Cunard has announced a special transatlantic crossing aboard Queen Mary 2 that will pay tribute to heroes of World War II — the fourth sailing like this that the line has done.
The cruise, put together in partnership with The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation, will feature several veterans during its enrichment programs. It’s scheduled to depart New York City on June 5, 2022 and arrive in Southampton, England on June 12.
On the seven-night voyage, guests will have the opportunity to attend lectures and interact with several WWII veterans, hearing first-hand about their experiences during the war. From the “Battle of the Atlantic” and the D-Day landings in Normandy to the last living survivor of Pearl Harbor, the distinguished heroes will engage in discussions and Q&A’s, giving passengers a personal glimpse into the human elements of wartime service.
A special new feature of this crossing will be the inclusion of veterans from the Korean, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars.
“We are honored to continue our relationship with The Greatest Generations Foundation, and to pay tribute to these esteemed veterans and their wartime service. Ever since we first introduced this very special program in 2017, guests have been riveted by their very moving and personal narratives, resulting in standing ovations every day,” said Jamie Paiko, vice president, Sales, Cunard North America. “We are both humbled and thrilled to welcome back some returning WWII veterans to our flagship, and to meet some veterans new to the Cunard experience.”
Participating veterans scheduled to be on board will include:
- Steve Melnikoff, 102, who experienced the full horrors of Omaha Beach, when he served in 1st Battalion, 175th Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division and who earned three Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts for his service.
- Mickey Ganitch, 102, who served as a Senior Chief Quartermaster in the United States Navy and witnessed Pearl Harbor and went on the fight in 17 battles throughout the Pacific.
- Harold Angle, 98, who served in the 112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, and who marched down the Champs-Elysées on August 29, 1944, in the Liberation of Paris.
- James Blane, 98, Corporal of the 4th Marine Division of the United States Marine Corps and served in the battles of Kwajalein (Roi-Namur), Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima.
- Harold Radish, 97, served with the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 90th Infantry Division, as a combat intelligence observer. During the battle of the Bulge, Radish, a Jewish-American, was captured by the Germans and served the rest of the war as a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany.
- Irving Locker, 97, remembers in vivid detail the brutally cold winter of 1944-45 when he was a 19-year-old staff sergeant with the 116th AAA Gun Battalion of the 1st Army’s 7th Corps. They fired 90mm anti-aircraft, anti-tank guns at the Germans in Hitler’s last desperate effort to avert inevitable defeat in the European Theater of WWII.
- Robert Fisher, 88, is a 1955 Naval Academy graduate and career Marine Corps officer who retired in 1982. At that time, he also studied four guerrilla wars in Southeast Asia and obtained the Malaya Jungle School Syllabus at Johore Bahru and went on to train 20,000 Marines, Navy Seals, Sea-Bees, and Army Special Forces Teams for Vietnam.
- Richard Prince, 76, was assigned to Delta Company, 1st Battalion 5th Marines and assaulted the Dong Ba Tower in Hue. Pictures of his bravery were featured in Time Magazine and on the cover of Stars & Stripes Magazine during the war. He was severely wounded in the neck and medevac’d out of Vietnam to the United States during this action.
- Jesse “Bud” Alley, 80, served two years active duty; a complete twelve-month tour in Vietnam with the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile)-August 1965-August 1966. His award-winning book The Ghosts of the Green Grass documents his experience in the Vietnam War.
- Kevin Brewington, 38, served with the U.S. Army and was two months into his Afghanistan deployment as an infantryman with the 125th Special Brigade Combat Team when he stepped on a landmine. He woke up four days later in a hospital in Germany. Brewington lost both his legs and part of his right arm in the blast and has spent seven years recovering and rebuilding his life.
Q&A’s and other discussions with the veterans will cover topics including:
- The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941
- D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy, 1944
- The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944
- Blood Sand: The Battle for Iwo Jima, 1945
- Vietnam War: The Forgotten Generation
- Afghanistan: The Forever War
Jeremy Hubbard, current co-anchor of FOX31 Denver News will join the voyage and act as a moderator of the panels and lectures. Prior to joining the news team there, Hubbard worked as a New York-based correspondent for ABC News where he contributed and reported for all ABC News broadcasts including Good Morning America, World News with Dianne Sawyer, and Nightline.