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  #101  
Old 07-17-2022, 08:25 AM
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Lawrence Peter Berra, of St Louis Missouri, enlisted with the US Navy on May 12, 1943 at the age of 18 years old. Yogi Berra was a member of the Norfolk Tars Baseball Team at the time. He would later sign with the New York Yankees after putting his career on hold to serve his country.

"Berra served in the US Navy as a gunner’s mate on the attack transport USS Bayfield during the D-Day invasion of France. A Second Class Seaman, Berra was one of a six-man crew on a Navy rocket boat, firing machine guns and launching rockets at the German defenses at Omaha Beach. During an interview on the 65th Anniversary of D-Day, Yogi confirmed that he was sent to Utah Beach during the D-Day invasion as well."

According to an interview with the Baseball in Wartime website: “It was just like a Fourth of July celebration,” Berra later recalled of his D-Day experience. Yogi spent 12 days manning the rocket boat protecting the Allied troops on the shore while shooting down enemy aircraft.

Yogi Berra also served in North Africa and Italy, and was sent home to the United States after suffering a hand wound. He was then stationed at the New London Sub Base until his discharge.

Second Class Seaman Lawrence Peter Berra was the recipient of the Purple Heart Medal for injuries sustained to his hand when hit by enemy fire.

"In the years following his Navy service, he continued to support the troops. In 1950, he participated in a campaign with the Treasury Department to promote the purchase of U.S. savings bonds. In 2009, he received the Lone Sailor Award and, in 2010, he was honored with the Audie Murphy Award for his Navy service."

"Yogi Berra appeared as a player, coach or manager in every one of the 13 World Series that New York baseball teams won from 1947 through 1981. Overall, he played or coached in 22 World Series, 13 on the winning side. In 1972, Berra was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. That year, the Yankees retired his uniform, number 8." (Source: VAntage Point and military.com)

Lawrence Peter Berra passed away on September 22, 2015 at the age of 90. He lies in rest at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover New Jersey. Lest We Forget.
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  #102  
Old 07-17-2022, 08:29 AM
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"Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky in Amsterdam, New York to Jewish immigrant parents Kirk Douglas, had a childhood filled with extreme poverty. Being the fourth of seven children, Izzy Demsky worked endlessly to help support his family. He was an excellent student -graduating from Amsterdam High School in 1934 and again in 1939 from St. Lawrence University in Canton New York. He legally changed his name to Kirk Douglas upon graduation.

During his college career Kirk was a standout wrestler and a natural on the stage, participating in numerous theater productions. He would go on to study on scholarship at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, New York. During this time he would befriend Lauren Bacall and his future wife Diana Dill.

On December 10, 1942 Kirk enlisted with the US Navy Reserve. According to the Veterans Administration (VAntage Point): "Upon joining the Navy, Kirk received training as a communications officer in anti-submarine warfare. He was then assigned to PC-1139, a PC-461 class submarine chaser, and sent to the Pacific. There, Kirk served as both a Gunnery and Communication Officer and was responsible for hunting down and destroying Japanese submarines."

"On February 7, 1943, Kirk and his crew were alerted by sonar to the presence of a Japanese submarine. Upon confirming the location of the submarine, Kirk and his fellow sailors fired and positioned themselves to drop depth charges. As a fellow sailor went to launch a depth charge marker, he accidentally fired a live depth charge. Once the charge hit the water, it exploded, launching PC-1139 and its crew into the air. Kirk was thrown against the ship and suffered severe abdominal injuries. After being sent to a Naval hospital to recover from his injuries, it was found that Kirk was also suffering from chronic amoebic dysentery. As a result, Kirk was discharged in 1944 with the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade." (VAntage Point March 21, 2019)

After the war Kirk returned to New York and continued his career in entertainment. Still working on stage he added radio to his resume and would begin his infamous film career with a debuting role in the film The Strange Love of Martha Ivers in 1946.

Douglas would receive his first Academy Award nomination for the 1949 film Champion after which he would form his own film production company - Bryna Productions - on September 28, 1949.

