love of history and interest in his family tree prompted Joe
Richard of Kenner to research his family's genealogy and
create his first Web site in 1997.
original site delved into the life of his maternal great-
grandfather Paul Hebert, who fought during the Civil War
with the 28th Louisiana Infantry Regiment.
year later, Richard created a second Civil War Web site,
this time focusing on his great-great-grandfather on his
paternal side, Placide Richard, who fought with the 18th
Louisiana Infantry Regiment.
After four years and
countless hours of researching Civil War history, Richard's
energies began shifting to World War II.
"I knew eventually
it would lead to World War II, and it did," Richard, 59,
said. His interest in the second world war is built on
stories his uncles and father told him over the years, as
well as his own stint in the Air Force from 1962 to 1966,
with a year spent on Iwo Jima.
How World War II
could be worked into a Web site wasn't really clear to
Richard until he began working with a friend, Joe Gilinsky
of Metairie, to transcribe his war experiences. Gilinsky's
story would be the first major element of a World War II Web
site Richard began creating in 2001.
story about being a B-17 navigator for the Army Air Corps
during World War II, Richard proceeded to one of Gilinsky's
B-17 co-pilot who lives in Florida.
in from vets
RICHARD from Page 1
After that story was
posted on the Web site, the other co-pilot found Richard's
site and reconnected with his two war buddies.
"They thought each
other was dead," Richard said about the two pilots. Managing
to connect people has been one result of Richard's work on
the site. He calls it a sounding board.
As work on the site
progressed, Richard recalled compiling his father-in-law
Jacques Fuselier's story years before and decided to add it
and dedicate the Web site in honor of Fuselier's experiences
at Pearl Harbor.
site has grown to include stories of close to 100 male and
female veterans from all branches of the military during
World War II.
"It's becoming more
than what I envisioned," Richard said. "I keep getting some
wonderful inquiries from people ... I turn on the computer
every morning and wonder what type of message will be on
One such message
came from veteran Ed Souder of Minnesota. A historian for
the 405th Infantry Fox Company that was part of the 102nd
Infantry, Souder sent Richard countless stories from
To thank Souder for
his efforts, Richard self-published a book on the 405th
Infantry Fox company called "Those Damn Doggies in F" with
all the stories of Souder's unit.
"It was a memento
for Ed for what he did," Richard said.
Richard credits his
wife, Sue, a recovery-room nurse for more than 30 years at
East Jefferson General Hospital, as a major influence for
creating the Web site.
He said she often
would arrive home and retell the many war experiences of
fellow hospital volunteers: one jumped into Normandy and was
captured by Germans; another was at Pearl Harbor on a ship
in dry dock; another had her father and brother arrested by
the Japanese in the Philippines and never saw them
"I found it most
unusual that in this small group of people these remarkable
stories existed," Richard said. "I figured I'm going to try
it (a Web site). What the heck ... The fact that I had been
working on stories from the Civil War, it was natural
Richard said working
on the World War II Web site has taught him more about the
war first-hand from veterans than any history book he has
ever read. He said the veterans really appreciate that
someone is showing an interest in what they did for their
"I've gained a
better understanding of what they did, and in some cases why
they did what they did."
peruse the world war II Web site World War II Stories - In
Their Own Words, visit carol_fus.tripod.com; for the Thomas'
28th Louisiana Infantry Regiment in the Civil War, visit
www.geocities.com/ Pentagon/Quarters/5361; for the 18th
Louisiana Infantry Regiment, visit members.
e-mail to Christine Lacoste Bordelon at
cbordelon®timespicayune.com or call 461-0437.
The above article ran:
The Times Picayune, (Kenner
Thursday, SEPTEMBER 4, 2003, Section D1, 2D1