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Veteran Surprised On 75th Coast Guard Anniversary

Posted at 9:24 PM, Sep 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-03 23:38:22-04

The family of a World War II veteran surprised him on his 75th anniversary of joining the Coast Guard.

Morris Solnik, age 97, walked onto a docked warship, LST 325, on Sunday in Nashville.  

In 1944, Solnik sailed the Pacific with his crew on LST 768.

For three years, he bonded with his brotherhood despite being surrounded by war.

"The islands were a dangerous thing to come up on because there were always guns firing deep in the jungle," he said.

Solnik admitted he's lived a long life

"I'm 97, I've already been in hell. I'm ready for heaven," he said.

He said the two most popular people on board were the cook and pharmacist, and he was the pharmacist.

"I had the best friends. Everybody was my buddy on that ship," he said. 

He said his favorite things to do were eat onion sandwiches, provide medicine to the men, and listen to opera music. One memory he joked about wanting to forget was the the constant battle with seasickness. 

For the younger generation, standing onboard a piece of history like the LST 325 has been quite the experience, but to live through it was invaluable.

The LST 325, the only fully operational WWII warship, participated in D-Day landings and made more than 40 excursions between European countries, France and England.