More than 11 million Americans
served in the U.S. Army and Army Air Force during World War II. Floridians represented about 1.35% of the total number of Army enlistees and draftees. The Army rose from a strength of just 190,000 soldiers in 1939 to a peak of approximately 8 million men and women by 1945.
Army troops fought in all of the major campaigns of the war, including the European, North African, Pacific, and China-Burma-India theaters. The largest number of troops fought in Europe, beginning with the 1942 North Africa landings, which were followed by the invasions of Sicily and Italy in 1943, and the June 6, 1944, D-Day assault on German-occupied France. The heaviest ground fighting took place over the next year, ending in the defeat of Germany in May 1945.
In the Pacific theater, Army units took part in the gallant, yet futile 1941-1942 defense of the Philippines, followed by the subsequent island-hopping campaigns that included, among others, Guadalcanal, New Guinea, the re-occupation of the Philippines, and Okinawa.
Floridians took part and suffered losses in virtually all of the Army's campaigns, with about 3,500 soldiers dying of all causes during the conflict.