James Nicholl Jr. joined the Navy in 1944 to honor his father and history teacher. He would serve on several vessels, including an armed cargo vessel and mine sweeper, in Scotland, Russia and the North Atlantic. Nicholl would also serve during the Korean War.
Arnold Bopp joined some friends and enlisted into the Army in 1954. He served for 20 years in the Army’s Security Agency as a teletype operator and teletype interceptor. He served twice in Alaska, as well as Berlin, Fort Devens and Vietnam.
“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.
Jacob Darnel enlisted in the Marines shortly after graduating from high school in Kentucky. He learned cryptography, and was assigned to Paris to help establish the Defense Command Agency. He would also be assigned to Vietnam to help run a message center near Da Nang Harbor.
This interview was recorded at the Bedford VA Medical Center; interview conducted by volunteer Jim Ramsey.
Hyman Hipsman grew up in Wlodawa, Poland; after the German invasion in 1939, he went to work for a German war contractor, Bernhard Falkenburg, who saved Hipsman’s life on several occasions. When Falkenburg could no longer protect him, Hipsman went into hiding, and eventually joined a group of Russian partisans. Hipsman would lose his parents, two brothers and sister to Nazi atrocities.
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.
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.
James Zographos had just graduated from the Mass. College of Pharmacy when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Initially assigned to the infantry, Zographos would transfer to the Army Air Force, where he became a bombardier on board a B-17. Assigned to the 8th Air Force, he flew 50 missions, was wounded twice, and would be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart.
This interview was recorded at the International Museum of World War II-Boston.
Sheila Ryan Pogarian joined the Army National Guard as a way to help pay for college. After graduation from UMass-Amherst in 1984, she went on active duty and became an artillery officer; she helped with the Lance missile system in what was then West Germany. She talks about her 20-plus years in the service, especially about her experiences as one of the few women Army officers in the field.