Veterans Chronicles is an hour-long program that tells the stories of America’s greatest heroes in their own words.
Featuring interviews with eyewitnesses to the great, and tragic, moments in military history. From D-Day to Iwo Jima, Khe Sanh to the “Hanoi Hilton”, Baghdad to Fallujah, the liberation of Grenada to the liberation of Afghanistan; Veterans Chronicles is history told from the perspective of those who were there.
Included in each show are archival recordings, which take listeners back to a time when heroes were made. The program also includes short features, including “Heroes of the Air,” “World War II Chronicles,” and “Vox Pop.”
The host of Veteran’s Chronicles, Gene Pell, has spent much of the last half-century as an award winning broadcast journalist. He has been both Moscow Bureau Chief and Pentagon Correspondent for NBC News, and for twenty years was news anchor for the NBC affiliate in Boston. He is also former Director for Voice of America and President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Mark Heathco is a retired military veteran who spent ten years inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of South Korea. During that time he pulled 385 missions, including a dangerous one in August of 1985. He discusses his harrowing experiences in his memoir, Call Sign Purple Three: Patrolling the US Sector of the Korean DMZ.
Captain Jerry Yellin
Captain Jerry Yellin has the unique distinction of flying the first and last combat missions over Japan during the Second World War. He spent the majority of the war with the 78th Fighter Squadron, flying the P-40, P-47, and P-51. Captain Yellin passed away on December 21, 2017. This video is in memoriam to help ensure his legacy lives on.
A veteran of Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts talks about his service and sacrifice during his tours, and specifically during the Battle of Wanat. His acts of valor during the battle would earn him the Medal of Honor. Here he reflects on his experience, those he served beside, and the impact of his service on his life.
In honor of the centennial of America's entrance into World War I - April 6, 2017 - noted author and historian Andrew Carroll discusses his latest book, My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War. The book portarys an intimate portrait of the General, who led the American Expeditionary Forces during the First World War. Using many letters and diares, Carroll pays a touching tribute to General Pershing and the many Americans who fought during the Great War.
Lt. Colonel Alfred Shehab
World War II veteran Lt. Col. Alfred Shehab saw action during the Battle of the Bulge ? Hitler?s month-long final offensive on the Western front. LTC Shehab was assigned to the 38th Cavalry Squadron, a reconnaissance unit tasked with patrolling the forests of the Ardennes region when the battle broke out on December 16, 1944.
Dr. Sudip Bose
Dr. Sudip Bose served in the U.S. Army for 12 years. A veteran of Iraq, Dr. Bose was tasked with caring for Saddam Hussein after his capture. He was awarded the Bronze Star for serving one of the longest tours in combat by a physician since the Second World War.
World War II veteran John Weston joined the U.S. Army in 1941 as part of the 758th Tank Battalion. The 758th was the first all African-American armored unit in U.S. history. Weston reflects on his service and its influence upon his life.In November 2015, AVC had the honor of conducting this interview with Weston at the annual Veterans Day Conference. Two months later, on December 29, 2015, John S. Weston passed away. This film was made in his honor, as well as all veterans of the history-making 758th Tank Battalion.
Emanuel "Manny" Mandel
Emanuel "Manny" Mandel was born in Riga, Latvia in 1936, shortly before Europe was engulfed in war. His family then moved to Budapest, which was an important Jewish center in Europe, where his father was a cantor. As the years progressed, Europe was becoming more dangerous for Jewish families. In 1944, Manny and his family were among a group of Jews who Adolf Eichmann traded for Allied material. Manny and his family were deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration Camp. Here Manny shares his story of survival throughout the Holocaust, and his journey of understanding the tragedy of the event, as he was a young boy at the time.
On December 7, 1941, Jim Leavelle was aboard the USS Whitney when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Twenty-two years later, he would witness history once again as a homicide detective for the Dallas Police Department when President Kennedy was assassinated. Leavelle interrogated Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy?s alleged assassin, and is known as ?the man in the tan suit? in the famed photo of Oswald?s assassination at the hands of Jack Ruby. It's not common to personally witness two major events throughout American history, as Leavelle has, and his story is surely unique.
Ned and Needa Thomas
Ned Thomas, World War II veteran of the Army Air Force discusses his experience as a "Hump Pilot" flying over the Himalayas to supply materials to the Nationalist Chinese forces fighting the Japanese. He is joined by his daughter Nedda Thomas, author of "Hump Pilot: Defying Death Flying the Himalayas During World War II."
Captain Jason Pak
Captain Jason Pak graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2011, proceeding to both Airborne and Ranger schools. In October 2012 he was deployed to Panjwai, Afghanistan as a Company Fire Support Officer, where he was eventually promoted to First Lieutenant. On December 12, 2012, he was seriously wounded by an IED while leading a patrol on foot, losing both of his legs and two fingers. His great courage on and off the battlefield has proved to be an inspiration to many.
Captain William Peacock
World War II veteran William Peacock recounts his experience as a charter member of LST 357. Peacock managed much of the navigational charts aboard the ship, and took part in many Naval missions back and forth from Bizerte, North Africa to Salerno in Southern Italy.
Lt. Col. Bill Johnson, Ohio Congressman
Lt. Col. Bill Johnson entered the U.S. Air Force in 1973 after graduating from high school. LTC Johnson would eventually become a software engineer for the Air Force, working with much of the communicating and computing technology of the nation's military. He talks about his time in the service and the impact it had on his career, which would lead him to start his own businesses. He his now Congressman of Ohio, representing the sixth district.
Ernest Hueter, veteran of World War II, saw some of the greatest action in the South Pacific, was once assigned to General MacArthur's staff, and was present when Gen. MacArthur made his return to the Philippine Islands. He talks about he inspiration for joining the service, and how his combat experience shaped his life.
Sir Martin Gilbert
This episode of Veterans Chronicles features an old show "Reminiscences" hosted by Stephen Halpert, during which he has a conversation with Sir Martin Gilbert. Martin Gilbert was an esteemed British historian and the official biographer of Winston Churchill. Gilbert was the author of over eighty books, covering topics including world history, Jewish history, and the Holocaust. On February 3, 2015, Sir Martin Gilbert passed away at age 78. This episode re-aired in memoriam.