Thomas J. Hudner

Hudner, Thomas J.

U.S. Navy 1946–1953

Graduating from the US Naval Academy in 1946, Hudner was assigned to a cruiser north of Shanghai as a ship’s signal officer. Receiving his wings in 1949 he trained to be a pilot and was assigned to the carrier, USS Leyte. Hudner talks of the unrest leading up to the Korean War. In December 1950 he and his Fighter Squadron 32 were on a mission to attack “targets of opportunity” when a member of the Squadron was hit and crash landed. Jesse Brown, the first black aviator in naval history was at first thought dead but Hudner crash landed his own plane to save his friend. For this he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Hudner speaks eloquently about his comrades and how his military career affected his life.

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Roland W. Gendron

U.S. Marine Corps 1950–1953

In 1950 Roland Gendron quit school at seventeen and enlisted in the Marines. Amphibious warfare training at Camp LeJeune and learning discipline prepared him for action in Korea with the Motor Transport 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. He speaks about difficult winter conditions, ambushes that killed friends and the Battle at Chosun Reservoir. With pride, he talks of his commanders, Major Noonan, Col. Ray Davis and Col. Puller, who knew their jobs and saved many lives. Gendron became involved in local VFW organizations and has been the State Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars.

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James V. Arena

U.S. Marine Corps 1950–1954

In peacetime 1950 James Arena decided to enlist in the Navy with a friend and, although the friend was a no-show, Jim continued to Boston where a recruiter convinced him instead to join the Marines. On leave when war broke out, Korea was a place he was not familiar with at all. As the youngest of ten children, following his brothers who all made it home safely from World War II, Jim tells of his seven days at war. With the First Marine Division under the leadership of Col. “Chesty” Puller, they made an amphibious landing at Inchon and headed towards Seoul. A surprise attack seven days later killed two members of his unit and wounded Jim. Patched up at a MASHospital, he was sent home to recuperate. Knowing his mother’s worrying, a brother intercepted the telegram prior to it getting to her. His four year career with the First and Second Marine Division took him to Japan, Korea, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean and he tells of the wonderful experience he had in Italy where he was able to meet relatives he’d never before seen.

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Richard Doran “Dick”

U.S. Navy 1941–1945, 1951–1953

Richard Doran decided to volunteer for the Navy in his senior year of high school and after four weeks of basic training in Bainbridge, MD, was assigned to BUPERS (Bureau of Personnel) in Arlington, VA. Because of his background and schooling, Doran was chosen for work that required top-secret status and to this day he is not at liberty to discuss the details of his work other than to say he traveled extensively in uniform. After his separation from the Navy, Dick completed high school, attended business school in Boston and got married. In 1951, to his surprise, he received a letter from President Truman that he was to re-join the Navy. As a Seaman 1st Class on the USS Baltimore during the Korean Conflict, he witnessed the loss of the USS Hobson in the North Atlantic. He reminisces about the ports he visited, the loss of midshipmen in Trieste, and experiences both memorable and humorous, including his friendship with the French Ambassador to Spain.

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