Trained as a mechanic to service B-17's Mr. Grant, and his squadron of B-17's, were transferred to Hickam Field in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Two months later the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and all of the B-17's were destroyed on the ground. He returned to California and became a tail gunner on a B-25 and went back to the Pacific and flew 32 missions when the life expectancy for a tail gunner was 5 missions.
Mr. Kolten was too young for World War I and too old for World War II. He was the only father on the team who didn't have a first born on the team. His son Deacon was a third child a long way away from the first two siblings. During the war he worked in a machine shop making parts for the thousands of tanks that roared into Europe and North Africa.
Mr. Carver missed the war because of a bad knee. The other fathers came home and tried to hide their memories somewhere out of sight, while Mr. Carver lived his nightmare everyday when he went to work. As a Detroit homicide detective, he was inside the underbelly of a city filled with nightmares. We rarely saw him around the baseball field as he kept to himself.
Brother Danson, brother to the Pitcher Mr. Danson, didn't have enough years on his birth certificate to get into World War II. But, he served on the heavy cruiser USS Rochester as a gunners mate, in the Seventh Fleet when it was rushed in to support the war effort in the Republic of Korea. He was part of the armada that rescued over 120,000 troops, 100,000 civilians, and 20,000 military vehicles when they were trapped in North Korea by the Chinese when they entered the war.
Mr. Carney was assigned to the 101st parachute and glider unit. His job was to parachute behind German lines before the Normandy invasion started. His unit was to disrupt communications and secure safe areas for advancing allied troops and prevent German troops from retreating. Almost all of the first wave glider troops were killed and over 1600 parachute troops were killed or captured.
Mr. Danson entered the war in 1943 and was assigned to PT Boat 370 in the Pacific. It was difficult to resupply PT Boats as they were always in the front battle areas stalking through the night hours sinking Japanese supply ships, troop carriers and barges. The Japanese feared the "Devil Boats of the Night" more than anything else. Mr. Danson came home from the war with nerves of steel, and eyes so cold and sharp he could carve a turkey with them.
Mr Shaner was in the 5th Ranger Battalion supporting the 1st and 29th Divisions in the Normandy invasion. He was scheduled to land in the first wave of the invasion when his landing craft developed engine trouble and went back to the ship for repairs. Bad weather kept the second wave from going ashore for six hours, by then, the first wave of soldiers had either drowned in heavy seas or were killed on the beach by enemy fire.
Mr. Braxton joined the service and was assigned to the USS Hornet aircraft carrier in April 1941. His job as a mechanic, was to maintain a squadron of Devastator bombers. The new USS Hornet aircraft carrier was sunk less than six months after entering the war. However in that time it launched 16 B-25 Mitchel bombers on a surprise attack on Tokyo, Japan. Unable to get to the Battle of Coral Sea in time it raced to the Battle of Midway where it participated in the most devastating defeat of the Japanese navy.
Flying B-17's out of North Africa, helped Mr. Mitchel develope a number of personalities. His cold stare could freeze a jackrabbit in mid-stride if he was angry. As a member of the 12th Air force group he watched as they loaded more bombs on each mission and less ammo to protect them against enemy fighters. When they found themselves with less than 10 minutes of ammunition, they loaded up on imagination to get them to the target and back.