World War II

The Ship That Wouldn’t Die

The Ship That Wouldn’t Die

The USS Laffey (DD-724) was laid down 28 June 1943 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine. She was launched 21 November; sponsored by Miss Beatrice F. Laffey, daughter of Medal of Honor recipient S1c Bartlett Laffey. Commissioned 8 February 1944, Cdr. F. Julian. Becton as her first "Captain". Commander Frederick Julian Becton, Captain of the Destroyer USS Laffey After shakedown, the Laffey traveled the world in the war effort. She was off the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Off Cherbourg, France where an unexploded shell bounced off her hull above the waterline and did little damage. Rescuing a badly wounded Japanese pilot off the Philippines. Firing support in Leyete Gulf and Ormoc Bay. Transported intelligence to McArthur in the Philippines. Supported landings at Mindoro and Luzon, Iwo Jima, and Kerama Retto.  That is where this story begins. Commander Frederick Julian Becton, Captain of the destroyer USS Laffey (DD 724), took the radio message his communications officer handed...

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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 Coast Guard has contributed to the nation’s maritime protection since its previous incarnation was founded in 1790. The United States Revenue Cutter Service initially had a fleet of just ten cutters, known as the Revenue-Marine, to enforce tariffs and collect vital income for the young country. From this humble beginning, the Revenue Cutter Service’s responsibilities grew, taking on more maritime services and even homeland security missions, starting with the Quasi-War with France in the late...

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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 intense combat scenes made it from the film set to the cinema screen. Here are a few of the little-known facts that make this film so unforgettable. Scenes of D-Day Landings in Saving Private Ryan One iconic part of the film is the D-Day Landings. The realistic portrayal of the terror of the men landing on the beach, along with the inevitable chaos of efficiently getting so many men into such a small area, is realistically shown, but this came at an enormous cost. The D-Day shoot cost $12...

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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 barge. But it wasn't an ugly divorce or anything - he sang a French farewell song from the bow of the ship when we left. He loved us, but I didn't see him that often anymore after that." Immediately after the Nazis came to town, despite the risks, Freddie goes on, "During the war, we had a Jewish couple living with us, which is why my sister and I knew a lot about what was going on…" At the same time, their mother also had her daughters join in with her in the rather dangerous task of posting and...

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