New Bedford Vet Shares His World War II Stories on D-Day Anniversary
Michael: "You are a hero, sir."
Mr. Oliveira: "Please, don't praise me."
For the 75th anniversary of D-Day, we decided to invite 97-year-old World War II veteran Tony Oliveira onto the Rock and Fox Show. Mr. Oliveira lived in New Bedford for almost all of his entire life. He told us he was heading to the movies on a double date with his girlfriend (who would later become his wife) on the day the news broke that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. He didn't tell the girls, but both of the guys decided right away that they would go down to the Marine recruiter in New Bedford the following morning to enlist.
That morning, Mr. Oliveira was denied because of his eyesight. His next stop was to the Navy recruiter who denied him for the same reason. He was thrilled when the Army admitted him. "All they needed me to do was dig fox holes and shoot my gun in the right direction."
Prior to D-Day, Mr. Oliveira was assigned to train for what would have been a "D-Day like" attack on Japan. That attack never happened because of the atomic bombs that were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese surrendered before the attack was necessary. The tough decision to drop those bombs on Japan, which killed over 200,000 people, likely saved his life.
We asked him if he had known any of the men who were a part of D-Day. He said that he did, but that all of them had died in the attack.
You can watch our interview with Tony Oliveira in the YouTube video above.