Corporal Carlyle Agrelius
US Marine Corps
WWII heroes will be visible behind home plate as cutouts during the game on August 23 as the Padres and USAA honor the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II. The cutouts are mostly local WWII veterans - men and women from every branch of service. Their pictures were provided to by Honor Flight San Diego, a nonprofit who takes the most senior veterans to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials built for their service and sacrifice.
Corporal Carlyle Agrelius
US Army Air-WAC
Vaughn served in the Womens Army Corp. She was one of the first women other than nurses within the ranks of the Army.
Staff Sergeant Raymond Alexander
Ray was in the Army and landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. He drove tanks on to ships and then stayed on until they drove the tanks through the four feet of water to get on to Omaha Beach. They witnessed the many dead in the water, sunken ships and aircraft battles going on overhead. Despite the shells being aimed at his tank, he reached land and turned the tanks over to the tank core.
Lucy "Josey" Anderson
The Waves were the women's branch of the US Naval Reserve. Waves stood for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. Performed tasks from being a clerk typist, butcher, baker, ice cream maker to driving trucks. Awards received included: American area, Asiatic-Pacific, good conduct, WWII Victory.
Petty Officer Joseph Ballek
US Navy Electrician's Mate - Served in the Aleutian Islands during Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Waller. Japanese Betty Bombers sunk the Cruiser Chicago that his ship was escorting. The USS Waller ship rescued all 1,049 survivors onto their ship. He witnessed the famous air battle of the Marianas Turkey Shoot, Philippines, Saipan, Indonesia, and China.
Landed on Omaha Beach D-Day plus 1 in the 2nd wave going ashore. He was a US Army scout onboard landing craft tank and motorcycles were strapped to the tanks when going ashore. He was captured by the Germans and was a POW for ten days. He was asked to assess the best motorcycle (Harley and Indian) to use in Battle of St Lo - He recommended the Harley.
Tech Sergeant Clayton Baum
"Boy" was assigned to the First Army and landed on Omaha Beach. After Paris the Company followed the 29th and 30th Division across the Albrecht Canal & onto Tongeren Belgium which bordered both Maastricht, Holland, and Ashen, Germany. Early December, the "Battle of the Bulge" which was an attempt by the Germans to break through their lines and drive all the way to Antwerp Belgium, a key ocean port. This was defeated; Ashen also fell.
Served with the 385th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, part of the 1st Cavalry Division. He was deployed in the South Pacific, including New Guinea and the Philippines.
Served in both Theaters on a destroyer which included Normandy, Iwo Jima & Okinara. Troop transport on a land craft - could take up to 24 Higgins boats.
Paul served with the 90th Infantry Division. He landed in France, via Utah Beach, 2 days after the initial invasion. His main responsibility was to protect a battery of 105 Howitzers, against any threat on the ground or air. His bronze star citation states that a platoon was pinned down by enemy fire from a pillbox. Mr. Bottoms, took a machine gun, aimed it at the pillbox and accurately eliminated any and all threats, allowing the platoon to continue it’s advance safely.
Brigadier General Robert Cardenas
US Air Force
General Cardenas served in the Army Air Corps and Air Force for 34 years. During WWII he flew combat missions over Europe and on one mission, he took anti-aircraft fire and was forced to eject into Lake Constance. He was on the German side and started to swim towards Switzerland; luckily a Swiss fisherman happened by and grabbed him up, taking him to the safety of the opposite shore. He was taken to a Swiss holding camp until he was finally smuggled out of Switzerland hidden on a train, and eventually arrived back safely in England. He turned 100 years old this March and is known in San Diego for being the person to get Miramar National Cemetery established.
Served in Europe with the Army Military Police
Technician 5th grade Andre Chappaz
Served with the Army Corps of Engineers building airfields for B-29 bombers in the South Pacific, working on Guam, Okinawa, the Mariana Islands and Ryukus. His duties included locating mines, riding construction equipment as an armed guard and patrolling Japanese held territory. His unit was staging for the invasion of Hokkaido, Japan.
