EPISODE #506, 1/13/2018: We learn about the Go For Broke National Education center’s traveling “Courage & Compassion” exhibit, with elements tailored to each of the ten U.S. cities it will visit. Through 2/4/18, it is in Kingsburg, CA, where we hear from curator Dave Meyer, as well as Dale Ikeda and 93-year-old Bob Yano, who served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II.
EPISODE #505, 1/6/2018: 93-year-old Veora Bliss-Baldwin of American Fork, UT explains her adventures as a “Rosie the Riveter” during World War II. The Vale, SD native modified B-17 and B-29 bombers in Denver, CO.
EPISODE #504, 12/30/2017: 92-year-old Dan Cano of Santa Maria, CA recalls the Battle of Tarawa from his perspective piloting an LCVP. We also hear how he ended up with one very high-ranking passenger at Kwajalein.
EPISODE #503, 12/23/2017: A special Christmas edition of Hometown Heroes features six veterans relating their memories of Christmas 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge, as well as the “Candy Bomber,” Gail Halvorsen.
EPISODE #497, 11/11/2017: Veterans Day Special features five different World War II veterans, with updates to their stories from this year: Don Stratton, Adolfo “Harpo” Celaya, Leila Morrison, George Poplin, and Al Findley.
EPISODE #495, 10/28/2017: 94-year-old Art Smith of Escondido, CA takes us back to Guam with the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, which leads us to the founding of Honor Flight San Diego by Art’s son, Dave.
EPISODE #492, 10/7/2017: 94-year-old ex-prisoner of war Ed Kromminga of Hollister, CA was shot down on his 33rd mission with the 454th Bomb Group in World War II. We hear from Ed and his wife of 73 years, Dorothy.
EPISODE #491, 9/30/2017: 97-year-old Al Skaret of Seattle, WA remembers the kamikaze attack on the USS Bunker Hill (CV-17), and shares how he came to know the sailor whose life he saved on May 11, 1945.
EPISODE #488, 9/9/2017: 94-year-old Al Findley of Los Osos, CA shares his ordeal as a prisoner of war, and explains how he honors the four men who died when his B-24 was shot down on February 6, 1945.
EPISODE #487, 9/2/2017: 92-year-old Bob Izumi of Barstow, CA recalls his service in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 101st Airborne, and U.S. Air Force, as well as his decades on a Marine Corps base.
EPISODE #486, 8/26/2017: In light of the discovery of the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35) more than 3 miles deep on the ocean floor, we hear from survivor Adolfo “Harpo” Celaya of Florence, AZ, as well as Paul Loeffler III of Fair Hope, AL, whose father Paul Loeffler, Jr. was lost at sea in the Indianapolis tragedy.
EPISODE #485, 8/19/2017: 92-year-old William “Bill” Barclay of Las Vegas, NV discusses his days aboard the destroyer escort USS Stockdale (DE-399), as well as the incredible outpouring of support after vandals burned the flags in his yard.
EPISODE #476, 6/17/2017: 95-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor Stu Hedley of San Diego, CA explains how he experienced December 7, 1941 aboard the USS West Virginia (BB-48), as well as later adventures on the USS San Francisco (CA-38).
EPISODE #470, 5/6/2017: 94-year-old Pasqual Reyes of Madera, CA shares stories from combat experience in North Africa, Italy, and France with the 36th Infantry Division, as well as his 7 months as a prisoner of war.
EPISODE #469, 4/29/2017: 93-year-old Bob Allenby of Newman, CA explains his time as a PBM flight engineer/gunner with VPB-20 in the Pacific, as well as his work on a secret drone project in World War II.
EPISODE #468, 4/22/2017: 93-year-old Phillip Starr of Selma, CA shares memories from his 35 missions as a ball turret gunner in B-24s and B-17s with the 490th Bomb Group in Europe during World War II.
EPISODE #460, 2/25/2017: 97-year-old Sim Deming of Visalia, CA reflects on the 3 years he spent on the USS Arizona, as well as the Purple Heart pilot’s 43 photo reconnaissance missions in F-5s (P-38s) with the 3rd Reconnaissance Group.
EPISODE #459, 2/18/2017: 92-year-old Sam Terasaki of Denver, CO shares perspective on his service with the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, as well as the legacy of Nisei veterans.
EPISODE #458, 2/11/2017: 95-year-old Jim McCrory of Porterville, CA describes some of the horrifying situations he faced on the Pacific islands of Gavutu, Tanambogo, and Guadalcanal with the 2nd Marine Regiment.
EPISODE #457, 2/4/2017: 94-year-old Donald Stratton of Colorado Springs, CO takes us back to December 7, 1941. One of only five living survivors from the battleship USS Arizona (BB-39), Stratton was badly burned, spent nearly a year in the hospital, then reenlisted in the Navy and served on the destroyer USS Stack (DD-406).
EPISODE #456, 1/28/2017: 90-year-old Purple Heart recipient Leo Neubauer of Centerville, IA shares memories from his time in the 38th Infantry Division in World War II. This episode also features comments from Central Iowa Honor Flight organizer John Forbes, and Bataan Death March escapee Atilano David.
EPISODE #455, 1/21/2017: 90-year-old Robert Titus of Colorado Springs, CO shares highlights from a remarkable military career that started with the 82nd Airborne during World War II, included over 500 fighter pilot missions in Korea and Vietnam, and concluded as a decorated Air Force general.
