Military history

recent history stories


Wreaths Across America at Antietam: A special honor for 6 soldiers from an era of segregation

In the back corner of Antietam National Cemetery, a good 25 yards from any other plot, are six graves. They are the final resting places of African-American soldiers who fought in World War I — segregated even in death. Saturday afternoon, they were first to be honored during the cemetery's Wreaths Across America ceremony.

see more history stories
see more history stories
see more

veterans' stories

Korean War vet Ralph Puckett: 'I've got that Ranger tab tattooed on my heart'

On Nov. 25, 1950, Ralph Puckett and a Ranger company he commanded fought the Chinese against great odds on a Korean hill overlooking the Chongchon River. It was as deep as the 8th Army got into Korea during that conflict.

see more veterans' stories
see more veterans' stories
  • Retired airman reminisces about gunship, military service

    As an aerial gunner, Robert La Rosa waged war from the heavens by firing down a hailstorm of bullets from gunships so ferocious they were named after dragons.

  • After 'wires' got crossed with Uncle Sam, draftee served for the entire war in the Pacific

    Edward J. Haslinger found work at Liberty Wire Works at Elmwood and Kenmore avenues in Buffalo, thanks to his Uncle Martin who worked at the plant back in the early 1940s.

  • Advice on self-improvement stayed with combat veteran for a lifetime

    As a young man, John Ellerton worked at a bank performing clerical duties, but he felt he could do better for himself and marched off to a state employment office.

  • Veteran remembers Iwo Jima: 'I became cold and tough'

    The past 69 years have not dimmed Warren Musch’s memory of his experiences on the volcanic island of Iwo Jima, the scene of some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of World War II. For Musch, then a 23-year-old Marine second lieutenant from rural Virginia, Iwo Jima was where he got his first and only taste of combat.

  • Kentucky veteran remembers capturing German general

    By late April of 1945, Allied forces were closing in on Adolf Hitler's Germany. The front page headlines in that day's Owensboro Inquirer spoke of the U.S. Third Army being just 79 miles from Hitler's mountain retreat and Berlin cut off from reinforcements by Russian troops.

  • Frank Rueda, the quiet hero

    Frank Rueda is the real deal. He's 78 years old, a bona fide war hero and a proud man reticent to talk about the past. Until you get him started.

  • Calif. survivor of Bataan Death March tells what it was like

    Sixteen-year-old Raymond Lujan Vasquez, along with more than 75,000 starving, sick and dehydrated prisoners of war, started out on the 65-mile trek to a prison camp in Tarlac Province, Philippines, that would come to be known as the Bataan Death March.

  • Finding his purpose through service in three wars

    Thirty years in the Navy left Worth Hinnant with a plethora of memories — some good and some bad — but all of them made him the man he is today.

  • In memories of Leyte and Okinawa, a veteran's wounds never fully heal

    When Harry R. Wisniewski received a draft notice, he showed it to his boss at Metal Alloys Specialties in Black Rock and was told he could receive a one-year deferment.

  • After the war, WWII veteran 'missed getting shot at'

    For 95-year-old Gilbert Fann, the rush of being shot at is not just something indescribable; it is something he still misses decades after leaving war behind him.

  • Trumpeter-turned-signalman ensured communications in war against Japan

    Joseph M. Falzone’s love of music introduced him to the military while still in high school. “I had joined the band at Seneca Vocational but was very poor and needed a trumpet. I was told if I joined the Army National Guard, they would give me a trumpet for playing in the Guard’s band at the Masten Armory. That way, I would have a trumpet for the school band,” Falzone explains.

  • Vestal Yeats was often at war with the Navy

    Vestal “Pappy” Yeats negotiated the Great Depression, then ricocheted off military illogic in World War II, and later retired after teaching at Texas Tech.

  • How one dad joined sons in WWII

    In some military families, each generation corresponds to services in a war: Grandpa in World War II, Dad in Vietnam, and a son or daughter in Iraq. It’s less common, however, to have two generations actively serving during the same war.

  • World War II veterans recall kamikaze attack on ship

    It was around 4 a.m. on May 1, 1945, on board the USS Terror when crew member Fred Bartlett got relieved of duty and was ready to get some sleep. He said he heard a boom that he later learned was a Japanese kamikaze attack and was told get to his battle station.

  • WWII bridge-builder recalls boldly snapping back at 'Old Blood and Guts'

    Before shipping off to Europe to fight the Germans in World War II, Sebastian “Yono” Bordonaro and fellow combat engineers practiced building bridges across the Colorado River to test the strength of the structures.

  • Hite brothers, from Earth, Texas, were valiant in the nation's wars

    The Hite brothers were soldiers when the nation needed them most. Robert, who was a co-pilot for one of Gen. Jimmy Doolittle’s B-25 bombers that avenged Pearl Harbor, is six years older than Kenneth, a pilot who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. They grew up at Earth in a farm family of five.

  • Veterans of 464th Bombardment Group gather to share stories

    Stillman Harding shouldn't have been at the 464th Bombardment Group's reunion this month. Then again, he shouldn't have been anywhere but 6 feet under for the past seven decades.

  • Korean War POW addresses university students, faculty

    In observance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which is observed the third Friday of September, Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) held the 8th Annual POW Convocation program in Jackson Hall Wednesday. The convocation’s featured speaker was Bill Norwood. Held as a POW between 1951-53, Norwood founded the Korean War Ex-POW Association in 1976.

  • 60 years later, they remember the 'forgotten war' in Korea

    The so-called forgotten war in Korea — which ended 60 years ago — remains fresh in the minds of Ronald Evans Sr., Stanley Levin, Clarence Davis, and others who survived the ordeal.

