Joe Gonzalez - Mickey Strand - Veterans Series

Mickey Strand - Veterans Series

The Veterans Portrait Series

Mickey is a retired Navy Photographers Mate, Chief Petty Officer, and was the Leading Chief of the Navy's elite Combat Camera Group Pacific. Mickey's current focus is the Veterans Portrait Series, which documents veterans' stories of service. He is focused on our Worlds' Greatest Generation. The veterans of World War II. 

Mickey interviews each Veteran, collecting and writing their service stories, archiving these notable historic figures and their stories for generations to come. Mickey has collected and displayed images and stories from over 100 warriors that at one point, signed the dotted line when our country needed their sacrifice of service most.  Mickey continues to collect Veterans from all services for the Veterans Portrait Series. In 2019 this body of work was displayed at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre Museum from Nov 11, 2019 — to March 1, 2020.

Mickey and the project were in the national spotlight, featured on the Sunday Today Show with Harry Smith Today Show Link to YouTube.  See the Google 360 Virtual walk through from the Palm Beach Museum Exhibit. Enjoy, and thank you for your help with this project. In 2022 Mickey has photographed over 25 more WW2 Veterans and will be hosting a print show in San Diego in November with an open house on Veterans Day.

Featured Veteran

Edward Targaczewski
US Army
PFC
World War 2

Edward Targaczewski, PFC, born in January 1925, served as an Infantry soldier with the 3rd Battalion, 317th Infantry regiment, 80th Blue Ridge Infantry Division during WW2. 

 Ed, who grew up in Allegheny, PA, enlisted into the army after completing two years of High School on 13 March 1943 at Ft Meade, Maryland. Ed trained with his unit, moved to Scotland, and was deployed into Europe on the 5th of Aug 1944, landing on Utah Beach as the Work Horse of Pattons 3rd Army.

 Ed volunteered as a driver for an M4(105) VVSS Sherman 105mm Howitzer tank because nobody else wanted to drive the tank. The M4(105) was armed with a 105 mm howitzer designed to fire powerful high explosive HE artillery rounds His unit was deployed in a six-tank platoon and provided fire support and smoke to assist the lead tanks. It was not designed to take on enemy tanks. It was an artillery gun fitted inside a tank turret. The M4 had a five-man crew: commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver/machine gunner.
See Full story in the WW2 Veterans Page 
 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where can I donate?

I have created a way to accept donations to grow the project, use the WWII Veterans Portrait Series
  Go Fund Me.

Where are you located?

I live in the San Diego area but have traveled to many locations to interview and photograph Veterans.


How Long is an Appointment?

Appointments usually last 1 hour. But please free up time for Mickey to set up lights and cameras, hold the interview, and take some photographs for the project.

Do you accept reservations?

Yes is the simple answer to the question.  Each appointment is set up as an individual session. Group sessions have been set up when I visited a senior living facility or many of the California Veterans Homes.

US Army PFC World War 2 Joe Ray Gonzalez, Private First Class, was born on 22 April 1926. Making him 96 years old in a few days, his lucky number, he served in the US Army as an infantryman with the 96th Infantry Division ‘aka’ The Deadeyes. Joe enlisted on 18 Sep 44 and attended boot camp and initial training at Camp Roberts before joining the 96th. The Deadeyes served in campaigns along the Pacific front, including Leyte's battle on an island in the Philippines, the Ryukyu Island, and later into the Island of Okinawa, where Joe joined the Deadeyes who earned the Presidential Unit Citation. Joe joined the 96th and landed 12 days into the battle of Okinawa as replacement troops. He recalled his first night in a foxhole and the companionship of his fellow Mexican service members who helped him through this tough first night. Joe earned his Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) on 22 May, 45, and was relieved of combat operations when the island was secured. Joe did not have enough points accumulated to come home yet. He was transferred to the Philippines with the 98th, where he served the remainder of his enlistment, returning home in December of 1946 for demobilization. Joe was one of fourteen children in his family; three of his brothers served during World War 2. His brothers Jess and Art served with the US Navy, and his brother John was an MP with the Army's Air Corps. Joe received the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Philippine Independence Ribbon, and the World War 2 Victory Medal.
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Joe Gonzalez - Mickey Strand - Veterans Series
US Army PFC World War 2 Joe Ray Gonzalez, Private First Class, was born on 22 April 1926. Making him 96 years old in a few days, his lucky number, he served in the US Army as an infantryman with the 96th Infantry Division ‘aka’ The Deadeyes. Joe enlisted on 18 Sep 44 and attended boot camp and initial training at Camp Roberts before joining the 96th. The Deadeyes served in campaigns along the Pacific front, including Leyte's battle on an island in the Philippines, the Ryukyu Island, and later into the Island of Okinawa, where Joe joined the Deadeyes who earned the Presidential Unit Citation. Joe joined the 96th and landed 12 days into the battle of Okinawa as replacement troops. He recalled his first night in a foxhole and the companionship of his fellow Mexican service members who helped him through this tough first night. Joe earned his Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) on 22 May, 45, and was relieved of combat operations when the island was secured. Joe did not have enough points accumulated to come home yet. He was transferred to the Philippines with the 98th, where he served the remainder of his enlistment, returning home in December of 1946 for demobilization. Joe was one of fourteen children in his family; three of his brothers served during World War 2. His brothers Jess and Art served with the US Navy, and his brother John was an MP with the Army's Air Corps. Joe received the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Philippine Independence Ribbon, and the World War 2 Victory Medal.