EPISODE #454, 1/14/2017: 94-year-old Ralph Rush of Hughson, CA shares his experiences with the 89th Infantry Division, including the liberation of Ohrdruf Concentration Camp, and the special request one of the Jewish prisoners presented to Ralph.
EPISODE #453, 1/7/2017: 94-year-old Navy veteran Francis Asbury of Albuquerque, NM explains how he survived more than two days floating in the Pacific, after the fiery plane crash that left his facial structure shattered and his arm broken.
EPISODE #452, 12/31/2016: Husband & wife veterans Mike & Doris Wanty of Oakdale, CA explain their WWII service. Doris was a WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilot), while Mike was an officer aboard the destroyer USS Lardner (DD-487)
Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary Special, 12/7/2016: original radio broadcasts from 1941, in addition to interviews with two men who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, then returned to Oahu for the 75th anniversary.
EPISODE #448, 12/3/2016: 96-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor David “Russ” Russell outlines what he experienced on the USS Oklahoma (BB-37) on December 7, 1941, as well as the sinking of the USS Mahan (DD-364) on December 7, 1944.
EPISODE #444, 11/5/2016: 96-year-old Alberto Bertoli of Belmont, CA explains why he voluntarily left MP duty in California to fight on the front lines of the Battle of the Bulge with the 84th Infantry Division.
EPISODE #443, 10/29/2016: 94-year-old Denny Thompson of Sonora, CA shares memories from his 30 missions over Europe as a bombardier with the 487th Bomb Group. A recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart, Thompson became a renowned hunting guide in Alaska.
EPISODE #441, 10/15/2016: 94-year-old Chester “Ski” Biernacki of Jamestown, CA recalls his service on the USS Helena (CL-50), from Pearl Harbor, to the cruiser’s 1943 sinking in the Battle of Kula Gulf.
EPISODE #440, 10/8/2016: 93-year-old Ed Hall of Las Vegas, NV details his experiences at Hawaii’s Hickam Field on December 7, 1941. A native of South Carolina, Hall survived three near misses during the Japanese attack.
EPISODE #438, 9/24/2016: 95-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor Delton “Wally” Walling of Valley Springs remembers December 7, 1941. A native of Belding, MI, Walling was in an observation tower when the Japanese attacked.
EPISODE #436, 9/10/2016: 90-year-old Martin Medellin explains what earned him the Silver Star with the 70th Infantry Division in World War II, and why he had to wait nearly 70 years for the Purple Heart.
EPISODE #422, 6/4/2016: We prepare for the 72nd anniversary of D-Day with the story of paratrooper Tom Rice. He’s nearly 95 years old, but will jump out of an airplane again on June 6, 2016, to honor those who didn’t survive “The Longest Day.”
EPISODE #421, 5/28/2016: 90-year-old Doug Justus of Visalia, CA remembers his own experiences with the 81st Infantry Division World War II, and honors the legacy of his brother, Bert, who died in captivity during the Korean War.
EPISODE #420, 5/21/2016: 91-year-old Bob Dodds of Las Vegas, NV shares his memories from the USS Pelias (AS-14) at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, as well as how he survived the sinking of the USS Monssen (DD-436).
EPISODE #418, 5/7/2016: 94-year-old Rex Raney of Grand Junction, CO shares stories from his 511 days in combat with the 45th Infantry Division. A recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, he also witnessed the Dachau concentration camp.
EPISODE #413, 4/2/2016: 90-year-old Glenn Brem of Gilroy, CA remembers his experiences on Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa with the U.S. Marine Corps. You’ll hear how he was wounded on Okinawa, and why he feels the fact that his rifle jammed actually saved his life.
EPISODE #411, 3/19/2016: 92-year-old Jimmy Weldon of Burbank, CA recaptures a voice you might recognize. Long before he was “Yakky Doodle” on the Yogi Bear show, he served with the 1270th Engineer Combat Battalion in Europe during World War II.
EPISODE #410, 3/12/2016: 91-year-old Tom Grasser of Albuquerque, NM explains the reunion he recently enjoyed with an “old friend” he hadn’t seen in 71 years. A native of Kenosha, WI, Grasser served with the 593rd Motor Ambulance Company.
EPISODE #408, 2/27/2016: 90-year-old Royce Williams of Escondido, CA details an aviation career that stretched from WWII through Vietnam and beyond. The Wilmot, SD native tells a story kept secret for more than 50 years, the story of how he shot down four Soviet MiG-15s in 1952.
EPISODE #407, 2/20/2016: Two of the “Old Bold Pilots” who meet every Wednesday morning in Oceanside, CA. Rod Braswell completed 50 missions as a B-24 pilot with the 456th Bomb Group. Greek immigrant Steve Pisanos became a double ace flying first for the Royal Air Force, then for the U.S. Army Air Corps.
EPISODE #405, 2/6/2016: 92-year-old Lawson Sakai of Morgan Hill, CA shares his jarring memories of December 7, 1941, how his family avoided internment, and how he ended up in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
EPISODE #404, 1/30/2016: 95-year-old Gail Halvorsen of Green Valley, AZ, remembers the spontaneous act of kindness that turned into a global phenomenon and left him with a moniker that has stuck with him for nearly 70 years: “The Candy Bomber.”
EPISODE #402, 1/16/2016: We hear from two neighbors in Dallas, OR. Donald Nusom survived the bombing of the USS Franklin, while Earl Proctor was awarded the Bronze Star as a medic before being captured in Germany.
EPISODE #393, 11/14/2015: 90-year-old Russ Jenkins of Hollister, CA reflects on his 20 years in the Navy, including his days with ACORN 11 during World War II, and his haunting connection to a 1960 tragedy.
