George T. Palmer III

George Palmer joined the Navy in 1967 to “see the world” and because he “didn’t like walking in the jungle.” He served as a Fireman E-3 at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida, Vietnam and Seattle, Wash. While in Vietnam, he repaired small boats, including PVR, or “swift” boats.

This interview was recorded at the Bedford VA Medical Center.

Ferdinand “Fred” Lucontoni

 

“Fred” Lucontoni was drafted into the Army in 1943, and served in General George Patton’s 3rd Army, 733 Field Artillery Service Battery, as a machine gunner. He remembered seeing “thousands of planes” flying overhead en route to a bombing mission at St. Lo in France; Lucontoni also took part in the Battle of the Bulge.

This interview was recorded at the Bedford VA Medical Center by James Ramsey.

 

Arnold Lessard

 

U.S. Army Air Corps, 1943-47

Arnold Lessard helped his father run a grocery store in Newburyport, and also owned a band that toured around the area. He enlisted in the Army in 1943; his ability to do math quickly helped him join the Army Air Corps soon after. He became a navigator and bombardier, and would be part of a B-17 crew testing radar equipment. Arnold Lessard was stationed in Japan during the American occupation. Lessard’s experience in the military led to a lengthy and successful career in consulting.

This interview was conducted by his son, Arnaud Lessard, at the Bedford VA Medical Center.

 

 

 

Walter Gilbert

U.S. Army, 1943-45

 

Walter Gilbert was born and raised in Cambridge. While a student at Northeastern University, he enlisted in the Army Reserve Corps, and was called up in 1943. Gilbert served in the 104th Infantry, 26th (Yankee) Division as a platoon sergeant. He would see action in France, Luxembourg and Belgium, and would earn a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and the French Legion of Honor for his service.

 

 

Walter Gilbert with his medals, 2018

David Gaulin

U.S. Army, 1954-57

 

David Gaulin entered the U.S. Army in 1954 as a way to stay out of jail. He trained as a tank driver, and was stationed in Furth in West Germany. When he was sent to the border at Czechoslovakia, he helped several civilians fleeing the Soviets. While he was heading back to the United States, Gaulin witnessed the sinking of the Andrea Doria.

 

Harold Eckman

 

Harold Eckman was born in Worcester, the son of immigrants. He attended Clark University in Worcester, and joined the U.S. Army Reserve Corps in 1942. Eckman would eventually head to Europe as part of the 94th Infantry Division, where he served as mail orderly, delivering (and sometimes censoring) mail for his company.