Douglas would go on to star in countless films; earning three Academy Award nominations, an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Some of his most notable performances include roles in the following: Spartacus, Paths of Glory, Lonely are the Brave, Ace in the Hole, Seven Days in May, The Vikings, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, In Harm's Way and The Fury.

Philanthropy was an important part of Douglas's life. He and his second wife Anne donated the greater portion of their wealth to a number of charities and endowments. Kirk has been honored by governments and organizations of various countries, including France, Italy, Portugal, Israel and Germany for his philanthropic work. Kirk Douglas had four sons: Michael, Eric, Joel and Peter.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Kirk Douglas, of the US Navy, passed away on February 5, 2020 at the age of 103 years old. He lies in rest next to his son Eric and wife Anne at Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles California. Lest We Forget.
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  #103  
Old 07-17-2022, 08:39 AM
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Lieutenant Joseph Albert Wapner, was born on November 15, 1919 in Los Angeles California. A 1937 graduate of Hollywood High School, Wapner went on to receive his bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California in 1941.

During World War II, First Lieutenant Wapner served with the Army’s 132nd Infantry Regiment in the Pacific Theater. A veteran of the Guadalcanal Campaign, Bougainville Campaign and the retaking of the Philippine Islands - Joseph was wounded by sniper fire on Cebu Island in the Philippines, leaving him with shrapnel in his left foot. Even though he was injured, Lieutenant Wapner still managed to save the life of one of his fellow soldiers during combat. Honorably discharged in 1945, Joseph was the recipient of three battle stars, The Bronze Star and The Purple Heart Medal.

"After earning his law degree from the University of Southern California in 1948, he worked in private practice as a lawyer for nearly a decade, until Governor Edmund G. Brown appointed him to a judgeship in Los Angeles municipal court in 1959. Two years later he was appointed to the the Los Angeles County Superior Court." (San Antonio Times)

After retiring from the court system in 1979, Wapner became the judge on "The People's Court," presiding over small claims cases for a syndicated television audience. Wapner presided over more than 2,400 episodes of the show from 1981 until 1993.

First Lieutenant Joseph Wapner passed away on February 26, 2017 at the age of 97 years old. He lies in rest at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles California. Lest We Forget.
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  #104  
Old 07-17-2022, 08:42 AM
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A one-time conscientious objector, Donald Pleasence volunteered with the Royal Air Force in 1940. He served as aircraft wireless operator with No.166 Squadron in Bomber Command, with which he flew almost sixty raids over occupied Europe.

According to the RAF Command Database: "On 31 August 1944, Lancaster III (NE112) took off at 1320 from Kirmington for an attack on a V-2 site and crashed near St-Riquier (Somme) 9 km ENE from Abbeville France and on the main road to Doullens. Resultant of the crash two of the crew perished, while two evaded and four were captured by the Germans. Flying Officer Donald Pleasence was captured and sequestered to German camp Stalag Luft I."

During his time at Stalag Luft I, Pleasence was housed with some of the most notable escape artists in World War II. Warrant Officer John "The Mole" Fancy, Lieutenant Commander Jimmy Buckley and James "Cookie" Long of the RAF - all of which he would later escape from Stalag Luft III during the actual Great Escape.

Stalag Luft I held approximately 9000 Allied Airmen. The camp was abandoned by the Germans on 1 May 1945 and liberated days later.

Flying Officer Donald Pleasence was discharged from the RAF in 1946 and returned to repertory theatre in London. Donald made his film debut in 1954 in "The Beachcomber." He would go on to perform in a number of World War II films to include "The Eagle has Landed," "The Night of the Generals" and "The Great Escape."

Trivia fact from "The Great Escape": When Donald kindly offered advice to director John Sturges, he was politely asked to keep his "opinions" to himself. Later, when another actor on set informed Sturges that Pleasence was imprisoned in a World War II German POW camp, Sturges requested his technical advice and input on historical accuracy from that point forward.

Other notable roles include Bond arch-villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in "You Only Live Twice" and Dr. Samuel Loomis in John Carpenter's horror film franchise "Halloween" - He would go on to appear in five installments.

