It was Dec. 7th 1941. 18 year old John Provini was enjoying a Tommy Dorsey state show at the state theater in Hartford.
During the middle of the performance the band halted and the lights turned on.
Somebody came out on the stage, and he said “I have some news.“ He mentioned that Pearl Harbor… The Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor.
Fast forward to April 1944, John was drafted into the Navy and was serving in the English channel. It was in preparation for D-Day: the mission called ‘Exercise Tiger.’ The training went south after miscommunications in radio frequencies.
We didn’t know where the heck we were. We were attacked by 8 German E boats.
John recalled his point of view.
I see the ship behind us get hit and blow up. And it sunk. And then two behind that one got hit. Then a third one got hit. We’re firing with our 40-millimeter guns, and we were spraying it. Evidently, we scared them away. I was so excited about what was going on and trying to do what had to be done, that I gave it no thought.
The battle resulted in deaths of 946 servicemen.
Two months later John continued his duties invading the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
We were the first wave. There were so many battleships. Shooting shells. If you looked up, it was a sunny day. But you couldn’t see the sun because there were so many planes coming and going. I think that It brings back memories both bad and good. I made so many good friends aboard ship. We had so many wonderful times after that, that you get to a point where you look at the bad and you look at the good. And you say the good outweighs the bad and call it a day.