Sidney Silvers was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1926 and enlisted at age 17. Silvers served on USS Heyliger (DE 510) from November 1944 until June 1946 as a radar specialist.
The ship and crew left Pier 42 in New York for Guantanamo April 13, 1945, for a shakedown. This included running test trials on the new ship, subjecting it to real life conditions. They completed the shakedown May 14 and arrived in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. They headed for the Panama Canal, passed Nicaragua and Mexico en route to San Diego, and finally, arrived in Pearl Harbor. There, they participated in overnight exercises with Army planes and operated as part of Task Group 19.5.
During the end of World War II, Silvers sailed on USS Heyliger to the Marshall Islands, crossing the International Date Line. On Sept. 2, 1945, the Japanese commander came aboard USS Heyligerto to sign the surrender terms of the Japanese-held islands of Rota. Then, sailors from USS Heyliger accompanied the Marines to round up the Japanese prisoners of war, which the Marines then transferred to Guam.
During an accidental explosion in one of the caves on Rota, one of Silvers’ close friends, Eddie Tighe, passed. He was buried in a military cemetery in Guam, and Silvers served as a pallbearer.
In 1991, Silvers saw a newspaper article about Tighe. He contacted Tighe’s brother and set up a meeting. Silvers brought his photos, souvenirs and a small torn piece of a one-dollar bill that several of the sailors had cut up during the war with the intention of putting that dollar bill back together one day. Part of that bill stayed with Tighe.
With the help of the GI Bill, Sidney graduated from Baruch College, where he met his wife. Silvers and his wife had long careers as New York City educators. Silvers retired as the director of auxiliary services for New York City high schools. He has three children, five grandchildren, and a great-grandson on the way.
Silvers now lives in Boca Raton, Florida, and New York City.
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This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Graphic artist: Brandi Muñoz