Ray was a Quartermaster in the US Navy and served aboard the minesweeper Condor when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. He was a Pearl Harbor Survivor who lived until the age of 106!! After the attack, Chavez served on the transport ship La Salle that brought soldiers to several island battles throughout the Pacific, including Okinawa and Guadalcanal.
Pharmacist's Mate First Class Charlie Claxton
Charlie served in the European, African and Pacific campaigns.
Pearl Harbor survivor - Coburn was aboard the USS Oklahoma battleship when the Pearl Harbor attack began on Dec. 7, 1941. Just 10 minutes after the first torpedo struck the ship, it capsized, taking 492 sailors trapped inside its hull to a watery grave. He escaped the ship and spent the next five years aboard the heavy cruiser USS Louisville, which was involved in several major battles in the Pacific Theater. One of his last major conflicts was during the Battle of Okinawa, when a Japanese kamikaze pilot dive-bombed the Louisville. Coburn doesn’t remember the impact because was knocked out in the blast and injured by shrapnel.
Army Air Corps
He was an advanced trainer on B25 – later trained bombardiers – had an interesting encounter with one of the Doolittle raiders when he had to do an emergency landing.
U.S. Air Force
Bob served in the U.S. Air Force and was part of the missions to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
US Air Corp
As a Jet Instructor Pilot, he served with the Occupation Force At Furstenfeldbruck Germany to train the German Pilots after the Germans got their Sovereignty . He had the opportunity to Fly with the Senior German Pilots including Eric Hartman, The Worlds Leading Ace with 352 Kills.
US ARMY PACIFIC THEATER (GUAM)
WWII/Korea/Vietnam - pacific MSCS/E8
Petty Officer Elizabeth Fischle
US Coast Guard
Elizabeth served as a Coast Guard SPAR - Semper Paratus Always Ready. She was stationed in Washington State and says that she would have continued on active duty if the military had allowed her (all women were discharged after the war ended).
Captain Phil Flanagan
Served in Guam
Lieutenant Colonel Bob Friend
US Air Force
Lt Col. Robert Friend served as a Tuskegee Airman. He flew 142 combat missions in World War II as part of the elite group of fighter pilots trained at Alabama's Tuskegee Institute. He flew in P-47 and P-51 planes while providing support for heavy bombers. He also served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
US Marine Corps
At 104 years young, Ruth is the oldest living female Marine West of the Mississippi! During WWII she was stationed at MCAS Miramar and was one of the first female Marines. She went on to serve for decades as a civilian with the Marine Corps at MCRD.
Colonel Rip Harper
US Marine Corps
Colonel Harper began his military career at Guadalcanal overseeing demolitions, bridge construction, roadwork and operating flamethrowers. He received a Purple Heart in Okinawa and continued to serve during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Rip sang the National Anthem at a 2017 Padres game at 100 years old.
Chief Petty Officer Stu Hedley
During the Pearl Harbor attack, Stu was aboard the USS West Virginia which was heavily torpedoed and badly damaged. He was blown from his turret and was forced to swim ashore. Stu continued to serve until 1960 receiving many awards for his heroism. Today he continues to educate children on the importance of Pearl Harbor. He was the San Diego Veteran of the Year in 2012.
Don Hubbard is a 94 year old retired Navy Commander and naval aviator. He joined WWII at the age of 17 1/2 and then served for 24 years as a pilot. After WWII: conducted spy flights during the Cold War mapping new Russian radar sites; during the Korean War patrolled with top secret nuclear bombs; during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs commanded a recon and photo interpretation squadron; and finished as a pilot in Vietnam largely doing mission supply and top brass transport.
"Huff" served as an 82nd Airborne Paratrooper - fought in several of the major battles of WWII which included Normandy, Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge. He was considered a "high point man" having fought in Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and German. He parachuted at 2 am on June 6th with more than 10,000 members and successfully took the key town of Ste. Mere Eglise.
Alex served in the Western Pacific, Guam, Spain
1942-46 - USS Taurus & USS Bondia - became a judge after the war.
Petty Officer Curtis Ladd
US Coast Guard
Curtis was part of the OSS - Office of Strategic Services. Post-WWII, the OSS became the CIA.
