Lotte Holzer Bunim was 5 years old when she and her family, comprising her father, mother, and older brother, escaped to The Philippines in 1939. In these three video clips, Lotte recounts her memories of the Liberation of Manila when the American military arrived and reflects on the war.
- Lotte remembers the air raid shelter
- Lotte meets a Jewish soldier
- Lotte reflects about the Holocaust
Martin Meadows and his parents, an American Jewish family in Manila, were one of the few Jewish families interned at Santo Tomas for just over 3 years. Martin shares his memories of Santo Tomas internment camp (STIC) and recites a poignant recollection of when they were liberated.
- Martin recalls when the Japanese arrived
- Martin remembers their liberation from STIC
Guadalcanal 1943. VMF 215, a Marine Fighter Squadron of WWII, was first organized and trained in Goleta, neighbor community to Santa Barbara in Southern California. After 6 months, the squadron of pilots and ground crew shipped out to the Pacific Theater in 1943, where they were stationed at Guadalcanal. To see more pictures from the early days of the squadron, click here---->VMF 215 Squadron 1943<----.
Surviving Squadron members from all over the United States reunited in Santa Barbara on October 4-6, 2007. I had the honor of conducting a group interview with the men. It was a rare and wonderful experience to accompany these gentlemen, their families, and widows of deceased Squadron members on their activities. I never met finer or braver people. Here them tell about being shipped out to the Pacific---->Flying Corsairs<----
Jess "Todd" Brouchard is a former ground crew mechanic for the squadron and pilots Dick Samuelson and George Brewer joined the squadron during later tours of duty for the VMF 215. Here each of these men tell about how they first joined the Marine Corps and became pilots. George relates how he flew for 16 years as a color-blind pilot.
- Enlistment stories and being color-blind
Buck Faust and Charles "Challie" Fitzgerald are ground crew members of the squadron, in radio and electronics. Challie tells how he and Buck owned a car together and share other funny stories about life as Marines.
- Buck and Challie's car over the ditch
- Buck coming back after hours and Challie short sheeting beds
Marine pilots Hap Langstaff and Bob Johnson are original members of the squadron from its earliest days in Goleta before they were shipped out to the Pacific. Hear them tell of their fighter flying experiences over the Solomon Islands:
- Bob tails a Zero and gets hit
- Hap's plane takes 28 hits
- The guys tell about life on Guadalcanal
Bill Mayer is an original ground crew member of the squadron who remembers much about their early days in Goleta before the base really existed. Ray Wolff is another original pilot of the VMF 215 who shares his memories of life as a pilot.
- Bill tells about streaming laundry
- Ray talks re: Goonie Birds at Midway
- Weapons and malaria
I sincerely hope I shall have the opportunity to meet with these fine WWII Veteran Marine Squadron members of VMF 215 again and continue documenting their wonderful stories. You can also read an article here --->Historia Nov. 2007, pg.5 <--- about this squadron's roots in Santa Barbara in The Historia newsletter of the history department at UCSB.
Members and spouses of the VMF 215 Squadron were hosted by John Blankenship to a private viewing of his collection of WWII memorabilia. This extensive collection will be the initial acquisition of the planned and funded Pierre Claeyssens Military Museum & Library in Santa Barbara, California. To view a photo montage of John's WWII Collection, you may click here ----> John's Museum <----.
John Blankenship, executive director of the Pierre Claeyssens Military Museum & Library, has dedicated his private collection to the honor and memory of, what he has named, The Greatest Generation. Hear him tell about the various items in his museum and stories from that generation and WWII:
- The Saburo Saki Story, Japanese Pilot
- Military Hat Collection
- Details the human casulties of WWI & II
- Talks about the F4U Corsair with Hap
The San Diego Veterans Museum and Memorial Center was formed in March 1989 to create, maintain and operate an institution to honor and perpetuate the memories of all men and women who have served in the Armed Forces of the USA. Permanent exhibits honor American Veterans from every war in which U.S. troops have fought since the Revolutionary War. Click here to view the interior of the museum---> Vets Museum<---.
Abe Shragge, PhD UCSD, shared with me some insights about the temporary exhibit on the Liberation of The Philippines during WWII that was on display in September and October 2007. View clips here regarding:
- US Flag surrendered on Baguio in 1942
- Story of the U.S. Calvary's Last Charge
- Artifacts owned by the Filipino Community on loan to the museum.
- Permanent exhibit on Santo Tomas