Donald Pleasence passed away on 2 February 1995 at the age of 75 years old. Lest We Forget.
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  #105  
Old 07-17-2022, 08:45 AM
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“I probably haven’t said anything here that you didn’t already know or have already thought. That’s what a writer does.” - Andy Rooney on his his 1097th and final "60 Minutes" essay On October 2, 2011

Born Andrew Aitken Rooney, in Albany New York, Andy was drafted into the Army at age 22 in 1941. After nearly a year at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he shipped off to England with the 17th Field Artillery. In time Rooney approached the Army tents of Stars and Stripes and asked for a job. The rest is history.

According to the American Air Museum in Britain Database: "Andy Rooney was a war correspondent and journalist for the Stars and Stripes, in February 1943 he was selected as one of six journalists to accompany the 8th Air Force flying bombing missions over Germany. After a week's extensive training, Rooney joined a bomber crew flying over Wilhelmshaven on 26 February 1943, his aircraft was hit by flak, but he believed this gave him the best story of all the journalists, he recalled the mission:

"I got in my B-17 bomber and I thought to myself, "Why am I doing this? I'm scared to death. I mean, I don't have to risk my life" — except that I felt so bad for all the men who did have to risk their lives all those times that it just seemed like it was the honest thing to do. Ten minutes from the target, Banshee—the B-17 Rooney was on—encountered anti-aircraft artillery."

“We were shot at,” Rooney said. “I was at mid-side gunner. I operated a gun even though I was a correspondent. We weren’t supposed to, but I mean I was up there, and all the other guys were shooting so I had to pay my way.” (Stars and Stripes)

Routinely Mr Rooney would receive numerous angry letters questioning his validity. He answered each with candor. While doing research I came across the most appropriate answer in Mr Rooney's own words from the Norwalk Connecticut newspaper "The Hour" published on September 1, 1987. His answer is in response to a habitual question often presented questioning his military career:

"Many angry letter writers asked about my military service that I'm obliged to note, with pride, that I served four years in the U.S. Army during WWII. During that time, much of which was under combat conditions, I flew on the first U.S. bombing mission into Germany, participated in the Normandy Invasion on D-4 moved with the 1st Army through France, entered Paris with the first troops the day it was liberated, crossed the Rhine River at Remagen with the first wave of the 9th Armored Division and continued on into Berlin as a correspondent for the Army newspaper, The Stars and Stripes. Following my service in Europe, I was sent to the Far East and Crossed the Himalayas from Burma, to Kunming, China."

"During my service, I was given the Bronze Star with Oak Leat Cluster, the Air Medal, Air Gunners' Wings and earned the right to wear a lot of other medals and ribbons... European Theater of Operations ribbon, the China/Burma/India ribbon, the Unit Citation Ribbon, the Good Conduct Ribbon and the Sharp Shooters Medal."

Rooney was also on the front line during the liberation of many of the camps of World War II. An experience that would change his opinion of war and life.

Andy Rooney was discharged from the Army in 1945. In 1949 he went to work for CBS where he started as a writer for Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. He also wrote for several CBS news programs including The Twentieth Century, and News of America. CBS refused to broadcast his World War II memoir titled "An Essay on War" in 1970, so Rooney quit CBS and read the opinion himself on PBS, which was his first appearance on television. His appearance on PBS garnished his third Writer's Guild Award.

In 1978 Rooney returned to CBS with his commentary during the closing moments of "60 Minutes."

Andy Rooney passed away on November 4, 2011 at the age of 92 years old. He gave his last commentary on "60 Minutes" only 4 weeks prior. He lies in rest at Rensselaerville Cemetery in New York. Lest We Forget.
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  #106  
Old 07-17-2022, 08:47 AM
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"Born Christian Ludolf Ebsen, Jr. on April 2, 1908 in Belleville, Illinois, Buddy’s family moved to Orlando, Florida in 1920 where his father became the manager of a dance studio and it was in this dance studio that Buddy learned to dance. Initially after graduating high school in 1926, he attended college with the intention of entering into a career in medicine, but family financial troubles soon after put an end to those dreams and he was forced to drop out of college. In search of a career, he moved to New York City in 1928 in order to try his luck as a dancer."

