Conventions and Conferences
WHITMAN - Army Major Michael J. Donahue, 41, will be buried with full
military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
Donahue, a 1990 graduate of Whitman Hanson Regional High School was killed
in a car bomb in Afghanistan.
The major's family attended a solemn ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in
Delaware when his remains were returned to the United States earlier in
Major Donahue's ties to the area include his sister Joanne Donahue
Nickerson, of Middleboro, her husband Paul and their children. "Once we saw
the flag draped over the box, it made it real," Nickerson said.
His death dredged up old wounds for the tight-knit family. In 1990
Nickerson's cousin Marine Sgt. John Kilkus of Norwood was killed in
Operation Desert Shield. He left behind a daughter he had never met, she
Nickerson lovingly described her brother the paratrooper as 6-foot 5-inches
of solid muscle who was the ultimate Red Sox fan. His talismans for three
deployments included a tattered Red Sox hat and flag.
Nickerson said the major was an avid runner who participated in Ultimate
Marathons that went on for days with courses over 100-miles. He recently
ran a sanctioned Boston Marathon in Afghanistan.
Underneath the muscle was a heart of gold. "My brother would do anything
for anybody. He was everyone's best friend."
In addition to his wife Sherri and children, Victoria, Seamus and Bailey,
the major is survived by his parents, Patricia and John Donahue, all from
After graduating from Whitman Hanson the major attended DeVry Institute of
Technology in Columbus, Ohio, where he met his wife Sherri.
Donohue was assigned to Fort Bragg in July 2012 and served three combat
tours of duty. He was a Paratrooper with the XVIII Airborne Corps, and wore
a dragon emblem.
"The Dragon Family has suffered a great loss today, and we would like to
express our deepest condolences to the Donahue Family. Maj. Michael Donahue
was an exceptional officer and a huge part of our team and our family," said
Lt. Col. Gabriel Barton, Donahue's battalion commander in a prepared
statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during
this difficult time. We will never forget him."
Donahue's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with two oak
leaf clusters, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious
Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with two
oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army
Good Conduct Medal sixth award, the National Defense Service Medal second
award, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, Iraqi Campaign
Medal with one Campaign Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the
Korean Defense Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional
Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon
fourth award and the NATO ISAF Medal. His qualifications include the Combat
Action Badge and the Senior Parachutist Badge.
Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded coalition forces during the Gulf War, has died, a U.S. official said. He was 78.
After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Schwarzkopf directed 700,000 coalition troops that engaged in a six-week air assault of Iraqi forces in January 1991. That was followed by a swift ground campaign that pushed the Iraqis out of Kuwait.
Schwarzkopf went to the U.S. Military Academy and graduated in 1956, according to Britannica Online.
He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army. The officer served two tours of duty in Vietnam.
In 1988, Schwarzkopf was appointed commander of U.S. Central Command.
Basil L. Plumley, Army veteran of three wars, dies at 92
Robin Trimarchi/AP - Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Basil L. Plumley, right, with retired Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, served together in the 1st Cavalry Division in the Ia Drang Valley. Plumley, 92, died Wednesday morning in Columbus, Ga.
Published: October 11 The Washington Post
Basil L. Plumley, 92, a retired Army command sergeant major whose exploits as an infantryman were portrayed in a book and the movie “We Were Soldiers,” died Oct. 10 under hospice care in Columbus, Ga. His daughter, Debbie Kimble, said he had cancer.
Command Sgt. Maj. Plumley fought in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam and made five parachute jumps into combat.
Friends said he never told war stories and was known to hang up on people who called to interview him. Still, he was near-legendary in the Army and gained more widespread fame through a 1992 Vietnam War book that was the basis for the 2002 movie starring Mel Gibson. Actor Sam Elliott played him in the film.
Command Sgt. Maj. Plumley didn’t need a Hollywood portrayal to be revered among soldiers, said Greg Camp, a retired Army colonel and former chief of staff at Fort Benning, Ga., who befriended the officer in his later years.
“He’s iconic in military circles,” Camp said. “Among people who have been in the military, he’s beyond what a movie star would be. . . . His legend permeates three generations of soldiers.”
He was a native of Shady Spring, W.Va., and enlisted in the Army in 1942. He ended up serving 32 years in uniform.
In World War II, he fought in the Allied invasion of Italy at Salerno and the D-Day invasion at Normandy. He later fought with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment in Korea. In Vietnam, he served as sergeant major with the 7th Cavalry Regiment.
“That puts him in the rarest of clubs,” said journalist Joseph L. Galloway, who met Command Sgt. Maj. Plumley while covering the Vietnam War for United Press International and remained lifelong friends with him. “To be combat infantry in those three wars, in the battles he participated in, and to have survived — that is miraculous.”
In November 1965, Command Sgt. Maj. Plumley served in the Battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam, the first major engagement between the U.S. Army and North Vietnamese forces.
That battle was the basis for the book “We Were Soldiers Once . . . And Young,” written nearly three decades later by Galloway and retired Army Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore, who had been Command Sgt. Maj. Plumley’s battalion commander in Vietnam. (Gibson portrayed Moore in the 2002 movie.)
Galloway said several of Elliott’s gruff one-liners in the movie were things Command Sgt. Maj. Plumley actually said, such as in the scene in which a soldier tells the sergeant major good morning and is told: “Who made you the [expletive] weatherman?”
“Sam Elliott underplayed him,” Galloway said. “He was actually tougher than that. He was gruff, monosyllabic, an absolute terror when it came to enforcing standards of training.”
That’s not to say he was mean or inhuman, Galloway said. “This was a man above all else who had a very big, warm heart that he concealed very well.”
