Speakers Bureau

Veterans History Project

Speakers Bureau


The Central Connecticut State University Veterans History Project maintains a Speakers Bureau of both veterans and civilians whose experiences reflect the American participation in conflicts from WWII to the present. These men and women have agreed to donate their time and memories to the public. At your request, we will arrange for a speaker to share their story with your classroom or organization. 
To request a speaker, contact Eileen Hurst at 860-832-2976 or e-mail hursteim@ccsu.edu
 Links will access photos, service information and brief biographies.  


Barsness, Dale (Vietnam Era)

Blair Jr., William M. (WWII)

Bonaccorso, Russell J., Jr. (OEF) Borriello, Joseph F. (WWII)

Carlson, Kent A. (Vietnam)

Christie, Jeanne B.  (Vietnam War)

Cooper, Benjamin D. (WWII)

Cree, Earl C. (Vietnam War)

Croce, John F. (WWII)

Cummings, Theodore R. (WWII)

Denino, John (Korean War)

Diani, Joseph C. (Korean War)

Eaton, Eric A.  (Persian Gulf War)

Enderle, James R. (OIF)

Evon, Francis J. (Afghanistan)

Feitelson, Norman (WWII)

Gamache, Timothy J. (Vietnam War)

Giftos, Sarando (WWII)

Godenzi, Joseph A. (Vietnam War)

Gozzo, Francesco (WWII)

Guenon, William A., Jr. (Vietnam War)

Gutierrez, Chris G. (OIF)

Guzman, Leonardo (Vietnam War)

Havens, Robert C. (Vietnam War)

Horn, Frederick G. (Vietnam Era, Desert Storm Era)

Hurst, James P. (WWII)

Katz, Morton N.  (WWII)

Kelleher, Alyssa M. (OEF)

Lawrence, John T. W. (WWII)

Leger, Joel Patrick (Iraq War)

Marshall, Vanessa A. (Vietnam War)

McBriarty, Thomas (Vietnam War)

Miller, Jane (WWII)

Mitnick, Jonathan T. (Vietnam War)

Morawski, Frederick P. (WWII)

 Momparler, Michael (Vietnam War)

Niland, William T. (Vietnam Era)

Nevers, Peter J. (Vietnam War)

Niedermayer, Joseph (Vietnam War)

Phouthasack, Sar (Vietnam War)

Rizzo, Dominic J. (WWII)

Roberts, Arthur E. (Vietnam War)

Roberts, James E. (WWII)

Rodin, Jack (WWII)

Rosenfeld, Harry A. (WWII)

Sandler, Heather (OEF/OIF)

Scahill Sr., Frank (Vietnam Era)

Shetland, Andrew F. (OEF)

Skeels, Robert F. (Vietnam War)

Southergill, Norman C. (WWII)

Suares, Kevin

St. Laurent, Andre J. (Vietnam War)

Sullivan, John (Vietnam War)

 Tadiello, Isadore A. (WWII)
Taylor, John C. (WWII)  Tazzara, David E. (Vietnam War)


Tollefsen, Kjell T. (Vietnam) Tramontano, Joseph D. (Vietnam War)
Treff, Ernest (WWII) Urso, Lou (Vietnam)
Wekerle, John J. (Vietnam War) Wiknik, Jr., Arthur (Vietnam War)
Wing, Ronald P. (Vietnam War) Winn, Gerald P. (Vietnam War)




Barsness, Dale

War or Conflict            Vietnam Era, 1961-1975

Coverage                    1957-1961

Branch/Unit                  U.S. Air Force, Research Center

Rank                            Captain

Subject                        Cold War, R & D, NASA

Dale Barsness was commissioned after graduation from college, beginning his service at Lackland, Air Force Base in Texas. From there, because his degree was in chemistry, he was sent to the USAF Research and Development Center Laboratories at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Working in the Materials and Lubricants Lab, tested synthetic lubricants in extreme conditions. The sealants he worked with belonged to NASA, meant for use on spacecraft. He was involved with the commercialization of silicon rubber for the moon boot, the lunar modular from the Apollo, and the solar rover. While at the R & D Center, he also met his wife. Barsness went to Germany on assignment. He separated from the military at Wright-Patterson AFB. and was in the reserves while working for General Electric. In 1970, he moved to Hartford, CT and worked for Locktight Company. Through Locktight and with the G.I. Bill, Barsness attained his master's degree.  

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Blair, Jr., William M.

War or Conflict         WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                  1943-1946

Branch/Unit              U.S. Army, 84th Infantry Division

Rank                        1st Lieutenant (O-2)

Subject                    Battle of the Ardennes 1944-1945, Queen Mary (steamship), German Prisoners, Russian contact, Military Decorations

William M. Blair, Jr. worked as a bank messenger until he was drafted into the U.S. Army in March of 1943.  While in basic training, the army selected him for a specialized six month engineering course at the University of Michigan. He later applied and was accepted to Officer Candidate School.  He initially served as a platoon leader during the Roer River campaign in Belgium.  He soon found that he learned more from the soldiers that had already experienced combat than he had from the military manuals.  In February of 1945, Blair was injured by both sniper fire and shrapnel while advancing towards the Rhine River. After recovering from his wounds, he rejoined his unit near the Elbe River.  The Allies trapped German forces in a pocket between advancing American and Russian troops. During the battle, Blair crossed the river and contacted Soviet forces on the far bank. For his courage, The Red army awarded Blair a "Red Star." Following his discharge in March,1946, he returned to a career of bank management, where he became an officer of the bank until his retirement in 1986.

