John West - Mickey Strand - Veterans Series

Mickey Strand - Veterans Series

The Veterans Portrait Series

Mickey is a retired Navy Photographers Mate, Chief Petty Officer, and was the Leading Chief of the Navy's elite Combat Camera Group Pacific. Mickey's current focus is the Veterans Portrait Series, which documents veterans' stories of service. He is focused on our Worlds' Greatest Generation. The veterans of World War II. 

Mickey interviews each Veteran, collecting and writing their service stories, archiving these notable historic figures and their stories for generations to come. Mickey has collected and displayed images and stories from over 100 warriors that at one point, signed the dotted line when our country needed their sacrifice of service most.  Mickey continues to collect Veterans from all services for the Veterans Portrait Series. In 2019 this body of work was displayed at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre Museum from Nov 11, 2019 — to March 1, 2020.

Mickey and the project were in the national spotlight, featured on the Sunday Today Show with Harry Smith Today Show Link to YouTube.  See the Google 360 Virtual walk through from the Palm Beach Museum Exhibit. Enjoy, and thank you for your help with this project. In 2022 Mickey has photographed over 25 more WW2 Veterans and will be hosting a print show in San Diego in November with an open house on Veterans Day.

Featured Veteran

Edward Targaczewski
US Army
PFC
World War 2

Edward Targaczewski, PFC, born in January 1925, served as an Infantry soldier with the 3rd Battalion, 317th Infantry regiment, 80th Blue Ridge Infantry Division during WW2. 

 Ed, who grew up in Allegheny, PA, enlisted into the army after completing two years of High School on 13 March 1943 at Ft Meade, Maryland. Ed trained with his unit, moved to Scotland, and was deployed into Europe on the 5th of Aug 1944, landing on Utah Beach as the Work Horse of Pattons 3rd Army.

 Ed volunteered as a driver for an M4(105) VVSS Sherman 105mm Howitzer tank because nobody else wanted to drive the tank. The M4(105) was armed with a 105 mm howitzer designed to fire powerful high explosive HE artillery rounds His unit was deployed in a six-tank platoon and provided fire support and smoke to assist the lead tanks. It was not designed to take on enemy tanks. It was an artillery gun fitted inside a tank turret. The M4 had a five-man crew: commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver/machine gunner.
See Full story in the WW2 Veterans Page 
 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where can I donate?

I have created a way to accept donations to grow the project, use the WWII Veterans Portrait Series
  Go Fund Me.

Where are you located?

I live in the San Diego area but have traveled to many locations to interview and photograph Veterans.


How Long is an Appointment?

Appointments usually last 1 hour. But please free up time for Mickey to set up lights and cameras, hold the interview, and take some photographs for the project.

Do you accept reservations?

Yes is the simple answer to the question.  Each appointment is set up as an individual session. Group sessions have been set up when I visited a senior living facility or many of the California Veterans Homes.

US Army SGT World War 2 Dr. John West Enlisted in the US Army in Jan of 1944 as an 18-year-old Private. After completing basic training, PVT West attended Parachute School today, the United States Army Airborne School, at Ft. Benning, GA. He trained in the Ground, tower, and jump week phases of training, receiving his jump wings, aka Parachutist Badge. He then moved to the three months of Medical Technician (combat medic) Training. He was then assigned to the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army. The 505th was garrisoned and trained for the upcoming Europe theater campaign in Ft. Benning, GA. PVT John West shipped out with the replacement troops to Scotland in January 1945 and jumped with the 82nd Airborne into Germany just after the Battle of the Bulge for the Ardennes Counteroffensive. John and the 82nd continued combat operations in Germany, helping secure the Ruhr. PVT West and the 505th Paratroopers were also recognized for the liberation of the Wöbbelin camp. This was a camp for Russian POWs, and Jews moved back from the advancing front as Germany was losing the war. The 82nd liberated the camp, cared for the living and honored the dead using the town square as a grave site. After the combat operation, John served two more years in Germany with the occupation forces. SGT John West was awarded a Bronze Star and left the Army as a Sargent in 1946. John used his GI bill to attend medical school, continuing his life of service and care. He became a doctor and then a surgeon. He was appointed as the chief of surgery at Sharp Grossmont Hospital until he retired in 1999. After retirement, he continued caring for humanity and built a clinic in China to help Cambodian and Vietnam refugees. He served at his clinic with the staff for many years.
Veteran,NIK,WW2
John West - Mickey Strand - Veterans Series
US Army SGT World War 2 Dr. John West Enlisted in the US Army in Jan of 1944 as an 18-year-old Private. After completing basic training, PVT West attended Parachute School today, the United States Army Airborne School, at Ft. Benning, GA. He trained in the Ground, tower, and jump week phases of training, receiving his jump wings, aka Parachutist Badge. He then moved to the three months of Medical Technician (combat medic) Training. He was then assigned to the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army. The 505th was garrisoned and trained for the upcoming Europe theater campaign in Ft. Benning, GA. PVT John West shipped out with the replacement troops to Scotland in January 1945 and jumped with the 82nd Airborne into Germany just after the Battle of the Bulge for the Ardennes Counteroffensive. John and the 82nd continued combat operations in Germany, helping secure the Ruhr. PVT West and the 505th Paratroopers were also recognized for the liberation of the Wöbbelin camp. This was a camp for Russian POWs, and Jews moved back from the advancing front as Germany was losing the war. The 82nd liberated the camp, cared for the living and honored the dead using the town square as a grave site. After the combat operation, John served two more years in Germany with the occupation forces. SGT John West was awarded a Bronze Star and left the Army as a Sargent in 1946. John used his GI bill to attend medical school, continuing his life of service and care. He became a doctor and then a surgeon. He was appointed as the chief of surgery at Sharp Grossmont Hospital until he retired in 1999. After retirement, he continued caring for humanity and built a clinic in China to help Cambodian and Vietnam refugees. He served at his clinic with the staff for many years.