Gordon Leslie “Box” Bocher

Gordon Leslie “Box” Bocher

Gordon "Box" Bocher

Box served in the United States Air Force from January 1968-June 1980.  His highest rank was Captain (active) and Major (retired).

He was part of the 16th Special Operations Squadron, 33rd Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS), 55 Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS).  In Vietnam he was part of the following battles/campaigns:

2nd Tet Offensive, Linebacker 2, Failed Iranian Hostages Rescue

Medals or special service award:  Distinguished Flying Cross (2) [w/ olc]

The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the United States Armed Forces who distinguishes himself or herself in support of operations by “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight, subsequent to November 11, 1918.

Air Medal (8)

Purple Heart (1)

Air Force Commendation Medal

Box’s personal video that was taking during his service in Vietnam.

air force outstanding unit award

Make all above links to medal pages

Irving Thaler

Irving Thaler

Irving grew up in Brooklyn, NY working in his father’s fruit and vegetable store. In 1944, when he was 17, he enrolled at New York University (NYU) as a pre-med student.  He was hoping he would be drafted in order to pay for his education. He was drafted into the U.S. Army June 1945.  He was sent to Fort Knox, KY for training at the Armor Replacement Training Center where he was taught how to drive military vehicles.  In 1945, he graduated at age 18 as an assistant truck driver.

The Atom bomb was dropped in August 1945.  The Japanese had finally surrendered in September.  Since Irving was being trained to go to Japan, and now the war was over, he was sent to Germany as part of some of the first occupational troops.  From Germany, he was then sent to France, to the town of Romilly-Sur-Seine,  to a military police camp.  There he trained for two weeks on how to be a military police officer, including how to disassemble a .45, use a  club, and learn Jujitsu.  He was then assigned to Frankfurt, Germany.

Thaler pass card1


While stationed in Heddernheim, a suburb of  Frankfurt, he was assigned to be a clerk documenting military’s records.  He became the chief clerk.  He recalls how the military police had little interaction with civilians, unless there was a conflict.  Most of the civilians went out of their way to avoid the U.S. military police.

Irving mentions while arriving in Frankfort in January 1945, 65%-75% of the city was destroyed, but the community was rebuilding quickly.

Irving  reminisces on how he had a stamp to issue a general court marshall, which he still finds hard to believe, since he was only eighteen-years-old at the time.  After is 10 months in Germany, Irving returned home.  He would then go on to reapply to NYU.  Since he spent a total of 17 months with the U.S. Army, he was eligible to have the government pay for his degree under the G.I. Bill.  He would later graduate with a degree in accounting and reside in Cherry Hill.

Joseph Diamond

Joseph Diamond

Joseph Diamond

Joseph H. Diamond

Service Dates:  August 16, 1943 to December 13, 1945
Highest Rank:  Corporal

Joseph H. Diamond was born in Camden, NJ on November 2, 1920.  He graduated from Camden High School and went to Drexel Institute of Technology now know as Drexel University.  His family owned Diamond Cleaners and he worked there up until he enlisted in the US Army on August 16, 1943.

Joseph wanted to be a pilot and began training as a fighter pilot at galesburg il knox college but school was closed because Army felt they had enough pilots.
After leaving polit school went to camp ellis illinois went to Medical corp.  begin the start of his Medical field training and that was followed by additional training in England 124 General Hospital.  Then Combat Medic in 104th infantry division also known as the Timberwolves.  Front line 195 days.
Hedgerow fighting.  Battle of the Hedgerows as they worked their way North crossed over the Siegfried Line to Aachen was the first town in Germany they liberated.

Medics are not armed.  Very often found himself under fire administering to fellow soldier.  He took care of men right on the field.  Then litter-beared (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/litter-bearer) would come along and take the soldier away on a stretcher.

War, operation, conflict served in:  “The European Theatre of World War II, also known as the European War, was a huge area of heavy fighting across Europe from Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 until the end of the war with the German unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945 (V-E Day). The Allied forces fought the Axis powers on two fronts (the Eastern Front and Western Front) as well as in the adjoining Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre.”

