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Merchant Marine looks back at service in WWII, Korea

Man of-the-sea Hans Skalagard soon will turn 90, no thanks to Adolf Hitler's navy.

All through World War II, German submarines tried their best to blow up and sink the ships on which Skalagard criss-crossed the Atlantic, delivering munitions, fuel, equipment and supplies essential to the Allies' efforts.

"I made 33 crossings," said the Petaluman and career seaman known internationally for his lifelike, historically true paintings of sailing ships.

Three times, Skalagard went into the brine as a torpedoed cargo ship headed to the bottom. More fortunate than the shipmates killed or maimed, he once bobbed, nearly starved and alternately shivered and baked in the south Atlantic for 21 days before he was rescued.

Skalagard is proud of what he did to help sustain besieged Britain and to help her and her allies win the war. But all these years later, something bitter sticks in the old salt's craw.


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