In 1997, U.S. Army Chaplain Corp member, Joseph J. Gallick Jr., stepped down from active duty, when he became the priest at the Albanian Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Natick, MA. During this time, he also was attached to units in Londonderry, NH and Hanscom Air Force Base. Prior to his time in Natick, Gallick had stints in Fort Carson, Colorado, and Hanau, Germany, where he spent three years in 1990-1993. He also spent time in the Persian Gulf, arriving just as the first war was starting. While his unit was never deployed, he helped prepare other units for deployment, and recalled, he would often be the last person to say good-bye, wishing the men and women a safe return. He was with the 655th ASG in Fort Drum, NY, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. He spent a month in Afghanistan (January-February 2005), as the military needed an Orthodox Priest to conduct services for the units. He retired in 2009 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
U.S. Air Force 1939–1945
Discusses Mr. Zettek’s service as a B-17 bombardier with the 388th Bomb Group in the Eighth Army Air Force in Europe during World War II.
U.S. Army 1943–1945
Fresh out of nursing school, Rose Dewing Young enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps in 1943 and served in England, France and Belgium, researching and treating soldiers with combat fatigue. Landing at Normandy shortly after the invasion her unit was transferred to Belgium, directly behind the American line at the Battle of the Bulge. Later in France, she treated the soldiers who liberated the German prison camps. Although a shy girl, she learned to do what she had to do. Her medical group in Belgium was known as the “Americans on the hill” and offered care and friendship to the locals. In 2004 she returned to Belgium and reunited with many of the people she had known as children. She has remained an active member of the Battle of the Bulge Society.
Born and raised in South Africa, Cyril Woolf enlisted in the South African Air Force in 1940 at the age of 27. Because of his electrical background, he was assigned to be an aircraft electrician, working on British-and American-made air planes in Egypt, and across Africa to Tunis and into Italy, with the #2 Fighter Squadron. Living in tent cities, Woolf speaks about Cairo, the Pyramids, Tripoli and seeing President Roosevelt in a motorcade in Tunis. During his five years in the service, Woolf also worked with the squadron that flew British Mosquito planes and used American-made Fairchild cameras to photograph the oil fields in Rumania. American servicewomen then made models of the terrain that were used in successful British bombing raids. Woolf also speaks about the importance of serving in the Air Force, and the education he received in seeing other areas of the world. He tells a heartwarming story of the emotional moment he arrived in America to live.
U.S. Navy 1942–1945
When he was only sixteen, “Mannie” Witt convinced his parents to let him enlist in the Navy. He was assigned as a signalman to the USS Arkansas which, as part of a convoy of ships, participated in the Normandy Invasion at Omaha Beach and saw action at Iwo Jima, the ship’s target being Mt. Suribachi. Mannie witnessed from the mast the battles, the Kamikaze pilots and all the close calls. After the war, he was assigned to the USS Tennessee under Vice Admiral Jesse Oldendorf, who was in charge of the occupation of Southern Japan. He witnessed the devastation of Hiroshima and finished his tour of duty on the USS Appalachian where he was discharged as a Signalman First Class.
U.S. Army 1943–1946
Harry Wescott was drafted into the Army in 1943, shortly before his 19th birthday. He was assigned to the 75th Infantry Division and became known as the “guy that carried the radio,” accompanying the company’s lieutenant as he coordinated information within the division. Wescott took part in the Battle of the Bulge, and other campaigns to drive the Germans out of France and Belgium. He earned a Bronze Star and the French Legion of Honor.
U.S. Army 1941–1949
Escaping Austria as the Nazis advanced across Europe and outwitting the Gestapo in Czechoslovakia, Henry Walter arrived in America, was drafted and served under General Patton at the Desert Training Center in California. He then joined the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale in Colorado where he trained troops to ski, rock climb, and cross avalanche slopes. His next assignment was to attend the first class of Military Government at Fort Custer in Michigan and was then sent to England to teach German and French to officers, with super-secret clearance for D-Day. On D plus one, Walter landed on Omaha Beach and went through France with the 2nd Division, 38th Infantry Regiment. He was at the frontlines of the Battle of the Bulge, crossed the Rhine into Germany and was back with the Czechs for VE Day. Post-war he stayed to help oversee the occupation, where he met his future wife.
James Vanderpol was a high school student in the Netherlands when it was invaded by Germany in 1940. Labeled as Jews in the second year of the Nazi occupation, he and his family spent four years in hiding, separated from each other, often hungry, always in fear of being discovered. Vanderpol talks about what this period was like, and especially about the cruelty of the Germans. When the war ended, the family was reunited and immigrated to the United States.
U.S. Army 1939–1945
Interview discussing Mr. Van Tassell’s service during World War II as a medic and signal corps switch board operator in German and France.
Derek Till was born in the south of England and worked in the civil service during the early days of the war. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1941; after pilot training in Canada, Till returned to England to fly Lancasters (similar in size to a B-17) with three times the bomb tonnage. After V-J Day, Till was sent to Rangoon, Burma, to fly spare parts and supplies to small RAF detachments. He left the service as a flight lieutenant, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.