young again today I would join again.

Richard "Dick" Frank

Richard "Dick" FrankBirthdate: 0/23/1922

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Branch of Military: Air Force

Years of Service: 1942-1970

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII, Korea, Vietnam

Specialty: Pilot - B24, B29, B36, B52

Bio: I wanted to fly airplanes so I joined the Air Force. If I hadn't have done that I would have been drafted anyways. I remember my first time in England flying a B24 during the war and one of the guys didn't make it. That made me realize how real war is. I flew 118 missions in Vietnam flying B52's. The military is a good solid career and you're serving your country on top of it. If you follow the rules they will take care of you.

Thomas Frantz

Thomas FrantzBirthdate: 03/10/1926

Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

Branch of Military: Marines

Years of Service: August 1944 - August 1946

Wars or Battles Fought In: Okinawa, Japan / Occupation of China

Specialty: Machine Gun Crewman

Bio: WWII was going on so it was common to join the military. As soon as I came of age I did too. I don't know what to say. If people want to ask me about my time in the service I'll tell them. It was not a pleasant place or time. I don't want to send anyone off to war. I would encourage people to complete school and graduate first before joining.

Bill Graham

Bill GrahamBirthdate: 11/20/1916

Hometown: Chingford Essex England

Branch of Military: The Royal Tank Regiment

Years of Service: 6 1/2 Years

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII / Invasion of Normandy

Specialty: Tanks

Bio: I was the Commanding Troop Officer for the Flame Thrower Church Hill. My advise to current military members: stay brave

Harold Hayes

Harold HayesBirthdate: 09/10/1928

Hometown: Modesto, California

Branch of Military: Air Force

Years of Service: 27 years

Wars or Battles Fought In: Korean War / Vietnam War

Specialty: Chaplain

Bio: I was inspired to join the military out of a sense of duty. Others were responding to the needs of our Country and I thought I should too. I enjoyed my work as a Chaplain assisting young servicemen overseas on their commitment to God. I was never issued a weapon to protect myself because I was a non-combat position. I basically spent a lot of my service time in the Philippines. I was with an intelligence gathering group during the Vietnam War. My advice to current and aspiring military: Do not forget your commitment to your Church or denomination as a person even though you're serving for the United States in a uniform.

Don Monson

Don MonsonBirthdate: 11/18/1923

Hometown: Fargo, North Dakota

Branch of Military: Army Air Force

Years of Service: 1943-1946

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII - North Pacific, New Guinea, Phillipines

Specialty: Gunner

Bio: I volunteered for the Coast Guard but ended up in the Air Force. I started as a pilot but ended up as a gunner. One of my first missions was flying down into a canyon in New Guinea. The plane I was in got hit by an exploding shell that was fired into it. Hit just below the turret in a place that was unusual. A rare spot to hit. I got hit in the jaw but my friend wasn't so lucky. He got hit with about 100 pieces of shrapnel. I was told the day before that if I was hit to shoot off the turret just in case we landed in the water so we could get out. The pilot was not told this. He thought I was crazy. My plane was the most damaged. The best description I can give is that war is hell.

Ken O'Brien

Ken O'BrienBirthdate: 12/01/1920

Hometown: Toledo, Ohio

Branch of Military: Coast Guard

Years of Service: 1943-1946

Specialty: Electrician / Lineman

Bio: I was going to be drafted so I joined the Coast Guard and sailed Great Lakes. I was an Electrician Mate Second Class - Lineman. I strung lines for telephone poles. I didn't want to go into the Army or get drafted so joining the Coast Guard was the best thing to do. All the pay was the same no matter what military branch you joined. When I was in Cleveland, Ohio doing beach patrol the Caioga River caught fire because of so much oil.

Gilbert "Tex" Ritter

Gilbert "Tex" RitterBirthdate: 05/21/1927

Hometown: Festus, MO

Branch of Military: Navy / National Guard

Years of Service: 1945-1946

Specialty: Ship Service Store

Bio: I was inspired to join the military by my brother who was a Marine and lost a leg from stepping on a land mine. He moved back to our hometown and made me want to join. I ran the ship service store for our ship.

