We owe them all so much

At 7 o’clock in the morning I left for Toledo, Ohio for my physical examination. I passed just like nothing. It took all day. (After my physical) we left the Armory for the Navy induction center. I was sworn in about 6 o’clock. Arrived home about 10 o’clock. Thus ended … my first day in the Navy. Was home for a week (and) had a swell time.

Those are the opening sentences of a journal kept by Monroeville resident Gurdon Bores. At the top of the first page he has printed in black ink the simple words “My Navy Career.”

And what a career it was. The majority of it was spent smack in the middle of some of the most important battles of World War II.

War veterans and their survivors speak with pride about earning a single battle star--a small bronze pin earned by participation in a significant war campaign.

A person who earns more than three or four is considered “highly decorated.”

Gurdon Bores earned six battle stars.

Best of all, he is still alive at age 94 to share his amazing story.

His journal fills in the details.

The first few weeks of 1944 involved typical boot camp and training, First at Great Lakes Training Center near Chicago and then at a base in Little Creek, Virginia.

During 1944, the Navy built 478 Landing Ship Medium (LSM) vessels. They were ungainly — appearing almost unseaworthy — ships whose bow was a huge rectangular ramp for loading and unloading. Specifically, the LSMs were needed to carry weapons and materials for the invasion of Japanese-occupied strongholds in the S....

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