EPISODE #386, 9/26/2015: 96-year-old Fred Stevenson of Porterville, CA remembers his Army Air Corps service from World War II, including two years running the parachute/sewing shop for the 95th Bomb Group in England.
EPISODE #382, 8/29/2015: Vietnam veteran Les Beck and WWII vet Orville Lewis discuss their chance 2015 meeting and the deep prisoner of war connection they discovered. For more than 18 months at Stalag XVII-B, Lewis occupied a bunk no more than 30 feet away from Beck’s late father.
EPISODE #381, 8/22/2015: 93-year-old John Adams of Kingsburg, CA discusses the four years he spent as a Navy pilot, and also remembers his best friend from Lindsay (CA) HS, J. Harvey Sanderson, who remains entombed on the U.S.S. Arizona.
EPISODE #380, 8/15/2015: 88-year-old Charlie Wadhams of Fresno, CA shares memories from a Navy career that spanned World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. A native of Brockport, NY, Wadhams clues us in to a largely unknown but significant piece of Korean War history.
EPISODE #379, 8/8/2015: 90-year-old Jim Roach of Las Vegas, NV looks back on a 30-year Air Force career, from his time as a B-24 pilot during World War II, to supporting special forces in his AC-119G during the Vietnam War.
EPISODE #376, 7/18/2015: 93-year-old Peggy Bergthold of Fresno, CA remembers her WWII service at Mare Island Naval Hospital. A native of Anadarko, OK, Peggy served as a surgical nurse, involved in operations on burn victims and amputees who had survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
EPISODE #374, 7/4/2015: 93-year-old George Genovese of North Hollywood, CA explains why an injury suffered while serving with the 557th Air Service Group on Ie Shima impacted his professional baseball career. We’ll also hear about his new book, A Scout’s Report, My 70 Years in Baseball.
EPISODE #373, 6/27/2015: 91-year-old George Hansen of Clovis, CA recalls his time in a machine gun squad with the 11th Armored Division during World War II, and relates how those experiences led to his post-war calling as a missionary and pastor.
EPISODE #372, 6/20/2015: 95-year-old Ed Ellington of Seattle, WA discusses the 180 missions he flew over two separate tours of WWII, leaving him with the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the woman of his dreams.
EPISODE #370, 6/6/2015: Conductor emeritus of the U.S. Air Force Band, Arnald Gabriel, who keeps a busy conducting schedule at age 90. A Bronze Star recipient, Gabriel survived D-Day on Omaha Beach as a machine gunner with the 29th Infantry Division.
EPISODE #369, 5/30/2015: 94-year-old Jerry Countess of Las Vegas, NV, discusses his WWII experiences with the 1st Infantry Division in North Africa and Italy. A recipient of the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart, Countess has written a book about his military adventures.
EPISODE #368, 5/23/2015: Observing Memorial Day 2015, we learn about one of nearly 8,000 Americans still unaccounted for from the Korean War from author Jim Escalle. Also appearing is World War II researcher Bill Beigel, who has investigated more than 1600 Americans who died while serving our country.
EPISODE #366, 5/9/2015: Marking the 70th anniversary of V-E Day with the story of a POW who might have died in captivity if not for the Allies pressing on to victory. Glenn Schmidt served with the 42nd Infantry Division in World War II.
EPISODE #358, 3/14/2015: 92-year-old Bill Gornik of Meridian, ID details an Air Force career that went from B-25s in World War II to a bombing mission is an F-105 during the Vietnam War. We also learn more about Nampa, Idaho’s Warhawk Air Museum from Executive Director Sue Paul.
EPISODE #354, 2/14/2015: 96-year-old Alan Dunbar of Las Vegas, Nevada, recalls being wounded and captured at the Battle of the Bulge, his 131 days in captivity, and the man he believes he wouldn’t have survived without.
EPISODE #353, 2/7/2015: Part II of the interview with 93-year-old Tom Rice, including the way he was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge, and what he does on every D-Day anniversary to honor those who did not make it home.
EPISODE #348, 1/3/2015: Part II of the interview with 92-year-old Ray Maloney covers his experiences as a POW, his liberation, participation in the Berlin Airlift, and a few of his post-military adventures as well.
EPISODE #347, 12/27/2014: 92-year-old Ray Maloney of Bonita Springs, FL discusses his experiences as a P-47 pilot with the 86th Fighter-Bomber Group, 527th squadron. Shot down on November 5, 1944, Maloney spent six months as a prisoner of war.
EPISODE #345, 12/13/2014: 91-year-old Frank Rigo of Phoenix, AZ discusses his service in World War II and the Korean War, as well as his involvement with Paralyzed Veterans of America. We also learn about the Silent Wings Museum in Lubbock, TX, which preserves the history of the WWII glider program.
EPISODE #344, 12/6/2014: 94-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor Russel Winsett of Bonita Springs, FL details his memories of December 7, 1941 aboard the USS Pennsylvania, which was in dry dock at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked.
EPISODE #343, 11/29/2014: 88-year-old Bill Schrader of Prescott, AZ remembers his time as a nose gunner in B-24 Liberators with the 5th Bomb Group, 23rd Bomb Squadron. We’ll also hear from Bill’s daughter, Susan Howe, founder of Honor Flight Arizona.
