2010 is the 65th anniversary of the war’s end – V-J Day. Where were you? WWII Veterans of Central Florida recall where they were when the news of victory came. Some were in the Pacific dodging bullets and suicide bombers others were in Germany waiting to go to the front, and some were close to home celebrating in front of the White House. Hear their firsthand accounts of this historic moment!
Interview with WWII Veteran Rocco Covello at VFW 4287 in Orlando, FL, Memorial Day, 2010. Veteran Covello served in WWII in the 4th Infantry Division in Germany. He recalls waiting to go on the frontline at Camp Lucky Strike Replacement Camp when the war ended. Veteran Covello values serving his country and presently serves in the Honor Guard at VFW 4287. He enjoys the quiet of life in Orlando with his wife and two daughters.
WWII Veteran Robert Brodrick Interview
Interview with WWII Veteran Robert Brodrick at VFW 4287 in Orlando, FL, Memorial Day 2010. Veteran Brodrick served in the U.S. Army as a Platoon Sergeant in Europe during WWII. He recalls in detail firsthand experiences liberating the first big town in France, Nancy, (The Battle of Nancy in 1944) and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge - Operation Market Basket. He shares his military experiences in Belgium, France, Holland, and Germany where he got hit with shrapnel on Dec.10th and was back on the frontline on Dec.16th. Veteran Brodrick is thankful "to all the buddies who sacrificed their life to give me this freedom". He currently serves in the Honor Guard at VFW 4287.
WWII Veteran Audrey Tracy Interview
Interview with WWII Veteran Audrey Tracy in Orlando, FL June 6th, 2010, D-Day.
Veteran Tracy served in the U.S. Marine Corps in WWII and worked at Marine Headquarters in Washington, DC. She was one of a select group of women who enlisted to serve their country and "Free a Marine to Fight". These women took on office responsibilities in the military so men could go to combat and fight.
She remembers the impressive military funerals at Arlington Cemetery and the sadness of seeing so many lives lost. Veteran Tracy was on base at Henderson Hall when the news broke that the war was over on August 14th, 1945 and recalls the excitement of getting a bus to Washington and celebrating with everyone in front of the White House.
She is thankful for our wonderful country and believes when we come together as in WWII we can do anything.
WWII Veteran Clyde Russell McCumber
Interview with WWII Veteran Clyde Russell McCumber at Delaney Street Baptist Church in Orlando, FL, June 30th, 2010. Veteran McCumber was on his way to church when the war began and was dodging bullets in the Phillipines when the war ended. He served in the Army Air Corps from March 1st, 1943 to March 1st, 1946. He remembers those who didn't come home and gave their life so he could keep on living. Veteran McCumber has an appreciation for our country and all the advantages we have in the United States: "I think America is the greatest!"
WWII Veteran William M. Turner Interview
Interview with WWII Veteran William M. Turner at Delaney Street Baptist Church, June 30th, 2010.
Veteran Turner served in both WWII and the Korean War. During WWII he trained in aviation and during the Korean War was part of the 278 Regimental Combat Team from Cleveland, TN. Serving his country gave him the opportunity to go to college under the GI Bill of Rights. He earned an engineering degree from the University of Tennessee and a degree in electrical engineering from John Hopkins University. Later he and his wife and two daughters moved to Orlando so he could work for the Martin Company now known as Lockheed Martin.
He shares his story of meeting a Civil War Veteran in Tennessee and his gratitude for all the people who have offered their lives so that we could be a free nation.
WWII Veteran Liston "Alex" Coomer Interview
Interview with WWII and Korean War Veteran Liston "Alex" Coomer at VFW 2093 in Orlando, FL, June 25th, 2010. Veteran Coomer flew with Captain Chuck Yeager, worked as a flight engineer on B-29's, B-50's, B-36's, C-124's, earned his million mile certificate and retired as a Master Sergeant. He recalls learning to fly on a KR 21 paperwing biplane at John Roberts airport in Honolulu, Hawaii in July 1941 and went on to serve in the Administrative Flight Section in Dayton, Ohio. Regarding his experience serving our country, he says, "I'd do it again any day."
WWII Veteran Jack W. Cropp Interview
Interview with WWII Veteran Jack W. Cropp at Delaney Street Baptist Church in Orlando, FL, May 30th, 2010, Memorial Day. Veteran Cropp served in the U.S. Army in WWII and the Korean War. He was a Staff Sergeant. He shares his memories of seeing the Golden Gate Bridge when coming back to the U.S. from his tour of duty in the Pacific, the good experiences he had in the military and the good life he enjoys today in Orlando.
WWII Veteran Tom Connors Interview Part I
Interview with WWII Veteran Tom Connors at St. James Cathedral Church, Orlando, FL, July 1st, 2010.
Veteran Connors served in the Southwest Pacific during the war in extremely native areas such as New Guinea and Okinawa. He is the only living survivor from the original WWII Navy 7th Fleet Amphibious Force. Hear his firsthand detailed account of landing in New Britain, delivering mail through New Guinea, listening to Tokyo Rose on the radio, seeing the Bob Hope Show in New Guinea and meeting Russian female soldiers on a train from Manchuria. Veteran Connors shares his memories of the crew and ships he experienced while serving his country. At the beginning of WWII they worked on a wooden ship from WWI because that is what they had. They had a good navigator Bill Robinson, who went on to become managing editor of Yachting magazine.
Having studied radio in New York at RCA Radio School, Veteran Connors worked the radio shack on the ship and was the radio man receiving the message from President Truman: "We have dropped an A-bomb on Hiroshima". He discusses the Japanese suicide bombers, typhoons and mines at sea.
He is thankful to God to be close to death and survive it. He says, "If you're ever called on to serve this country, serve it. It will be an honor and you'll be proud."
WWII Veteran Floyd O. Johnson Interview Part I
Interview with WWII Veteran Floyd O. Johnson at Saint Richard's Episcopal Church in Winter Park, FL, July 3rd, 2010.
Veteran Johnson joined the U.S. Navy at age 17 in July 1943 and went on to fly as a Tail Gunner for 30 years. He worked in torpedo bombers in the U.S. Navy and B-26's, B-29's, B-36's, and B-52's in the U.S. Air Force. Veteran Johnson served in WWII, the Korean War, and five tours of duty in the Vietnam War. He shares his experiences, stories and details on military life. His wife, Jackie, was the Family Services Coordinator for military families on base and contributed 15,000 volunteer hours. Veteran Johnson was part of the 11th Bomb Wing selected to fly over President Harry Truman's inauguration on January 20th, 1949 and recalls what is was like to fly from Texas to Washington, DC with 11 reporters on board. He is proud to have served his country and retired as a Senior Master Sergeant from the U.S. Air Force. His advice is: "Pay attention to your superiors. Most of them are well intentioned people. You can learn from them and what they have to say. Life itself is - especially in this country- really great! "
WWII Veteran Frank D. Harrison Interview
Interview with World II Veteran Frank D. Harrison at Delaney Street Baptist Church in Orlando, FL, August 8th, 2010. Veteran Harrison retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving his country for 25 years in the United States Air Force. Serving our country is the most proud accomplishment of his life. He served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He says, "I was never personally a hero, but I had the very great honor of serving with some of our nation's greatest heroes". He recalls flying with WWII flying ace Richard Bong and General Chesley Peterson, the first American Commander of the RAF Eagle Squadron. Veteran Harrison remembers the patriotism present at VJ Day and wishes we could return to it. He treasures the freedom of living in America and encourages future generations to show more patriotism.