WORLD WAR II VETERANS ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
CALLING ALL WORLD WAR II VETERANS OF SMITHTOWN…
THE SMITHTOWN LIBRARY WANTS YOU!
The Long Island Room of The Smithtown Library is collecting personal accounts of Smithtown World War II veterans to preserve a permanent record of their military service experience. Library staff will conduct, record, and make the interviews available to the public through the Long Island Room’s website. They will also send a copy of each interview to the Library of Congress for inclusion in their national Veterans History Project.
Lifelong Smithtown resident, James "Jim" Gouras enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 1944 at the age of 17 and served actively from April 1945 through December 1946. During his time in the military, Mr. Gouras participated in the occupation of mainland Japan. For his service he received the Army of Occupation Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. Mr. Gouras still lives in Smithtown and is an active member in the local chapters of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Mr. Gouras' oral history interview was recorded in The Smithtown Library's Long Island Room on July 6, 2017.
The photographs below were taken during Mr. Gouras' service in the U.S. Army, mostly while participating in the occupation of mainland Japan, 1945-1946. Click on an image to enlarge.
Photographs courtesy of James Gouras.
Born in 1925 and raised in Brooklyn, Stephen Kovach enlisted in the U.S. Navy after high school, serving from 1943-1946. During WWII he was a Radarman, assigned to the destroyer escort ship U.S.S. Joseph E. Campbell. For his service he received the American Campaign, European African Middle Eastern Campaign, Asiatic Pacific Campaign, and Occupation Service medals.
After his naval service Mr. Kovach played professional baseball, spending many years as a catcher in the minor leagues. While in the minors, he caught future New York Yankees pitching legends Bob Turley and Don Larsen.
Mr. Kovach eventually moved to Commack in 1959 and worked for various aerospace companies on Long Island, including Grumman. He currently lives in the same Commack house, with his wife, Pat, of 71 years.
Mr. Kovach's interview was recorded at his home in Commack on December 3, 2018.
Most of the photographs below were taken during Mr. Kovach's service with the U.S. Navy. Click on an image to enlarge.
Photographs courtesy of Stephen Kovach.