Barney was a 20-year-old motor machinist mate second class manning one of the 20-millimeter guns on the USS Nemasket, a fuel ship anchored 150 yards off shore, where the first group of Marines landed on Iwo Jima.
Pearl Harbor survivor
US Marine Air Corp
Fighter pilot - served in the Pacific at Okinawa, Guam, Iwo Jima, Philippines, including China & Hawaii
Major Theo Logan
Infantry during WWII & Korean Wars. Received 2 bronze stars for Meritorious achievements. Served in Italy/Germany/Korea/Japan. Personally met President Eisenhower.
1943-46 - 75th Div; 4th Army HQ - Bob was ready to be deployed but his mother received a phone call that his two brothers both just died in different battles. Orders were for Bob to serve state side.
Technical Sergeant Frank Manchel
Technical Sergeant Earl Mann
Earl was attached to the 16th Armored Division (part of Patton's 3rd Army), liberated the city of Pilsen in western Czechoslovakia. He is the reason Honor Flight San Diego Chairman, Julie Brightwell has spent over 10 years volunteering with Honor Flight.
Corporal Jeri Marcot
US Marine Corps
Jeri completed boot camp at Camp Lejeune and follow-on training in aviation mechanics in Norman, OK. She was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro where she was secretary to seven officers and 200 Marines.
US Air Corp
Pacific: 5th Airforce, B-24 Mechanic. Started war in New Guinea and finished in Japan
We was a Naval pilot was assigned to the east coast of South America during World War II flying PBY aircraft in utility squadron VJ16 - one of their jobs was to search for German submarines.
"Monte" served with the Seventh Army, 5th Infantry Division, 3051st Quartermaster Salvage and Collection Company. In September 1944, he shipped out to Southern France aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth. His duties involved salvaging disabled vehicles and discarded weapons, ammunition and clothing from battlefields and bringing them back to temporary camps with makeshift morgues. Post WWII, Monte accompanied Honor Flight San Diego Founder Dave Smith to hundreds of public speaking engagements to help get his fellow brothers on the flight.
Mary Joan Morris
Mary Joan Morris was a U.S. Army nurse.
Petty Officer Gil Nadeau
Gil served as a visual signalman aboard an LCS, which at that time stood for Landing Craft Support and was part of the "Mighty Midgets". He served in the Philippines, the invasion of Borneo and Okinawa. He clearly remembers Aug. 14, 1945 when he heard the war was over. After being gone for almost 2 years, he said, "now I can go home."
First Lieutenant Rita O'Neil
First Lieutenant – served with the 78th hospital train as a surgical nurse tending to combat wounded including those from the Battle of the Bulge. She just passed away this week.
Seaman First Class Anna Palmer
Navy WAVES - Served as a First Class Seaman (Communication) from 1944-46 - was stationed at 87th and Anthony in South Chicago where she helped to discharge soldiers.
Private First Class Steve Perez
Served in the Infantry and Ordinance divisions in JAPAN - TOKYO, YOKOHAMA
Major Ed Reeder
US Air Force
Served as an airplane instructor pilot.
Served as a Paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles, where he jumped into Normandy near Utah Beach at 3:30 AM on D Day. He has parachuted into some of the greatest battles which included the Siege of Bastone during the Battle of the Bulge.
Chief Petty Officer Joe Renteria
Joe was Admiral Halsey's staff photographer during WWII and retired as a Chief Petty Officer. Post-military, Joe was the SDSU staff photographer and took the iconic picture of President Kennedy delivering the commencement address in 1963. Joe is 103 years young!
On D-Day, Tom was part of the 101st Airborne Division Screaming Eagles and parachuted behind enemy lines. In 2019 he made history by parachuting back into Normandy at the age of 97. He just celebrated his 99th birthday.
Bill saw combat in the Philippines and was going to take part in the invasion of Japan. Bill was at a Naval Base in Japan on Sept. 2nd, 1945 when the Empire of Japan signed the unconditional surrender documents on the U.S.S. Missouri.
Nelson was assigned as a P-47N (Jug) fighter aircraft, flight line “Crew Chief,” in the famous all-black 99th Fighter Squadron of the 477th Composite Group & the 332nd Fighter Group known formally as the Tuskegee Airmen. In 1949, Nelson became one of the first black aircraft mechanics to be integrated in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in compliance with a directive signed by President Truman in 1948 to “integrate the armed forces.”
