John Fievet of Alabama, an army aircorpsman, survived the sinking of the HMT Rhona in the Med in 1943 by a radio-controlled glider bomb, in which over 1,000 American air corp people died. John could not talk about it for many years, but finally was able to write a magazine article shortly before the 1995 anniversary, and he sent me a copy of the magazine. The War Department covered this incident up for years.
A bartender named Luke used to politely tell his customers that the war was over when he heard them discussing WWII. Luke barely survived the sinking of the big aircraft carrier Lexington in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Pal George was once a cab driver and he loved hauling our vets to a regional hospital. George was on the Hornet when Japanese dive bombers came out of the sun one morning near the Solomons and ended her career. George would tell you about the Battle of Midway or the Doolittle Raid if you asked him, but would not otherwise discuss WWII. Harlan was about 200 yards he said from Sgt John Basilone when the Sgt killed a slew of Japanese "farm boys" attacking Bloody Ridge on Guadalcanal and winning one of the first Medals of Honor in WWII. Harlan said the Battle for Pelileu was worse than Guadalcanal but otherwise did talk about the war very much unless you asked him.