Dorothy Tarleton didn’t know she was on the same Pacific island as the atomic bombs that would soon devastate Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a U.S. Army nurse, 1st Lt. Dorothy Coy, as she was known then, cared for the wounded men brought to the 374th General Hospital on Tinian Island. She bandaged wounds, worked with amputees, and watched many men die who’d been evacuated to the hospital from the front lines. To her it was a job – and the details of the war and the battles were not her concern.
John Wills, a World War II veteran who was featured in The Spokesman-Review's Voices of War series in 2008, has died.
When The Spokesman-Review began its “Voices of War” series last fall, editors and reporters expected to be able to find enough compelling stories to publish one a month for a year. ■ We were wrong. As it turned out, we could have published one a week and still not exhausted the stories of veterans around the Inland Northwest. Each new story brought suggestions of other men and women we should consider featuring. ■ Limitations of staff time and newspaper space meant that we had to stick to the original plan of 12 stories representing a range of viewpoints and experiences. ■ While this is the end of the newspaper’s series, we hope it is the beginning to a new phase of gathering veterans’ stories. The job now shifts to our readers – the sons and daughters, or grandsons and granddaughters, of those veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, of the Persian Gulf and Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Very few World War II veterans alive today can say they followed Gen. George Patton onto the beaches of Normandy before joining his soldiers for the fierce fight against Nazis through France and Germany. Even fewer can say they saved lives of U.S. soldiers, French freedom fighters and even German SS troops in the days after the bloody and deadly D-Day Invasion of June 6, 1944.
When Art Anderson landed on the tropical island of Peleliu in the spring of 1944, it was quite a contrast to the harsh landscape around Minot, N.D., where he grew up. Amid coconut trees, white beaches and blinding blue oceans, the 18-year-old Marine finally was getting to fight for his country. “I joined the Marine Corps in the fall of ’42. Me and my friend Joe, we were going to go in together,” Anderson said. “I was born in Canada so that kind of held me back. I didn’t get to boot camp in San Diego until August of ’43.”
Ernie Peluso has survived much in his 83 years of life – serious falls, car accidents, hunting accidents and a kamikaze attack that sunk his aircraft carrier during World War II – but he’s not sure why. “I guess God had a plan for me. But I don’t know what it was,” the Post Falls resident said when searching for a reason why he lived through the sinking of the USS Bismarck Sea and a night alone in the South Pacific during the battle of Iwo Jima.
Not a day goes by that Dane Broadfoot doesn’t think about his time in World War II and the roughly 600 days of combat he experienced with the 1st Armored Division. Sometimes it’s the devastation he saw in Italy while serving as a combat engineer, building bridges and roads, and clearing minefields.
It's been more than a half-century, but Kirby Billington remembers the sound of his ship, the USS Saunter, scraping over the top of a mine in Manila Bay. Finding mines was the Saunter's mission. But not this way.
David Sullivan spent parts of World War II aboard aircraft carriers in the North Atlantic and South Pacific, but it's the odd turns of fate and unusual situations that the former flight surgeon remembers more than the tales of battle. For 18 months he was on an aircraft carrier that spent most of its time hunting Nazi U-boats, and he said the most grueling medical duty was a 25-hour stint treating German sailors from a sub sunk by his ship's planes. He recalls when military doctors were issued a new wonder drug called penicillin that seemed to work for everything. He remembers being asked to take the temperature of a monkey to determine whether it could be let on board the ship.
Dorothy Tarleton didn't know she was on the same Pacific island as the atomic bombs that would soon devastate Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending World War II. As a U.S. Army nurse, 1st Lt. Dorothy Coy, as she was known then, focused on caring for the wounded men brought to the 374th General Hospital on Tinian Island. She bandaged wounds, worked with amputees and watched many men die who'd been evacuated to the hospital from the front lines. To her it was a job – and the details of the war and the battles were not her concern.