Bob Tierney

Birthdate: 02/17/1924

Hometown: New Jersey

Branch of Military: Army / Air Force

Years of Service: 1942 - 1952Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII / Korean War

Specialty: Gunner on B17's

Bio: After school I was a Staff Sergeant at Gowen Field in Boise, ID. I was in a serious aircraft accident. As a result I was grounded for a while. Wound up as a Gunnery Instructor on the gunnery range. January 1945 I was shipped to Australia and joined the 38th Bomb Group. It was a B25 outfit. Flew a few missions. I was with this group until the end of the war. I was in Okinawa when the war ended.

Dimitri Todd

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: October 1940 - August 1965

Specialty: Intelligence

Glenn Tosten

Glenn Tosten​Birthdate: 06/28/1926

Hometown: Hagerstown, MD

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1944-1947

Wars or Battles Fought In: Okinawa

Specialty: Cook on LST 882

Bio: I joined the Navy because of D-Day. I was a Cook on LST 882.

Howard West

Birthdate: 04/29/1925

Hometown: Wheatridge, CO

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1943

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: Signal Man

Bio: I joined the military because my friends were going in.

The Sequoia Assisted Living Community

Dennis Berchet

Dennis BerchetBirthdate: 04/15/1937

Hometown: Bloomington, Delaware

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1959-1961

Specialty: Surveyor

Bio: I joined the military because I wanted to settle down and find purpose or I was going to get thrown out of college. I had taken the pledge against drinking when I joined. I was in Alaska at the time and very fed up with it all. I got tanked and was found walking in -52 degree weather wearing shower clogs, khaki pants and a t-shirt. I want to say to all our current and aspiring members if the US Military, "Thank you for serving our Country."

Richard Foster

Richard FosterBirthdate: 09/07/1926

Hometown: Spokane, Washington

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1944-1945

Wars or Battles Fought In: Last Battle of Okanawa

Specialty: Seaman

Bio: I joined the military because I got tired of farting around in life and decided to do something. I had to get my Dads permission. I was a Seaman on the Destroyer Douglas Fox. I was a 20 mm gunner right below the bridge - a plane came at us and I thought I was a goner. I got hit with shrapnel and was hit in the left shoulder. I was sent back to San Diego, CA where I was discharged. I got a purple heart! I am proud of anyone that serves - thank you. I am double proud of our wounded and killed.

Albert Fritsch

Albert FritschBirthdate: 03/09/1927

Hometown: Endenola, Nebraska

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1944-1948

Wars or Battles Fought In: Japan

Specialty: Medics

Bio: I wanted to get in the Navy before the Army got me. My brother was also in. I was in Japan when they signed the Peace Treaty. Liberty in Japan was only for 4 hours in the day time. they couldn't go out at night. I am proud to have served our Country - I am proud of our soldiers and seamen now.

Paul Grano

Paul GranoBirthdate: 01/26/1919

Hometown: Providence, Rhode Island

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1943-1946

Wars or Battles Fought In:WWII

Specialty: Rifleman in Infantry

Bio: I was inspired to join the military because Uncle Sam sent me a greeting - FDR sent it. I fought from Naples to the Austrian border during WWII. We captured a German truck and one of the other soldiers offered to drive the truck back. All the packs and blankets went with him in the truck. He went off to do some hanky-panky and didn't bring the stuff back so we almost froze that night! We almost killed him! What I have to say to our current members of the US Military: "Thanks alot for the rough job - it's rougher than I had it in WWII!"

Donald Hemphill

Donald HemphillBirthdate: 12/26/1930

Hometown: Denver, Colorado

Branch of Military: Merchant Marines

Years of Service: 1949-1954

Wars or Battles Fought In: "Black Gang" Under the Ship

Specialty:

Bio: I was working on the waterfront in Olympia, Washington and was inspired to serve my country so I signed up. I worked in the "Black Gang" under the ship. We went to London and lots of other countries. You gotta have the military, especially the WAVES.

