WWII MERCHANT MARINE VETERAN LOOKING FOR LOST JACKET

Posted on September 20th, 2016 by:

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WWII MERCHANT MARINE VETERAN LOOKING FOR LOST JACKET

Frank Antilla, a WWII Merchant Marine veteran is hoping someone will return the jacket that kept him warm during his service.



Antilla left home in 1943 at 16 years old and hitchhiked his way to Seattle looking for adventure. After seeing the uniforms of some Merchant Marine personnel he decided to enlist. He asked a barmaid to sign his mother’s signature on the application and lied about his age.

“I told them I was 23 because if I had told them I was 18 they might start questioning,” Antilla recalled. “But by giving them an advanced age like that, I knew there wouldn’t be any questions.”

merchant marine

Two Harbors resident Frank Antilla pictured in his prized leather jacket he bought during his WWII service. He hopes someone will find the jacket and return it to him. (Photo: Frank Antilla)

Antilla first served in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and later in a convoy of 140 ships heading to England for the build up to the Normandy invasion.

While in Europe, Antilla bought a tan leather jacket from a Post Exchange store. The jacket stayed with him throughout his service and had kept him warm for the last 70 years.

“Years ago, when they would issue jackets like that to men in the Air Force, they would stomp on it and drive over it with a car so it had that 50-mission look,” Antilla said. “That jacket had the 50-mission look.”

About a month ago, Antilla put down his prized jacket and left it somewhere in either Two Harbors or Silver Bay, MN. He hasn’t seen it since but is hoping someone will find it and return it to him.

The jacket’s lining has a map of the Normandy coast with the U.S. landing sites of Omaha and Utah beaches highlighted as well as tag with Antilla’s phone number written on it.

“It’s very worn,” Antilla said. “It looks like it’s got a lot of miles on it, but I enjoyed that jacket.”



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