Location:  France, Belgium, Germany
Battles/campaigns:  Rhineland and Central Europe


Joseph Diamond currently lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  He has a son and a daughter and two granddaughters.

Medals Mr. Diamond was awarded:


Purple Heart medal, Army Unit Citation, World War II Occupational Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-Africa-Middle East – LOOK THEM UP AND LINK TO SEPARATE PAGES.

Special award/ accomplishments:
Combat Medic-K-Company
Delivery of baby boy to a German civilian woman  (LINK THE VIDEO HE TALKS ABOUT THIS IN TO THIS)

May Brill

May Brill was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1924.  When her 2 brothers enlisted in the Army and Coast Guard she, being very patriotic, enlisted at the age of 20.  May became part of the supply core in a division of the U.S. Navy known as WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).

May was sent to Hunter College in the Bronx, New York for basic training where women were trained with the same Advanced Individual Training male seamen recruits did.  Basic training lasted 6 weeks and May was selected to receive additional training at the U.S. Naval Training School in Georgia State College for Women located in Milledgeville, GA.  It was here May learned the specialized skills for her military duties in the supply core.

May ended up stationed in Oakland, CA– across the country from her original hometown.  She started off ranked as a Seamen Third Class, the lowest rank in the Navy, but worked her way up five ranks to become a Storekeeper Second Class (SKII).  Her duties were to procure equipment, tools, medical supplies, and consumable goods to ship off to supply the ships and bases in the Pacific.  She kept track of the needs of the fleet and figured out how to deliver the much needed goods.

Currently May is very active as an advocate for Veterans and women in the military.  She is the Senior Vice Commander of the Jewish War Veterans Post 126.  She is the New Jersey Chairperson of “Women in the Military” raising awareness of women in the military’s history and advocating for women’s rights in the military currently.  She is also the Chairperson for the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home in Vineland, NJ.  On a more personal note, May has 4 daughters, 9 grandchildren, and 1 great-granddaughter.  She wishes for less war and more peaceful times for the future.

Describes her beginnings as part of the World War II Waves, which supplied ships and bases in the Pacific.

May Brill describes her continued efforts to serve all vets in both their needs and rights.

May Brill describes her activism and work in advocating for veteran’s rights, her duties during World War II (WWII), and her trepidation of continued wars in the future the United States.

More links/articles on May Brill:
Salute to Senior Service
Article in The Jewish Exponent

More links on WAVES:
Women & the U.S. Navy – WWII era WAVES
WAVES During World War II
WAVES Air Navigators
Women of World War II – Navy WAVES

Herbert Kaster

Herbert Kaster


Herbert was born in Peabody, MA in 1921.  In 1942, he was a senior at Boston’s Tufts University and it was difficult to get a job since he had a A-1 Draft classification from 1940 with no exemption.  Upon graduation in April 1942 with a degree in chemical engineering, Herb decided to go to Boston with a friend to join the Air Force. He discovered that the Army Air Corp had a recruiting office, so he and a friend entered and took the physical test and a week later he enlisted in the Army Air Corp.

Due to his background in chemical engineering, and after graduating college,  Herb was sent to an aircraft armament for special training at Lowry Field in Denver, CO, on July 1, 1942.  He would stay there for a 20-week training period as an aviation cadet.  At the time of graduation the invasion of Africa, Torch, took place and Herb was supposed to go there with the Twelfth Air Force; however, there was not a need for Herb to go to Africa so he was reassigned to the Eighth Air Force “Flying Fortress Bombing” at the  Honington Air Base, Bury St. Edmonds, England as a 2nd Lieutenant.

He would later achieve the rank of Captain. There he would work with two planes, the B-24 and the B-17.