He retired with the rank command sergeant major in 1974 at Fort Benning, his last duty station. He then took a civilian job at Martin Army Community Hospital, where for the next 15 years he did administrative work.
His wife of 63 years, Deurice Plumley, died in May.
In 2009, Command Sgt. Maj. Plumley helped open the Army’s National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning in 2009. Camp, who now works for the museum’s fundraising foundation, said the sergeant major helped him get Elliott to narrate a ceremony dedicating the parade ground outside the museum.
William Robert Stevenson
August 27, 1920 - September 28, 2012
William Robert Stevenson, 92, of Vero Beach, Florida died September 28, 2012 at Grace Rehabilitation Center in Vero Beach.
Mr. Stevenson was born in Vero Beach, Florida and returned to Vero Beach in 1979 from Wanamassa, New Jersey.
He was a graduate of Indiana University, a veteran of WW II, serving in the US Navy, and had a 26 year career in civil service as a military historian.
Mr. Stevenson was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Vero Beach, Past Master and member of Masonic Lodge #185 in Mobile, Alabama and Vero Beach Lodge #250, member of Son’s of the American Revolution, life member of the Navy League of the United States, life member of the VFW Post 3918 and American Legion and the DAV and Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 494 of which he was Past Commander .
Other memberships include being a life member of the National Rifle Association, a Past Commander of Knights Templer, St. Lucie Commanderate #17, Illustrous Master Tyrian Council #36- Royal & Select Masters in Ft. Pierce, King, Jappa Chapter #28-Royal Arch Mason, member of both Texas and Florida Lodge of Research, member order of Annointed Kings, Knights Crusaders of the Cross, 32nd Degree Lake Worth Bodies Scottish Rite, Commander of Naval Sea Cadets Since 1967, member of the American Security Council, former Member American Defense Preparedness Assn., Past President of Indian River Co. Veteran's Assn. and a member of AARP.
Survivors: Survivors include daughter Edie Doland (Jeff) of Lafayette, Indiana, sons William "Rudy" Stevenson of Vero Beach and Robert J. Stevenson (Jean) of Wilsonville, Alabama, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife Beatrice Ruth Stevenson and sons Frederick P. Stevenson and Earl M. Stevenson.
In Memory Of
WILLIAM E. "BILL" BRITT
1927 - 2012
William E. “Bill” Britt, Senior Master Chief, USN (Retired) Submarine Service, Atlantic, left on his final deployment on Sunday afternoon, June 3, 2012 and is now on Eternal Patrol. Bill, who resided on State Route 7 in Lisbon, passed away at 3:18 p.m. surrounded by his loving family at the Life Line Hospital in Wintersville following a six-month illness. He was 84.
Born in Chelsea, MA, on Christmas Day in 1927, he was the son of the late Howard and Irene Coyne Britt. A 1945 graduate of Wilmington (MA) High School, he immediately entered the U.S. Navy in Groton, CT, where he launched a 26-year military career. He first began as the ship’s cook aboard the USS Sarda SS 488 and later rose to the rank of Master Chief, serving as Chief of the Boat (“C.O.B.”). In total, he served aboard nine different submarines from 1947 to 1968.
On December 31, 1969, he married Louise Lee Britt and soon moved to the East Liverpool area, where he made his home for the next 42 years. He and Louise established Astra Rental and Starlite Video in East Liverpool, and became a highly-respected and significant part of the community. Louise passed away on February 16, 2005.
Bill joined the U.S. Submarine Veterans, Inc. (USSVI) in 1993 and became a life member. In 1999, Bill was chosen for the National "Joe Negri Shipmate of the Year" award, named for the WWII subvet and primary founder of USSVI. This honor is bestowed upon the member who, by his personal individual efforts and participation during the preceding year, contributed the most to the advancement and embodiment of the USSVI Creed and Agenda, who by his dedicated service and support to the USSVI organization and fellow Submarine Veteran brethren, exemplified the meaning and spirit of the word, 'Shipmate.' In addition, he belonged to three submarine bases – Requin (Primary Base), Lockwood Internet and Cod, and entered the Holland Club in 1997, where he served as Chairman from 2000 to 2008, and was past National Commander. He had also been honored as the Fraternal Order of Police Associates Man of the Year.
Bill leaves behind his wife, Beverly Taylor Burcham Britt, whom he married on September 22, 2007. She survives at home.
Also surviving are his children: Colleen Britt, of California; Cathleen Britt of East Liverpool; Candace Taylor and her husband, Randy of Negley; Paula Schell and her husband, Chip, of Lisbon; Christine Lerussi and her husband, Lee, of East Liverpool; William Britt and his wife, Linda, of California; Patrick Britt and his wife, Mary, of East Liverpool; Michael Britt and his wife, Marsha, of East Liverpool; “Skip” Jackson and his wife, Missi, of East Liverpool; and Christopher Britt and his wife, Kelli, also of East Liverpool.
One brother, Command Sergeant Major Edgar Britt (Airborne U.S. Army Retired), survives in Sebastian, FL, as well as 32 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren, and a step-son, Patrick Burcham and his wife, Becky, of East Liverpool, along with a daughter-in-law, Kathleen Britt of Nevada.
Preceding Bill in death was one son, Timothy Britt, and two grandchildren: Britt Allison Cunningham and Sean Britt. In addition, a sister, Mary Ross, preceded him in death as well as three brothers, Howard Britt, Frankie Britt and Herbert Britt.
“Sailor, rest your oar. You have served your nation and your shipmates well. You stand relieved, Senior Chief. We have the watch. Pride runs deep! God’s speed!”
