Veterans' tales of war captured

Pete Santos retold his story of serving as a World War II sonar-radar man as a gift to his family and to history.


"The value is my children can one day see this because I never told my children about the war," said the 82-year-old Augusta resident. "It's just another little piece of history."

Mr. Santos, who served in the Coast Guard, will be one of 200 World War II veterans interviewed and filmed for the Augusta Richmond County Historical Society's Veterans History Project, said coordinator Fred Gehle.

The filmings, which will take place today at Augusta State University's University Hall, will be part of a nationwide video project conducted by the Library of Congress in Washington, Mr. Gehle said. The project will chronicle the stories of more than 50,000 men and women who served in World War II.

The historical society will depend on schools, universities and churches for interview locations and some technical help, he said. Staff and interviewers are volunteers.

"I've already had more than 1,000 phone conversations with these vets about their experiences," Mr. Gehle said. "The interviews will all become a source for current and future historians."

The interviews will be filed in the American Folklore Center of the Library of Congress, he said.

Eleven of the 200 interviews have been filmed so far, said Ken Voss, the head of media production for the project. The goal is to have the project finished by this summer, he said.

One copy of each of the interviews will be archived with the Augusta-Richmond County Historical Society, Mr. Voss said. The family of each veteran will also keep a copy.

"These folks have literally attempted to make the ultimate sacrifice," Mr. Voss said. "They have lived history. We want to make sure that's not forgotten."

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or


For more information on the Veterans History Project, contact coordinator Fred Gehle at (706) 738-8242.