Thomas A. Hunt

U.S. Army 1954–1956

While lying in bed at night, Thomas Hunt would hear squadrons of bombers fly over his home in New Canaan, Conn., and knew the types of planes from the engine sounds they made. This is just one of the stories Tom recollects about his boyhood days before and during World War II. He talks about his brother, Bob, who served in the Marines and was wounded at Okinawa, and about his own experiences serving the U.S. Army in West Germany during the Cold War in the 1950s.

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Marcia Bloom Zwecher

U.S. Army 1943–1945

Marcia Bloom answered the call for women to serve and spent 2 1/2 years in the Women’s Army Corps. A shy young woman, she learned how to handle herself in whatever assignments she was given, from drum corps to military police and even as part of a radar crew in Orlando, FL. Many of her stories are humorous, although she did experience some discrimination because she was a woman. While in service she made many lifelong friends. Marcia talks about her husband, Otto Zwecher, who fled from the Nazis in Austria and became an interpreter for the U.S Army during the war, and about life in Natick after the war.

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Rose Dewing Young

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.

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Cyril B. Woolf

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.

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Shirley S. Woods

Shirley Woods graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Sociology in 1943, and went to work as a project engineer at Remington Arms in New York, making five dollars more per hour than her husband, a chemical engineer. She later worked at Columbia University where she oversaw the spectrometer machine helping to build the prototype of cells for poisonous gas. They volunteered to move to Oak Ridge, Tennessee where she and her husband worked on the atomic bomb, although there was a time when she didn’t realize what the testing was for. Shirley reminisces about rationing, bonds, and how all family members did their part and speaks philosophically about the work that she and her husband did for the war.

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Manuel Witt “Manny”

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.

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