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Home » James Harding Stancil

"I guess everyone has different feelings when they’re in battle. All the time this was going on, I wasn’t scared. I was mad. We were mad as a hornet. We weren’t scared. When it was over with, I got so weak I couldn’t stand up. I was trembling all over." (Video Interview Part 2, 26:59)

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   James Harding Stancil
Image of James Harding Stancil
James Stancil shortly after re-enlisting, St. Petersburg, FL [10/1942]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Merchant Marine
Unit: SS Joseph Conrad; SS Roger B. Taney; SS John A. Dix; SS Frederick Remington
Service Location: St. Petersburg, Florida; Sheepshead Bay, New York; Atlantic; Pacific; Mediterranean; Indian Ocean; Baltic Sea; European Theater
Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade
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As a Merchant Mariner during World War II, James Stancil sailed on numerous voyages carrying munitions and other supplies to Allied troops in Europe, North Africa, and the Mediterranean. He began his career as a purser and later became a corpsman, when he performed hand surgery using only a manual for guidance. Stancil survived a torpedo attack off the coast of Brazil, only to be arrested for illegal entry into the country once he made it to shore. After serving for nearly five years in the Merchant Marine, Stancil was dismayed to discover upon his discharge that he was not eligible for the same benefits as other branches of the service.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (5 clips)
»Complete Interview  (90 min.)

Download: video(1) | video(2) | video(3)
  Photos
»Photo Album (4 photos)
 Official Documents
»View List (15 items)
 Other Materials
»Newsclipping with photos of veteran and his brothers
More like this
»They Also Served: Coast Guard and Merchant Marine
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (5 items)
Extensive lifeboat training, training on ships in Tampa Bay. (02:33) Merchant Marine process of being assigned to a ship for “duration of voyage;” no pay if not on ship for any reason, including being a POW. (02:12) Being torpedoed, floating into port of Rio de Janeiro, being arrested for illegally entering the country. (03:15)
Drunkenly responding to mail from family and friends. (02:08) Navy attempting to force him to join in time of medical emergency. (01:14) 
  
 Official Documents (15 items)
Letter of discharge from the U.S. Naval Reserve [09/05/1944] Seaman's Certificate of Identification [1/6/1945] Certificate of discharge as staff officer
Honorable Discharge from Naval Service [9/5/1944] Postcard from the Selective Service [3/26/1945] Certificate for Completion of Training [1/8/1943]
Designation of Grade [1/23/1945] Release from active duty [6/8/1944] Certificate of Service [12/30/1942]
Certificate of Proficiency as Lifeboat Man Certificates of Discharge [1943-1945] Application for a passport [8/31/1944]
Letter of Promotion [1/23/1945] Certificate of release or discharge from active duty Honorable Discharge
  
 
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  October 26, 2011
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