Herb was in charge of assisting planes that were coming to and from the base.  He would make sure they were prepared for their flights off the base, as well as check all the planes that returned to Honington.  He planned and supervised all turret gun operations , machine operations and bomb racks on the B-17s for the Flying Fortress 3rd Bomb Division.  He oversaw the replacement of parts on the planes that were damaged by gunfire and make all repairs necessary to keep the planes in rotation.   He would also help remove the wounded or killed soldiers.  Planes returning to the base would indicate that there were wounded aboard by lighting a red flair, although many of the wounded had expired by the time the plane landed.

Herb was on leave in Edinburgh, Scotland when the war ended in May of 1945 and was unable to make it back to base to celebrate with his comrades.  Roughly a month later he was slated to go to Japan on the Queen Elizabeth with 15,000 Air Force men, but instead returned to the United States at Camp Kilmer, NJ on the U.S.S. New Jersey.   From there, he was to Fort Devens, MA and give orders to go home for 30 days and then return.  After 30 days, he returned to Fort Devens and informed he was going to be discharged and could return to his family.

Queen Elizabeth. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
U.S.S. New Jersey. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
U.S.S. New Jersey. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

During his time at Honington,  the famous jazz musician, Glenn Miller visited the base on December 15, 1944. Miller and his band, the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band, where being transported to begin a tour across Europe.  Herb met him he before he boarded a plane to return to the United States.  It would be Miller’s last flight. His plane disappeared over the English Channel.

Herb was awarded a certificate of merit in June 1945 by the Eighth Air Force in June 1945 for performance of duty.

He would marry his wife in 1947.  He ended up living in Cherry Hill when he took a job at Occidental Chemical Plant in Burlington, NJ.  The plant would later move to Pottstown, PA.  Herb would stay with the company as a chemical engineer until 1965, when he retired.  In 1987, he would go back to Honington Air Force base, which was returned to the Royal Air Force, for a 50th reunion.

James Roskoph

James Roskoph

Navy Vietnam
Navy Vietnam

James Roskoph, born in Cleveland, Ohio, served the U.S. Navy from February 1956 through November 1978.  He served in numerous campaigns in Vietnam, including combat duty as a patrol officer for the River Patrol Force.  He also served as an adviser with the Navy for Iran.

Mr. Roskoph received many medals and awards for his service, including the following:

Mr. Roskoph special duties and achievements include the following:

  • Chief Engineer
  • Patrol Officer-Surface, River Patrol Force
  • Warfare Officer
  • Military Advisor-for both Vietnam and Iran
  • He also advanced from fireman recruit to Lieutenant, including 3 warrant officer grades and 3 chief petty officer grades
  • Ships Engineer

Mr Roskoph discussing training for Vietnam, particularly SERE and being part of the River Patrol Force, River Squad 572, which consisted of 10 boats.  He also discusses being part of 99 patrol missions, 10 fire fights, and patrolling the Son or Son Troc River mainly at night and some ambushes.

Rudolph Schwartz

Rudolf “Ruddy” Schwartz

Rudolph Schwartz

Service Years: 8/12/1952-4/15/1954
Highest Rank:  Chaplain’s Assistant and Ship’s Librarian

Ruddy grew up in Brooklyn, NY. In 1952, if you joined the US Navy Reserve and passed a test, he could join the Office Academy School US Naval A

Arthur Seltzer

Arthur Seltzer

Arthur Seltzer



Arthur was a student at the University of Pittsburgh when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943.  His basic training took place at Camp Van Dorn in Mississippi.  After basic training Arthur was sent to Baltimore, MD  where he learned how to be a radio technician.  He was then assigned to the 4th Armored Signal Battalion.  On March 31, 1944 he  traveled overseas and landed in Glasgow, Scotland.

Mr. Seltzer describes his life before being drafted in 1943 and his experiences in training.

Arthur was then assigned to the 29th Infantry Division to assist in radio communications.  He was deployed as the second wave of soldiers to the beaches of Normandy, France, landing on Omaha Beach.

Arthur Seltzer played a major roll in significant battles during World War II,  including the following:

Omaha Beach

Battle of the Bulge

Liberation of the Dachau concentration camp