Bragg-based Green Berets killed in Vietnam laid to rest
NOTE: These men were based with DET B-52 (Project Delta), 5th Special Forces Group (ABN), 1st SF in the Republic of Vietnam. They were not based at Fort Bragg, NC. [Thomas O. Humphus 706-321 1766.]
Fort Bragg, N.C. — Three Green Berets based at Fort Bragg who were ambushed and killed in Vietnam more than 40 years ago were remembered at Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday.
Staff Sgts. Douglas Dahill and Charles Prevedel and Sgt. 1st Class Charles Newton were last known to be alive on April 17, 1969, when Dahill made a radio call.
Chief Warrant Officer Rick Galer, who was a chopper pilot at the time, was on the other side of that call. He fought back tears Wednesday as he remembered how he tried to rescue them.
"We were still about five minutes out when we got the last radio call," Galer said. "The last call was just shouting."
Department of Defense officials said the men and three Vietnamese soldiers were on a reconnaissance patrol when they were ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army.
Thunderstorms prevented rescue attempts and subsequent searches turned up no signs of the men.
"(It's) kind of hard to imagine, but there was fog on the ground, clouds and rain all at the same time. The weather was just a disaster for us," Galer said.
Out of ammunition and nearly out of fuel, Galer said he was forced to head back to base.
"That day was just burned into my mind because we lost a team, and we hadn't lost a team in over a year," he said.
Between 1990 and 1993, the ambush site was excavated. Since then, government scientists have used circumstantial evidence and forensic tools, including dental comparisons and DNA, to identify the remains.
All three Green Berets were promoted posthumously — Prevedel and Dahill to sergeants first class and Newton to master sergeant.
Together, as a firing party delivered a three rifle volleys and a bugle played "Taps," two caskets carrying the remains were lowered into the ground.
Galer said he never thought he would see the day his comrades were given a proper burial.
"I was glad when I got the news they were coming home because I've been needing closure from this myself," he said.
William Francis Gaudette, aged 85 years, lifelong resident of Middleboro, died on Sun. August 14, 2011, at Nemasket Health Care Center, Middleboro, after a lengthy illness. He was the husband of the late Isabelle (Koczera) Gaudette, who predeceased him on August 6, 2001; they had been married for 52 years. He was the son of the late George P and Ellen J (Carlson) Gaudette. He was a 1944 graduate of Middleboro Memorial High School . He served in the United States Navy, during WWII, stationed on the U.S.S. Saint Mary’s. He was a retired Sergeant Major with the United States National Guard. He retired from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Corrections. He was a member of Sacred Heart Church , Middleboro. He was a life member of the Middleborough Lodge of Elks #1274, and the John J Glass Post V.F.W. #2188, Middleboro. He was also a member of the Mitchell Memorial Club. He was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying hunting, fishing, and vacationing in Lincoln , ME. Survivors include two sons, William M and his wife Shirley Gaudette of Davenport, FL, Thomas E and his wife Shawn Gaudette of Middleboro, two sisters, Hannah Clayton of TX, Regina Gaudette of Lakeville, two grandchildren, Jennifer Foster of Hudson, Andrew Gaudette of Davenport, FL, one great-granddaughter, Piper Rose Foster, several nieces and nephews. He was brother of the late George P Gaudette Jr. and Irene (Gaudette) Ellis. Visiting hours will be held in the Ashley Funeral Home, 35 Oak St. Middleboro, on Tues. Aug. 23rd from 4-7 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in Sacred Heart Church , 340 Centre St Middleboro, on Wed. Aug. 24th at 10 am. Burial with Military Honors will take place at the Massachusetts National Cemetery , Bourne on Wed. at 12:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory to: The Nemasket Health Care Facility Sunshine Fund, c/o Sharon Goslin, 314 Marion Rd. Middleboro , MA 02346 , which would be appreciated.
Henry "Bizz" Joseph Lavalley, aged 93 years, died at his home, Sun. August 14, 2011, surrounded by his loving family, after a lengthy illness. He was the beloved husband of Mary Ann (Bissonnette) Lavalley; they had been married for 70 years. Born and raised in Middleboro, he was the beloved son of the late Henry and Yvonne (Ruel) Joyel. Educated in Middleboro, he had served in the United States Navy, during WWII, from 1944-1946. He had been employed at Maxim Motors, Middleboro, as a machinist and retired in 1978, after 32 years. He was a communicant of Sacred Heart Church , Middleboro, and served as an usher for over 40 years. Henry was a lifelong member of the Mitchell Memorial Club, Middleboro, and a member of the American Legion and D.A.V., Middleboro. He was also a lifelong member of the Knights of Columbus. In his early years, he enjoyed bowling, shuffle board, and took an interest in raising parakeets. He will be warmheartedly remembered as a devoted husband of 70 years, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, and mentor to all who knew and loved him. Survivors include his wife, three sons, Henry L and his wife Ethel Lavalley of Georgetown , TX , Gary R and his wife Deborah Lavalley of Middleboro, Richard and Laura Lavalley of Wareham , 13 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great-grandchild. He was the brother of the late Dora Connor, and Cora Snowden. Visiting hours will be held on Wed. August 17th from 5-8 pm in the Ashley Funeral Home, 35 Oak St. Middleboro. Funeral services will be held from the funeral home on Thurs. Aug. 18th at 9 am, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at Sacred Heart Church , 340 Centre St Middleboro, at 10 am. Burial will take place in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Middleboro.
