102-year-old Raymond West joins VBC Happy Hour to share his story of serving in the 28th Division in World War II, being captured in the Battle of the Bulge, and surviving to the end of the war in two POW camps.

Also joining us are Vietnam Donut Dolly Rosemary Schwoebel and her sister, Diane Schlosser, who oversaw publication of their father’s World War II memoir.

Ivan D. Thunder’s The Pacific War and Iwo Jima is a series of vignettes of daily Seabee life during and after the battle of Iwo Jima. A former Lt. CEC, USNR of the 133rd Naval Construction Battalion, Thunder writes with simplicity and candor describing his harrowing, bloody experience landing on the island under enemy fire; and after the island is secure, describes the sneak Japanese attack where even the Army cooks fought them off with knives. He then switches to the lighter side of living in a foxhole while mimicking FDR.

Included in his recollections are essays where Thunder unabashedly expresses his opinion on whether we provoked the Japanese; if the A-bomb was justified; and offers his detailed tribute to Admiral Nimitz.

In addition, the chilling diary of a Japanese Marine Officer and a G-2 Intelligence Bulletin recounting a U.S. Merchant Seaman’s POW experience, help to found out the Iwo Jima story.

Though written by one man, this book transcends the individual and is a testimony to the extraordinary “Can Do!” spirit of the Seabees. As the Greatest Generation passes away, these inspirational recollections will serve as a useful primary source for young historians.

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