EPISODE #342, 11/22/2014: 94-year-old Jack Leonard of Clovis, CA reflects on his six years in the U.S. Army Air Corps. A native of Casper, WY, Leonard worked in cryptanalysis in the Pacific. WWII claimed the life of his older brother, Ray, but the war also connected him with his wife of 70 years, Maxine, who also makes a cameo appearance on the show.
EPISODE #341, 11/15/2014: 94-year-old Gordon Caldis reflects on his experiences as a PT boat commander during World War II. A native of Minnesota, Caldis was co-captain of the University of North Dakota football team in 1941.
EPISODE #340, 11/8/2014: Jake Luttrell of Bakersfield, CA celebrates his 92nd birthday by sharing his story of WWII service on Hometown Heroes. A native of Missouri, Luttrell served with the 878th Air Engineering Squadron in Europe.
EPISODE #338, 10/25/2014: Previewing Central Valley Honor Flight’s journey to Washington, D.C. from the historic runway at the former Castle Air Force Base, we hear from two veterans going on the flight: Norris Jernigan of Visalia, CA and B.A. Hansen from Winton, CA.
EPISODE #329, 8/23/2014: 96-year-old Augie Chavez of Visalia, CA details his service with the 40th Infantry Division during World War II, and treats us to an a capella singing performance at the end of the program.
EPISODE #328, 8/16/2014: 94-year-old Native American Francisco Paredes of Atwater, CA remembers his incredible adventures during World War II. On Oahu on December 7, 1941, he would go on to serve throughout the Pacific with the 32nd Infantry Division, and later the 2nd Engineer Special Brigade.
EPISODE #326, 8/2/2014: 89-year-old Dave Wall of Reedley, CA recalls his WWII service as a medic with the 24th Infantry Division. We also hear briefly from his nephew, Sam Wall, who was a medic in Vietnam. Both men are Purple Heart recipients.
EPISODE #325, 7/26/2014: 91-year-old Nyle Smith of Fresno, CA, remembers his service with the 96th Bomb Group during World War II, including his life-saving heroics in the wake of an enemy fighter-induced bomber crash.
EPISODE #324, 7/19/2014: 94-year-old John Wagenhalls of Sanger, CA, a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross remembers his 82 combined missions as a bombardier in World War II and the Korean War.
EPISODE #322, 7/5/2014: Two 90-year-old veterans from California’s Central Coast remember their World War II experiences. Ivan Hudson was a Navy corpsman on LSM-107, and John Wilcox fought with the 1st Marine Division in the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa.
EPISODE #320, 6/21/2014: 92-year-old Ken Miller of Oakhurst, CA takes us back to the end of the Battle of the Saipan, and the desperate banzai charge he survived. You’ll hear about the priceless moment he experienced while visiting Washington, D.C. with Central Valley Honor Flight.
EPISODE #316, 5/24/2014: In a special Memorial Day edition of World War II, we learn about one of the more than 405,000 Americans who died while serving in World War II, Roger Jamison of Fullerton, CA. Jamison, a B-25 pilot serving with the 12th Bomb Group, was reported killed in action after being shot down near North Africa. The son Jamison never got to meet, Roger Maraist, takes us along on his quest to learn more about his father’s life and death, with some surprising twists and turns along the way.
EPISODE #315, 5/17/2014: 91-year-old Paul Ferdinandsen of San Jose, CA remembers his service with the 84th Infantry Division during World War II. His courageous actions during the Battle of the Bulge led to his receiving a prestigious medal from Great Britain’s preeminent general.
EPISODE #314, 5/10/2014: Part II of our interview with 94-year-old Bill Overmier of Albuquerque, New Mexico, covering his 1,227 days as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II. We’ll hear what kind of work he was forced to do, what he was given to eat, and how he managed to survive.
EPISODE #313, 5/3/2014: 94-year-old Bill Overmier of Albuquerque, New Mexico remembers his service with the 200th Coast Artillery, how the war began for him in the Philippines on December 8, 1941, and how he became a prisoner in May, 1942.
EPISODE #312, 4/26/2014: 90-year-old Dick Lyon of Oceanside, CA remembers how he joined the Scouts and Raiders during World War II, the close calls he experienced during the Korean War, and how he became the first Navy SEAL to reach the rank of Admiral. You’ll also find out which baseball legend he once tried to teach how to swim.
EPISODE #309, 4/5/2014: 91-year-old Dick Seay of Vista, CA remembers his 13 missions with the 38th Bomb Group as a B-25 pilot during World War II. Listen to the incredible story of how he survived his 13th mission in the Battle of Ormoc Bay.
EPISODE #308, 3/29/2014: 89-year-old square dance calling legend Ernie Kinney of Fresno, CA recalls his experiences serving in support of a Marine Corps fighter squadron in the Pacific during World War II.
EPISODE #306, 3/15/2014: 87-year-old Jack Venables of Merced, CA explains why he lied about his age and joined the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 15. Venables served with a 75mm pack howitzer crew in the 2nd Marine Division on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, and Tinian
EPISODE #305, 3/8/2014: 93-year-old John Decker of Merced, CA reflects on a 28-year Air Force career. He flew with the 15th Bomb Squadron, the first American unit to bomb Europe during World War II. Flying A-20s out of North Africa in 1942, he also participated in the Berlin Airlift in 1948 and has stories from the Cold War to share as well.
EPISODE #298, 1/18/2014: Don Straub of Windsor, CO celebrates his 90th birthday by sharing memories from his time as a radioman/gunner on PB4Y-2 Privateers with VPB-109. “Lefty” Straub later pitched in Omaha’s first College World Series.
