Greatest Generation Live

Every 4th Tuesday on Zoom at 7pm ET and simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.

We talk all things WWII, with experts, authors, and WWII veterans.


SPECIAL EVENT: Legendary Undersea Explorer and Submarine Veteran Robert Ballard

Date: December 14, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
All Events | Greatest Generation Live | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour

Legendary undersea explorer and archeologist Robert Ballard joins us for a special event hosted by Glenn Flickinger.

Ballard’s groundbreaking work has transformed our understanding of the world beneath the waves. Throughout his illustrious career, Ballard has been a pioneer in deep-sea exploration, making significant contributions to marine science, archaeology, and technology.

Ballard’s journey into the underwater world began during his tenure in the United States Navy. Commissioned as an officer in 1965, he served as a commander in the U.S. Navy’s submarine service. His military background provided the foundation for his later career as an explorer of the ocean depths. Ballard’s passion for exploration, combined with his scientific curiosity, led him to pursue a doctorate in marine geology and geophysics from the University of Rhode Island.

One of Ballard’s most notable achievements is the discovery of the wreckage of the RMS Titanic in 1985. In collaboration with the French oceanographic institute IFREMER, Ballard used advanced deep-sea submersibles to locate the iconic shipwreck nearly 12,500 feet below the surface of the North Atlantic. This discovery captivated the world and marked a turning point in the field of deep-sea exploration. Ballard’s innovative use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and manned submersibles set a new standard for underwater archaeology.

Beyond the Titanic, Ballard has been involved in numerous other significant discoveries. In 1977, he participated in the exploration of the Galápagos Rift, where hydrothermal vents and unique ecosystems were found. These vents, teeming with life previously unknown to science, revolutionized our understanding of the potential for life in extreme environments. Ballard’s work in the Galápagos Rift laid the groundwork for subsequent studies on deep-sea biology and ecology.

In the 1980s, Ballard turned his attention to the Mediterranean, where he made another groundbreaking discovery – the well-preserved remains of ancient shipwrecks. Using his deep-sea exploration tools, Ballard and his team uncovered a wealth of archaeological treasures, including vessels dating back to the Roman Empire. These findings provided valuable insights into ancient seafaring practices and maritime trade routes.

In 2002, Ballard discovered in the Pacific Ocean PT-109, the patrol torpedo boat commanded by then-Lieutenant John F. Kennedy during World War II.

On the night of August 2, 1943, during a moonless night in the Blackett Strait in the Solomon Islands, PT-109 was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, the Amagiri. Kennedy and his crew faced a harrowing ordeal, with two crew members losing their lives. Kennedy’s leadership and heroic efforts to save his surviving crew earned him acclaim and played a role in shaping his political career.

Armed with advanced sonar technology, ROVs, and historical records and eyewitness accounts of the incident, Ballard and his team scoured the waters of the Blackett Strait.

After days of meticulous searching, they successfully identified and documented the remains of PT-109 on the ocean floor. The discovery marked the culmination of a concerted effort to piece together the puzzle of the boat’s final resting place. The images and data captured by Ballard’s expedition not only confirmed the location of PT-109 but also provided valuable insights into the condition of the sunken vessel.

Join us for this special event with a great American Navy veteran!

German World War II Veteran Wolfram Forster on VBC Happy Hour @ 7pm ET

Date: December 18, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
All Events | Greatest Generation Live | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour
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German World War II Wehrmacht veteran and US Army veteran Dr. Wolfram Forster joins VBC Happy Hour to tell us about his harrowing route from Hitler’s Germany to the United States. Wolfram shares his story in his memoir, Farewell, Berlin: My World War II Story of Surviving Hitler’s Germany and Embracing Life in America.

Wolfram grew up in Berlin during the reign of Hitler. It was a time when German citizens were so deprived of freedom that a dentist was executed simply for confiding in a patient that he held a shadow of doubt about the fate of Hitler’s war.

While Wolfram and his family struggled to live any kind of normal life during the height of World War II, he clung to two dreams for his future: to someday live in America and to become a doctor.

To have any hope of realizing those dreams, however, he would need to navigate an endless trail of fear, terror, heartbreak, confusion, injustice and the constant threat of annihilation while living in Europe at a time when life was turned upside down.

First, he had to survive the relentless Allied bombing of Berlin. One day he discovered his neighborhood movie theater blown to pieces just hours after sirens blared as a signal for him and his mother to get out, and a factory where he was assigned to work was destroyed on the day he was forced to stay home with an illness.

Still, he marveled at the American B-17s and B-24s soaring in formation over his city and vowed that one day he would fly in one. Called to serve as a German soldier in the final months of the war, he was captured by the Allies and held as a POW by three different national militaries: the Americans, the French, and the Russians.

Finally, almost two years after the end of the war, he gained his freedom. Over time, and overcoming many new obstacles, he found his way to fulfill those two childhood goals, becoming a noted radiologist treating patients from inside the power circles of Washington, DC and going on to serve as a Colonel in the U.S. Army. Farewell, Berlin tells the almost unimaginable story of Wolfram Forster. With honesty, warmth and vivid detail, it provides a close-up look inside a world rarely glimpsed by anyone who has ever been curious about the long years of bloodshed and turmoil of World War II.

Thank you to Tobacco Free Adagio Health for sponsoring this event!