Sherwood Joe Burnett, 92, of Littleton, died quietly at his residence on Aug. 2, 2011. He was born in Attleboro on May 6, 1919, son of the late Dorr and Elizabeth (Sherwood) Burnett. He grew up in Middleboro and was a graduate of Middleboro High School Class of 1936. He received an AB in Physics from Dartmouth College in 1940. Joe joined the U.S. Army Air Corp. during World War II and attended MIT for Meteorology, earning a commission as a Weather Officer. He was stationed at Lawson Field, Ft. Benning, GA, and then England. He became the Staff Weather Officer as a Lt. Col. of the 4th Fighter Group at the 65th Fighter Wing Headquarters. Mr. Burnett was married in 1945 and returned to University of Rochester to complete graduate work in Physics. Joe worked as a Sales Engineer for National Research Corp. for many years before retiring in 1985. He made his home in Rochester, NY, North Scituate, MA and since 2006 Littleton, MA. Joe was a member of SPEBSQA (Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America.). His survivors include his wife Janet (Palmer) Burnett of Littleton; a son Jeffrey Burnett of Littleton; his sister Patricia Olsen of Sleepy Hollow, NY and two grandchildren, Evan and Sarah. He was also the father of the late Jonathan Burnett. The family is holding an interment at Union Cemetery in Scituate for family and friends as able, at 11:00 a.m., Friday, Aug. 12. The family is planning a memorial celebration for the fall, to be announced.
Navy's First Female Master Chief Passes Away at Age 90
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Abraham Essenmacher, Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's first female master chief died Aug. 4 at the age of 90 while residing at Vinson Hall Retirement Community, in McLean, Va.
Master Chief Yeoman (Ret.) Anna Der-Vartanian began her military career in 1943 when she enlisted in the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service program, or WAVES. In 1946, she transitioned to the Navy and 13 years later she became the first woman in any of the armed services to advance to E-9, the highest enlisted paygrade.
During her Navy career, Der-Vartanian was stationed in Washington, San Francisco, Boston, Pearl Harbor, and Paris. After retirement she went to work for the CIA as a junior analyst after retiring from the Navy in 1963, and later worked as a counterintelligence specialist.
"We are saddened by the loss of Master Chief Anna Der-Vartanian," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (SS/SW) Rick D. West. "She was an inspirational pioneer in our Navy, and a role model for courage and commitment to every Sailor in uniform during the last 50 years. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family."
West spoke at length on the impact Der-Vartanian had on the Navy and the chief petty officer community.
"Her life was dedicated to selflessly serving the nation in any way she could, a tireless aspiration that went far beyond the Navy and left a profound impact wherever she was involved," he said. "Anna's contributions as a Sailor, as a citizen, and as a master chief petty officer will long burn as one of the brightest lights in our proud Navy heritage."
"The Navy chief petty officer community will miss Anna's wit, her energy and the deep satisfaction she took in helping others," West continued. "She led people from the front by personal example, a virtue we strive to instill in every chief who wears anchors today. Anyone fortunate enough to spend time with Anna could not help but be impressed by her humility and strength of character. We were privileged to have her at several CPO events in recent years and she captured the undivided attention of everyone in the room when she was there. We won't forget her. "
Der-Vartanian is survived by numerous nieces and nephews. She was awarded the National Defense Medal and other various other decorations for her service.
( BARNSTABLE ) ARMY VETERAN
Jason Frederick Bryant, aged 29 years, of West Yarmouth , formerly of Middleboro, died accidentally on Tues. June 7, 2011. Born in Brockton , he was the son of John H and Brenda Jean (Sisson) Bryant of West Yarmouth. Jason was a graduate of Bristol Plymouth Regional High School , class of 1999, and majored in carpentry. He served in the United States Army in 2004, serving with the First Battalion 19th Infantry, out of Fort Benning , GA , and was honorably discharged. He had worked for Brian W Shanahan Construction, for a few years. Jason enjoyed dirt bikes, was an avid animal and nature lover. He will be warmheartedly remembered as a devoted son, brother, nephew, and as someone who had the heart of a soldier. Survivors include both his parents, John and Brenda of West Yarmouth, one sister; Julie B Bryant of Yarmouth, one brother; James H and his wife Wonda Bryant of Sandwich, many aunts, uncles, and extended family.
HELEN LOUISE BRITT
January 26, 1938 - May 29, 2011
Mrs. Helen Louise Britt, 73, died May 29, 2011 at Indian River Medical Center, Vero Beach.
She was born in Washington, DC and lived in Sebastian for 30 years coming from Fort Bragg, NC.
She was employed by the Army Times Newspaper and the Bureau of National Affairs as a Secretary for the Federal Government.
She was a member of St. Sebastian Catholic Church where she was an active member of the St. Sebastian Women's Guild.
Survivors include her husband of 50 years, Edgar C. Britt of Sebastian; son, John M. Goheen of Vero Beach; daughters, Deborah L. White of Sebastian and Karen Ann Blair of Middleboro, MA; 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to VNA & Hospice Foundation, 1110 35th Lane, Vero Beach, FL 32960 in memory of Helen Britt.
Family,Friends and Comrades
Services : Visitation will be 5-7PM on Thursday the 2nd of June,2011at the Strunk Funeral Home, here in Sebastian, Florida
1623 North Central Avenue, Sebastian, Fl.
A prayer service will be held at 10:00 AM on Friday the 3rd of June, 2011, In the Chapel at the Strunk Funeral Home, With a priest from St. Sebastian Catholic Church, officiating.
A committal Service will take place immediately follow the service at Sebastian,Cemetery,Sebastian.
You May Sign a guest book on-line at www.strunckfuneralhome.com
From the bottom of our hearts ,We sincerely thank you all for you support,kind words and prayers.
