By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Vargas, Navy Recruiting District Dallas Public Affairs
DALLAS (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Dallas participated in the 49th Annual USS Anzio (CVE 57) Reunion Ceremony, Aug. 23.
Anzio was commissioned in August of 1943 as the USS Coral Sea, an escort carrier commanded by Capt. Herbert W. Taylor. After quite a few battles in the pacific, her name was changed to the Anzio in September of 1944. Anzio, a port city in central Italy, was the site of an Allied amphibious assault that took place in January of 1944.
Maurice E. Charles, president of the USS Anzio/Coral Sea Association, served aboard the aircraft carrier from 1943-1946. He was the manager of the ship's service as a Seaman, First Class.
"I was in charge of ship's service," said Charles. "During the time I was aboard the ship, we were part of 15 battles ranging from Guadalcanal, Makin Island, New Guinea, Japan and the Philippines to name a few."
During the reunion ceremony, the color guard from NRD Dallas presented the colors during the playing of the national anthem. Culinary Specialist 1st Class Daniel Dockery, petty officer in charge of the color guard, said he was excited to perform during the ceremony.
"It is truly an honor to be part of this reunion," said Dockery. "These Sailors were part of World War II and are a huge part of our naval history so I am glad to be here supporting them in their reunion."
Cmdr. Ed Morales, commanding officer of NRD Dallas, also was in attendance during the ceremony and was able to present the National Ensign to the daughter of Courtney B. Spratlin, who served aboard the Anzio as a plane captain from 1943-1945 and passed away earlier this year.
"I am so privileged to be part of this ceremony and to present the American flag to the daughter of a World War II veteran," mentioned Morales. "It is pretty significant to meet and recognize these individuals who are part of our naval heritage."
Clissa Spratlin England is the daughter that received the American flag on behalf of her father. She mentioned that her father enjoyed serving with his shipmates aboard the Anzio and that he was truly honored to serve during World War II.
"Daddy would speak about his experiences during the reunions and all his shipmates were so glad to have served together during this time," said England. "I am so touched to receive this American flag for my father and it is always a good time to come to the reunions and meet his shipmates."
According to the Naval History and Heritage Command, Anzio was the first American carrier to visit the port in Shanghai, China as part of Operation "Magic Carpet." Anzio received six battle stars for her service and was the most decorated escort carrier in the pacific during World War II. Anzio was decommissioned in August of 1946.
"I would like to thank NRD Dallas for their participation in our reunion and I want to say that all World War II vets are very satisfied with the Navy today," said Charles.
Morales mentioned that it is always an honor to participate in events like this reunion. There will soon be a time when there are no more living World War II veterans so anytime you have an opportunity to honor these individuals you have to make the best of it.
According to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, it is estimated that by the year 2036, there will be no more living veterans from World War II.