Veteran Update - Hometown Heros, Update, Memorial, Medals

The American Legion has started a new program called 'Hometown Heros' to encourage local American Legion posts to support returning troops and veterans to their local communities. [emilitary]

The Vietnam Memorial mini-replica called the 'Moving Wall' is in Madison, WI through 9-11-06. [capitaltimes]

North Valley Stand Down Association is dedicated to helping homeless veterans get back on their feet and reconnect them with their families. [chicoenterpriserecord]

WWII Army Medic Wilson "Will" Rouke recently got his earned Bronze Star and Purple Hearts delivered to him.  The article on Rouke, also mentions a great short blurb about WWII veteran Robert White, and his D-Day experiences that have led to an official letter and an award from the French government. [townonline]

Lastly, to follow up on the sad story of a recent murder of Vietnam Vet
Barney Goodman, the AP Wire is reporting that two men are in custody for his murder.

Veteran Updates - New Memorial, WWII Medals, Cold War, Support The Troops, Tragic Death

The Royal Oak Memorial Society is planning a re-dedication ceremony of Veteran's War Memorial that will include 26 new names based on some additional research by John Wendland. [detroit free press]

AP Wire is reporting that WWII US Navy veteran Roy Camero is finally getting his medals that he earned.  These include: "World War II Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Honorable Service lapel pin, and an Honorable Discharge button."

Afghanistan veteran Craig Fitzgerald shares his stories of rehabilitation with WCAX. He is currently on a fund-raising tour for the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes to help raise funds those who return to the United States after service in Iraq or Afghanistan with serious injuries. [newsday]

The Bedford Bulletin has a very interesting and historical interview piece with retired Air Force Brigadier General Roger Smith.  During his service he was: launch officer for a Titan II missile; stationed with leadership positions at Whiteman Air Force Base; assigned to the North American Aerospace Defense Command center at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado, and part of the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty negotiations with the Soviets during the 1980s.

Lastly, some notices on Veterans passing crossed the newswire:

  • KCEN is reporting a sad story of a Vietnam Vet that was robbed and killed.  Amazingly Barney Goodman was able to crawl "8 to 9 hours" to a position that could be seen from the highway and he was able to describe his attackers before he died. [KLTV, Veterans For America]
  • WWII and Korean War US Navy veteran Peter Bolcis died on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2006.  He was extremely active in his community and in veteran organizations most of his life.  He served as motor machinist's mate on the submarine USS Bang in WWII, and the USS Yancey during the Korean War. [the morning journal]
  • James Joseph Hill died on Aug. 28, 2006. He was a WWII USMC veteran that was attached to the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion, and after WWII he became a U.S. Merchant Marine. [times community newspaper]

Summary of Recent Veteran News

The Times Leader notes "honorably discharged Merchant Marine veterans of World War II are eligible for a one-time, $500 cash bonus from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs."

Vietnam Veterans of America Post 278 recently hosted a 13th annual Ride to Remember for Korea/Vietnam War Memorial in Texarkana, TX (very close to AK).

Rain did not stop a recent veteran's ceremony at Elyria Veterans Memorial in Elyria, Ohio. World War II veteran Don Pond gave a speech on his experiences being shot down and captured over Germany in WWII. [chronicle-telegram]

Frank Pimentel of Exeter, NH is getting is WWII dog tags lost 60 yeas ago on Christmas Island in the South Pacific. [sun-chronicle]

George Johnson the last living World War I veteran in California has died at the age of 112. [google]  Other veteran passings include:

  • Rudy Snyder who served as a WWII tank driver with Company D, 709th Battalion. [indystar]
  • Doris Tennant Westcott a leader during WWII in the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). [latimes]
  • Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry Goodall was killed on Sept. 2, 2006 while piloting his own aircraft in Texas.

Missing World War II Airmen Identified

The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) recently announced three airmen missing in action from World War II have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors --

They are 2nd Lt. David J. Nelson, Chicago, Ill.; Tech. Sgt. Henry F. Kortebein, Maspeth, N.Y.; and Tech. Sgt. Blake A. Treece Jr., Marshall, Ark., all U.S. Army Air Forces.These men are to be buried along with group remains of their aircrew at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

On August 8, 1944, Nelson, Kortebein and Treece departed an allied air base in England in their B-17G Flying Fortress with six other crewmen aboard.Their mission was to bomb enemy targets near Caen, France. The aircraft was seen to explode and crash after being struck by enemy flak near the village of Lonlay l'Abbaye, south of Caen. The other six members of the crew were 1st Lt. Jack R. Thompson; 2nd Lts. Charles Bacigalupa and Charles Sherrill; and Sgts. Richard R. Collins, Gerald F. Gillies and Warren D. Godsey. The hometowns of these six are not available.

German forces and French villagers living near the crash site recovered some of the remains of the crew and buried them nearby. Advancing U.S. forces found additional remains. Six of the nine crewmen ultimately were identified, but Nelson, Kortebein and Treece remained unaccounted for.

In August 2002, a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) operating in Luxembourg was informed that a local French aircraft wreckage hunting group (Association Normande du Souvenir Aerien 39/45) had located a crash site near Lonlay l'Abbaye. The JPAC team surveyed the site, excavated it in July 2004 and recovered human remains, personal effects and crew-related materials from amid the wreckage. Also found were six unexploded 250-pound bombs.

Later that year, a French explosive ordnance disposal team turned over a bone fragment to the U. S. Defense Attache in Paris. It was found by French technicians working to secure the site where the bombs had been found.

Among other forensic identification tools, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of the remains of the three, matching DNA sequences from maternal relatives.