World War II

World War II – Battle of Iwo Jima (1945)

World War II – Battle of Iwo Jima (1945)

The Battle of Iwo Jima was an epic military campaign between U.S. Marines and the Imperial Army of Japan in early 1945. Located 750 miles off the coast of Japan, the island of Iwo Jima had three airfields that could serve as a staging facility for a potential invasion of mainland Japan. American forces invaded the island on February 19, 1945, and the ensuing Battle of Iwo Jima lasted for five weeks.  In some of the bloodiest fighting of World War II, it's believed that all but 200 or so...

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PFC Harold Agerholm, U.S. Marine Corps (1942-1944) – Medal of Honor Recipient

PFC Harold Agerholm, U.S. Marine Corps (1942-1944) – Medal of Honor Recipient

PFC Harold Agerholm had a quiet start to his life. After qualifying from school in Racine, Wisconsin, he worked as a multigraph operator for the Ranch Manufacturing Company. Then in July 1942, he joined the Marine Corps Reserve. Upon completing his recruit training in San Diego, California, Harold Agerholm was sent to the Headquarters and Service Battery, 4th Battalion, 10th Marines, and 2nd Marine Division. He received further training for eleven months with his battalion in Wellington, New...

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SSgt Desi Arnaz, U.S. Army (1942-1945)

SSgt Desi Arnaz, U.S. Army (1942-1945)

Desi Arnaz who served in the US Army between 1942 and 1945 is perhaps most famous for his starring role as Ricky Ricardo opposite his real-life spouse Lucille Ball in the foundational modern TV sitcom I Love Lucy. Desi was already on his way to becoming a star when he was drafted into the US Army, but his time as a soldier gave him plenty of opportunities to hone his skills not only as a performer, but as a producer. Desi Arnaz’ Military Service Born Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III in...

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Sgt Alvin York, U.S. Army (1941–1947) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Sgt Alvin York, U.S. Army (1941–1947) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Sergeant Alvin York was seemingly born to a hardscrabble existence and anonymity in death, but World War One changed that forever. The story of York is one that twists and turns like the Mississippi river as he went through redemption and battled personal demons. At the end of it, all was the story that could have secured fame, finance, and his future - but York turned his back on it all to go back to the simple life and try and make a positive impact on the community in which he lived. York's...

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Thunder Below! by Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey

Thunder Below! by Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey

The USS Barb Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II By Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey The thunderous roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb, who frequently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's locker. Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink...

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Witness to the Storm by Werner T. Angress

Witness to the Storm by Werner T. Angress

By Werner T. Angress On June 6, 1944, Werner T. Angress parachuted down from a C-47 into German-occupied France with the 82nd Airborne Division. Nine days later, he was captured behind enemy lines and, concealing his identity as a German-born Jew, became a prisoner of war. Eventually, he was freed by US forces, rejoined the fight, crossed Europe as a battlefield interrogator, and participated in a concentration camp's liberation. Although he was an American soldier, less than ten years before,...

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Destroyed Military Records. A Disaster with Long-Lasting Repercussions

Destroyed Military Records. A Disaster with Long-Lasting Repercussions

In 1973 a devastating fire in the National Personnel Records Center destroyed about 17 million military personnel files. A loss with long-lasting repercussions, it affects our understanding and knowledge of many individual WWII stories. Here in New Orleans, the destructive power of fire and especially water is well known. Large disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and fires affect our national consciousness, and their devastating power often goes beyond the destruction of buildings and...

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Military Myths & Legends: Native American Contributions in the U.S. Military

Military Myths & Legends: Native American Contributions in the U.S. Military

Throughout American History, Native Americans have distinguished themselves with bravery and courage in military service to their country, often without enjoying the same rights and privileges afforded other soldiers.  During WWI, more than 10,000 Native Americans served in the American Expeditionary Force. The majority were volunteers, and most were not considered U.S. citizens. Only U.S. citizens were eligible for the draft. Despite this, the government required Native American men to...

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Ernie Pyle – Famous WWII War Correspondent

Ernie Pyle – Famous WWII War Correspondent

American journalist Ernest Taylor "Ernie" Pyle was one of the most famous war correspondents of WWII. Using his folksy writing style, Pyle connected with his readers and brought the realities of the battlefront to living rooms across America. At his peak, his columns appeared in 400 daily and 300 weekly newspapers. His devoted readers included political and military leaders and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. His coverage of campaigns in North Africa, Italy, and France earned him a Pulitzer...

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World War II Veterans

World War II Veterans

How Many World War II Veterans are Still Alive Today? According to Pew Research, the number of living WWII veterans dropped to under 300,000 in 2020 from over 930,000 in 2015. The oldest of these veterans is Lawrence Brooks, an Army veteran born in Louisiana in September 1909, drafted at the age of 31, and sent to the Pacific front with the 91st Engineers. One of the 1.2 million African-Americans served during the war, PFC Brooks mainly cooked and cleaned for his superior officers. The...

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Fascinating Facts About The Film “Saving Private Ryan”

Fascinating Facts About The Film “Saving Private Ryan”

One of the most accurate and raw depictions of World War II can be found in the film Saving Private Ryan. This film portrayed the terror and chaos that typifies war, rather than the sanitized and unrealistic images that Hollywood tended to put out in past films. Opening scene capturing D-Day, storming the beaches of Normandy, FR. With the realism portrayed in the film, there were many behind-the-scenes tricks that director Steven Spielberg employed to ensure that the ageless footage and...

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Teenage Sisters Persuaded German Soldiers

Teenage Sisters Persuaded German Soldiers

Jannetje Johanna "Hannie" Schaft and Truus and Freddie Oversteegen When the Nazis steamrolled into the Netherlands in May of 1940, Jannetje Johanna "Hannie" Schaft and Truus and Freddie Oversteegen were just 19, 16, and 14 years old, respectively. As for the Oversteegen sisters, their mother, Trijn, had left their father years before. Freddie states of this, "She was just fed up one day - we lived on a large ship in Haarlem, but my father never made any money and didn't pay anything for the...

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