Southfield (CW50) – Art Fishman is a local Michigander who went to Cass Technical High School. There, he was involved in a program where he learned to fly. Fishman always wanted to be a pilot, and wanted to serve as one in the ongoing war. However, his instructors informed him that the war had changed and he didn’t have the capability to fly the types of planes they flew today. He ended up joining the Air Corps until he was discharged, he then decided to enlist in the Navy to be a part of the Naval Air Corps.

Art Fishman in the U.S. Navy (Courtesy of Art Fishman)

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He was sent to Great Lakes the next day. There, an officer asked if anyone knew how to march. After informing the officer that he spent two years in ROTC, Fishman was appointed as the Commander on the spot. This meant Fishman, at the age of 18 was in command of four barracks of 130 men. After training at Great Lakes, Fishman was grouped into a room and the men were asked if anyone could identify several gauges that were place on the table. Fishman claimed he made a mistake by identifying them all, because his superior then informed him to pack his things and that he’d be shipping out west that day to join the Navy in the Pacific.

While in the Pacific, Fishman boarded the USS Robinson destroyer. He described his most memorable moment during the war as when he was coming from Iwo Jima to Okinawa. He said he could see a giant rock off the coast and was told that the U.S. had lost 5,500 men fighting to the rock, and he couldn’t comprehend why they would fight for something like that. Fishman lost a close friend of his in that battle.

WWII Veterans Art Fishman honored in the WWII Legacy Memorial

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Fishman was among those on hand Thursday, April 5 when ground was broken for The Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial in Royal Oak. He stated, “It’s more important than people think. Why? Because, if it’s handled right, it will teach the next generation what the war was about, why we were there, what did we fight for. We fought for liberty.”

He continues to find importance in helping to support other veterans, especially the small amount of veterans that remain from WWII.

WWII Navy Veterans Art Fishman, with Community Connect Host Jackie Paige

Fishman, a WWII Navy veteran who who sailed aboard the USS Robinson in 1945 during its stops in the Philippines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and China, joins Jackie Paige on Community Connect to discuss his time spent in service prior to being placed in the Naval Reserve and being sent to the Pacific theater during WWII.

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