Click here to watch excerpts of the interview with Brantley
Brantley grew up in Texas. His brother’s death at the Battle of Guadalcanal while serving on the U.S.S. Atlanta drove him to serve in the Navy during WWII.
Brantley first served as a medic at a fleet hospital in the Pacific where he was assigned to the officer’s section.
He reflected on the injuries of wounded troops he saw saying “it was really hard to take.”
Brantley recalled dumping hospital supplies and equipment in the water once the war was over because the ships going back to the United States had limited space.
“Most of that ended up, jeeps and everything, ended up in the bay. We could not afford to take everything back. So off islands all over the world you have jeeps, medical equipment, you have every type of equipment because all the ships be taking you back,” Brantley said.
During the interview Brantley described his commitment to education and graduating high school. He said 13 ex-GIs enrolled at Lufkin High School but most got discouraged and dropped out. “Three of us stayed with it and got our diplomas. I graduated mid-term 1947.”
Brantley continued his education at Baylor University. During college the Korean War broke out and he was called up by the Navy. In order to finish school, he was discharged by the Navy but had to sign a contract with the Air Force.
He initially retired from military service as a captain, but when he was 50-years-old he decided to re-enlist and completed more than 20 years of creditable service for retirement.
“I became an Air Force cook. All we did was cook, so for five years I got up on the weekend once a month and drove to Hot Springs. The gate would be locked so I had to climb over the back fence in order to cook breakfast,” Brantley said.
Today, 90-year-old Brantley lives in Conway and is an active bicyclist. In November Brantley rode his bike in America’s Parade, the New York parade honoring our veterans.
“Floyd Brantley honorably served our country. I admire his commitment to military service and his desire to continue his commitment to our country when many Americans are looking forward to retirement. He is a true American hero whose service and sacrifice helped the war efforts. I am grateful for his dedication and honored to share his memories of serving in the Armed Forces,” Boozman said.
Boozman will submit Brantley’s entire interview to the Veterans History Project, an initiative of the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center to collect and retain the oral histories of our nation’s veterans.
Do you know a veteran who you would like Senator Boozman to feature in his Salute to Veterans? Nominate an Arkansas veteran to share their story at Boozman_submissions@boozman.senate.gov.
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