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National World War II Reunion and the Veterans History Project

May 29, 2004

During this day, the Veterans History Project presented two programs—they are listed below in chronological order by time. Each video is playable on this page by selecting the play button. Videos can be expanded to full-screen by selecting that icon. Closed-captioning is turned on by selecting the CC icon.

"Stories of Service, Part 2" (46 minutes)

Presenter: Richard Bloxsom, Joseph De Luca, and Marty Higgins
Introducer: Congressman Steny Hoyer
Moderators: Fredrick Wallace & Judith Kent

Please note: The following biographical information was written at the time of the event in 2004 and has not been updated.

Robert Bloxsom (White Stone, VA)

Robert Bloxsom's experience in the U.S. Merchant Marine began after he graduated from the Pennsylvania School Ship in 1941. During the war, his assignments took him to South Africa, England, and the Persian Gulf at the time when ships faced air raids and torpedo attacks. During these years, he advanced to the rank of Third Mate. at age 24, Bloxsom became Captain of the Liberty ship, Lillian Nordica, sailing his ship into Antwerp two weeks after it had been taken from the Germans. He left the Merchant Marine in 1948, and two years later joined the U.S. Coast Guard. He retired from the Coast Guard in 1974, following his last command on the Dallas. He has written an account of his life at sea during the war, "The Sailor," and continues to tell great sea stories.

Joseph De Luca Jr.(Wooster, OH)

In 1943, at age 18, Joseph De Luca Jr. entered Company C, 411th Regiment, 103rd Infantry Division. During his two-year European assignment, he saw combat in Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy. With the army of occupation, he served as an MP in the Seventh Army in Heidelburg, Germany, and as part of the honor guard for General George S. Patton Jr. of the Third Army. In 1992, he joined other veterans at combat sites and military cemeteries in the Trail of the 103rd. Now retired and a member of the American Legion, De Luca does military duty at the National Cemetery in Redmond, Ohio, and serves on the firing squad for military funerals. A first-generation American, De Luca says it was an honor to serve his country as a way of saying thanks for the good life his family found in this country when they emigrated from Italy.

Marty Higgins (Anna Maria, FL)

After graduating from St. Peters College in 1939, Marty Higgins joined the 101st Cavalry Regiment, Squadron C, in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was sent to Ft. Devins, Mass. He received his Cavalry commission at Ft Riley, Kansas, in 1941, and was assigned to the 10th Cavalry Regiment in California in 1942. In 1944, he was sent to Africa, transferred to the 36th (Texas) Infantry Division, participated in the invasion of Southern France, and took command of A Company. He was captured at the end of that year, sent to Luckenwalde, Germany, and was liberated by the Russians in 1945. He returned to the United States following his release from service in August 1945, and worked in the playing card industry for 33 years. In his retirement, he has been a literacy advocate and teacher, and has been active in numerous community organizations.

Fredrick Wallace (Alpharetta, GA)

Wallace served in the Air Force during the Korean War. In 1970, after 20 years in the military, he retired at the rank of Major. Moving to Los Angeles, he worked for the Veterans Administration and counseled veterans returning from the Vietnam War. During those years, the VA began the Veterans on Campus program, which Wallace believes was one of the most effective VA programs. In 1995, he retired to Georgia where he volunteers for AARP and through its Partners program, contributes his time and energy to the Veterans History Project.

"VHP Interviewing Techniques, Part 2" (49 minutes)

Presenters: Todd Moye, Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, Gary Rhay, and Steven Sabat
Moderators: Bob Babcock

Please note: The following biographical information was written at the time of the event in 2004 and has not been updated.

J. Todd Moye (Atlanta, GA)

Moye is the Director of the Tuskegee Airmen Oral History Project of the National Park Service, Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta. This project will form the basis of the museum interpretation at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, where the interviews will be available to the public. A civil rights historian, Moye has served on this project for four years. His interest in civil rights is the basis of his engagement in the Tuskegee Airmen story, as their experience laid the groundwork for the modern Civil Rights Movement. The Tuskegee Airmen Oral History Project is an official Partner of the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress. Moye’s book, Let the People Decide, exploring the Civil Rights Movement in Sunflower County in Mississippi, will be published in 2004.

Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez (Austin, TX)

Rivas-Rodriguez is an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Journalism. In 1999, she launched the U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project, a multifaceted effort that includes a conference, several books, a play, and a documentary film. At the center is an archive of over 450 videotaped interviews with Latinos and Latinas of the WWII generation. Before entering academia, Rivas-Rodriguez worked as a journalist for more than 17 years for the Boston Globe, WFAA-TV in Dallas, UPI, and the Dallas Morning News, and as Border Bureau Chief for the Dallas Morning News in El Paso.

Gary Rhay (Eugene, OR)

A recognized military historian, Rhay enlisted in the U.S. Army and fought in Vietnam in 1971-72. Following his tour, he returned to college and ROTC training, entered the Army’s Officer Training School and served as an officer for 12 years. He taught history at West Point, at the U. S. Army Command and General Staff College, and in1996 became in-house historian at Marathon Music and Video, a documentary film company in Eugene, OR, with a veterans’ oral history program that pre-dates the Library of Congress project. Rhay insures the accuracy of Marathon’s scripts and footage used in military documentaries, and conducts interviews with veterans. The archive holds approximately 700 to 750 videotaped interviews, and is an official partner of the Veterans History Project.

Steven Sabat (Washington, D.C.)

Sabat, professor of psychology, has been at Georgetown University since earning his doctorate at the City University of New York, where he specialized in neuropsychology. The main focus of his research has been the intact cognitive and social abilities (including aspects of selfhood) of Alzheimer's disease sufferers in the moderate to severe stages of the disease, the experience of having the disease from the sufferer's point of view, and the ways in which communication between the afflicted and their caregivers may be enhanced. He has explored all of these issues in numerous scientific journal articles and in his recent book, The Experience of Alzheimer's Disease: Life Through a Tangled Veil (Blackwell, 2001).

Bob Babcock (Atlanta, GA)

Babcock is president of Americans Remembered, Inc, an official partner of the Veterans History Project. An Infantry veteran of the Vietnam War, he is author of the book, War Stories - Utah Beach to Pleiku. He is past president and historian of the National 4th Infantry Division Association and president of the 22nd Infantry Regiment Society. A retired IBM executive, Babcock is focused on preserving the history of veterans and home front workers from World War II through today's War on Terror.