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Pete Mecca

Stories by Pete

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Lithonians look back on life during WWII

Alice Stallings and Ralph Way of Lithonia are both part of The Greatest Generation -- one served by fighting, the other by keeping things going at home.

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WWII veteran Hattendorf recalls airborne adventures

Wilbur Hattendorf and his brother Rich flew and fought and dodged anti-aircraft fire for 50 missions over North Africa during World War II.

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Conyers woman among millions who fought on the homefront

Ruth Jones was one of millions who helped the war effort by keeping the home fires burning during World War II.

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Thomas saw Invasion of Normandy, frontlines in France, Belgium, Germany

World War II veteran recalls the Invasion of Normandy.

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Veteran Farris saw action in some of Vietnam's most ferocious battles

Second Lt. Andy Farris spent 365 days fighting in some of the most historic and ferocious engagements of the Vietnam War, including the Tet Offensive of '68.

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Twice-wounded Supple among first Americans to reach liberated Paris

Army veteran Ray Rupple walked across France and Germany during his 18 months of combat.

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The world was next port-of-call for daredevil Northcutt

Retired Col. Bud Northcutt experienced a colorful military career spanning 30 years.

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Rockdale soldier serves by getting supplies to soldiers in the war zone

Staff Sgt. Anthius Bruno is serving his second deployment in Afghanistan.

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War memories remain vivid for Merryvale group

Five veterans who now live at Covington's Merryvale Assisted Living facility recently recalled their years in the armed services.

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Sheridan's globe-spanning service continues at 91

Newborn Mayor Roger Sheridan's civilian and military service have spanned the globe.

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Capt. Vaughn represents the best of the Greatest Generation

Rockdale's Judge Clarence Vaughn was among the best to serve in World War II.

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Roy Reid witnessed 'Day of Infamy' up close and personal

Co-pilot Roy Reid was aboard the first American plane believed to have been shot down in World War II.

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Conyers veteran Garrison kept American planes in the air during WWII

Bill Garrison recalls his days in WWII in China, Burma and India, keepiing fighter aircraft in the air.

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Newton resident Bill Morris recalls horrors of WWII

Newton County veteran recalls horrors of WWII where he fought side by side with his twin brother.

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Marine endured 31 days of combat on Iwo Jima

Carl Hyde was one of five brothers who served during World War II. All but one returned safely home.

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Rockdale man recounts life on submarine in WWII

Rockdale County resident Charles Crews fought WWII beneath the Pacific Ocean as a submariner. He and the crew of the USS Spot were depth-charged 4 times, twice by their own country.

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Woman's life transformed by service in Marines, Iraq

Rockdale County native Katherine Davis admitted to being a "spoiled brat" growing up, but her life changed after high school when she became a Marine.

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Local vet survives three wars

Most combat veterans live and sleep with the nightmares of only one war, but Bill Edwardy of Conyers copes with the vivid memories of three.

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Rockdale vet recalls tank battles in WWII

Rockdale County resident Freeman Barber described his time serving in a Sherman tank during World War II as being part of a team out of necessity. "Only the tank commander with his head popped up from the top hatch knows what's going on," he said.

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Vietnam Vet deals with battle memories 40 years after guns went silent

Robert Atkinson endured unremitting fighting and psychological trauma, dodged mortar and rocket attacks, and survived hand-to-hand combat against North Vietnamese and Viet Cong human wave attacks. Decades would pass before hypnosis took Atkinson back to Vietnam for proper closure. Before hypnosis he could vividly recall only 24 hours in the war zone.

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90-year-old veteran survived five major beach invasions

Born in 1921, Paul Glover weathered the Great Depression better than most kids his age. "My father was a railroad man in Spartanburg, S.C., so we had food on the table and a roof over our heads," he recalled.

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Gerald Hipps: 'A story to tell' about Iwo Jima

Jasper County resident Gerald Hipps guarded the Marine flag-raisers on Iwo Jima.

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Jackson flew the "Wampus Cat" B-17 bomber in WWII

Newton County resident Britt Jackson spent 15 months as a prisoner of war in the infamous Stalag 17 during World War II. Known by many Americans as the setting for the hit TV sitcom "Hogan's Heroes," Stalag 17 was certainly not a situation comedy to the airmen imprisoned there.

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Simpson recalls grim cat and mouse game with Germans in WWII

Jack Simpson, retired FBI agent and long-time bailiff in Rockdale and Newton County courts, started his career in law enforcement right out of high school until he got a call from the draft board.

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A level head served Kerr well during Pearl Harbor attack

Confusion reigned in Honolulu during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago this month, but the quick thinking of Bob Kerr helped save lives on that "day that will live in infamy."

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A level head served Kerr well during Pearl Harbor attack

Confusion reigned in Honolulu during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago this month, but the quick thinking of Bob Kerr helped save lives on that "day that will live in infamy."

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Marine Britton fought racism, perceptions during WWII, Korea

Theodore R. Britton Jr. dealt with racial segregation at home but was a brother in the U.S. Marine Corps as World War II wound down. Denied a commission during the Korean War, he led a successful life of learning that culminated in an ambassadorship to Barbados and Grenada.

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Marine Britton fought racism, perceptions during WWII, Korea

CONYERS -- Theodore R. Britton Jr. dealt with racial segregation at home but was a brother in the U.S. Marine Corps as World War II wound down. Denied a commission during the Korean War, he led a successful life of learning that culminated in an ambassadorship to Barbados and Grenada.

