A busy street in Cologne, Germany. Photo submitted by Ingrid Silvian, who lived there at the end of the war.
COLUMBUS - The Ohio Departments of Aging and Veterans Services today released the seventh installment of the War Era Story Project (www.aging.ohio.gov/news/storyprojects/). The latest collection of 38 stories shows how Ohioans of all walks of life found themselves in far-reaching corners of the globe, with experiences that would be unmatched in the rest of their lives. Stories include:
Frank D. Bergstein, Cincinnati - In this excerpt from a book published after his death, Mr. Bergstein recounts his experience landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day.
Carl Creamer, Xenia - Mr. Creamer befriended the Delvaux family in Bassenge, Belgium, who took care of him. Later, he would return to Belgium and visit them.
Emmett Davis, Nelsonville - Mr. Davis recalls meeting other Ohioans in his travels in southern England. He also witnessed pilot heroics and met his wife-to-be in the nearby town.
William Diggs, 89, Canal Winchester - Mr. Diggs was drafted into the Navy as a mess attendant, a post he says was typical for black men at the time.
Robert H. Doolan, Cincinnati - On Aug. 12, 1943, Mr. Doolan's bomber crew was shot down inside Holland. He eluded capture for 21 days before being arrested by German Gestapo.
Maury Feren, Cleveland Heights - Mr. Feren had rotten luck during the war. He was assigned to an anti-tank team, a machine gun crew, and then to medic, all in a short time and without training.
Barry Friedman, San Diego, CA - On the plane ride back to the states, Mr. Friedman caught a birds-eye view of the re-lighting of the Statue of Liberty's torch after Germany surrendered.
Paul Fuchsman, 93, Chillicothe - Mr. Fuchsman tells the story of the sinking of the U.S.S. President Coolidge, which struck mines in the harbor of Espirito Santo, New Hebrides, in October, 1942.
Howard Gorrell, 68, Yakima, WA - Mr. Gorrell shares a passage written by his late father, Paul, who was quickly promoted from reserve officer to acting company commander near Naples.
Robert Hermann, 56, Chula Vista, CA - Mr. Herman shares the story of his father, Robert, who was shot down over Germany. He recalls with humor how an interrogator realized he was "just a dumb 1st Lt."
Harry J. Hinkle, 87, Barnesville - Mr. Hinkle was captured in Holland and sent to a prison camp on the Polish border. He was later liberated by Russians. He recalls meeting Max Schmelling, a German boxer.
Arthur Hunsicker, Cincinnati - Mr. Hunsicker served in the 3rd Army under Patton and was preparing for the invasion of Japan when the atomic bomb ended the war.
William R. Kimmel, LaFayette - At age 21, Mr. Kimmel was considered by many of his comrades on the U.S.S. Starlight in the South Pacific as the "old man."
Robert E. Kinney, 89, Ashland - Mr. Kinney was a member of the 736th Tank Battalion and trained for special missions on an experimental tank dubbed "Jumpin' Jive."
Donna Kitta, Vandalia - Mrs. Kitta's father, Francis U. Puthoff, was visited on a moonlit night in August, 1944, by a fellow soldier who had had a premonition of his own death that would prove accurate.
Tim Lyons, Columbus - Mr. Lyons shares the story of Tony Nicolosi, who served on the LST 43 when the cargo it carried exploded. He was saved by a Marine whom he never met before or again.
John E. McIntire, 93, Poland - Mr. McIntire shares the history of his long military career that began when he enlisted in the Army in February 1940.
Earl Miller, 93, Cedarville - Mr. Miller piloted a B-17 Flying Fortress on 25 missions in Europe. His crew was one of only three (out of 46) who made it through that many missions.
Dan D. Milosevich, Columbus - Mr. Milosevich got a first-hand view of racial segregation in 1943 in Augusta, GA, and recounts how black troops were treated differently by the Army and the city.
Eileen Muccino, Mason - Mrs. Muccino shares excerpts from letters her father, Robert Murphy, wrote to his new wife back home in Cincinnati.
