World War II Vets Still Ready for Action
Over 820 Veterans are competing in the 25th National Veterans Golden Age Games, 48 of whom are visually impaired. The Battle Born Blind Bowlers team from Reno, Nev. boasts three World War II Veterans on their team.
Elmer Doege, an 86 year old Navy Veteran, arrived in Pearl Harbor in March 1942. Doege, who was an 18 year old seaman third class aviation machinist said, “When I landed (over there) it was all cluttered up. Planes were all piled up on the ramps and a lot of the ships were sunk.” He spent a year at Pearl Harbor clearing debris to reopen the harbor then moved to Honolulu where he spent 18 months maintaining PBM and PBY aircraft that were evacuating the wounded from the Pacific theater. Returning to Oahu brings back many memories for Elmer.
He is happy to be here for the Games but at the same time remembers his time here with strong emotions. A Veteran who loves sports, he will compete in visually impaired horseshoes, bowling and shuffleboard.
World War II Veteran Charles Landolt also served in the Navy in the Pacific. He enlisted at the age of 17 and served as a Gunner’s Mate. He said about his service, “I did not see any combat during the war, but I did serve on convoys to guard against German submarines.” After serving four years in the Navy he was discharged and became an auto mechanic. Landolt, who is at the Games for the fourth time said, “To me, the games help to make relationships with other Veterans. It is a wonderful thing for everyone who goes.” Charles, who will compete in visually impaired horseshoes, bowling, and shuffleboard has won two gold medals and one silver at past Games and hopes to win gold again this year.
Albert Porta is also a World War II Veteran. He is a Volunteer for the Battle Born Blind Bowlers team and a competitor who is attending his fifth Golden Age Games. Porta joined the Army Air Corps in November 1942 and after pilot training was flying B-17 aircraft in the European Theater. His aircraft was shot down over Germany in 1945, he was captured by the Germans and spent seven months in a prisoner of war camp.
He stayed in the military after the war and spent 33 years in the Air Force, 23 years on active duty and 10 years in the reserve. Albert, who will compete in golf, shuffleboard and ping pong has volunteered at the VA Medical Center in Reno, NV for 10 years and enjoys meeting all of the people at the Games and the opportunity to help serve the Battle Born Blind Bowlers team.