Glenn D. Spell, Ben Luck

Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.

Glenn D. Spell
Date of birth: June 26, 1926
Dates of service: 1944 to 1946
Hometown: Melrose
Lives in: Clovis
Theater and location of service: Pacific
Branch: Navy
Rank: Seaman 2nd Class
Unit and specialty: Algol Landing craft

In his words: Picking up and delivering supplies, Spell and the crew of the Algol made trips everywhere from China to New Caldonia. They carried troops to shore for invasions.

Okinawa was the worst, he said. Going in at dusk to deliver troops, he remembers the sun resting on the horizon, glaring directly in their eyes, blinding them. Planes were firing at them, making the entry treacherous at best.

“They hit a ship close to us … they finally quit coming. They were going after our big ship. We talked back and forth with the guys while we were going in.”

They would generally spend no more than two days at a delivery point, getting back out to sea as quickly as possible.

Ben Luck
Date of birth: Jan. 30, 1925
Dates of service: 1943 to 1945
Hometown: Silver City
Lives in: Portales
Theater and location of service: China, Burma, India
Branch: Army
Rank: Sergeant
Unit and specialty: Office of Strategic Services, special operations
Veterans organizations: OSS Retired Association, VFW

In his words: A special forces unit that engaged in guerilla and sabotage warfare techniques, the self-dubbed “oh so social” Office of Special Services was really anything but social.

Via parachute, submarine or by swimming ashore, Luck and his unit would infiltrate and attempt to blend into an area. Their goal was to destabilize enemy operations. “We destroyed anything Japanese — man and machine.”

Working in the jungles, OSS units established relations with the local tribes — the Nagas, Kachins and Ghurkas.

Fierce warriors, the natives provided invaluable assistance to the Americans. “They hated the Japanese as much as we did. They knew the jungle. It was their home. They could show us things. Our common enemy bound us together.”

The natives received supplies, weapons and ammunition to aid in fighting the Japanese in exchange for their assistance.

World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail:
sharna_johnson@link.freedom.com