World War II

(Imperial Japanese Navy photo)

It was the early days of U.S. involvement in World War II.  In the weeks following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese subs prowled the West Coast.  They attacked some freighters and takers off the Central and South Coasts.  There was fear that the coast might be attacked, or invaded.  It was on February 23rd, 1942 that enemy gunfire fell for the first time on the U.S. mainland, and it happened in Santa Barbara County. 

He’s a distinguished looking man who looks like a college professor.  In fact, he was an aerospace engineer who taught at UCLA for more than three decades.

But, what many people don’t know about Eldon Knuth is that he’s also a war hero. 

The December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into World War II, and changed the lives of millions of Americans forever.  Len Zerlin was a young man from Brooklyn who had barely graduated from high school when he decided to volunteer for the Army Air Forces, the precursor to today's Air Force.

February 23rd marks the anniversary of a forgotten day in U.S. history which put a South Coast community into headlines from coast to coast.

It’s the day when World War II came to the U.S. mainland, and it happened just west of Goleta.

In the summer of 1944, U.S. military forces took part in one of a series of key military battles aimed at defeating Japan, and winning World War II.

U.S. forces invaded the Japanese held island of Guam. It’s a story we might see today on the History Channel. But, for a 95 year old Ventura County man, it’s a memory.

It’s an event more than seven decades in coming for a soldier from the Central Coast, whose remains are coming home more than seven decades after he died during World War II.

It was the early days of World War II, and it wasn’t going well for America.

The U.S. Navy was hard hit by the attack on Pearl Harbor, and it only had a handful of aircraft carrier compared to the Japanese Navy. The Navy could ill afford to use the few carriers it had to train the aviators it would need to fight back in the Pacific.

John Davies is Executive Producer of “Heroes On Deck: World War II On Lake Michigan,” a documentary being shown in Santa Barbara on Thursday which chronicles the unique, but almost forgotten way the Navy solved its carrier pilot training problem.

It was some seven decades ago, on June 6th, 1944, that D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion in history occurred.

An armada of 7,000 ships supported the landing of more than 150,000 Allied soldiers on the beaches of Normandy, to begin retaking the European continent from Nazi Germany.

For most of us, D-Day is something out of a history book. But, it’s a memory for Art Peterson. The now 93 year old Santa Barbara man was a paratrooper in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division during World War II.

He was just a young man, like so many young men, called to serve his country in uniform.

People know Joe Bergstrom for his years as an executive at a local company, the family he raised, and his involvement with a number of community groups in Ventura County. But, even many friends didn’t know that the 94 year old Camarillo man served on the front lines in Europe during World War II, earning a Bronze Star for his heroism during his very first time in combat.

This is a story about a pair of sandals.

They aren’t just any sandals. To a Santa Barbara man, they are the symbols of an unjust ordeal his family went through 75 years ago, an ordeal they faced just because of their Japanese ancestry.

Now those sandals are in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian Institution, as is Mike Takeuchi, whose grandfather made them, and whose father owned them.

Hollywood couldn’t have come up with the better plot for a movie.

Two idealistic young journalists fall in love while covering the fast-moving events in Asia in the days before World War II, and find themselves on the front lines for the first few months of the conflict.

Mel Jacoby and Annalee Whitmore’s story is a real one.

It’s a story that longtime Ventura County journalist Bill Lascher has wanted to tell for years, since learning about Jacoby, who was his grandmother’s cousin.

They’re members of what’s known as “The Greatest Generation." 

They are the men and women who rallied during World War Two to help the U.S., and its allies defeat Germany and Japan. But, with most of them now in their 90’s, age is catching up with them, and hundreds are dying daily. An 18 year old Conejo Valley man is on a one man crusade to try to preserve their stories before they are gone.

Santa Barbara Airport has a state-of-the-art terminal which is only five years old, and most residents get to  know the facility in between arrivals and departures.

What most people don’t know is the important role the airport played during World War II, serving as a training facility for air crews being deployed to the war in the Pacific.

(Collings Foundation Photo)

They’re a seven decade old slice of history.

The World War Two era B-17, B-24, and B-25 bombers, and a P-51 fighter are visiting the Central and South Coasts as part of a 37 state national tour.

They are one of the most interesting units in the U.S. Navy. Naval Construction battalions, better known as “Seabees” are specially trained to build everything from airfields to housing around the world under combat conditions.

Their history was made famous by the classic World War II movie, “The Fighting Seabees.” What many people don’t know is that not only the Seabees history rooted in Ventura County, it’s home to the Seabees National Museum.

KCLU’s Lance Orozco reports that this weekend, the museum will host a free screening of “The Fighting Seabees.”