Ray and Fred "Fritz" Wortman were brothers from West Point, Neb. Ray enlisted on Nov. 4, 1942, and Fritz on Nov. 4, 1943.
Ray went on to be an anti-aircraft gunner (20 mmm) with the Army Air Corps on a repair and salvage ship in the South Pacific. Fritz became an electric generator mechanic and also served with the Army Air Corps in the South Pacific.
Before Ray passed away, he spoke about one of the strangest things he experienced.
"Having not seen or heard from each other for a few years, neither knew the whereabouts of the other. After numerous encounters with Japanese forces in many operations, never knowing if I would see my brother again, Fritz and I crossed paths. It was a Sunday morning in a harbor at Okinawa. I was leaning in the ship's railing after breakfast having a smoke and watching other ships in the harbor. I just happened to notice a ship going by, and there was a person leaning on the railing having a smoke also. As the ship went by, I couldn’t believe who it was and neither could Fritz. We saw one another and gave a little wave in disbelief. We did meet later that day and had time for a photo, because I don’t think anyone would have believed us. It's a small world, as they say."
In our hometown the VFW and Legion combined to keep the numbers up to keep the club going. My dad and uncle never cared if you served overseas; you served, and that was good enough for them.