We are so thankful for the men and women who have served our country and defended our freedom!
In the leadup to Veterans Day, we asked veterans across Sagora communities to share their experiences with us, including the lessons they learned and their favorite memories from their time in the US Armed Forces. We’re so thankful for those who shared their experiences with us. Here are the stories from veterans at Elison Assisted Living of Bella Vita in Venice, Florida.
Arthur “Art” G. served in the Navy from 1948-1950 as an Electrician’s Mate. He saw extensive time in the Mediterranean Sea. One of his favorite memories was purchasing a piano accordion in Venice, Italy. He says the Navy provided him with the education that he needed to succeed in life.
James “Jim” G. served in the Air Force from 1953-1957, during the Korean War. He was an Automatic Radar Technician who achieved the rank of Airman First Class.
Roger H. served in the US Air Force as part of its Security Service from 1952-1956. He later used the GI Bill to get a college education.
Margaret A. served a unique role during her time with the Coast Guard in World War II. She worked in graphic arts and advertising, specifically billboards, publicity and magazines. She also visited wounded service members in hospitals as part of her service.
Edward “Ed” S. served in the Army during World War II from 1944-1946 as a tank commander in M5 and Sherman tanks. In the final days of the war, he recalls seeing Russian soldiers running up an American-occupied hill with bottles of vodka, shouting “the war is over!”
William “Bill” C. served in the Army during the early 1960s, achieving the rank of Staff Sgt. He enjoyed traveling during his time in the service.
Joe M. served in the Navy during World War II from 1942-1945. He was part of the gun crew aboard the USS Bataan and also lent his assistance as a canvas worker. He enjoyed traveling during his time in the Navy.
Jim B. served in the Navy as a Signalman from 1951-1995, during the Korean War. His service took him across the Pacific, including a trip to the Solomon Islands on a top-secret mission where he “had more coconuts than he could count.”
Tom W. served in the US Air Force for 21 years, working his way from aircraft apprentice to Superintendent. “I had to fight to get what I wanted,” he says. “Don’t give up! If you want something, keep fighting for it!”
Ralph H. was a self-described “farm boy from Idaho” who earned an appointment to the US Coast Guard Academy. He would serve the USCG as an Engineer and Deck Watch Officer for various types of ships, including icebreakers. Later in his career, he would go on to design ships and write a book about the Coast Guard Academy. “It made a better life for me,” he says of his service.
Bill H. says the Navy “made a man out of me!” Serving from 1954-1958, Bill was a salvage crewdiver in the Solomon Islands. He fondly remembers an instance where he witnessed hundreds of porpoises racing a Naval ship.
Marshall “Pete” P. served from 1943-1946 in the US Army as a clerk and quartermaster. His service took him across the Pacific theater, to Hawaii, Guam, Tokyo and the Philippines. He says he really enjoyed his time in the Army and “he made a lot of good friends.”
Gene B. served in the Army Air Force from 1940-1945 as a radioman and gunner. He says his service “opened up the world for me. It’s a team effort and you need to learn to depend on people.”
Aaron B. served in both the Army and the Air Force Reserves during the Korean War and its aftermath. He served as a company clerk and a Supply Sergeant. His roles relied on organization, and he says the skills he learned “helped me with jobs throughout my life.”
Leslie “Les” G. played trumpet in the Marine Corps Band, serving from 1944-1947. He learned to “work hard for what you want” and found playing in the band to be very entertaining.
Lowell K. served in the Army from 1956 to 1957. In that time, he was an infantryman and a clerk. The Army taught him discipline and allowed him to travel to Germany, a country that he very much enjoyed.
Howard G. served in the Army from 1951-1973, achieving the rank of Command Sergeant Major. He was responsible for the discipline, training and morale of the troops under his command. At one point, he oversaw an entire battalion
Chester “Chet” Y. served in the Navy from 1943-1945. He spent most of his time in school and training and was getting ready to ship out to Japan as part of a potential invasion force when he heard that the Atomic Bomb had been dropped. Several days later, the war ended.
Joseph K. served in the Army from 1956-1968, working as a draftsman and architect. He says the Army “made a better person out of me. It made me grow up.” Joe especially enjoyed Germany, where he met his future wife.