EPISODE #296, 1/4/2014: Part 2 of the interview with 89-year-old Jonas Hofer, who survived the torpedoing of the U.S.S. Houston in 1944, and more recently took part in the inaugural Central Valley Honor Flight.
EPISODE #295, 12/28/2013: 89-year-old Jonas Hofer of Fresno, CA remembers surviving more than 14 hours floating in the water after the Japanese torpedoed his crippled ship, the U.S.S. Houston, in 1944.
EPISODE #293, 12/14/2013: Remembering Dr. Stanley Lindquist, who just passed away at the age of 96. Volunteering to rescue wounded soldiers in a minefield during World War II, he was wounded himself, losing an eye and part of his leg. A longtime psychology professor at Fresno State, he founded the Link Care Center in 1964.
EPISODE #292, 12/7/2013: 92-year-old Elmer Wright of Clovis, CA remembers where the U.S. Marine Corps had him on December 7, 1941. We’ll also found out how he was wounded on the U.S.S. Colorado off of Tinian in 1944.
EPISODE #291, 11/30/2013: Reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we revisit World War II veteran Ted Robinson’s story. Robinson knew Kennedy during World War II, and is the author of the book, “Water in My Veins: The Pauper Who Helped Save a President.”
EPISODE #288, 11/9/2013: 95-year-old Leonard Heinrichs of Dinuba, CA recalls his World War II service as a surgical technician in Italy, and also speaks to his experience on the inaugural Central Valley Honor Flight.
EPISODE #287, 11/2/2013: 95-year-old Robert Thacker of San Clemente, CA remembers flying INTO Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He also discusses highlights from his exploits as a test pilot, including his recordbreaking 1947 flight in the P-82 named for his wife, Betty Jo.
EPISODE #286, 10/26/2013: 92-year-old Melvin Cobb of Fresno, CA remembers his World War II service with the 850th Engineer Aviation Battalion during WWII, constructing runways in England, France, and Germany.
EPISODE #284, 10/12/2013: 92-year-old Glenn Wyne of Atwater, CA remembers his time aboard the U.S.S. Pierce (APA-50) and U.S.S. Lindenwald (LSD-6) during World War II, including how he earned the Bronze Star.
EPISODE #283, 10/5/2013: 88-year-old Sherman Kishi of Livingston, CA explains his experiences as a Japanese-American forced out of his home in 1942. He would go on to serve in the Military Intelligence Service and in 2011, joined other Nisei veterans in receiving the Congressional Gold Medal.
EPISODE #282, 9/28/2013: 92-year-old Julian Mazuka of Lemoore, CA takes us back to when he jumped with the 17th Airborne Division on March 24, 1945, landing behind enemy lines as part of Operation Varsity.
EPISODE #280, 9/14/2013: 91-year-old Karl Haeuser of Cayucos, CA tells his emotional story of survival. A gunner on an A-20 flying with the 410th Bomb Group, 644th Squadron, Karl was shot down August 4, 1944, and became a prisoner of war. Taken to Stalag Luft IV, he later survived the three-month “German Death March” before tasting freedom again.
EPISODE #277, 8/24/2013: 92-year-old Arlanda Ritchie of Fresno, CA describes his service in the 87th Infantry Division, 346th Infantry Regiment during World War II. You’ll hear him discuss being MIA for 16 weeks, and returning to his company with help from the French Underground.
EPISODE #276, 8/17/2013: 88-year-old Ruben Ramirez of Reedley, CA remembers his service with the 88th Infantry Division during World War II. Ruben was wounded three times. His only brother, Hank, was killed while fighting in the Philippines.
EPISODE #274, 8/3/2013: 89-year-old Jim Kitchen of Fresno, CA remembers his service in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. Aboard the cutter Roger B. Taney, Kitchen helped shoot down a kamikaze off Okinawa. Hear how he “borrowed” a tool from the Taney for 61 years, and what he’s done to honor his shipmates.
EPISODE #273, 7/27/2013: 81-year-old Fred Machado of Fresno, CA remembers his service in the Korean War, which came to an end 60 years ago today. Machado served on the U.S.S. Montague (AKA-98) then, and serves now as a docent at the Veterans Memorial Museum, Home of the Legion of Valor.
EPISODE #272, 7/20/2013: A trip to San Francisco’s Pier 45. We hear from 89-year-old Hal Mulnix of Modesto, CA, who served on the submarine USS Sturgeon in World War II. We also learn about two pieces of WWII history you can tour at Pier 45: the submarine Pampanito and liberty ship Jeremiah O’Brien.
EPISODE #270, 7/6/2013: 93-year-old Robert Farwell of Bakersfield, CA remembers being shot down on his fifth B-17 mission with the 306th Bomb Group, 368th squadron. Farwell spent eight months as a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft I.
EPISODE #269, 6/29/2013: 88-year-old Don Westfahl of Bakersfield, CA remembers training at Minter Field and later flying weather reconnaissance missions in the China Burma India theater. He is now a docent at Minter Field Air Museum in Shafter, CA.
EPISODE #268, 6/22/2013: 88-year-old Mel Freedman of Boca Raton, FL remembers his experience with the 45th Infantry Division in World War II. He witnessed the horrors of a concentration camp, and later played football at Harvard with Bobby Kennedy.
EPISODE #267, 6/15/2013: E.T. Roberts of Bakersfield, CA remembers coming ashore on Normandy’s Omaha Beach with the 29th Infantry Division on June 6, 1944. He survived “The Longest Day,” went on to get wounded a month later near St. Lo, and less than a month after that returned to the front lines.
