‘Rosies’ abound at Camp Gordon Johnston Days

Bob Durham and World War II jeep Photo available for purchase

Bob Durham was surrounded in his vintage World War II jeep by a bevy of beauties including his wife, Ann, as Rosie the Riveter. Riding in back, from left, are Franklin County High School students Kendall Myers, Melanie Collins and Ursula Countryman.

Lois Swoboda
Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 09:30 AM.

The weather could not have been better for this year’s Camp Gordon Johnston Days celebration.

As always, every World War II vet in attendance was designated as a Grand Marshall of the Saturday morning parade.

Honored this year was Carrabelle’s own Curley Messer, a Camp Gordon Johnston alumnus; Bob Franklin, who served in the 29th Infantry Division and was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge; Walter Mallett, a Carrabelle son who served on the Ticonderoga where he was wounded by a kamikaze aircraft; AND Carrabelle resident Don MacLean who served in the Army and drove landing craft in the Pacific Theatre. He has volunteered at the Camp Gordon Johnston Museum and built a number of the models on display there.

Also honored were Pete Hill, who served in Army’s 4th Brigade in the Pacific; Bob Dietz of Lanark Village who after getting his father’s permission to join the Army at 17, was stationed in Hawaii when war ended; Mary Britz also of Lanark Village, who was a Navy nurse in San Diego who, about to be married, had her discharge cancelled when war was declared and served for the duration; and Col. Ernest Berger, a retired Air Force pilot who flew P-51 Mustangs.

Tony Minichiello, a spokesman for the Camp Gordon Johnston Museum, said the head count of veterans was up this year, although a few familiar faces were missing.

Buddy Scala, who attended for the last three years, is laid up with a broken ankle and tail gunner Ken Tucker, an Eastpoint native who chronicled his wartime experiences in a memoir “The Last Roll Call” also begged off due to health issues.

Minichiello said a popular favorite, the 98th Army "Silver Wings" Band, out of Fort Rucker, Ala., was unable to take part this year due to budget cutbacks.

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