Veterans recount experiences of war aboard Yorktown

MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Veterans from several generations of wars were on hand at Patriots Point in Mt. Pleasant Thursday to pay tribute to their many brothers and sisters of the Armed Services.

"Well, it looks like an old friend, but it's just sitting there," said Capt. Bill Cart of the Corsairs lined up in the hangar of the aircraft carrier-turned- museum, USS Yorktown.

He flew Corsairs during World War II.

"Well, hell, I'm old and like anything else, everything gets old," he said.

But on Veterans Day, this Marine Corps fighter pilot and other veterans were on the deck of the Yorktown sharing stories and speaking of the importance of a day of remembrance.

"The fact that they're speaking English is pretty important," Cart said. "Otherwise they would not be here."

PFC Dick Whitaker was a Marine in Okinawa and says sometimes it seems surreal. "When you get this old and look back, you sometimes wonder if it all really happened."

But he still remembers the most frightening part -- "getting shot at day and night," he said. "Eighty-two percent in my regiment were either killed or wounded, so it's a miracle to be here."

Through the years and wars, many things have changed the veterans say.

"We don't use CelNav anymore; everything is GPS," he said.

"Now they can hit a target and not even see it. They can pick it up on radar," he said.

And some attitudes have changed, too. But the Marines aboard the Yorktown Thursday said the support from the US government must be maintained.

"A lot of people think we shouldn't have gone to Korea or Vietnam or in Afghanistan, but we're there. Once we're there, we should be allowed to win," he said.

And they hope the nation remembers and appreciated the adage: all gave some, and some gave all.

"I had people tell me, 'All of y'all are heroes.' But we're not heroes. The heroes we left out there. Those were the guys that were the heroes -- we just did a job," he said.

For those that didn't have a change to come aboard the Yorktown on Veterans Day, many of the veterans volunteer throughout the week so visitors can get a tour and hear their stories at any time.

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