EPISODE #266, 6/8/2013: 88-year-old Irving Mann of Rochester, NY remembers coming ashore on Utah Beach on June 6, 1944. You’ll also hear about the small piece of metal that made an incredible journey back to its rightful owner in 2013.
EPISODE #264, 5/25/2013: 90-year-old Bob Cole of Fresno, CA remembers how he survived the sinking of the U.S.S. Hornet (CV-8) in 1942. He was also aboard the Hornet when Jimmy Doolittle and his Raiders took off for their famous bombing raid on Japan.
EPISODE #263, 5/18/2013: 87-year-old Ken Green of Fresno, CA remembers his experiences aboard the U.S.S. Pickaway (APA-222) during World War II. Ken started acting at the age of 5, and is still performing.
EPISODE #262, 5/11/2013: 86-year-old Jesus “Tony” Armendariz, Sr. of Kerman, CA recalls his Battle of the Bulge experience with the 8th Infantry Division. Armendariz was part of annual veterans recognition hosted by Kerman farmers and dairymen. You will also hear from ex-POW Rudy Giannoni and dairy farmer Joe Porto.
EPISODE #261, 5/4/2013: 90-year-old Harry Nicholas of Orange Cove, CA remembers surviving a tragic friendly fire incident in April 1944. Nicholas, who served on PT-350, makes two round trips to Los Angeles each week to sell his produce at farmers’ markets.
EPISODE #260, 4/27/2013: The new book “Into the Night: Hammer Field, Camp Pinedale, Fresno Fairgrounds: Central California in World War II” is discussed by the author, 88-year-old World War II veteran George Gruner.
EPISODE #259, 4/20/2013: 88-year-old George Gruner of Fresno, CA recalls his experiences with the 440th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion during World War II. You’ll hear about his close calls, and even how his pre-war experience in the newspaper business altered his wartime fate.
EPISODE #258, 4/13/2013: 90-year-old ex-prisoner of war Al Porta of Reno, NV remembers his 17 missions as a B-17 pilot during World War II. Al also discusses his time in captivity, and his recent adventures with Honor Flight. We also hear from Honor Flight Nevada organizer Jon Yuspa.
EPISODE #256, 3/30/2013: Remembering Bill Dietzel, a 20-year Air Force veteran and tireless advocate for veterans. Publisher of Veterans Magazine and longtime director of the Fresno Veterans Day Parade, Dietzel died March 21st at the age of 79.
EPISODE #255, 3/23/2013: 95-year-old Dr. Carl Kice Brown of Corcoran, CA reflects on an extensive career that includes his role as one of the original Flying Tiger pilots with the American Volunteer Group in China during World War II.
EPISODE #248, 1/26/2013: Entertainers provided a valuable service to the troops during World War II, and no one did it better than Bob Hope. Hear a 1943 Bob Hope broadcast from the San Joaquin Valley, and find out how going down memory lane with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby can help the Central California Veterans Home Support Foundation.
EPISODE #245, 12/29/2012: Part II of the interview with 94-year-old Ed Farmer. He explains how the kris – a ceremonial dagger – given to him by a legendary Filipino figure was reunited with that man’s family nearly 70 years after Ed received it.
EPISODE #244, 12/22/2012: 94-year-old Ed Farmer of Spokane Valley, WA remembers his days with the 24th Infantry Division during World War II. Ed is a recipient of the Silver Star and Purple Heart, and also recalls serving with future President Ronald Reagan.
EPISODE #232, 9/29/2012: 94-year-old Jack Mulkey of Edmond, OK remembers his All-American football days at Fresno State, the nearly five years he spent in the Army during World War II, and his brief pro football career.
EPISODE #231, 9/22/2012: Part 2 of the interview with 84-year-old Harald Bauer of Atascadero, CA: Bauer recalls getting shot down by a P-51, rescued by Americans, and eventually serving in the U.S. Military.
EPISODE #230, 9/15/2012: 84-year-old Harald Bauer of Atascadero, CA shares part of his remarkable story. Shot down as a German teenager transporting an HE-162 jet, Bauer became an American intelligence officer and later an American reconnaissance pilot in the Korean War.
EPISODE #229, 9/8/2012: 93-year-old Allen Tootle of Visalia, CA talks about the hole-in-one he hit in Exeter, as well as his experiences with the 24th Infantry Division during World War II. We also hear about the Central Valley Stand Down from John Schuler.
EPISODE #227, 8/25/2012: 87-year-old Leonard Cozby of Tulare, CA remembers his experiences as a prisoner of war during World War II. Cozby served with the 80th Infantry Division before ending up in Stalag IV-B.
EPISODE #225, 8/11/2012: 90-year-old Les Collins of Hanford, CA remembers his experiences as an infantryman and medic with the 41st Infantry Division, 163rd Infantry Regiment in the South Pacific. Collins earned a Bronze Star in the battle for Wakde Island, and later experienced the aftermath of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
EPISODE #222, 7/21/2012: 88-year-old Wilbur Gomes of Gustine, CA, recalls his 38 missions as a B-24 navigator with the 98th Bomb Group. Gomes became a prisoner of war in August, 1944, and was liberated the next month in a daring rescue in Bucharest, Romania.
EPISODE #221, 7/14/2012: 91-year-old Clare Slaughter of Fresno, CA remembers his experiences with the 2nd Marine Division on Saipan and Okinawa. We’ll also hear from Oakland/L.A. Raider legend Tom Flores, who played under coach Slaughter at Sanger HS and Fresno CC.
