Thank you for your letters!
Hillar Brandt said: "It is indeed exciting to see something like this after so many years. I attended Florida Military Academy as of summer of 1959 until 1962 when they moved to Plantation. I still remember airplanes taking off after warming up their engines at 5am. Of course at the time we could still climb and look around inside the abandoned Catalina's and naval fighter planes there. I spend most of the time in Miami and will make a point to visit in Feb/March when I get back to the US. If I am not mistaken, the barracks were those at the lower left side of the shown picture, Thanks for the pleasant memories."
Albert Harris said: "You should know that from 1966-68 it was also a high school Dania-Sterling High School. I came from Attucks Jr.-Sr. High School in Dania FL and we were all black. My Sophomore year at that school was my first time to go to school with white kids and we were all Sophomores. The 68-69 school year we were the first class of the new school Hollywood Hills High School. It was ruff at first but it turned out to be the best two years of school in my life. That old Naval Air Station had no air, no heat in those old barracks lol. You should know this do not forget us the class of 66-68 and the class of 67-68 the Jr. and So. class of Dania-Sterling High School and the Sr. and Jr. class of Hollywood Hills High School 1969 and 1970. Thank You Albert L. Harris U.S.Army and USAF Vet. class of 1969. Oh yea by the way, on my So. year my football teammate who was a running back named Bucky Dent never knew that he could play baseball for the New York Yankees."
Robert Walsh said: "My father James Walsh signed up for the US Navy with George F. Devlin in Brooklyn NY. My father signed up as Edward J Walsh (alias) at age 15. They were childhood buddies. They both paid a Notary Public 50 cents to have their names and age changed. My father ended up serving on the USS Harry F. Bauer DE 26 with participated in the battle of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. My father always talked about George Devlin being in the crew of Flight 19 and their adventure of signing up for the Navy underage during WWII."
Bryan Ilyankoff said: "Very nice article about the Photographer who took pride in his work! Photos that he took are great! Wish I could of met him and talked about his experience! I currently show a WWII Navy Photographer's Mate display at military shows and events here in the Seattle area. So, I gladly honor those who came before me in my rate. Thanks for sharing his time in the Navy!
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class,
U.S. Navy Reservist
(former Photographer's Mate)
In reply to What a find! Mitchel Johnson, Sr. is my grand..., Darrell Johnson said: "That's my daddy & uncle. Mitchell (Sr.) is my granddaddy. I remember that Navy ship visit (referred to by Cheree in the above post.) It's good that legacies are remembered. Those who don't write their own stories are subjected to others, retelling of them."
Ralph Flaherty said: "Just came across this site. I am now 84 and remember my days at NAS FT Lauderdale. I joined the Navy at age 17 in 1944 as an air-crewman. After aom school in Norman OK I went to gunnery school at the Emory Riddle bldg on 27th ave in Miami. It was there that I met Whitey Thompson (Flight 19), a marine who had just come back from the fleet. He and the rest of the marine group were there for a refresher course. Anyhow, we finished gunnery school in August 1945 just as the war ended, and ended up in the last class to go through operational training at Ft Lauderdale. On the day that whitey was lost I had just come back from a morning flight and Whitey was on the flight line waiting for his flight. I was probably the last one to talk to him before they left. The next morning I was on the first search flight out of Ft Lauderdale. I remember it well: it was a very lousy day, real bumpy and the reason I was still at the plane when Whitey arrived is that I had thrown up right behind the pilot where I was standing during the flight. I remember a very angry pilot who ordered me to clean up the mess and make sure there was no smell when he got back. Obviously I got out of there, so I did not have to go on the next flight with him. So much for my story. I just want to end by saying we were all just kids and though Whitey was the only one of the marine group that I knew, he was really quite a guy. Although he did not talk about the war I heard from others that he was on the USS Franklin when she got hit and he was trapped for 4 hrs below deck while she was burning. I can't verify that fact but that's what I remember. My best to all and thanks for all that you do......R Flaherty"