William Martin

Born and raised in South Boston, Bill Martin was drafted into the Navy in 1966 despite poor eyesight. Because he was a college graduate, he was sent to Officer Candidates School in Newport, R.I. Trained as a supply officer, Martin would serve in active duty and the Reserves for 30 years; he would see action off the coast of Vietnam and take part in Desert Storm. He retired from the Navy in 1997 with the rank of captain. As of this interview in 2019, Martin is the Veterans Services Officer for Kingston, Mass.

Andre Proulx

Andre Proulx joined the Navy shortly after the start of WWII. He was first assigned to a cruiser, the USS Flint, then transferred to the USS Douglas H. Fox, a destroyer. Proulx was assigned to one of the vessel’s 5-inch gun mounts; he survived a kamikaze attack during the Battle of Okinawa. In 2013, he was among several veterans who received overdue medals.

James Nicholl Jr.

 

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.

James Nicholl Jr. during WWII.

 

James Nicholl Jr. among a group of veterans receiving diplomas from Everett High School.

 

James Nicholl’s certificate of honor for his service in the Korean War.

 

Citation from the American Legion; Nicholl served as a commander for Post 210.

 

 

Richard Diaz

 

In 1965, Richard Diaz was not doing well in high school, so he decided to join the Navy. First trained to handle codes, he soon transferred to the “black shoe” Navy; he served on board the USS Northampton and the USS Eaton as a fire control technician. Diaz took part in several operations in Vietnam, from bombing targets in North Vietnam to searching junks and sampans for weapons.

This interview was recorded at the Bedford VA Medical Center; interview by volunteer Jim Ramsey.

 

 

Richard Diaz with U.S. Senator John McCain

 

Richard Diaz with friend Robert Moody

 

A gun firing

 

A child in a village in Vietnam

Nicholas A. Hapshe Jr. (audio only)

 

Nicholas Hapshe served in the U.S. Navy from 1969-71 with the 7th Fleet, Destroyer Squadron, at Norfolk, Va., and Guantanamo, Cuba. His duties included servicing anti-submarine missiles and as a fleet kitchen worker.

This interview was part of a program conducted by graduate students at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

 

Robert W. Wright

 

Bob Wright was born and raised in Natick. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1966 to see the world and have some adventure. He became a “plane captain” working the flight decks on the USS Yorktown, USS Constellation and the USS Ranger during the height of the Vietnam War and the Cold War.

 

 

Bob Wright at the Veterans Wall, Morse Institute Library, Natick

 

Bob Wright during his service on board the USS Yorktown

Bob Wright on deck