Private First Class Manuel Ruiz
Machine gunner, Army infantry
US Marine Corps
Served for 30 years, 4 months through WWII / KOREA / VIETNAM. Was part of the Pacific 4th Marine Division; Iwo Jima Infantry Rifleman; saw the US Flag going up from the other end of the island.
Paul served in the Pacific Theater.
Private First Class Bob Shaw
American Forces in the Western Pacific; Luton POW Camp #1
Admiral Doniphan Shelton
Admiral Shelton served in the U.S. Navy for 40 Years, 1 Month, 27 Days. He is a Combat Veteran serving in WWII, Korea, Vietnam - during WWII his ship was hit by 4 of 13 Kamikazees. Early in his pilot career, he landed on flight decks with dust pan flashlights lighting the path. As CO Naval Bases Subic Bay / Cubi Pt, he conducted Operation New Life for 43,000 Vietnam Refugees.
Staff Sergeant Henry Simokat
US Air Force
Henry (Rusty) Simokat served with the 355th Fighter Squadron in the U.S. Army Air Corp, which became the Air Force shortly after he enlisted. He was 20 years old. He went to Europe on the QE2. He was not at Omaha Beach on D-Day, but he arrived a day later. Those memories are clearer to him than current memories.
US Marine Corps
During World War II, he was assigned to the First Provisional Marine Brigade and was part of the U.S. invasion to take back the Island of Guam. He and his son, Dave Smith went on an Honor Flight in 2009 and the trip was so profound that Dave started the Honor Flight hub we know today as Honor Flight San Diego!
Commander Dene Sooy
Evelyn "Dene" Sooy - served 43-45 as a cryptologist and then Naval Reserves till 1979. She became one of the first female naval commanders. She turned 100 years old this year.
Petty Officer Benjamin Stables, Jr
Ben was a Motor Machinist's Mate-2nd Class on a LCI (Landing Craft Infantry) ship that went ashore on D-Day. His ship transported 496 men in its first load of infantry soldiers onto Omaha Beach the LCI 497 next to them stuck a mine and sank on the beach. Fortunately none of his crew were injured by the enemy fire from the shore (Saint Laurent-Sur-Mer, France). As they pulled off the beach he said they missed a mine by 10 feet. They then went to rescue sailors from a sinking ship offshore. The next several days they they continued to bring troops ashore at Omaha and Utah beaches.
US Marine Corps
Not only was Randy a Rosie the Riveter but she was also a United States Marine. During the war she was stationed at MCRD driving garbage trucks. As a Rosie, replaced metal on B-26 planes.
US Marine Corps
Walter Travis enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 1942 at the age of 18 in San Francisco. His training was at the Marine Depot in San Diego before being deployed to the South Pacific and the Philippines. He returned in 1945.
Pharmacist's Mate First Class Bernie Trifoso
US Coast Guard
Bernie was Pharmacist's Mate First Class and part of the Normandy crews on ships that went ashore on D-Day. In his words, "half the ships went right and half the ships went left. The ships on the left got all shot up and I just happened to be on the ships on the right."
Sergeant Major Val Valentine
Sgt Major Val served WWII, Korean & Vietnam Wars - at Guadalcanal as a Scout Sniper and he witnessed the first flag raising on Iwo Jima. He participated in the assault landing of Inchon, Korea known as the Chosin Reservoir. He was awarded the Combat Crew Wings during the Vietnam conflict. Retiring from Camp Pendleton in 1973 - he received many decorations during his military career.
Corporal Robert Vallera
Corporal Vallera was attached to the 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion and was trained as a forward observer to provide close fire support for advancing troops using the unit’s highly mobile 4.2-inch mortars. Serving as forward observers on D-Day, his nine-man team landed in the early morning hours on Utah Beach, with two of them perishing that morning. While operating as a forward observer, he was captured by members of an SS Panzer unit. Bob survived forced labor, torture and starvation that winter as the Nazis retreated with him into a collapsing Germany. Recognizing he would not survive on the captive laborers’ limited rations, he attempted escape one night, was chased down, beaten and left for dead. German nuns discovered him in the snow the next morning, saving his life. Nazi troops eventually found him hidden in a barn behind the nuns’ convent and incarcerated him in a POW camp.