EPISODE #219, 6/30/2012: 91-year-old John Leikam of Visalia, CA remembers his service as a radioman on SOC Seagull scout planes. You’ll hear him recall being set aflame aboard the USS Columbia by a kamikaze attack.
EPISODE #218, 6/23/2012: 89-year-old Bill Kramme of Fresno, CA remembers his time as a medic in the Pacific during World War II. Kramme served with the 1st Convalescent Hospital on Leyte in the Philippines.
EPISODE #216, 6/9/2012: 92-year-old Ralph Burbridge of Mesa, AZ remembers the hair-rising ride aboard the famous B-17 All-American, as well as his bombardier career encompassing more than 50 missions with the 97th Bomb Group.
EPISODE #211, 5/12/2012: 93-year-old Hilda Johnson of Fresno, CA is a mother of two, grandmother of five, and now great-grandma to three. Every year when Mother’s Day rolls around, we like to remind you that more than 350,000 women served in the military during World War II by featuring a female on the program.
EPISODE #201, 3/3/2012: 87-year-old Clarence Suzuki recalls walking through Honolulu on Dec. 7, 1941, as well as his service in the Military Intelligence Service and his receiving the Congressional Gold Medal.
EPISODE #200, 2/25/2012: On this 200th episode of Hometown Heroes on KMJ, 85-year-old Ralph Lynn remembers his experiences on U.S. submarines during World War II, as well as the time he spent with a young Navy man named Lawrence Edward “Yogi” Berra.
EPISODE #199, 2/18/2012: 88-year-old Lon Simmons shares more of his Coast Guard adventures from World War II, and remembers how he went from pitching prospect to Hall of Fame announcer, with a memorable stop in Fresno along the way.
EPISODE #197, 2/4/2012: Navy veteran Rodney Ray talks about his award-winning film, Flag of My Father. We also hear from Rodney’s father, Asa Ray, recalling his service with the 38th Infantry Division in World War II.
EPISODE #195, 1/21/2012: More with 94-year-old Frank Avry, who recalls the tragic plane crash he survived in 1946. Avry was the sole survivor of a crash that claimed 6 lives, including that of Fresno native Marshall Tetstall.
EPISODE #194, 1/14/2012: 94-year-old Frank Avry of Lewiston, ID remembers his experiences as a top turret gunner on B-17s with the 351st Bomb Group. Shot down on his 27th mission, he survived nearly a year as a prisoner of war.
EPISODE #193, 1/7/2012: 90-year-old Bill Hiller recalls welding P-38s together at Burbank’s Lockheed plant, serving the Navy during World War II, the Air Force in the Korean War and Cold War, and his 23 years restoring aircraft at Castle Air Museum.
EPISODE #192, 12/31/2011: 89-year-old Ed Nacey recalls his days as a B-24 navigator with the 93rd Bomb Group, and also talks about his “baby,” Castle Air Museum. We also hear from museum CEO Joe Pruzzo.
EPISODE #191, 12/24/2011: 90-year-old Joe Goicoechea of Boise, ID remembers Wake Island and the 44 months he spent as a prisoner of war. Also, 15-year-old Noah Barnes on the Wake Island Memorial he orchestrated in Boise.
EPISODE #190, 12/17/2011: 85-year-old Connell York of Fresno, CA recalls his parachute training with the 11th Airborne Divison, and the special role he played aboard the USS Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945.
EPISODE #186, 11/12/2011: 87-year-old Robert Yano of Kingsburg, CA, relates his experiences with the “Go For Broke” soldiers of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Yano just returned from Washington, D.C., where he received the Congressional Gold Medal along with other Nisei veterans of World War II.
EPISODE #174, 7/30/2011: 87-year-old Don Miller of Castro Valley, CA, relates how he was shot down on his third mission as a B-24 radioman. Miller spent 11 months as a prisoner of war, surviving a horrific death march from February to May of 1945.
EPISODE #172, 7/16/2011: 89-year-old Leo Weil of Fresno, CA remembers his days with the 33rd Fighter Group in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. Listen for his run-in with General George S. Patton as well as his close calls in battle.
EPISODE #168, 6/18/2011: 90-year-old Pete Hauck of Fresno, CA, recalls Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Listen to him describe his official duties that day, as well as the secret early morning mission this demolition man carried out.
EPISODE #164, 5/21/2011: On Fresno State’s 100th Graduation Day, Hometown Heroes focuses on the university’s Central California War Veterans Oral History Project. Hear from a student, a professor, and two veterans.
EPISODE #163, 5/14/2011: From the Louisiana Military Museum in Ruston, LA: 85-year-old James Fallin from the 69th Infantry Division, and 85-year-old Purple Heart recipient Chuck Monson of the 154th Combat Engineers.
EPISODE #160, 4/23/2011: 86-year-old Jim Sanders of Modesto, CA, talks about evacuating casualties as an ambulance driver in World War II. What he witnessed at the infamous Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Ohrdruf is impossible to forget.
EPISODE #159, 4/16/2011: 89-year-old Donald Wiese of Walnut Creek, CA, recalls the more than 500 days he spent in combat with the 34th Infantry Division in World War II, including the day he was wounded in Italy.
EPISODE #158, 4/9/2011: 89-year-old Al Tortolano of Santa Clara, CA remembers how he and his fellow soldiers of the “Lost Battalion” were rescued by the Japanese-Americans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
EPISODE #149, 2/5/2011: 90-year-old Wayne Houser relates how he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart, as well as why he missed out on the mission in which his regular crew was shot down.
