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 Author  Topic: PT110 Veterans reunite in Article from Myrtle Beach Sun News
  Jerry Gilmartin


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Sep 2, 2013 - 11:13am
I thought this may interest some of you guys. Jerry

World War II vets reunite after 69 years
By Amanda Kelley
The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

Published: September 1, 2013
MYRTLE BEACH World War II veterans Howard Wollman and Michael Giarla hadnt seen each other in 69 years until Friday.

The two men, ages 90 and 89, were stationed together in the Navy during the war on the PT 110 boat. Wollman, now a Murrells Inlet resident, was awarded a bronze star medal for saving Giarlas life on Jan. 26, 1944, when the boat exploded. The two men and one other were the only survivors.

I was separated from him the night it exploded, said Wollman 90. I was out for five days. I woke up in a tent and said, Where am I?

Wollman said he was in an Army field hospital and unable to walk for about a month. He couldnt remember anything between the explosion and waking up in the hospital.

Forty years later the two men began communicating after they connected through the PT magazine. It started as a yearly phone call on Jan. 26. As the years passed, the men started talking more frequently, growing a friendship but still never meeting again in person.

It wasnt until Friday, at Villa Romana in Myrtle Beach, that the two men finally reunited in person, hugging like family and making jokes about having less hair.

Giarla was quick to point to Wollman and tell each member of his family, This is the guy that saved me.

He remembers the night more clearly.

I come off watch and I was going to hit the sack and this guy says, Mike were going to make a run on this submarine, you cant go down, Giarla said.

He said Wollman gave him a lifejacket and he went to the gun mount where he dozed off until the explosion.

When I came to, I was paralyzed, he said. I said my prayers, I did the dead man float thats all I could do.

Giarla, who lives in Boston, said he owes his life to Wollman.

He saved my life, he said. If I had gone down [below deck] I wouldve gone down with everybody else.

Giarlas family decided to vacation in Myrtle Beach this year becausetheir usual spot in Connecticut closed, and a trip to Washington, D.C. to see the WWII memorial didnt work out because Giarla wasnt feeling well, according to his daughter-in-law Denise Giarla.

During Fridays reunion over dinner, Giarlas grandchildren took turns thanking Wollman, who gladly shook their hands with misty eyes.

I guess I probably wouldnt be here if it werent for you, said 17-year-old Michael Giarla.

Both men said the real heroes are the ones that didnt survive.

There isnt a day that goes by that it doesnt go by your brain, Giarla said. Those guys that died, theyre the real heroes.

This reminds me what this board is all about, remembering what those heroes did for our country! Jerry

Jerry Gilmartin

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David Waples


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of David Waples  Posted on: Sep 2, 2013 - 11:30am
Great story Jerry. What a great opportunity for these two gentleman. And what a great opportunity for his children to meet that man that saved their father's life. Thanks for sharing.

David Waples

Total Posts: 1671 | Joined: Jan 2, 2007 - 9:55pm | IP Logged

Roy Forbes


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Roy Forbes  Posted on: Sep 2, 2013 - 12:14pm
This sounds awesome Jerry but I don't think I'm up for another adventure to the east coast for a bit. We're headed a bit further west next.

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Frank Andruss


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank Andruss   Send Email To Frank Andruss Posted on: Sep 3, 2013 - 5:39am
Thanks for posting this story Jerry. What an event to have these two men see each other after so long. It amazes me how long ago these things have happened, and it really hits home when you see the ages of these once young Kids that saved the World. We really need to keep their memories alive.............................

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