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Connick was born in Mobile, Alabama on 27 March 1926. He moved with his family to New Orleans, Louisiana at the age of two. His father was employed by the Corps of Engineers. He attended local schools and churches. When he was in the sixth grade, the family moved to the Lakeview neighborhood on West End Boulevard. He remembers the day that the war started, he could not believe it. His father worked as a civilian and was a member of the Army Reserves, he became active before the war. His father was transferred to Mobile and ultimately to Atlanta, Georgia. The family moved to Atlanta.Connick entered service in July of 1944, just after his eighteenth birthday. His school principal encouraged him to finish high school before enlisting. He was inducted at Ft. McPherson, Georgia. He volunteered for the Navy, initially submarine duty, but he went into amphibious training. He entered boot camp at San Diego, California. He recalls the train that he had to take to San Diego, it was very old. The train was very crowded. He saw parts of the country he had never seen before.He trained at San Diego for eight weeks. They were taught the basics like carrying a gun, marching, morse code, identification of Japanese aircraft, and mock jump training. After completing basic training, he went to amphibious training school in Coronado, California. They lived in tents during training and this is where he was taught the basics of operating an LCVP [annotator's note: Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel]. Training was very serious, many received injuries from the boats. This frightened Connick the most.

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Connick's boat [Annotator's Note: an LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel)] held roughly thirty-six men. Each boat had a crew of four people. He was a boatswains mate, and he had in his crew two deckhands and an engineer. They had to take special precautions so the boat would not breach along the beach. After training, he was assigned to the USS Lander [Annotator's Note: APA-178] in Astoria, Oregon in September of 1944. He shipped out from San Pedro, California and spent the next year at sea, traveling to various islands in the Pacific.Connick's first stop was in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. When he wasn't working in his LCVP or the ship, he had to stand watch in a crow's nest on the ship. He recalls being in the crow's nest when they reached Pearl Harbor and remembers it being a beautiful site. His ship transported supplies around the Pacific before going to Iwo Jima. They were not a part of the initial landing and they evacuated a Marine regiment of five hundred men from Okinawa. They couldn't approach the beach because of all the fighting. He could see the fighting from the ship.They took the evacuated Marines to Hawaii, possibly Honolulu. The captain of his vessel, John D. Sweeney, gave the men strict orders to treat the Marines with the utmost respect. Sweeney was famous for giving away the ship's beer and fresh fruit to the men who were in combat. He recalls being in the mess hall on the ship with the combat Marines, they loved the food after being in combat. The Marines put on shows for the Navy personnel.

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Connick and the USS Lander [Annotator's Note: APA-178] brought supplies to Naha Beach on Okinawa. At one point they were forced to evacuate their ship because of Japanese bombers. He recalls going into the caves on the beach. He thinks that the Japanese must have been living in them because of the fowl odors of human waste. They took a group of Japanese prisoners aboard around that time. They were told to respect them, but not to be in contact with them in any way. They were given strict orders where they were allowed to go. In the crow's nest, Connick could see the Japanese prisoners on the deck when they were allowed to come up for sunshine and could view their activities.Connick's vessel landed the prisoners on Guam. He was at sea when he heard that the war was over. Everyone celebrated. They returned to the states and the ship was decommissioned in Norfolk, Virginia. He was sent to Anniston, Alabama to an ammunition depot run by the Navy, but he had nothing to do there. He was discharged shortly after.He recalls what he thought when heard about the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor. He says everyone was in shock because no one thought it to be possible. The young people did not understand what the Japanese were trying to do to the US. He thought they were crazy for pulling a stunt like this. Many signs indicated that the US was at war. Patriotism was at an all time high. He recalls rationing and the music of the time. The attitude of the people was uplifting, despite the news of the dead. Everyone went to war. They knew what had to be done and they accepted it.

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Connick recalls the atmosphere of New Orleans during the war. He remembers men being replaced by stars in the window [Annotator's Note: the hanging of service flags or service banners]. Connick's mother had four stars in the window at one point, one for his father, two brothers, and himself. Everyone was conscious of rationing, the older teenage boys expected to go to war and they did not mind. The music reflected it and played a vital role in it. The music reflected a warmth and the closeness of the people. Everyone new the war was on and they would listen to radio broadcasts because they were filled with news of the war.He recalls going to the movies and watching war films. He remembers the stories his brother told him from his time in Italy and Sicily. He heard of the atrocities in the Pacific and the bombings in London and the conferences between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. He remembers hearing his father's stories of his time in Persia and with the Russians.Connick recalls being drafted after trying to enlist, but was persuaded to stay in school. He was able to choose which branch of service he wanted to be in. He chose the Navy because he did not want to be in the Army. He does not regret that decision at all. He felt that he was doing the right thing and it meant a lot to have people care about them and what they were doing.

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Connick recalls having great respect for the Marines they picked up at Iwo Jima. He watched them fight, seeing the flame throwers and the men in the caves. He thought they were very tough, but they were also very nice and respectful of the Navy. They put on a great show for the sailors and they went to mass with them. He remembers finding half of a carbine and someone else finding the other half. They both wanted to keep the better half as a souvenier and flipped a coin for it, Connick lost.His most vivid memory of the war was seeing the damaged USS Franklin [Annotator's Note: CV-13] docked in Honolulu. The men found it amazing that the ship was still afloat even after a kamikaze pilot crashed his plane into one side. What he faced did not compare to what other men faced in the Pacific and Europe.Connick thinks having a museum dedicated to World War II history is vital. He thinks collecting the stories of the veterans is invaluable and it will serve a valuable purpose. Men and women were willing to serve their country during the war and parents were willing to let their children serve, it's different now. The elected officials were supportive of the war effort. No one wants to deal with war now. He would go to war today if he had to. He hopes that a sense of patriotism comes out of these stories.After the war, Connick went to college on the G.I. Bill. He had no hopes of going to college before the war because he grew up during the depression. He graduated with a B.A. from Loyola University and attended law school at Tulane University in New Orleans. His G.I. Bill ran out during his junior year at Loyola, so he went to work in North Africa building air bases for two years.He learned from the military that you did what you were told for the greater good. He was rebellious in his political life, but he knew when to follow procedure from being in the military. He is very proud that there are people willing and wanting to preserve the history of World War II.

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