Operation Torch, the British-American invasion of French north Africa saw 500 Allied soldiers killed.
Operation Husky, the Allied Invasion of Sicily, saw 2,811 US servicemen killed in action, with another 686 missing in action.
Operation Neptune, known the world over as D-Day, saw more than 10,000 Allied casualties.
Operation Detachment, also known as the Battle of Iwo Jima, cost the US 6,821 lives.
And Operation Iceberg, the Battle of Okinawa, added up to 12,520 men killed in action, 20,195 Americans dead in total, 55,162 wounded, and 26,000 psychiatric casualties.
And somehow one man participated and survived all five of these grueling conflicts during the Second World War. His name is Garland Gentry, he’s 92 years old, and he lives at Discovery Village at the West End in Richmond, Virginia
In fact, were it not for his four years in the US Navy during World War II, Gentry would have lived his entire life in Richmond. But when Pearl Harbor happened, he was drafted into the Navy Amphibious Corps, and his first appointment was North Africa.
“We put them on the shore, but we were only there for a short period of time,” he recalls. “Then came the Invasion of Sicily, then d-Day, then the ship I was on got transferred to the Pacific. We were at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. They kept shooting at me, but they kept missing.”
More than 70 years later, Gentry can joke a bit about the experience. When he came home from the fighting, things were a lot more serious.
“When I came home I thought about getting a job on one of those cruise ships,” he recalls. “But I changed my mind after the way. Then I had an uncle who wanted me to join him as a fisherman; I went and tried that but didn’t like that either.”
After four long years of mission after mission, the stress of what he had been doing and how close death had come calling had finally caught up with Gentry. He did his best to avoid going on the water from then on out.
Instead he went back to college at a business school and wound up in wholesale distribution industry selling office supplies. He and his wife had two children together and between his wholesale business and his time in the Navy, Gentry was able to retire at 62.
Nobody expects to live 30 years past their retirement, but that’s exactly what Gentry has done. As he and his wife aged to the point that they thought they might need help, he and his two children began a thorough search for a new home.
“When we found this one, it was clear we liked it better than all the others,” Gentry said. “So my wife and I moved in four years ago on the day it opened.”
Unfortunately, Gentry’s wife passed away some 18 months ago from Alzheimer’s Disease, but he still believes the move was for the best.
“It’s been a fine transition. I’ve enjoyed having nothing to do but sit around doing jigsaw puzzles and playing bingo,” he says. “My son and my daughter and i eat lunch together every Sunday. I enjoy being with them and they enjoy being with me.”