The Britt family
MAJ (Ret) George W. Petrie, Jr. - SOA
MAJ (Ret) George W. Petrie, Jr. passed away Friday April 15, 2011 at his home in Greenville, TX. He was a Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment Inducted 13 January 2010. Major George Petrie entered the U.S. Army as a Private on June 22, 1958. After attending Basic and Advanced Infantry Combat Training, he was assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for Basic Airborne Training, becoming a proud member of the 3 19th Airborne Field Artillery, 82nd Airborne Division. In 1962, Major Petrie graduated from the Special Forces Communications Course as Honor Graduate and was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) as an A-Team Senior Radio Supervisor. When 8th Special Group (Airborne) was stood up at Fort Gulick, Panama Canal Zone, Major Petrie transferred to the new unit. While there, over the next three years, he attended Scuba and Underwater Demolitions School and Spanish Language School . In 1967 Major Petrie returned to 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), in the Republic of Vietnam as a Team Sergeant and Company Commander of a mobile guerrilla force. The next year, Major Petrie returned to Fort Bragg, assigned first to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), and later 6th Special Forces Group (Airborne). During this time, he graduated the Special Forces Operations and Intelligence Course as Distinguished Honor Graduate and also completed the Special Forces Intelligence Analyst Course. In 1970, Major Petrie received a Direct Commission to First Lieutenant. After completing the Infantry Officers Basic Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was chosen as part of Operation Ivory Coast, the mission to rescue Americans held prisoners in the Son Tay prison camp. Major Petrie, part of the Assault Team "Blue Boy," was the first raider to hit the ground during the assault on the camp. Major Petrie returned to the Republic of Vietnam in 1971, ultimately becoming Company Commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) known as the "George Dickel Gang." He returned stateside for the Infantry Officers Advanced Course where he was the Honor Graduate. His next assignment was with the Joint Casualty Resolution Center in Thailand. He then served in Saigon, first as an Operations Officer, Field Investigator, Corps Desk Officer; and finally as an Action Officer in the U.S. Embassy Defense Attache Office, serving as a member of the Special Planning Group for the Evacuation of Saigon. Between 1975 and 1976, Major Petrie was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. Between 1976 and 1980, remaining in Hawaii, he was again assigned to the Joint Casualty Resolution Center with additional duty as the Special Operations Division Escape and Evasion Officer, U.S. Pacific Command, a post he would also hold in Korea before retiring from Active Duty on May 31, 1980.
Among his numerous decorations he was awarded the Silver Star w/olc, bronze star w/'V' device, ARCOM w/'V' Device, Purple Heart w/olc, Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medal. He had the Master Parachutist wings w/Bronze Combat Star, CIB, Scuba, Pathfinder, Jungle Warfighter badges and Special Forces tab. George was also awarded the Gold Order of Saint Philip Neri.
George served as President of the Special Forces Assn. Chapt. XXXI for 19+ years.
Last U.S. World War I Veteran – a former White Star Line employee – passes away
at his home in West Virginia
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– March 1, 2011 – Fra nk Woodruff Buckles, 110, the last known living American veteran of Wor ld War I who later worked for White Star Line shipping company to satis fy a desire for adventure, died last weekend of natural causes at his h ome in Charles Town, W.Va..
A total of 4,734,991 Americans served in the military during World W ar I. "I always knew I'd be one of the last because I was one of the youngest when I joined," Mr. Buckles, then 107, t old the New York Daily News. "But I never thought I'd be the last one." Buckles entered the Army at the age of 16 in A pril 1917.
Initially stationed in England, where he drove dignitaries around, h e successfully hounded his officers for an assignment in France. He n ever got close to the action. But, as he told columnist George F. W ill in 2008, "I saw the results." When the war ended, he remained in Europe to help escort prisoners of war back to Germany.
After returning home a corporal, he attended business school in Okla homa City for several months and, among other jobs, worked for a bank. But he grew bored. He said he wanted adventure, so he got a job with the White Star Line shipping company and traveled the world. He was in Manila when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.< /p>
White Star Line was a prominent British shipping company, today most known for its famous luxury vessel, the RMS Titanic, and the World War I loss of her sister ship, Britannic. In 1934 the line merged with its chief rival, Cunard Line, which operated as a sepa rate entity until 2005 and is now part of Carnival Corporation & PL C. As a lasting reminder of the White Star Line, modern Cunard ships use the term “White Star Service” to describe the imp eccable level of customer care expected of the company.
After returning home, Buckles married Audrey Mayo, whom he had met i n California before the war. In 1954, they moved to a 330-acre West V irginia cattle farm. "I had been bouncing around from one place to another for years at sea," he said in 2007. "It was time to settle down."
He told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he always knew he'd live a long life: His father died at 97, a sister at 104.
Mr. Buckles' wife died in 1999. He continued to live on his farm and reportedly drove a car and a tractor until he was 102. He is survived by his daughter, Susannah Buckles Flanagan.
U.S. Soldier MIA from Korean War Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Cpl. Primo C. Carnabuci of Old Saybrook, Conn., will be buried May 12 in his hometown. On Nov. 1, 1950, Carnabuci’s unit, the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, occupied a defensive position along the Kuryong River, near Unsan, North Korea. Chinese units attacked the area and forced a withdrawal. Almost 600 men, including Carnabuci, were reported missing or killed in action following the battle.
In 2000, a joint U.S-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated a mass grave discovered earlier in Unsan County, south of the area known as “Camel’s Head.” The team recovered remains of at least five individuals as well as military clothing.
Analysts from DPMO and JPAC developed case leads with information spanning more than 58 years. They evaluated the circumstances surrounding the soldier’s death and researched wartime documentation on the movements of U.S. and enemy forces on the battlefield.