Private First Class Don Volgamore
Occupation Force and spent 8 months in Japan
When American troops liberated the camp, he was below 90 pounds and suffering from a broken pelvis, jaw and nose. After the war, his grateful parents took up a collection among their friends to re-roof the nun's convent.
Joined the Army during the height of the war. He was in Germany for Victory in Europe Day (VE-Day) in May 1945 and was in Okinawa until the end of the war at Victor in Japan Day (VJ Day) in August 1945. He is one of a small number of military who saw both VE-Day and VJ-Day.
Captain Royce Williams
Captain E. Royce Williams served in WWII and is most notorious for shooting down four enemy MiGs during the Korean War off the Mighty O (USS Oriskany) on November 18, 1952. This was the only documented attack made by Russia on the US and the mission was classified for almost 50 years.
Navy WAVES – Attended Yeoman’s School in OK and assigned to Naval Air Training Center in TN. Her duties included providing secretarial support for officers.
Staff Sergeant Sid Zimman
US Marine Corps
Sid was a rear gunner on the SBD Dauntless dive-bomber. The plane was often nicknamed the “Slow but Deadly Douglas” which described the bomber and its very prominent role in the Pacific. Sid served in the same squadron as Jerry Coleman but at different times. Sid was honored to throw out the first ball at a Padres game two years ago.
Sergeant Bruce Boydston
USMC Sergeant Bruce Boydston enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1939 at age 18 and was sent in early 1941 as part of the 7th Defense Battalion to defend the Tutuila Naval Station in American Samoa. He taught himself to be a radio operator and was on duty when they received the message that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. He and only about 400 other men scrambled to fortify the island. A few weeks later the harbor was shelled by a Japanese submarine. When reinforcements finally arrived a couple months later, they were sent to defend an airstrip being built by the Seabees in Western Samoa. He was assigned to operate a radio station there that was a critical link between Hawaii and New Zealand. His battalion was sent to Camp Pendleton where he taught radio technician classes to new recruits. He was assigned to a unit for the invasion of Japan and sent to Hawaii. After the surrender, he spent a year in Japan as part of the occupation forces before returning to Camp Pendleton.
Lieutenant Milton Greupner
Proudly served in the Naval VB10 Bombing Squadron stationed in Dunkswell, England, during WW2. He flew PB4Y-1 Liberators over the English Channel, receiving several medals for outstanding service in the European Theater from 1943-44.
Jerry Coleman was an All-Star and World Series MVP as a Yankee second baseman before serving as the "voice" and ambassador of the Padres for more than four decades. But Jerry Coleman was so much more; he was a true American hero. As a Marine pilot, Coleman was the only Major League player to see active combat in two wars (World War II and the Korean War). In 2005, Coleman was honored in the National Baseball Hall of Fame's broadcasting wing at Cooperstown as the winner of the prestigious Ford C. Frick Award. Coleman's iconic "Hang A Star …" and "Oh, Doctor!" calls are forever part of the Padres fabric. Coleman, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 89, was a vital link between Padres and the community.
Hometown sensation Ted Williams joined the Pacific Coast League Padres at the age of 17 after graduating from Herbert Hoover High School in June of 1936, hitting .271 in 42 games that season. In 1937, he hit .291 with 23 home runs in 138 games, helping the Padres to the club's first Pacific Coast League title. The "Splendid Splinter" broke into the Majors with Boston, and still holds the record for the highest career on-base percentage in Major League history at .482. Williams' Major League career was interrupted twice, when he served the military from 1943-1945, and again from 1952-1953. He went on to have one of the most successful careers in Major League history, playing 19 seasons, and was inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.
US Merchant Marine Seaman James Quinn
He served in the Merchant Marines from 1942-1945, on ships that comprised the “convoys” who travelled numerous times across the North Atlantic delivering war supplies and equipment to the UK and Soviet Union. He also sailed to the Mediterranean and North Africa.