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From Bootcamp to Normandy

Robert WCongratulations to ninety-six-year-old Bob von der Osten for writing the story of his military experience during World War II. Bob kept journals of his boot camp, training, ship-time, liberty, and war-time experiences after joining the United States Navy in January 1942. He supplemented these entries with additional material and memories to turn his journal into a fascinating book.

In his dedication, Bob states that his story “is not only a sailor’s story but the history of a great landing craft and her dedicated crew.” Bob served most of his hitch on the USS LST-388, a tank landing ship in the European theater, which participated in the invasion of Normandy in June 1944.

Barbara & Her Dad
Barb and Bob

Bob’s daughter, Barb von der Osten, helped him organize his material and photographs and pull it all together. Now, I have the great privilege of editing and publishing Bob’s story, Journal to War—From Boot Camp to Normandy: Memories of World War II and the Story of the LST-388.

Bob and Earline
Bob and Earlene

By Bob’s side, supporting him to publish his story, is his lovely wife of fifty-three years, Earlene.

Thank you, Bob, for your service to our country and for giving me the honor of helping you preserve your amazing story.


  • Terri Dean
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    This is so great. What a privilege to get to work with him on this project and he couldn’t have chosen a better editor/publisher to work with. Congratulations to you both.

    • Cassandra Moore
      Posted July 28, 2016 at 10:20 am

      This is just so wonderful! Bob and My Husband were in the same VFW Post and spoke many times of their experiences during WWII. My husband was on LST – 381 and enlisted right out of high school in December 1942. I have his stories in oral history but not written history which I regret. He passed from us on January 20, 2016, another fallen Comrade of The Greatest Generation!

      • Post Author
        Posted July 30, 2016 at 4:02 pm

        Hi, Cassandra. I’m sorry for the loss of your husband. That’s so neat he and Bob shared similar navy experiences and had the chance to talk with each other about them. It’s great that you have an oral history, and know that an oral history can be turned into a book. It’s not too late. Thanks for taking the time to write.

        • Cassandra Moore
          Posted August 1, 2016 at 7:45 am

          Our son, Jonathan and I just loved listening to John’s stories, mostly self deprecating and funny, about how he was the only Southerner on LST 381 whose nickname was Rebel! I have a bundle of letters that were written to him from his family during the 4 years that he was in the war. He never talked of the carnage of war even though he was in all four major invasions: Sicily, Salerno, Anzio and Normandy! The only time he spoke of the horrors of those invasions is when I took him to see “Saving Private Ryan.” He sat on the edge of his seat through the entire movie saying, “That’s the way it was.” The grieving is still so new for me that it will take me a while longer before I can talk or write at length about John’s war-time experiences. Thank you for your encouragement!

    • Post Author
      Posted July 30, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      Hi, Terri. Yes, it’s a great privilege. I love my job!

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