In my recent article Stepping Into a History Book: A US Navy Destroyer Reunion, I wrote about 4 sailors I met at the Balch-Porterfield reunion.
Warren Seward, Sam Thomas, Gene Beckstrom and Jack Spradlin were all underage at 16 when they joined up during World War II. You can read a bit of their stories in my article.
Well, a couple of days ago I’m at the VA Hospital in New Haven and picked up the latest issue of VFW Magazine. In there is an article WWII When Serving Was Worth Risking The Brig. If you get a chance, pick up a copy and read the article.
In it you will read about George W. Holle, Jr. 12 years old, Calvin Leon Graham, 12 years old and Jacklyn Lucas, 14 years old, and a Medal of Honer winner at age 17 at Iwo Jima. Others featured in the article: William S. TRERO, 13, Clifford Warren, 16, Phillip R. Schnelderman, 15, Bruce Cottenton, 16 and Dale Schaffer, 15.
Then there were three brothers; Charles, Frank and Larry Smith, 14 and 15, who were living in the Philippines at the time of the Japanese invasion, and became guerrilla fighters in their own back yard.
As I write this I’m looking at my 15 year old grandson Scott … and thinking.
Don Johnson – November 2013