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Photo submitted
Florence Van Stockum in 2005 at age of 110.

On April 1, 1945, while flying home, having competed a combat tour in the Pacific of nearly 26 months, I heard on the plane’s radio news of the assault on Okinawa that day.

This was the beginning of another struggle with a skilled and determined enemy, who augmented his defenses this time with kamikaze pilots who deliberately crashed their bomb-laden planes on naval ships.

On land and sea a terrible toll was exacted, foretelling a bloody struggle for the home islands of Japan, planned for later that year.

With my parents

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