  • WWII veteran: 'Those two incidents gave me nightmares'

    As his young bride followed him from base to base, Malcolm Johnston, a technical sergeant, became the radio operator and gunner as part of a nine-man crew flying in a B-17 bomber.

  • WWII veteran: 'They made the war personal'

    1943: It was a big year for Malcolm Johnston. In just 12 months, he married his childhood sweetheart, Carolyn, became a United States citizen, and joined the United States Air Force.

  • World War II pilot won't forget hum of B-17

    It has been said that a war never truly ends until the last participant is gone. For Jack Bertram, who served as a bomber pilot during World War II, his war had seemed far in the past for many years. But in recent times, his memories of it have come more to the forefront.

  • Roots of this marriage date back to 1944 on shores of France

    Few would characterize the LST class of amphibious warships as beautiful. But when Suzanne Figuiere saw a flotilla of the gawky, snub-nosed craft moored at the old port of her native Marseille, France, in September 1944, its ungraceful lines were not foremost on her mind.

  • One man's efforts untangle WWII prisoners' Catch-22

    The last Illinois survivor of a mostly forgotten World War II prisoner-of-war saga lives in a white farmhouse 7 miles north of town. Retired from grain farming since 1988, Alva Moss, 89, walks a narrow road, mows his lawn and plays tennis for exercise. And, he waits for recognition.

  • Coast Guard retiree recalls long-ago night of lifesaving heroism

    New London - Retired Seaman Sherwood Anderson, who received the Coast Guard's Gold Lifesaving Medal in 1957, is thinking about donating a file of documents related to his lifesaving effort to the planned National Coast Guard museum.

  • WWII veteran recalls 'great jubilation' of VJ Day

    In the 1940s, Oklahoman Ed Livermore spent years training on the latest military artillery as World War II ground on, but he never saw battle. Victory over Japan Day saved him from combat, he says.

  • Dark days at home and in Vietnam turn veteran into a poet

    At 16, Larry L. Penrod went to war for a buddy caught smoking in the boys room at Tonawanda High School. “A teacher came in and started giving my friend a hard time for smoking. I said to the teacher, ‘I was smoking, too,’ and that put the attention on me. The teacher started pushing me. I started pushing back. I pulled his tie off, and they suspended me,” Penrod says.

  • Veteran Wants To Be Remembered As Patriot, Good Son

    Though his own memory is beginning to fade, he wants others to remember him as an American patriot and a good son. Just one day after his 85th birthday, Firmo Santiago sat down at the Fort Smith home he shares with his son and niece’s family to share his recollections of his Army service.

  • Pa. woman recalls breaking National Guard gender barrier

    Cyndy Witman pulled a yellowing newspaper clipping from a manila envelope and looked at the young woman in the accompanying photograph. "That's me," she said, pointing to the photograph. "I was the first woman to join the Pennsylvania National Guard unit in Reading."

  • WWII gunner recalls missions over Europe

    Paul Albert's journal from 1944 is filled with terse entries that sound like nightmares, but these were his daily routine, reminding all who read them of the horrors of war.

  • Battle of the Bulge, horrors of Dachau are lingering images for former combat medic

    Long before Charles J. Zappo toiled as a medic on World War II’s battlefields and assisted in liberating a concentration camp, he knew what hard work was and how war could exact a devastating price.

  • Veteran remembers economic hardship and world war

    J.D. Payne remembers that he was one of the few boys raised in Matador who didn’t work as a cowboy during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

  • Wartime Korea: 'The coldest place I've been in my life'

    One of the things Bobby Burkhalter Sr. remembers most about his service during the Korean War was the brutally cold weather and how it might have helped hasten the end of the fighting.

  • Hard lessons from decades at war

    Three years, seven months and seven days at war. For one of Jacksonville “Hard Core Warriors” his years at war in the Pacific during World War II still weigh on his heart and his mind.

  • Ernie Baumgardner's war: Seven WWII invasions

    Ernie Baumgardner went through seven invasions during World War II, getting a front-row seat to each one aboard a Higgins boat, one of the ubiquitous landing craft that ferried men, vehicles and supplies from ship to shore.

  • WWII salvage diver, 100, recalls Seabee days

    It was a time to reminisce a century of living. Invariably, Hartle’s memories float back to World War II when he risked his life time and time again as a salvage diver with the U.S. Navy.

  • Spirit of '45 touches Lubbock veterans

    When asked why he wanted to serve so badly, Chuck Cromwell's answer was simple. “It was war,” Cromwell said. “It was 1942.”

  • Illinois vet recounts Korea: 'It was a crappy war'

    Sixty years ago, when the armistice between South Korea and North Korea stopped the fighting and troops withdrew to designated areas to create a demilitarized zone, Art Hock was one of those men moving back.

  • WWII veteran Richard Hardy recalls his days as torpedo man

    At the age of 19, recent Myerstown High School graduate Richard Hardy thought he was going to be a printer. But the year was 1941, and Uncle Sam had other plans for the young man.

  • N.C. veteran's Korean War memories remain vivid

    “They don’t call it a war, they call it a conflict,” Bill Hutchens says with a chuckle. “We always said, ‘If it’s a conflict and not a war, why don’t they just send some policemen over here to fight the conflict and let us go home?’”

  • Airmen relive famed WWII mission to Ploesti

    Of the 177 bombers that launched that day, 54 planes did not return. Out of the 1,726 men aboard the bombers, 532 did not return, with more than 100 of those taken as prisoners of war.

see more