Among forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC used dental comparisons and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA -- which matched that of Carnabuci’s brother -- in the identification.
With this identification, 7,997 service members still remain missing from the conflict.
Airman Missing in Action from Korean War is Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, has been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Air Force 1st Lt. Robert F. Dees, 23, of Moultrie, Ga., will be buried Jan. 22 at the Longstreet Historical Cemetery in Ozark, Ala. On Oct. 9, 1952, he was flying an F-84 Thunderjet, attacking several targets in North Korea. After he and three aircraft from the 430th Fighter-Bomber Squadron completed their attack on their primary target, they began their bombing run against enemy boxcars on the railroad near Sinyang. Other members of his flight reported seeing an explosion near the target they were attacking. They believed it to be the crash of Dees’ aircraft and could not raise any radio contact with him. Airborne searches over the battlefield failed to locate him or his aircraft.
Following the armistice in 1953, the North Koreans repatriated 4,219 remains of U.S. and allied soldiers during Operation Glory. In November 1954, they turned over remains which they reported were recovered from Sinyang. Accompanying the remains were portions of a pilot’s flight suit and a pneumatic life preserver. But after two attempts, the Army’s mortuary at Kokura, Japan, was unable to identify the remains. They were buried in 1956 as “unknown” at the Punch Bowl Cemetery in Hawaii.
Beginning in the late 1990s, analysts from DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) undertook a concentrated review of Korean War air losses, as well as a review of the Kokura mortuary files. They made a tentative association to Dees, based on U.S. wartime records as well as the information provided by the North Koreans. These remains were disinterred from the Punch Bowl Cemetery in June 2010.
Dees’ remains were identified by making extensive dental comparisons with his medical records.
Soldier Missing in Action from WWII Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Pfc. Robert B. Bayne, of Dundalk, Md., will be buried on May 7 in his hometown. On March 28, 1945, while patrolling the Rhine River in an inflatable raft, Bayne, a lieutenant and two other enlisted men were attacked near Schwegenheim, Germany. Bayne and the officer were wounded, forcing all four men into the swift waters of the river. The lieutenant was rescued but the enlisted men were not found.
Between 1945 and 1946, Army Graves Registration personnel exhumed remains of three men from two different locations when German citizens reported the graves contained remains of American soldiers recovered from the river in March 1945. Among items found with the remains were military identification tags. Two of the men were identified as enlisted men from the raft -- Pvt. Edward Kulback and Pfc. William Gaffney -- but due to limited forensic science of the time, the remains of the other individual could not be identified and were interred at the U.S. Military Cemetery in St. Avold, France as “unknown.”
In 1948, the remains of the unknown soldier were exhumed to compare them to available records for Bayne. After several years of analysis the remains could not be identified and were reinterred as unknown at the Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial in Draguignan, France, in 1951.
More than 60 years later, analysts from DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) developed case leads, evaluated records and determined that modern forensic technology could offer methods to identify the remains. In 2010, the remains were exhumed once again for analysis.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC used dental comparisons and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA -- which matched that of Bayne’s brothers -- in the identification of his remains.
At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 74,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.
Soldiers Missing in Action from Vietnam War Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Paul G. Magers of Sidney, Neb., will be buried on Aug. 27 in Laurel, Mont., and Army Chief Warrant Officer Donald L. Wann of Shawnee, Okla., will be buried on Aug. 21 in Fort Gibson, Okla.
On June 1, 1971, both men were flying aboard an AH-1 Cobra gunship in support of an emergency extraction of an Army ranger team in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. After the rangers were extracted, helicopters were ordered to destroy claymore mines which had been left behind in the landing zone. During this mission their helicopter was hit by ground fire, crashed and exploded. Pilots who witnessed the explosions concluded that no one could have survived the crash and explosions. Enemy activity in the area precluded a ground search.
In 1990, analysts from DPMO, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and their predecessor organizations interviewed both American and Vietnamese witnesses and produced leads for field investigations. In 1993 and 1998, two U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams, led by JPAC, surveyed the suspected crash site and found artifacts and debris consistent with a Cobra gunship. In mid-1999, another joint team excavated the site, but it stopped for safety reasons when the weather deteriorated. No remains were recovered, but the team did find wreckage associated with the specific crash they were investigating.
The Vietnamese government subsequently declared the region within Quang Tri Province where the aircraft crashed as off-limits to U.S. personnel, citing national security concerns. As part of an agreement with JPAC, a Vietnamese team unilaterally excavated the site and recovered human remains and other artifacts in 2008. The Vietnamese returned to the site in 2009, expanded the excavation area and discovered more remains and additional evidence.
Forensic analysis, circumstantial evidence and the mitochondrial DNA match to the Magers and Wann families by the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory confirmed the identification of the remains.
Airman Missing in Action from WWII Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Sgt. John P. Bonnassiolle, U.S. Army, of Oakland, Calif. He will be buried Tuesday in San Francisco.
On April 29, 1944, he was aboard a B-24J Liberator with nine other crewmen. They failed to return following a bombing mission over Berlin. German documents captured after the war established the aircraft had crashed near the town of East Meitze, Germany, north of Hannover. German forces removed the remains of three crewmen from the site and buried them in a cemetery in Hannover.
In 1946, The U.S. Army’s Graves Registration Command located the remains of the men buried in Hannover and reburied them at the U.S. Military Cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium, after confirming the identities of two of the three.
In 2003, a German citizen began excavating the East Meitze crash site and turned over human remains to U.S. officials. A Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command team traveled to excavate the crash site in 2005 and 2007, recovering additional remains and crew-related equipment -- including identification tags for Bonnassiolle and three other crew members.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA -- which matched that of Bonnassiolle’s sister -- in the identification of his remains.