Jennifer Kimmel Palmer, LaFayette - Mrs. Palmer shares journal entries written by her uncle, John Kimmel, while he served in the Navy in 1945-46.
Norma Haignere Prehm, Hilliard - Mrs. Prehm shares the story of her uncle, John Haignere, who was a communications operator at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Ted Ringwald, 88, Milford - Mr. Ringwald piloted a B-24 and describes one mission where enemy fire took out the plane's hydraulics and they had to use creative solutions to land safely.
Lawrence H. Rogers, 91, Cincinnati - Mr. Rogers was the commander of an efficient field artillery battery that was chosen by General Patton to be part of the Advance Guard of the 3rd Army.
Edward Roth, 91, Cincinnati - Mr. Roth and the 4,500-plus troops aboard the U.S.A.T. Uruguay set a record for the length of time required to reach their destination.
Dave Rothenberg, 91, Beachwood - Depressed and lonely at Passover, Mr. Rothenberg, the only Jew in his training group traveled across New York City to attend a Passover Seder at the U.S.O. club.
Shirley Rough, 59, Beavercreek - Ms. Rough shares a 1945 newspaper article about the downing of the Band Wagon II, a B-17 Flying Fortress, and how the courageous crew (minus one) survived.
Jack Schultz, 87, Cincinnati - Because he raised homing pigeons as a hobby, Mr. Schultz was assigned to the 9th Army Signal Corps in 1943.
William L. Sherry, Columbus - Mr. Sherry's father, Lester, served with the 148th Infantry of the 37th Division in Fiji and New Georgia. He later volunteered for Merrill's Marauders.
Sanford Silverman, 95, Beachwood - Mr. Silverman relates his adventures on Guadalcanal, hiking through swamp-like beaches, digging fox holes and tolerating itchy Army hammocks.
Ingrid Silvian, 82, Groveport - Mrs. Silvian shares an interesting photo of her late husband and relates how this quick-thinking young evaded capture by German troops in 1945.
Lony Smith, 80, Dayton - Mrs. Smith, a German teenager and refugee from Berlin, recalls how German propaganda painted Americans as monsters, and all the children feared them.
Richard Thome, Columbus - Mr. Thome relates his nearly three years of service overseas. He served in Asia as a radio engineer, and learned to drive a truck in a convoy.
Bernard Utz, Waterville - Mr. Utz describes his basic training then his services as infantry on Leyte and Okinawa. While on training in Honolulu, his unit was visited by President Roosevelt.
R. William Vogel, 95, Milford - After Pearl Harbor, Mr. Vogel quit his job as a machinist and joined the Navy, serving in a unit that would be the precursor to modern-day Navy SEALS.
Ed Volkerding, 89, Cincinnati - While serving as an instrument tech in China, Mr. Volkerding worked on P-61 aircraft that routinely flew over the Himalaya Mountains, also known as "The Hump."
Marilyn Walton, New Albany - Mrs. Walton shares the story of her father, Thomas Jeffers, who was shot down on his third mission over Germany and held in the legendary Stalag Luft III.
Clifford Wise, Sr., 86, Minster - Mr. Wise describes the effort it took the Americans to cross the Siegried Line, which had been a German asset for years.
These stories join 134 others that were posted previously at www.aging.ohio.gov/news/storyprojects/. The agencies received nearly 300 submissions and will continue to release stories in installments until all have been shared.
The War Era Story Project was a follow-up to the Department of Aging's award-winning 2009 Great Depression Story Project. Since this project was intended to explore Ohio's war-time experience, the Department teamed with the Ohio Department of Veterans Services to collect stories from veterans of World War II, as well as the men, women and children who held steady on the home front. The project garnered submissions from 284 individuals, including 21 who currently reside out of state or who did not provide location information. Ohio residents submitting stories represent 50 different counties. Of the authors who provided an age, the oldest was 100 and the youngest was 25. The average age of the authors was 83.
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