Freedom Fighters:John Rappazzo - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters:John Rappazzo

(KLTV) -

John Rappazzo of Longview, Texas, tried to join the Navy when he was only sixteen, soon after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Although he was turned away because of his age, he did join at eighteen and spent eighteen months aboard the destroyer the "U.S.S. Healey, taking part In some of the biggest Battles of in the Pacific Theater of War. 

"I didn't like sonar, so I struck for fire control. Fire Control was the control of gunfire."

And there was to be plenty of gunfire during John Rappazzo's time aboard the destroyer, the U.S.S. Healy, in the South Pacific.
We started our move across the Pacific in January of '43...

The Healy, which was to act primarily as a sub chaser and as protection for aircraft carriers in invasions, took part in some of the biggest Battles of the Pacific theater of war, including the bombardment of the Marshall and Caroline islands, Palau, Dutch New Guinea, Guam, Leyte, Luzon, Iwo Jima and the Battle of the Philippine Sea, (aka "the Marianas Turkey Shoot", one of the most decisive naval battles of the war.

There was no rest for sailors aboard the ships as thousands of Japanese  planes launched their attacks
 

Much too often, Rappazzo's ship and others would be victims of friendly fire, along with Japanese fire power.

The battle of Iwo Jima in February of 1945 was Rappazzo's last big battle of the war.

John Rappazzo was honorably discharged from the navy in January of 1946
Even though he wasn't able to go to war at sixteen as he would have liked, he's proud of his service in defending our country.

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