More than 400,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II died. At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover, identify and bury approximately 79,000 as known persons. Today, more than 72,000 Americans remain unaccounted-for from the conflict.
Soldier Missing from Korean War Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Cpl. Roy Stewart, U.S. Army, of Jackson, Miss. His funeral will be held Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Representatives from the Army’s mortuary office met with the next-of-kin of Stewart to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretary of the Army.
Stewart was assigned to Company A, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, deployed to North Korea near Kujang-dong. In late November 1950, he was captured by enemy forces and reportedly died March 14, 1951, while in captivity near Pyoktong, North Korea.
During Operation Glory in the fall of 1954, North Korea turned over 4,167 caskets including remains they claimed to be those of Stewart. This was part of an agreement in which each side would return remains of enemy soldiers. The United States returned caskets containing the remains of more than 12,000 communist soldiers. At the time the Army was unable to identify Stewart and the remains were buried as “unknown” along with 415 other servicemembers.
In 2008, an analyst from DPMO and an independent researcher concluded they had evidence that supported identification of several unknown soldiers buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. The remains were exhumed in September 2008. Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command identified Stewart’s remains through dental comparisons and circumstantial evidence related to the 1954 turnovers.
More than 2,000 servicemen died as prisoners of war during the Korean War. With the accounting of Stewart, 8,023 servicemembers still remain missing from that conflict.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1420.
Missing WWII Airman Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Air Forces Capt. George W. Grismore, 30, of Salt Lake City, will be buried at sea Nov. 17 off the coast of Newport Beach, Calif. A memorial service in Salt Lake City will precede the burial on Nov. 13. On March 12, 1945, Grismore and five crew members aboard a C-47A Skytrain departed Tanauan Airfield on Leyte, Philippines, on a resupply mission to guerilla troops. Once cleared for takeoff, there was no further communication between the aircrew and airfield operators. When the aircraft failed to return, a thorough search of an area ten miles on either side of the intended route was initiated. No evidence of the aircraft was found and the six men were presumed killed in action. Their remains were determined to be non-recoverable in 1949.
In 1989, a Philippine National Police officer contacted U.S. officials regarding a possible World War II-era aircraft crash near Leyte. Human remains, aircraft parts and artifacts were turned over to the local police, then to U.S. officials at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.
From 1989 to 2009, JPAC sought permission to send teams to the crash site but unrest in the Burauen region precluded on-scene investigations or recovery operations. Meanwhile, JPAC scientists continued the forensic process, analyzing the remains and physical evidence already in hand.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA—which matched that of Grismore’s nephew—in the identification of his remains.
At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 72,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.
Men’s Bereavement Support Group
Hope Floats Healing and Wellness Center and Cranberry Hospice and Palliative
Care collaborate to offer compassionate grief support in a comfortable, safe
environment. This co-sponsored group is for those coping with the loss of a
loved one. The group will incorporate both educational and supportive care
components and will be led by specially trained, experienced hospice
bereavement program volunteers.
Where: Hope Floats Healing and Wellness Center,
4 Elm St. Kingston, MA
When: May 13th through July 8th – 7:00 - 8:00pm
This group meets every other week
There is no cost for this group, but we welcome donations.
For more information or to register please call Denise Brack at Hope Floats,
781-936-8068 ext. 2 or call Kathleen McAleer, MSW, LICSW at Cranberry Hospice
Maggie came to my U.S.Special Forces (A) "C-1 Team" in Danang when I ws a medic there in 1967 around this time as well. She was there for a couple of days dressed as described here. I had the pleasure of playing a "Nickle" slot machine with her and the S-4 Captain assigned as her camp escort. This was in our club on the beach facing the South China Sea. We played that machine, which had 3000 something on the meter and ready to bust, into the evening. One would feed the coins while one pulled the lever and the other rested. We rotated like this for hours. She even cashed a check for $130 for more nickles. Closing time came and we had to leave. The next day, men lined up to the machine as soon as the club opened. Soon it busted and paid out a lot of money. She and I talked and she new I was a newlywed. She invited my wife and I to stay at her "Green Beret House" in California when I got home in Feb '68. She gave me a private phone number to call when we would be coming. Unfortunately, when the time came, I did call but only got an answering machine. We never got to stay there. She was one hell-of-a-lady. It was said that at a Special Forces "A-Team" she was visiting that came under attack, she went to work with the Medic taking care of the wounded and would not evacuate like her escort wanted her to. Yes, she was our "Maggie." May you rest in honored eternal peace!
Mitchell Eugene Rech
Mitchell Eugene Rech, 88, died Jan. 23, 2010, at St. Lucie Medical Center in Port St. Lucie. He was born in Marion, Ohio, and lived in
Port St. Lucie for 45 years, coming from his birthplace. He was an Army veteran of World War II, serving with the 82nd Airborne. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, past president of the 504 Parachute Infantry Regiment Association, vice president of the Space Coast All Airborne Chapter, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
Survivors include his daughters, Loralee Chastain of Vero Beach and Christine Eisenstein of Colombus, Ohio; son, Mitchell Jesse Rech of
Port St. Lucie; sister, Donna Keeler of Hilton Head, S.C.; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his
wife, Anna Marguerite; daughter, Melissa; and grandson, Jay Croft. Memorial contributions may be made to Treasure Coast Hospice, 1201
S.E. Indian St., Stuart, FL 34997. services: A memorial service will be announced at a later date. Arrangements are by All County Funeral
Home and Crematory Treasure Coast Chapel in Stuart.
Enlisted in the US Army on June 2, 1942, and received basic training at Camp Croft, South Carolina. After completing training, he was shipped to Jump School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Upon being awarded his wings, Rech was sent to For Bragg to become a member of the 1st Platoon, A Company, 504 PIR.
On April 10, 1943, Rech married his hometown sweetheart, Marguerite Brunson, in Dillon, South Carolina. After a tour of North Africa, Sicily, Italy, England, Holland, Belgium, and Germany, he was sent home and discharged from serviced in September 1945.
He and his wife of 54 years have four children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Rech is still working daily, being self-employed and doing architectural design in southeastern Florida. He is a charter, lifetime member, and the Vice-chairman of the Space Coast All Airborne Chapter, 82nd Airborne Division Association.
Learning to Live with Loss
Coping with loss is a very personal, sacred experience. Handling the lifestyle changes that result from losing a loved one may seem significant when compared with the emotional toll that a loved one’s death can have. It is not something that has to be experienced alone, though.
Every military family is aware of the distressing prospect of seeing a uniformed Casualty Assistance Officer at their front door. VA realized the importance of offering help right away and maintaining that assistance for as long as the family member needs it.
The Vet Center Bereavement Counseling Program offers support and counseling services to parents, siblings, spouses, and children of service members who have died while on active duty. Counselors are ready to offer assistance when are contacted by the Casualty Assistance Officers or when they receive a referral from a concerned friend.
The program standard is to contact family members within two hours of receiving the referral and make a face-to-face visit within two days.
“To sit with somebody who’s experiencing that much grief is very humbling and makes you aware that, in an instant, you could be in that situation,” said Dr. Roseann Umana, bereavement counselor at the Columbus Vet Center. “The first visit, I expect I’ll be there for a couple of hours, because they need to talk.
“It’s very intense — I feel pretty tired when I leave,” she added. “It’s not technically difficult, in terms of [counseling] skills, but it’s emotionally difficult. I have to go there knowing that I can’t fix it, because this is not a fixable thing.”
“Everybody has their own relationship with the deceased — so they all need their own time to deal with the loss.”
— Lisa McLaughlin, social worker and bereavement counselor at the Raleigh, N.C. Vet Center
Counseling Lima Company
In 2005, a Columbus-based Marine Reserve unit suffered staggering losses during their deployment to Iraq. Lima Company lost 48 Marines — many of them lived near Dr. Umana’s Vet Center.
The Columbus bereavement program saw an influx of friends and relatives in need. Dr. Umana and her team of counselors led a multiple family bereavement group for two years.
The bereavement counselors were able to become a part of the Lima Company family, supporting them as they reconfigured themselves around their lost family members. Group and individual counseling were the first offered as a part of the all-encompassing support services offered by this unique Vet Center program.
“We’ve seen 44 families — and sometimes that’s spouses, sometimes that’s parents, sometimes that’s siblings. I’ve even had fiancés that have come in. And some of these families are fractured, so we have needed to assign more than one counselor to a family,” Dr. Umana said.
For as long as the family needs them, counselors offer assistance with everyday things like job placement and picking out a new school. Counselors are also familiar with the VA system so they can help navigate families through the benefits enrollment process and setting up counseling services.
Bereavement counselors have learned to become flexible in the face of family dynamics and the very personalized grief process.
“Everybody has their own relationship with the deceased, so they all need their own time to deal with the loss,” said Lisa McLaughlin, a social worker and bereavement counselor at the Raleigh, N.C. Vet Center.
“Sometimes they come in and there’s pressure to get a lot of things off their chest — and then they may come back later. People come and go as they need to, that’s encouraged.”
In the case of the families and surviving members of Ohio’s Lima Company, Dr. Umana said she has remained in touch with some support group members. The father of one Marine shared his story of coping:
“People look at me now that it’s been 5-6 months since my son’s died and ask, ‘Are you OK?’” he related to Dr. Umana.
“I wasn’t sick and I’m not going to get better,” he replied. “It’s more like somebody ripped my arm off — and I really liked my arm and I’ll really miss it.
“I guess what I have to do is become the best one-armed man I can be.”
“The goal is to get them stabilized, at least as functional as they were before [the death],” Dr. Umana said. “To move from being just devastated by the loss to re-formulating their definition of themselves, so it incorporates the loss of this person they loved. That’s the transformation I try to help them with.”
The “psycho-social” program
Involvement in the program on the part of the family members is voluntary. Program founder and VHA’s Chief Readjustment Counseling Officer Dr. Alfonso Batres explained that this was the best approach to gain the trust of grieving family members.
“The word ‘counseling’ comes with a certain connotation,” he said. “Grieving is a normal response and we are not there to infer that they have a mental health problem.”
Dr. Batres describes the Vet Centers as a “psycho-social” program where Veterans and their families can turn for help with their problems. While society is often in a rush to move on from death, counselors who volunteer for the Bereavement Program are screened and trained to help a mourner figure out how best to memorialize their loved one.
“It’s been an open learning process from the start,” he said. “We did not anticipate the amount of social services these families would need. We triage the families, provide counseling where needed, then we link them up to [local community] services. We’ve networked with local community agencies, like TAPS [Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors], so people don’t fall through the cracks.”
Attention to the needs of Veterans and their families was the impetus for this program. Families who found comfort through the services of the bereavement counselors have made their local Vet Center their home.
“At the Vet Center many of us have a really close connection to the military, so this is extremely meaningful to us,” said Dr. Greg Inman, Team Leader at the Raleigh Vet Center. “So it’s an honor to share in their grief, their journey.
“In order for you to be helpful to the family, you have to be present. You have to hear the painful story — oftentimes you hear it over and over again — but you have to hear the story.”
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