"In 1936, he got a chance to dance with America’s sweetheart, Shirley Temple, in “Captain January” and the following year he danced with Judy Garland, in “Broadway Melody of 1938”. Buddy's career was in full swing when he was cast as the Tin Man in MGM’s production of “The Wizard of Oz” in 1939. Due to an allergy to the aluminum dust used in the makeup for the character Ebsen had to step away from the role as he was hospitalized for an extended period of time."

"Upon recovery Ebsen sought an officer’s commission in the US Navy but was turned down. He then applied to the Coast Guard and was awarded a commission with the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade. During the war he served as Executive Officer on the Coast Guard manned Navy frigate USS Pocatello which recorded weather 1500 miles west of Seattle, Washington. Lieutenant Junior Grade Ebsen served through 1946." (TCM Archive)

After the war Buddy Ebsen would go on to work in both television and film. Some of his more notable film/television credits include "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and the character of George Russell in Disney's"Davy Crockett."

He would star for nine seasons or 274 episodes in the CBS sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies" and then in January of 1973 Buddy would go on to play the title role in "Barnaby Jones" for eight seasons. Ebsen's career would span over 70 years.

Buddy Ebsen passed away on July 6, 2003 at the age of 95 years old. His ashes were scattered at sea. Lest We Forget.
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  #107  
Old 07-17-2022, 08:48 AM
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Peter Finch enlisted in the Australian Army on June 2, 1941. He served as a gunner in the 2/1st Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the Second Australian Imperial Force in the Middle East (1941-42) and in Darwin (1942) where he entertained the troops with impromptu shows known as 'Finch's Follies'.

During his war service Peter was allowed to continue to act in radio, theatre and film, notably in the role of Peter Linton in The Rats of Tobruk (1944). He produced and performed Army Concert Party work, and in 1945 toured bases and hospitals with two plays he directed, French Without Tears and While the Sun Shines. Peter Finch narrated the documentaries Jungle Patrol (1944) and Sons of the Anzacs (1945), before being discharged from the Army on October 31, 1945 with the senior non-commissioned rank of Sergeant. His service number was NX26035. (Source: IMDB and Australian Screen database)

As a screen actor, Finch won five BAFTA awards and was nominated twice for an Oscar. He died a few months prior to being awarded the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Howard Beale in Network (1976) and was the first actor to have won the award posthumously. Finch was the first Australian to win an Academy Award (Oscar).

Sergeant Peter Finch passed away from a heart attack on January 14, 1977 in Beverly Hills California. He was 60 years old. Peter lies in rest at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles California. Lest We Forget.
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  #108  
Old 07-17-2022, 08:49 AM
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Born Mladen George Sekulovich on March 22, 1912 in Chicago Illinois - Karl Malden was raised in Gary Indiana. Following his 1931 graduation from Emerson High School in Gary, Malden worked in steel mills for three years before leaving to pursue dramatic training at the Goodman Theater Dramatic School in Chicago. He changed his name to Karl Malden when he was 22. In 1937, Malden moved to New York City and began acting on Broadway. During his stage career, Malden appeared in Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams. Malden made his film debut in 1940, playing a minor role in “They Knew What They Wanted.”

In 1942 Malden enlisted with the US Army Air Forces serving with the 8th Air Force. During his service Sergeant Malden appeared in the US Army Air Forces play and film "Winged Victory" (1944). The film was a joint effort with 20th Century Fox.

According to the IMDb Database:" After separating from service in 1946 Malden won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and showed his range as an actor in roles such as that of Father Corrigan in On the Waterfront (1954) and Archie Lee in Baby Doll."

