World War II Veteran Recalls Years Spent in Navy Armed Guard | News

Tom Cole rarely talks about his service in World War II. 

I still get a little shook remembering all of this, said Cole, as he held a cup of coffee in his Centralia home and sat next to his wife, Juanita Cole, at their kitchen table. That was three long years and the bulk of the time was out at sea.

Cole served in the U.S. Navy Armed Guard from October 1942 until December 1945 during World War II, protecting Merchant Marine ships as they transported cargo. He was 17 when he enlisted.

Veterans Memorial Museum Director Chip Duncan described the U.S. Navy Armed Guard as unsung heroes, noting that the Merchant Marines that carried supplies to troops and allies had a higher casualty rate than the Navy during World War II.

It was one of the most dangerous jobs out there during World War I and World War II, Duncan said. ... In a....

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