I would like to pay tribute to George Kromis and Simon Zayon for their service to our country in the U.S. Navy during WWII. They are very loyal and proud Americans. Simon is my father. George is someone I recently met who was on USS Savannah the same time as my father.
I recently met George. We were talking and I discovered he was in the Navy the same time as my father. I told George my father, Simon, was also a WWII veteran of the Navy. He asked me if I knew what ship my father was on. I replied, "USS Savannah.” He said, “I was on Savannah.” I said, “His ship escorted President Roosevelt who was on USS Quincy to the Yalta Conference.” George said he was on the ship at that time. I asked him for his phone number. The two veteran sailors spoke several times over the past few months. Soon they will meet in person.
George and Simon went to the same boot camp in 1944 in Bainbridge, Md., within a month or two of each other. They were on the same ship at the same time for a number of months. They were both aboard when their ship escorted President Roosevelt on his ship to the Yalta Conference. They were discharged from the Navy in 1946 within a month or two of each other. Neither one knew of the other until 76 years later.
On Feb. 2, 1945, USS Savannah arrived in Valletta, Malta, as an escort ship for President Roosevelt on USS Quincy to go to the Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimean Conference. From there he flew to Yalta. The conference was near Yalta in the Crimea, Soviet Union. The president met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin to talk about the progress of the war and the reorganization of Germany and Europe after the war ended.
Savannah went to Alexandria, Egypt, on Feb. 9 and waited for the conference to end to escort the president back to the United States. The conference ended Feb. 11. The president went to Alexandria on Feb. 12. The convoy left Alexandria on Feb. 15 and arrived at Hampton Roads, Va., on Feb. 27.
Simon and George had many experiences in the Navy that shaped who they are. They are in their mid-90s. They are part of the “greatest generation.” They enlisted in the military to defend their country and are very loyal Americans. I honor George and Simon. I am grateful for all veterans, current military personnel and those who didn't come home.