Richard Holmes

Richard HolmesBirthdate: 07/22/1937

Hometown: Hot Springs, South Dakota

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1956-1976

Wars or Battles Fought In: Vietnam

Specialty: Personelleman, First Class

Bio: I joined the military because it's the best thing to do to make a living. There was a selective service so I chose the Navy. I was on an aircraft carrier in the Vietnam war. I served in many countries in the Pacific, as well as in Hawaii, Oregon and Washington D.C. but I really enjoyed being stationed in San Francisco. I think the Military is a good place to learn great skills. Retirement is great.

Larry Schmitt

Larry Schmitt​Birthdate: 12/18/1940

Hometown: Olympia, Washington

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1968-1974

Wars or Battles Fought In: Vietnam

Specialty: Tank Driver

Bio: I joined the military because I had to go to protect our Country. I was glad to get out but it was fun to drive a tank. We could go 60 mph. What I have to say to members of our US Military: "Someone needs to be brave and go to serve."

Dennis Wheeler

Dennis WheelerBirthdate: 09/26/1946

Hometown: Hamilton, Montana

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1969-1970

Wars or Battles Fought In: Vietnam

Specialty: Military Police and Helicopter

Bio: I was called to bust up a fight at the bar when I was an MP - guys were mouthing off. I told the guy I was going to take him in and he pulled an M16 on me. I got it from him and put him in the car - he kicked the back of the seat the whole way. I still talk to some of my guys. we don't talk about Nam - just everyday stuff. What I have to say to members of the US Military: "Go in and do your job and get out! Thanks for doing your job!"

Westminster Terrace Assisted Living Community

Thomas "Bill" DeFraga

Birthdate: 03/09/1925

Hometown: San Francisco, California

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1943-1947

Wars or Battles Fought In: Alevtian Islands Campaign

Specialty: Boatsmen Mate

Bio: World War II itself inspired me to join the military. I wanted to join the Marines but didn't because I didn't want to wear a tie. I was on a Bowzer boat that carried 100 gallons of octane fuel. A fire broke out in the engine room of the boat. I looked over and my friend Tex Taylor was taking off his shoes to get ready to jump overboard. Tex then decided that he would ask Bill for a fire extinguisher after remembering that he couldn't swim. I have nothing but pride for the VA.

Carmen Johnson

Birthdate: 05/02/1936

Hometown: San Diego, California

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1957-1968

Wars or Battles Fought In: Vietnam War

Specialty: Electronics Officer / Weapons Officer / Supply Officer

Bio: The educational opportunities inspired me to sign up for the military. My first seven years were in Navy Schools preparing for the Nuclear Submarine Service. In retrospect my Navy service itself was the most education aspect of my entire life. I wouldn't exchange my service experiences for anything.

Wanda Messmore

Wanda MessmoreBirthdate: 10/20/1923

Hometown: Logan, Ohio

Branch of Military: Army

Years of Service: 1943-1945

Wars or Battles Fought In: WWII

Specialty: Coding and Decoding

Bio: My brother was already in the service and I had a wild teenage hair. I thought I might be stationed with my bother. He was stationed in the Atlantic and I was stationed in the Pacific. When we were out in the field we could not wear shorts. As I was boarding to deploy the men handed us large coats. By the size of the coats we thought we were off to Alaska. We only got one summer outfit, one jacket and one uniform. When we got to our destination we could only shower every 28 days. When we got to take a shower we would go in with our uniforms so we could wash them. I enjoyed my time in the military. I met some very nice people and traveled to amazing places.

Frank Villegas

Birthdate: 02/26/1933

Hometown: Montebello, California

Branch of Military: Navy

Years of Service: 1951-1956

Specialty: Machinist Mate

Bio: I entered the military via draft. I had two cousins who had been in the US Navy as well. While on a submarine my bunk was between two torpedo's. I enjoyed serving my Country and traveling. I would like to tell the youth of today to join the service to become men and serve their Country.