"Karl Malden starred in dozens of films during his 60-year career such as: Fear Strikes Out, Pollyanna, Birdman of Alcatraz, Gypsy, How the West Was Won, The Cincinnati Kid, and Patton (1970) as General Omar Bradley. In the early 1970s, Karl built a television career starring as Detective Mike Stone on The Streets of San Francisco He also became the pitchman for American Express, a position he held for 21 years. In 1985, he was awarded an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series for his performance as Freddy Kassab in Fatal Vision. The same year, he was also awarded an honorary doctoral degree in fine arts by Emporia State University. In 1988, he was elected President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a position he held for five years. Following that he, published his memoir entitled, "When Do I Start?: A Memoir", written with his daughter Carla." (IMDb Database)

Sergeant Karl Malden passed away at age 97 of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles on July 1, 2009. Survived by his wife of 70 years, Mona, and daughters Mila and Carla, along with three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Karl Malden lies in rest at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, California. Lest We Forget.
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  #109  
Old 07-17-2022, 08:51 AM
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Eddie Albert Heimberger was born on April 22, 1906 and grew up in Minneapolis Minnesota. Eddie moved to New York in 1933 to pursue a career and entertainment. With a successful career in radio, stage performance and film Eddie Heimberger left all that behind to join the military.

On September 9, 1942, Eddie Albert enlisted in the United States Coast Guard and was discharged in 1943 to accept an appointment as a Lieutenant in the US Naval Reserve.

During the Battle of Tarawa, Lieutenant Albert earned a Bronze Star with Combat "V". He fought in the first wave of combat that lasted for three days. After most of the shooting was over, he was sent back to the site of the battle to salvage any equipment he could find. Due to the coral reefs in the area, Marines weren't able to land directly on the beach and had to get off their boats 500 yards from shore. Enemy combatants started picking them off, and soon the waters were filled with over 100 wounded and many more dead. Albert disregarded his mission to grab equipment and began pulling marines to safety. He took 47 in total, and oversaw the rescue of 30 more. (Source: US National Archive)

After the war Eddie returned to acting and had a successful career starring in such productions as Oklahoma!, Roman Holiday, The Longest Day, The Longest Yard and of course his television comedy Green Acres.

Despite his accomplishments in acting, Albert went on record to say that the day he served as a Landing Craft Commander at Tarawa was the accomplishment that meant the most to him.

Lieutenant Eddie Albert passed away on May 26, 2005 at the age of 99. He lies in rest at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles California. Lest We Forget.
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  #110  
Old 07-17-2022, 08:55 AM
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Rod Serling served with the 11th Airborne Division in World War II.

Private First Class Rod Serling was a young, 5'4" paratrooper in the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment and although he did not meet the height requirements for the parachutes, Rod talked his way into the regiment anyway.

While the division was on New Guinea during the summer of 1944, Jack Benny came to perform for the Angels and Rod was able to write and perform in a small skit that was broadcast on Armed Forces Radio. It was a sign of things to come for Serling.

During the Angels' campaign on Leyte in late 1944, T-4 Serling and the Suicide Squad kept busy eliminating enemy bunkers and defensive positions. While high in the island's mountains, the regiment could only be resupplied by air and one day Rod watched in horror as a heavy crate landed squarely on his good friend PVT Melvin Levy's shoulders, killing him instantly. Rod marked Melvin’s grave with a Star of David in honor of his friend’s Jewish heritage.

It was the first of the war's many difficult experiences that affected Rod, leaving him with PSTD, in addition to a wound to his knee that plagued him for the rest of his life.

During the Angels' campaign to liberate Luzon, Rod and the Demolitions team kept busy with the dangerous job of blasting countless grass-covered pillboxes and blockhouses, many of which were heavily defended. On one occasion, Rod found himself staring down the barrel of a Japanese rifle. Luckily one of his buddies was quicker and eliminated the enemy soldier.

In one Manila neighborhood, Rod and the other Angels were enjoying an impromptu celebration by the newly-liberated Filipinos when the Japanese began shelling the area. Noticing a wounded Filipino woman out in the open, Rod rushed into the fire to carry her to safety, an action that earned him the Bronze Star.

After the war, Rod turned to writing to "face his demons" and went on to become one of televisions most well-known, and award-winning, screenwriters, playwrights, television producers, and narrators. He also was a passionate teacher at Antioch College (Ohio) and Ithaca College (New York).

Known to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day, Rod died on June 28, 1975. May we all remember these words spoken before his death: "for civilization to survive, the human race has to remain civilized".
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