News(Most Current News Is Listed At The Bottom)
Work for the documentary began sometime in 2006. The search for veterans, (ongoing since the 90's), led to an event in 2003 after meeting veterans Lawrence T. Faulkner and John Sabato. It was during a 9th Division reunion in Lancaster Pennsylvania and accompanied by friend, (local 9th Division veteran), Al Perna. The original goal was to track down veterans who may have had contact with Coast Guardsman Anthony Fraticelli aboard the USS Thomas Stone November 1942. An eight year search locating more than fifty veterans relevant to the story was completed in 2014. The web site, (launched Jan. 2013), was designed for simple navigation keeping in mind our aging surviving veterans and their families.
9th Division Reunion Lancaster Pa., 2003 - Michael Fraticelli with veterans John Sabato, left, and Larry Faulkner, right.
*Note Larry Faulkner's cap; 'USS Thomas Stone AP-59'
Approximate time line and short list of events which inspired the documentary:
years of interesting stories, research and photos, a summary of
events provides an overview. Beginning in the mid 90's,
wherever I went I always
carried a 35mm camera and a camcorder.
'Wings of Freedom,' Frederick M.D. was a great place to experience the history of WWII. Similar 'Living History' events would contribute to the project. The reenactors I met were valuable resources equal to any doctorate of Military history. I'll always remember their contributions. See selected photos and film clips below: Wings of Freedom Frederick MD, WWII Weekends Reading Pa., Indiantown Gap, The Battle of the Bulge, and other events.
Wings of Freedom Frederick M.D. 1996
Trying to squeeze into Waist Gunner position - B-17
Standing beside P-51's which appear at most of the air shows
The late Colonel Robert Morgan of the Memphis Bell
Early candid interview with 8th Air Force veteran Cecil Blackwell in 1996
America's early fighter aircraft, the P-40 earned it's reliability in North Africa 1942-43. Be sure to view the page about North Africa Army Air Corp veterans; Colonel Duncan and Dick Conly.
WWII Weekends Reading Pennsylvania
Reenactors representing the campaign in North Africa, see the clip below:
Reenactors representing the Irish Guards
I had the pleasure of meeting Colonel Morgan and William Fili at several events throughout the years.
Right - Thomas Begay Navajo Code Talker
Right - Colonel Robert Morgan - 2002
With Bill Guarnere
Indiantown Gap PennsylvaniaEvery January for more than a decade, passionate reenactors get together to re-create the Battle of the Bulge. Unlike other totally public WWII living history displays, this event was primarily designed to provide reenactors with a private area to assemble. There are a few public displays but make no mistake, this is serious
reenactment. I had several opportunities over the years to shoot
footage during the 5-6 day encampment. The following clip was shot in
2006 inside the barracks and
shows a rare meeting between two American veterans and a German veteran.
Flying an AT-6 with 'North American Top Gun'Part of my self-induced indoctrination was to experience the feel and thrill of flying in a WWII aircraft. In the summer of 1999, I had an opportunity to fly in an AT-6. The North American Aviation T-6 Texan was a single engine trainer aircraft that was used to train pilots of the U.S. Army Air Forces, Navy, Royal Air Force and air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II and into the 1950s. North American Top Gun Inc. was located in St. Augustine Florida, (now out of business), fallen to hard times. The company owned and operated 3 vintage, (restored), planes, all 'Texans.' Playing Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator thinking I had an advantage, it simply wasn't the case, I was scared to death.
Jan. 2013: Film Crew & Reenactors: With the enormous complexity of the project and little or no funding,
I thank everyone for their help and taking a look at the web site. See the contact link at bottom of every page.
Jan. 2013: The Greatest Generations Foundation - Trip to Tunisia - 70th Anniversary Invasion of North Africa: Timothy Q. Davis is putting together another commemorative trip for WWII veterans. The Greatest Generations Foundation organization hopes to send a group of veterans to Tunisia to commemorate the campaign in North Africa and the surrender of Axis forces May 12th 1943. Visit the web site: www.tggf.org
Debate about the 'Creative Commons License'http://rising.blackstar.com/why-photographers-hate-creative-commons.html
Feb. 2013: Copyright Protection News: The Copyright Alliance educates and strives to remain current in its approach to copyright laws. Good luck to them for their sensible efforts. It's hoped that other responsible filmmakers will continue to recognize 'the creator first, the nation second' regardless of the media.
