When Minnesota’s Greatest Generation marched off to war, they had no idea the trials and trauma that awaited them in combat missions. In this episode, we hear from three Minnesota veterans who were stationed in England and flew bombing missions targeting the Nazis when they were shot down and put into harsh Prisoner of War camps. We also hear from a veteran who was serving in Europe at the end of the war as labor and concentration camps there were liberated.
This episode features Minnesota veterans Lester Schrenck, Walter Grotz, Claude Williams and his sister Lois and Bernie Lieder.
The day of the Pearl Harbor attack, what FDR memorably called ‘the day that will live in infamy,’ struck a nerve with a generation of patriotic Americans and motivated them to serve. In this episode, we hear from two Minnesota GI’s who signed up at recruiting stations in the aftermath of the surprise attack. There’s also the eyewitness account of a third Minnesota veteran who was there, aboard ship at the time the swarm of Japanese planes took aim at the US fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor.
This episode features Minnesota veterans Bill Olson, Herbert Gager and George Vandersluis.
Veterans returning from World War 2 were the first servicemen and women to be able to access the benefits of the GI Bill, officially known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. Far more GI’s than expected took advantage of the opportunity to have Uncle Sam pay for their education. The University of Minnesota was a leader in welcoming the veterans to campus. The college degrees they earned lifted thousands of those who served into the middle and professional class and gave them the knowledge and skills that fueled the post-War economy.
This episode features Minnesota veterans Jeanne Bearmon and Sherman Garon.
For many veterans who served in Korea, the war is remembered by the days, weeks and months that they counted down as they waited to come home. Today, some of those veterans are sharing their wartime experiences with young people so their role in history will be understood and remembered.
Those who entered military service during the Korean War had been children during World War 2, and wartime shaped their youth. Many of them grew up with family members who fought and died in Europe or the Pacific Theater. But the Korean War proved to be a very different experience for their generation of veterans.
Roger Gardin enlisted in the Navy and served aboard the USS Laffey, a legendary destroyer that survived several notable battles in World War 2 and was returned to service in the Korean War. Gardin’s most memorable day aboard ship was the daylong battle that he spent inside a gun mount
The men and women who fought in the Korean War were born when many farms still relied on horses. They have been eyewitnesses to massive societal changes. Born between the Greatest Generation and the baby boomers, they are part of an entire generation that is often often overlooked.
The US Navy played a key role in the Korean War. Korea is situated on a peninsula, so control of the seas was essential. In today’s Veterans Voices, Minnesotan Robert Sorteberg spent his wartime service aboard a ship that supported fighting troops.
When American troops were sent to South Korea in 1950, it was with the goal of stopping the spread of communism there. Two former GI’s who served there explain the US mission that they were charged to carry out, and how the conflict still resonates in the geopolitics of today.