EPISODE #145, 1/8/2011: 87-year-old Harmon Atwater of Tulare, CA, shares his experiences with the 26th Infantry Division in World War II, including his Silver Star and the Purple Heart he earned at the Battle of the Bulge.
EPISODE #142, 12/4/2010: 91-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor Marion Kesler of Salt Lake City, Utah, recalls his experiences on the USS Hulbert on December 7, 1941. Also: Matt Basso of the Univ. of Utah’s Saving the Legacy project.
EPISODE #138, 10/30/2010: 86-year-old Steve Marusich of Ivanhoe, CA shares his story of survival. Marusich was in the water for nearly 4 hours after a pair of kamikaze attacks sank his carrier, the USS Bismarck Sea.
EPISODE #137, 10/23/2010: 86-year-old Max Rouff speaks candidly about his experiences with the 4th Marine Division during World War II, including the injuries that had him carried off of Iwo Jima in a body bag.
EPISODE #131, 9/11/2010: 90-year-old Ralph Roberts recalls his experiences with the 327th Field Artillery Battalion, 84th Infantry Division. Ralph earned a Bronze Star and was involved in the Battle of the Bulge.
EPISODE #127, 8/14/2010: Live from the Keeping the Spirit of ’45 Alive celebration at Warnors Theatre: Peter Rondero recalls his Marine Corps service in World War II, including the sniper’s bullet that nearly ended his life on Iwo Jima.
EPISODE #125, 7/31/2010: Purple Heart recipient Bill Crumpacker of Fresno, CA remembers his experiences with the 2nd Marine Division, including the serious wound he suffered on Tinian 66 years ago this week.
EPISODE #120, 6/26/2010: Spirit of ’45 campaign. Remembering the late Edith Shain (nurse from the famous Times Square V-J Day kiss), and discussing the congressional resolution seeking to mark the Spirit of 45 Day each August.
EPISODE #118, 6/12/2010: 89-year-old John Baeta recalls his experience as a B-25 pilot with the 345th Bomb Group during WWII, including the time his whole crew survived ditching the plane in the ocean.
EPISODE #117, 6/5/2010: Remembering D-Day. General Eisenhower’s speech to the troops, President Roosevelt’s call to national prayer, Kate Smith’s radio commentary, and a local veteran recalls his experience on June 6, 1944.
EPISODE #116, 5/29/2010: Two ex-prisoners of war from Mesa, Arizona tell their stories of captivity and liberation: Harry McLane of the 86th Infantry Division, and Dale Shebilsky of the 456th Bomb Group.
EPISODE #110, 4/3/2010: Fresno, CA’s C.D. “Mac” McMullen relates some of his experiences with the 106th Infantry Division, and the six agonizing months he spent as a prisoner of war during World War II
EPISODE #107, 3/13/2010: WASPs Deanie Parrish and Violet Cowden talk about their service during WWII, as well as receiving the Congressional Gold Medal. We hear first from Wings Across America founder Nancy Parrish.
EPISODE #104, 2/20/2010: Satoshi “Fibber” Hirayama recalls his time in an internment camp during World War II, as well as experiences from his remarkable career in baseball. Historian and filmmaker Kerry Yo Nakagawa also shares insight.
EPISODE #103, 2/13/2010: Jim Morris of Exeter, CA relates his experiences as a gunner on a B-17 with the 97th Bomb Group in World War II, including the efforts in February of 1944 that earned a Presidential Unit Citation.
EPISODE #101, 1/30/2010: 87-year-old Laverne Coulthard of Lewiston, Idaho relates his experiences with the 2nd Marine Division at Tarawa and Saipan, and shares the saga of a Japanese flag that is headed home 65 years later.
EPISODE #99, 1/16/2010: Abelardo Navarrette of El Paso, TX relates the story of how a German artillery shell nearly killed him in 1944, the souvenir he can’t get rid of, and a very special memento the French government gave him 65 years later.
EPISODE #90, 10/3/2009: Walter Smith, who served in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam, shares some of his experiences from his time in the Army and Air Force. Hear why this African-American veteran says segregation saved his life.
EPISODE #85, 8/15/2009: Ex-P.O.W. Irwin Stovroff shares his remarkable story of survival, and talks about his work with Vets Helping Heroes, raising money to provide service dogs for today’s returning veterans.
EPISODE #46, 10/19/2008: Malcom “Len” Bourdet of Fresno, CA. Before embarking on a Hall of Fame baseball coaching career, the Hollister, CA native served with the 96th Infantry Division in the Battle of Okinawa
EPISODE #45, 10/12/2008: Russell F. Elder of Oregon. A recipient of the Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, Elder served with the 2nd Engineer Special Brigade (532nd), piloting landing craft (LCMs and LCVPs) in the Pacific.
EPISODE #44, 10/5/2008: Al Sciacqua of Fresno, CA. Served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. A Madera High School graduate, Al ended up playing basketball at Fresno State under the legendary Dutch Warmerdam. For years, Al has used his singing talents, in English and Italian, to entertain veterans at the VA Medical Center in Fresno.
EPISODE #40, 9/7/2008: Tony Augustine of Lemon Cove, CA. Served in the 310th Combat Engineer Battalion of the 85th Infantry Division. Tony earned a SilverStar when he dove into the icy Panaro River in Italy, swimming across and cutting wires to defuse explosives German soldiers had attached to a bridge.
Two entire divisions would cross over that bridge.