Venice's Tin Can Sailors

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VENICE, Fla. - Veterans Day is coming up this weekend.  With that in mind we want you to meet a group of veterans from Venice. They call themselves the "Tin Can Sailors Squadron." They're Navy men who all served on destroyers.

For decades, the naval destroyer has escorted the fleet. "If a submarine was attacking an aircraft carrier the destroyer got in its way and took the torpedo if they had to," says Tom Tallman who served on one after World War II.

Officially called a destroyer but it also got a nickname for it's vulnerability. "It was called a tin can because of the thickness of the hull. It's very thin. It's built light for speed," says Ron Lawhun who also served on one.

Now in Venice some of the brave men who served on the warships meet. Once a month they get together to raise money for area programs and maybe tell an old tale or two. Sometimes for the second time says Tallman. "Sometimes people embellish on them a little bit. It's like how big was the fish that you caught? It gets bigger each time."

No matter the rank or era. "We have a couple World War Two veterans. Most of them are either Korea or Vietnam."

Having served around the world in peacetime and not so peaceful. Sometimes the stories are more serious. "We did lose a destroyer in the Artic with 300 men on board," says Lawhun.

Going through things only those who were once aboard like Chuck Regan can truly know. "I think anyone that says they were not scared under battle conditions is not properly describing it."

Something they will share together forever. "We can relate to our experiences. That's the bond," says Lawhun.

If you would like to learn more about the Tin Can Sailors Squadron. They meet the first Thursday of every month at the American Legion Post in Venice.