Arlington Sanford was born on December 21, 1923, in Danbury, Connecticut. He joined the Navy shortly after graduating from high school. After boot camp in Newport, Rhode Island, he went to diesel school in South Richmond, Virginia, and graduated as a Fireman First Class. He was then assigned to landing ship tank (LST-307) in Boston, Massachusetts. He shipped out of New York on St. Patrick's Day in 1943 and took part in the Sicilian Occupation, the Salerno Landings, and the Normandy Invasion. Sanford describes his close relationship with Jack Junior Faughn, Boatswain's Mate Second Class from Peoria, Illinois: We were closer than brothers. We were inseparable; everywhere we went together, all through the war and did the same thing. LST-307 was struck hard by German guns during the Normandy invasion off Sword Beach. Upon impact Sanford sped to the main deck where he found Faughn's badly injured body. I kind of held him and took care of him for a while, until the corpsman came, Sanford recalled. That's the last I ever saw him.
William Bendt was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1920. As a teenager, he withdrew from Murray Vocational High School to work at the White Swan laundry. He began working at the Naval Shipyard as a classified laborer when he was eighteen years old and soon transferred to an office position that he held for the rest of his civil service career. In this interview, Bendt recalls seeing Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the president’s visit to the shipyard. “I got within thirty feet of President Roosevelt, watching him come down that gangplank, and out of that back seat, projected out where he could sit down, and then went back in. And I really appreciate that I got to see him real close.” Bendt’s supervisors procured two draft deferments on his behalf, but they were unable to secure a third deferment. Upon joining the Army, he attended basic training at Fort Jackson (Columbia, South Carolina), infantry training at Camp Wheeler (Macon, Georgia), reported to Fort Meade (Baltimore, Maryland), and was sent to Camp Shanks (New York) before shipping out of New Jersey. “Before going aboard, the Red Cross came along and gave us all a little green bag with toiletries, what have you,” Bendt recalled. “I have that bag today and a little container of milk.” Assigned to the Second Army Division in France as a replacement, Bendt arrived on the continent on D-Day plus six. Bendt discusses his brief captivity at the hands of the Germans, while in combat along the Rhine River. After the war, Bendt met Russian soldiers in occupied Berlin. Returning to Charleston after the war, he resumed his work at the Naval Shipyard in the Public Works Department, where he accumulated over thirty-six years of service.
Carl Roberts was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1929. His father and mother worked in a cotton mill. He was one of seven boys and had one sister. Roberts enlisted in the Navy when he was 17-years old and attended basic training in Maryland. He was assigned to the USS Leyte aircraft carrier as a Seaman First Class in the Pacific at the end of the Second World War. He later joined the Army and was stationed in Seoul during the Korean War where he worked in the motor pool, acquiring mechanical skills and learning to drive various vehicles. He received the Victory Medal for service in World War II, the Good Conduct Medal for service in the Korean War, and the Honorable Service button. After leaving the service, he was a sheet metal worker at Beverage Air in Spartanburg. In the 1960’s, Roberts moved to Charleston to work as an automatic transmission mechanic and to begin a family. He married and had three children.