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Conyers VFW quartermaster recalls his days in Vietnam

Arriving 'in-country' during the infamous communist Tet Offensive of February 1968, Vince Przybyszewski experienced the complexity of the war called Vietnam.

Pete Mecca: A brief history of Pearl Harbor

Warning signs of an impending attack on Pearl Harbor went unheeded.

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Georgia vet recalls horror of Pearl Harbor attack

As one of just four Pearl Harbor survivors in Georgia, 96-year-old Fred Johnson said time has not fogged his memory on what happened on the fateful morning in Hawaii.

Pete Mecca: A brief history of Pearl Harbor

Local inhabitants called the shallow embayment Pu’uloa, meaning “Long Hill,” home to the shark goddess, Ku’ahupahau, and her brother, Kahi’uka. The natives also speak of Long Hill as Wai Momi, meaning Pearl Water. In time, Americans referred to the paradise anchorage as Pearl Harbor.

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Peterson flew P-51 Mustang fighter in Pacific during WWII

For a kid who didn't finish high school Wilhelm Herbert "Bill" Peterson ended up with a college degree and eventually in the seat of a P-51 Mustang fighter plane in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

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Peterson flew P-51 Mustang fighter in Pacific during WWII

For a kid who didn't finish high school Wilhelm Herbert "Bill" Peterson ended up with a college degree and eventually in the seat of a P-51 Mustang fighter plane in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

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Peterson flew P-51 Mustang fighter in Pacific during WWII

For a kid who didn't finish high school Wilhelm Herbert "Bill" Peterson ended up with a college degree and eventually in the seat of a P-51 Mustang fighter plane in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

MECCA: Paying tribute to another lost brother

Editor's note: Pete Mecca is the author of the weekly feature "A Veteran's Story," published Wednesdays in the Citizen.

MECCA: Paying tribute to another lost brother

Marvin Pressley served in Vietnam and returned home to build a life.

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Marine Corps assignments varied for Girardin

Ray Girardin was one of seven brothers to serve in the military. He chose the Marines.

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Aukerman saw the war through B-24 gun turret

Arlie Aukerman completed 25 dangerous missions as a nose gunner on a B-24 Liberator, including a 1,300-plane raid over Berlin on March 18, 1945. As a member of the 453rd Bomb Group, Aukerman fought the war over Europe in good company: Oscar winning actor Jimmy Stewart piloted one of the B-24s and Walter Matthau served on a ground crew in the 453th at the RAF base Old Buckingham, near Attleborough, England.

MECCA: Veterans Day will find me at the Wall

My father served with the Army Air Corp in Burma and India. That was his war. Too soon, we baby-boomers of The Greatest Generation had our war: Vietnam. My dad and his Band of Brothers fought for victory under the uncompromising Allied demand of unconditional surrender. My Band of Brothers fought for survival under an increasingly confusing concept of limited war, counter-insurgency, bombing halts, enemy sanctuaries, body counts, sparrow warfare, and honorable withdrawal, which was anything but.

MECCA: Veterans Day will find me at the Wall

This year, Veteran's Day will be spent honoring those whose names appear on The Wall.

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Wheeler works to help generations of veterans

A walk through Pete Wheeler's office in the James "Sloppy" Floyd Building across from the State Capitol is a walk through Georgia and American history. The man has worked to help veterans since he joined the Georgia Department of Veterans Service in 1949 -- 12 governors and 12 presidents ago.

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Wheeler works to help generations of veterans

A walk through Pete Wheeler's office in the James "Sloppy" Floyd Building across from the State Capitol is a walk through Georgia and American history. The man has worked to help veterans since he joined the Georgia Department of Veterans Service in 1949 -- 12 governors and 12 presidents ago.

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Conyers engineer plied his trade in Pacific Theater of WWII

Hill Phoenix cofounder served along with four brothers in war

Julius Rainwater was fascinated by new automobile radios as a kid that turned into a lifelong love with radio technology and communications. Too young to enlist after Pearl Harbor, he stayed in school, graduated from Hapeville High, and attended Georgia Tech to study a special class in radio technology. After his 18th birthday in 1943, Rainwater joined the Army.

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WWII vet served as 'Dorothy the Welder' in Marines

Dorothy Turner, also known as "Dorothy the Welder," was a proud Marine.

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WWII vet served as 'Dorothy the Welder' in Marines

Dorothy Turner, also known as "Dorothy the Welder," was a proud Marine.

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Conyers wife copes with husband in Afghanistan

As a 22-year-old member of the home front, newlywed Claire Crawford lives with the unrelenting anxiety of knowing her husband is in harm's way each day with the U. S. Army in Afghanistan.

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Faith helped Rockdale sheriff through WWII

Former Rockdale County Sheriff J.T. Wallace was a decorated combat veteran of World War II.

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Survival was goal for Korean vet Hambrick

Charles Ray Hambrick coached basketball and taught P.E. at Briarcliff High School, served as an administrator in the Tift County school system, and worked as assistant principal of Rockdale County High School. Students and faculty alike had no idea he was a decorated combat veteran of the Korean War.

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Conyers woman relays first-hand account of 9/11 attacks on Pentagon

Teresa Prieto was working at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 when hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the west side of the building. Sixty-four passengers and crew members perished in the plane crash. In the Pentagon building, an additional 125 military and civilian personnel lost their lives

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