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Diary of a Sailor
West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee
World War II was a global military conflict that took place between 1939 and 1945. It was the largest and deadliest war in history. The world at war was ignited by the Nazi Germany invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939.
The United States of America attempted to remain neutral, but at 7:55am on a quiet Sunday morning on December 7th, 1941, the Japanese Imperial Navy launched a horrific sneak attack against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor. The first wave of over 180 Japanese fighters and bombers struck Pearl and pounded Hickam, Bellows, and Wheeler Fields, as well as the Marine airfield on Ford Island.
From that moment, America was forever changed. Within a few hours on that fateful morning, America lost over 2,400 Naval, Army, Marine and Army Air Corp personnel and more than 1,100 military personnel were injured defending their ships and bases against the Japanese onslaught.
This unprovoked attack led to the quick declaration of war against Japan by the United States Congress on December 8, 1941. Germany declared war on the United States on December 11, 1941.
The United States was now part of the global conflict. With Japanese forces in the Pacific and German and Italian forces in Europe and Africa, America was forced to wage war on several fronts.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt called upon the young men and women of this great country to take up arms to defeat the forces of Germany and Japan. From the largest cities to the smallest towns, approximately 16 million Americans across the nation answered the call. From the home front to the front lines, Americans from all races, religions, and walks of life helped in the war effort. Over 400,000 of our bravest soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and merchant marines sacrificed their all to defeat our enemies.
The Town of West Seneca, like all towns across the country, heeded the call of our president. Hundreds upon hundreds of our young men and women joined the ranks of the various services to do their part to help keep America free.
In an attempt to track the number of West Seneca residents who participated in World War II, Frank J. Lankes, Town Historian, created a WAR SERVICE RECORD containing the name, address and branch of service of each individual entering military service. An effort was made to track the bases of operations, training and citations for each of our service personnel.
Records were maintained, but over a period of time, these WAR SERVICE RECORDS were placed in storage and for the most part, largely forgotten.
The men and women who served during World War II were part of the Greatest Generation. Through their efforts and sacrifices, the freedom of our nation was preserved and our country became the greatest economic country in the world.
Unfortunately, the men and women who gave up so much to do so much to maintain our freedoms are disappearing. Of the over 16 million who served during World War II, it is estimated that only 2 million veterans are still with us today. The Veterans Administration estimates that our country loses 900 veterans each day.
To help maintain the memory and sacrifices of so many West Seneca residents, the information has been recreated from the original WAR SERVICE RECORD. In addition to the notes compiled by the Town Historian, residents are urged to contribute any additional information on any World War II veteran they may know or have known. The goal is to have a complete military record for each World War II veteran whose unique and crucial contribution helped end the worst conflict the world has ever experienced.
If you have additional military service information that you would like to share on a veteran, please send an email or call Jim Manley so these service records can be updated. With your help, our World War II veterans will never be forgotten.
Note: The military uses acronyms and abbreviations for their military units. As such, several letters strung together do not have much meaning. Each set of acronyms, initials or abbreviations has been throughly researched to find the full meaning of the title of the unit, section or battalion. For example, the acronym "MSBS" probably would not mean much to the casual observer. Knowing that the initials stands for "Marine Scout Bombing Squadron", allows the observer to know what branch the individual served and what the individual's mission may have been.
Due to rapid buildup of forces, many units were only temporary and when the war ended, were removed from active service. In many cases, records may no longer exist on the mission of that particular unit.
For the sailors that served on ships, the ship's name was researched and additional information provided on the history of the ship.
This is an ongoing project. Any additional information or corrections to records is appreciated
Please note that if the individual entering military service failed to send the postcard back to the Town of West Seneca, there is no record for that individual.
Your comments or suggestions are invited.
1,545 Residents of West Seneca Answered the Call To Arms
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Listings of World War II Veterans from West Seneca
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Copyright 2012 West Seneca Veterans Committee, West Seneca, New York U.S.A. All rights Reserved.