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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.
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 with Nazis through France and Germany. May Alm, a 92-year-old U.S. Army Nurse Corps captain, modestly tells that story from her small apartment in north Spokane.
Art Anderson is a World War II and Korean War veteran. In this audio slideshow he talks about part of his experience in the Chosin Reservoir in Korea during the winter of 1950.
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.
Retired Lt. Col. Bryant Smick is often reminded of the time he spent flying B-24 bombers over Europe during World War II and of the time he spent as a prisoner of war in Germany and Poland. More than 60 years later, he still looks up whenever he hears an airplane.
Few U.S. military operations were as fundamental to the outcome of World War II – and at the same time as little-known – as those conducted by the Persian Gulf Command, which supplied arms and materiel to the Soviet Union through Iran from 1942 to 1945. "We were supposed to have a secret operation," said John Wills, of Spokane, who arrived in Iran in December 1942, "but the Germans knew all about us. In fact, the night I landed in Abadan, the German radio greeted us by unit number."
World War II veteran John H. Wills recounts his experiences in Iran during the war.
There was a moment 66 years ago – surrounded by smoke on the burning deck of the USS West Virginia, while explosions rocked the ship from below – when Denis Mikkelsen thought to himself: "This is the end." It was probably a common thought among the sailors around him at Pearl Harbor, as well as the soldiers and civilians on the nearby islands who went to sleep at peace and woke up to war.
Ninety-year-old Frank R. Mace, of Cheney, was a prisoner of war in Japan and an accidental atomic veteran – one of the few Americans briefly exposed to the deadly atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. At the time, Mace had been laboring in a Japanese POW camp in Nagoya. In the 44 months since his capture on Wake Island after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the former minor league baseball player nicknamed "Curley" had dropped 81 pounds from his 187-pound frame. Beaten repeatedly during a regimen of forced labor, he was trying to survive on two cups of rice doled out each day.
WWII veteran Frank Mace talks about his experiences.
WWII veteran Frank Mace tells about how he learned about the war being ended while in a Japanese P.O.W. camp.
WWII veteran Frank Mace tells about disarming a torpedo while working on a Japanese ship as a P.O.W.
WWII veteran Frank Mace tells about the execution of U.S. military personnel after being captured at Wake Island.