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Readings In History: With WWII Veteran Ken Wiley

Readings In History: With WWII Veteran Ken Wiley

October 12th, 2018 2:00pm

Join us for a special Readings In History on October 12, 2018, at 2:00 p.m in the Nimitz Gallery Grand Ballroom with WWII Coast Guard Veteran Ken Wiley. Ken will be talking about his book D-Days in the Pacific With the Coast Guard: The Story of the Lucky 13; Which is a story about his experiences aboard an LCVP during WWII in the Pacific. 

 

 

Ken's book will be available for purchase at the program. After the program, Ken will be signing his book and sticking around to chat with visitors. 

 

This event is free and open to the public. 

 

 

 

Ken Wiley (right) with Living History Coordinator Jeff Copsetta (Center), and his friend H.C. Moretz. 

 

A native of Hill County, Texas, Ken was the sixth of seven children born to Troy Wiley and Dora Thompson Wiley.  He was a 17-year old from Itasca, Texas, when he enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1943.

 

After basic training and Landing Craft School, he was assigned to attack transport Arthur Middleton and dispatched into the cauldron of war in the Pacific Theater.  Although young and utterly inexperienced, Wiley’s responsibilities included command of “Lucky Thirteen,” his own Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP for short).

 

His job—dangerous, unheralded, and today nearly forgotten—was to shuttle troops and supplies from the transport to the beaches, usually while under fire and in all sorts of weather.  His assignments included campaigns for the Marshall Islands, the Marianas, the Philippines, and Okinawa.

 

In his role as a Coxswain, Wiley experienced a lifetime of events in a handful of months of war.  This includes everything from beach combat and kamikazes to suicide boats, special missions, sniper fire, and dangerous jungle river expeditions.  Ken related all of this in his book Lucky Thirteen.  He intertwined these harrowing events with wistful tales of lost loves, heartfelt stories of friendships made and lost, and hilarious accounts of life aboard the Middleton.

 

After service in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II, he graduated from Hillsboro Junior College and attended Texas A&M (1948-49) and Oklahoma A&M (1951-52).  In 1952, he took a job with Bell Helicopter as a hydraulics design engineer and worked in a variety of skilled and managerial positions until his retirement in the 1990s.  He married Deane (Church) Osborne in 1990 (and has four grown daughters from a previous marriage).  Ken is the founder of the Veterans Video Museums program and the author of several books with another recounting more wartime experiences and the loss of his brother.

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Experience the human story of WWII in the Pacific Theater told through 55,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, over 900 artifacts, and audio/visual displays.


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