May 2013: The Greatest Generations Foundation, Trip to Tunisia, (70th Anniversary Invasion of North Africa), was canceled. Founder Timothy Q. Davis had to make difficult decisions. Working with the State Dept. was not an easy task given the dangerous situation in Tunisia. Instead, Tim will be planning a July 2013 trip to Sicily with about 20 WWII veterans, and will incorporate a shuttle trip to the City of Tunis. Visit their web site: www.tggf.org
June 2013: After haggling back and forth, Wikipedia finally granted partial details regarding the air borne torpedo launched by an He-111 that struck the Thomas Stone November 7th 1942. Nonetheless, they've chosen to allow an incorrect version of the story. Inconclusive U Boat log entries still endure which are posted all over the Internet. This documentary will prove the culprit to be an He-111. Many eye witnesses saw the plane and their stories collaborate with Historian/Author Francesco Mattesini, who provides compelling evidence.
April 2014: Made a unique connection to Frenchman Frederick Blais who lives in Sousse North Africa. He's been sending updates regarding the political situation in affected areas that are off limits to American tourists. Kasserine Pass is one such troubled area. Having an interest in this history, Frederick makes occasional trips to the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial, and to the battle fields of El Guettar.
October 2nd 2014: Good friend and 9th Division veteran Lawrence Thomas Faulkner, 93 of Simi Valley Ca., passed away on Thursday August 14, 2014 in Thousand Oaks, California. He died peacefully surrounded by his wife Sue of 56 years, son Lee, daughter Kelly, and son-in-law Tom. Larry was born in Harlan County, Kentucky on June 9, 1921 to John and Myrtle Faulkner. He served in eight campaigns with the 9th Division, 39th Regiment in World War II and The Korean War receiving two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars for gallantry in combat, three Purple Hearts, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Legion of Honour, and the Ambassador of Peace Medal from South Korea. Larry was buried in grave site 4212, section 64 near the Sept. 11th Memorial. The section is bordered by a street called Patton Drive. Larry was a key veteran and the first to be interviewed.
I'll miss him dearly.
March 2015: One year search for Philadelphia area 'German Born' mature readers/actors to participate in voice-overs for 16 hours of interviews, came up empty handed. Rare, honest combat stories of personal experiences from five German veterans needed to be treated with respect and dignity. An effective solution was reached when a handful of interested local American actors took part in the readings. Lisa Hartjens, Claudia Bareiszi and Richard Sonnenschein also donated their time making much needed corrections to the German translations.
April 2015: Re-visited NARA and colleague Lisa Hartjens.
Lisa provided support and an interview which will appear in the 'Back Story'.
October 4 2015: Good friend and 9th Division veteran Joe M. Barnett of Troy Michigan passed away Sunday October 4th.
I was introduced to Joe by his war time buddy Larry Faulkner. Joe had a unique capacity for telling stories. Re-creations were dedicated to both Joe Barnett and Larry Faulkner. I'll miss Joe dearly.
March 2016: Working with the 'Greatest Generations Foundation' trying to coordinate a trip to Normandy for three veterans and friends who never had an opportunity to do so.
Going Back To Normandy
SUCCESS! - June 8th 2016
After much correspondence, we were finally able to get 9th Division Veteran Eugene Edwards back to Normandy.
Its hoped we can include 9th Div. Veterans Anton Dietrich and Tony Varone on a future trip with TGGF!
Eugene Edwards Goes Back to Normandy!
Returning To Arlington National Cemetery
Was asked to share rare photographs and research of the USS Thomas Stone with NAVSOURCE
This independent documentary is not intended to be a comprehensive account of the war in North Africa 1942-43. The completed film will feature rare interviews from veterans connected to the story. The search to locate veterans within this time frame was very difficult. With no funding and a small film crew who sporadically assisted with re-creations, the bulk of production falls upon one individual. Contributions of any kind are welcomed. email@example.com
Jacqueline Borock, Esq. firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos, illustrations, art work, or interviews may not be reproduced, copied, stored, manipulated, or redistributed without the expressed permission of the author.
Michael Fraticelli - North Africa 1942-43 Survivors' Stories © 2015