U.S.S Paducah Veterans reunite, share stories 75 years later

By KBJR News 1

June 19, 2014 Updated Jun 19, 2014 at 6:27 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- There are fewer than a dozen left of those men who marched through downtown Duluth, from the armory to the railroad station, more than seventy years ago.

The group was the first unit nationwide called to serve in World War Two by President Franklin Roosevelt

The men left Duluth on November 3, 1940 to train on the U-S-S Paducah gun boat.

They did not come home for five years.

Many sailors trained on the Paducah before transferring to other ships...but many of those men have died through the years.

For those who remain, a small gathering was held in Duluth today to remember those days and share stories of sailing on the Paducah 75 years ago.

Steve Balach was among them.

"Young people have to understand that those of us, instead of going to a high school prom and high school dances, were serving our country at a time when it was very essential. Keep in mind we had major war going on on both oceans, the Japanese and the Germans," said Chief Machinist Mate Steve Balach.

Only eight of the original Paducah crew members from Duluth remain alive today.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati