If you happen to be in WalMart these days, you will notice some banners of veterans from our region who were formerly part of a tribute that was up and down Tioga Street.
The American Legion with the help of the Wyoming County Veterans Affairs office wants to than former Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Maureen Dispenza for spearheading a drive earlier this year to get some businesses like Procter & Gamble, Chief Oil & Gas, Frontier Communication, Southwestern Energy and WalMart to support the project as well as Tim Finan of Finan Detail which made the banners.
The individuals below represent just a small microcosm of the dedicated effort ofWyoming County residents who paused at some point in their lives to serve a greater good- Uncle Sam.
We thank them all for their service.
Frank Ambrutis Sr. (1917-): A resident of Tunkhannock’s Methodist Manor, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in November of 1940. He served in World War II and the Korean Conflict, and was discharged in November of 1951. He also participated in the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll.
Donald Ralph Baker (1915-1997): A veteran of World War II and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, later the Air Force, from 1941 to 1961. He flew 147 missions during the Berlin Airlift in 1948 and 1949. His last military assignment was as transport control officer at Charleston AFB, S.C.
Willard Baker (1919-2005): A member of the U.S. Army Air Corp., 109th Infantry Medical Detachment during World War II. He also served as Wyoming County Commissioner for five terms in the 1970s and 1980s. He was Commander of the Olin R. Wheelock American Legion Post #375 in Factoryville.
Harry ‘Pat’ Bell (1913-1992): He dropped out of Nicholson high school during his senior year and lied about his age to join the U.S. Navy. He served on the USS Concord, a light cruiser that was out on scouting missions from 1930 to 1932 in the Pacific Fleet.
Dale Belles: Served in the U.S. Army in 1965-67 with a tour if duty in Vietnam. He was stationed in An-Khe, handling aircraft repair, mostly helicopters.
Larry Belles: Served in the U.S. Army with 18 months in Vietnam, including during the 1968 Tet offensive.
Harold J. Benninger (1922-2005): An Army veteran of World War II who served in Germany, where he won a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
Anthony P. ‘Spike’ Brown:A Navy veteran of World War II, he was a member of the Dennis Strong American Legion Post #457 in Tunkhannock, and a member of the Knights of Columbus.
John Collins (1947-2014): Served in the U.S. Army from June 1965 to June 1968. He served a tour in Germany during the Cold War, Vietnam War period. He was the Adjutant of the Rought-Hall American Legion Post #510 in Black Walnut, and Commander of the Dennis Strong American Legion Post #457 in Tunkhannock.
Walter B. Corby (1947-): Served from 1965 to 1968 in the U.S. Army, with basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and engineering school at Fort Belvoir, Va. He then spent a year in Vietnam stationed at Long Binh and Bearcat Base.
Donald E. Davis (1920-2011): Served in the U.S. Army as a Staff Sergeant, in the Philippines, during World War II.
Bryon K. Dickson II (1975-2014): Served as a Corporal in the Marine Corps, following in the footsteps of his father. He went on to become a Pennsylvania State Trooper after leaving the Marines, where he was killed in the line of duty in Sept. 2014.
Miles D. Dooley (1948-): Served on the USS Bushnell (AS15), a submarine tender, in the U.S. Navy from 1967 to 1969. Dooley was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Navy Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and the Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal.
Harry G. Ebert (1902-1989): Served in the Marine Corps from April 1919 to 1939, where he served in China, Asia, Europe, New Zealand, and the Dutch East Indies. Re-enlisted in the Navy in June of 1941, where he served as Chief Gunners Mate on the Heavy Cruise Northhampton. He served eight campaigns in the Pacific, where he won a Purple Heart and a Silver Star. He also served at Guadalcanal in 1942.
William C. Eggleston Jr.: Served four tours in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Navy. He worked as an aviation electronics technician, second class, and was awarded five air medals.
William Andy Gavin (1926-): Served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946. Most of his service was spent as a seaman on the USS Chestatee (AOG49) in the Pacific fleet. On July 27, 1945, the ship hit a mine in the South China Sea claiming five sailors. He received a Purple Heart, and is believed to be the last survivor to serve on the ship.
Robert E. Goble (1922-2012): Was a veteran of the U.S. Army during World War II where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was part of the Rhineland, Ardennes and Central European campaigns. During his service to his country he received the Good Conduct Medal, Distinguished Unit Badge, American Theater Service Medal, three Bronze Stars and the Victory Medal.
Edmund F. Gutkowski Sr. (1915-2012): Served his country during World War II as a Corporal with the 318th Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Corps.
Donald C. Harding Jr. (1923-1984): Was trained as an airplane mechanic and enlisted April 14, 1944, in the U.S. Army. While enlisted he served as an Army Air Corps bomber pilot. He participated in several of the final campaigns of the war, including the Rhineland, Ardennes and central European. His final rank was captain.
Walter Harris (1931-2012): Served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War in the amphibious recon division.
Joseph H. Harvey (1918-1997): An Army veteran of World War II, he served as Staff Sergeant in the European Theater.
Ross Harvey Jr.: Served in the U.S. Army from April 29, 1943 to Oct. 22, 1945, during World War II. He was awarded the European-African, Middle-Eastern Campaign Medal, the Silver Star, the Good Conduct Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the World War II Honorable Service Lapel Button.
Richard H. Holton (1921-2013): Served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and known to many by his nickname, ‘Shorty.’
Andrew Kaskus (1923-): Served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, enlisting at Wilkes-Barre and then taking basic training at Virginia Beach. He was at the initial battle of Normandy, France, in 1944, later the Battle of the Bulge, and was in the Pacific Fleet when President Truman announced the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, hastening the war’s end.
Samuel O. Keithline (1920-1975): A veteran of the U.S. Army who served during World War II, he was promoted to Sergeant while serving with the 8th Air Force in England.
George J. Kukuchka (1923-1995): Served in the Merchant Marines during World War II.
Adam Matalavy (1927-2007): Was a U.S. Army veteran, having served from 1945 to 1948 in occupied Germany and throughout Western Europe as a truck driver, assisting with rebuilding a war-torn continent.
Harold J. May (1920-): Served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946 in the 74th General Hospital unit, first in Bristol, England, and later in Tulle, France, where he worked in the medical lab.
Joshua D. Miller (1974-2009): Graduated in 1992 from Pittston Area High School. He then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving honorably and achieving the rank of Corporal upon his discharge. He also was a Pennsylvania State Trooper who died in the line of duty.
Paul Ernest Miller: Served in the U.S. Army Air Corp. from 1943 to 1945. He was the cofounder of the Wyoming County Historical Society, and an Elk Lake history teacher.
John R. Morgan (19272005): A 1945 graduate of Tunkhannock High School and a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and immediately afterward. He also served as Wyoming County District Attorney in the 1960s.
Stephen E. Mowry (1924-1990): Served as a veteran of the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Seth E. Overfield (1915-2005): An Army veteran of World War II, he served under General George S. Patton in the 21st Tank Battalion of the 10th Armored Division. He was a half-track driver in central Europe, where he received the Bronze Star for volunteering to save wounded soldiers while under fire. He also received the Purple Heart and the Good Conduct Medal.
Thomas M. Owens (1938-2013): He entered the U.S. Navy in 1957, serving for 20 years. He was stationed in Georgia in the 1960s.
Michael M. Passarella: An Army veteran of World War II, he eventually reached the rank of Master Sergeant.
John Reynolds (1930-2013): Graduated in 1949 from Wyalusing Valley High School, after which he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict.
David Rowker (1924-2014): A 1942 graduate of Jenkins Township High School, he served in the U.S. Navy for 11 years, including during World War II.
Paul Rowker (1925-2002): A veteran of the U.S. Army, he was also the manager of the Rowker Dress Company in Tunkhannock.
Robert A. Rubino Sr. (1929-2013): An Army veteran who served in the Korean War, he entered the Army in May of 1951, and was trained at Fort Knox, Ky. base. He was a Mess Sergeant, and was injured in Aug. 1951 during a mess-tent rocket explosion.He was sent to Japan for a year for recovery, and was one of the first people to have skin grafts. He was honorably discharged in March of 1953.
Clair H. Russell: A veteran of the U.S. Army during World War II, he served in the 102nd Construction Battalion in Africa and Italy.
James Sheridan (1934-2004): An Army veteran who served with the 3rd Infantry Division Old Guard Unit. He also served on the Honor Guard for President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
James J. Sheridan (1961-): A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp. Reserve.
Robert Lee Shoemaker (1936-1965): A U.S. Navy veteran who served in Vietnam. He passed away from a heart attack at the De Nang Air Force Base, during his second tour, on June 6, 1965.
Robert W. Shoemaker (1933-1989): Served in the U.S. Navy from 1951 to 1955, during the Korean War and the advisory stages of the Vietnam conflict. He was also a member of the American Legion Post #534.
David Sturdevant (1946-): Served in the U.S. Air Force from 1965 to 1969, where he received the Air Force Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Service Medal.
Ralph D. Sturdevant (1920-1988): Served in the Air Force during World War II.
Harry Toczko (1930-2006): He proudly served in the Navy during the Korean War era aboard the USS Calhoun County (LST 519) as petty officer, 2nd class.
Russell ‘Rusty’ Raymond Truesdale (1953-2012): Graduated from Tunkhannock Area High School in June of 1970. After graduating from high school, Rusty entered the U.S. Army and proudly served as a helicopter repairman from June 1970 to June 1973 in the Vietnam War.
Norman Werkheiser: A veteran of the U.S. Army who served in Europe during World War II. He was then transferred to Japan following the end of the European War. He had his long-overdue medals ceremoniously restored by then Congressman Tom Marino in May of 2012.
Leon E. Williams (1924-): An Army veteran who should have graduated from Springville High School in 1943, but left school to serve in the U.S. Army’s European Theater, including the invasion of Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, during D-Day.
Robert A. Williams (1950-): A 1968 Elk Lake graduate, he served in the U.S. Army in 1970-71 during the Vietnam War. He drove a tank during the war and received a Purple Heart after his tank took the brunt of a 100-pound land mine.
Edward A. Zacharias (1931-2013): A U.S. Army veteran who served in the Korean War. He was also stationed in Germany and helped patrol the Russian Border.