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.
Jim "Pee Wee" Martin, 101st Airborne Division on D-Day
PFC James “Pee Wee” Martin, veteran of G Company, 101st Airborne Division, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, saw some of the greatest action of the European theater throughout World War II. PFC Martin participated in the June 6, 1944 invasion of Normandy, parachuting into the town of St. Come du Mont, and taking part in the fight to liberate France. Martin and his comrades held the Belgian town of Bastogne as part of the larger Battle of the Bulge – a vital objective in preventing the German troops from recapturing Antwerp. Martin reflects on his experience 75 years after he served in the war.
Col. Charles McGee, Tuskegee Airman
Colonel Charles McGee's distinguished flying career has seen three wars and witnessed critical moments in American history. A veteran of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, Col. McGee flew missions with the famed Red Tails during World War II. He is the recipient of three Distinguished Flying Crosses, and would go on to set an Air Force record of 409 combat missions flown during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.
George Mendonsa & Greta Friedman: VJ Day in Times Square
Many know the photo, few know the story. The famed photo "VJ Day in Times Square" and its key figures - US Navy sailor George Mendonsa, and dental assistant Greta Friedman - share their stories recalling that infamous day, August 14, 1945. They recount their experiences during the Second World War, and upon learning they were featured in one of the most iconic photos of the twentieth century. These interviews were recorded in 2014. Greta Friedman passed away on September 8, 2016, and George Mendonsa passed away on February 17, 2019. May they both rest peacefully.
Bill Lord was a young draftee at the height of the Vietnam War. He served in Vietnam as an infantry sergeant carrying a radio in the U.S. Army's Charlie Company, 4th/47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Later in his career he served as television news executive and general manager of WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. His book "50 Years After Vietnam" is available here: https://www.amazon.com/50-Years-After-Vietnam-Fighting-ebook/dp/B07H8R6G14. Learn more about the American Veterans Center: http://www.americanveteranscenter.org/
A veteran of the Tuskegee Airmen, Lt. Colonel Harold Brown is a combat pilot of 30 missions, shot down over enemy territory on March 14, 1945.
Lt. Jim Downing
Lieutenant Jim Downing was aboard USS West Virginia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Here he shares his incredible story of survival - including a mission he took on to ensure his fallen comrades would not be forgotten.
Captain William Reynolds
U.S. Army Captain William Reynolds' life was forever changed on November 7, 2004, while on a dismounted patrol in Southwest Baghdad. After an IED was remote detonated, the explosion left his arm and left leg seriously wounded. Years later, he would serve as Captain to the U.S. contingent at the 2016 Invictus Games. Guest host Senior Chief Beck talks with Captain Reynolds about his remarkable journey.
Dave Yoho served in the U.S. Maritime served during World War II when he was just 15 years old. Too young to serve, he lied about his age, eager to join the fight. He would serve on a T2 Tanker ship in the South Pacific, profoundly impacted by his experience.
Gareth Hugh "Cy" Tanner
Gareth Hugh "Cy" Tanner was as stationed in Bassingbourne, England from July 1944 to January 1945. He turned 19 just days after arriving in England. Tanner flew 35 bombing missions on B-17s as a waist gunner, primarily over Germany, with the 8th Air Force, 91st Bomb Group, 324th Squadron. He kept a small diary with a flight log of each mission. In this episode, Tanner reflects on how his service impacted his life, and how the Second World War transformed his generation and the world.
Colonel Frank Cohn
Colonel Frank Cohn was born in Breslau, Germany in 1925. Cohn's father owned a store which was boycotted by the Nazis since the family was Jewish. He and his family managed to escape to the United States on October 30, 1938 -- just over one week before Kristallnacht. In 1943, Cohn was drafted into the US Army, where he served in an Intelligence unit.
Katelyn Van Dam
A graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a veteran of the US Marine Corps, Major Katelyn Van Dam served in Operation Enduring Freedom as an attack helicopter pilot. Major Van Dam conducted combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, and later conducted anti-pirate operations in the horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden. She served more than ten years on active duty.
A 25-year highly decorated U.S. Army veteran, Tom Satterly was portrayed in the 2001 film Black Hawk Down along with his teammates. He served in the elite Delta Force, witnessing intense combat at the Battle of Mogadishu and later in the Iraq war. After coping with PTS and other personal struggles following his time in combat, Tom and his wife Jen have started the All Secure Foundation, which provides resources for treatment to retired Special Operation veterans and their families.
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.