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Bonaccorso, Russell J., Jr.

War or Conflict       Operation Enduring Freedom, 2001-present

Coverage               1990-2013

Branch/Unit             98th Division

Rank                       Lieutenant Colonel

Subject                   establishing national military academy in Afghanistan, training Afghan army 


 Russell Bonaccorso had two tours in Afghanistan, one from 2006 to 2007 and the other from 2011 to 2012. He went through ROTC training at Norwich University, in Vermont, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in May of 1990. He was in the reserves until 2006, though after the September 11th attacks in 2001 there was increased preparational activity. Given the choice of going to Iraq or Afghanistan, he chose Afghanistan. There, his mission was to assist in establishing the national military academy there. He worked with the Afghan people, helped to create currciulums, and set admission processes. When he returned to Afghanistan in 2011, it was to train the Afghan army. He can retire from the military any time, but does not yet feel ready to do so.

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Borriello, Joseph F. 

War or Conflict                WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                        1942-1952

Branch/Unit                    10th Engineer Battalion / 3rd Infantry Division, 43rd Infantry Division

Rank                               1st Lietuenant (O-1)

Subject                           3rd Infantry Division campaings through Tunisia,Sicily, Italy, France, and Germany.

Joesph F. Borriello enlisted in the United States Army following his high school graduation. He was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, which by the end of the war, accumulated more Medals of Honor and fatalities than any other Army division. As an engineer, he particpated in numerous battlefield efforts, comprising both constructive and destructive qualities. From fording rivers to cracking German strongholds, Borriello helped to lead the United States Army in its drive across Germany. Enduring 528 days of combat, the majority of his wartime experience occured under either direct or indirect fire from German forces. These experiences included the "four months of Hell" endured by the 3rd Division, who became embattled on the Italian beachead of Anzio. Following this Italian assault, Borriello's personal history followed the progress of American campaigns throughout the war. During 1944, he defended the Colmar Pocket from the Wehrmacht, which had launched their massive campaign remembered as "The Battle of the Bulge."  eactivated for the Korean War, a second tour through Germany concluded his Army service in 1952. Following the war, Borriello applied the GI Bill to an education at the Teacher's College of Connecticut, launching a career that spanned 5 years of teaching and a principal position among seven Connecticut districts.


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Carlson, Kent A.


War or Conflict          Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                  1965-1967

Branch/Unit               U.S. Army, 282nd Avn. Battalion

Rank                         Sergeant Major







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Christie, Jeanne B.

War or Conflict          Vietnam War 1961-1975

Coverage                  1967-1968

Branch/Unit               American Red Cross

Status                       Civilian

Subjects                   Vietnam, Women, Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas (SRAO)

Jeanne B. Christie joined the Red Cross in order to assist American troops in Vietnam. Reflecting on her duties in-country, she described herself as naïve and unaware of the full extent of the war. As a member of the American Red Cross, she served with the Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas (SRAO). Although based on a simple premise, in practice, their job became increasingly difficult. Assisting the emotions of their troops, the SRAO was intended as a means of distraction from the nearby death and dying, even if only for a short while. She recalls playing childish games and even bubble blowing contests, for the most important aspect of their work was the alleviation of wartime tensions. For over a year, she served as a “doughnut dolly,” when she returned to the United States she went to graduate school for Art Education before returning to service as part of the USO in Guam. During her later career, she continied to study, write, and teach about women in war, including a consultant position on the television program “China Beach.“



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Cooper, Benjamin D.

War or Conflict               WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                        1942-1945

Branch/Unit                     U.S. Army, 45th Infantry Division

Rank                               Technical Corporal (T-5)

Subject                           European Theatre of Operations, Combat Medic, Dachau Liberation

As a combat medic with the 45th Infantry "Thunderhead" division, Benjamin Cooper participated in invasion of southern France and the Allied push towards the Rhineland. As a medic, he carried no weapons, his purpose on the battlefield was to provide emergency triage for wounded soldiers and civilians. In April of 1945, he bore witness to the gruesome evidence of Nazi war crimes at Dachau - a sight that haunts him to this day. Nevertheless, Cooper honors the memory of these victims and their saviors through his own personal maxim, "No Act of Kindness Is Ever Wasted." To this day, he spreads this positive message among schools and community centers, hoping that through this notion of universal humanity and compassion, the genocide and warfare that he experienced will never be repeated.



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Cree, Earl C.

War or Conflict            Vietnm War, 1961-1975

Coverage                    1968-1969

Branch/Unit                 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery  

Rank                           E-4

Subject                       conscientious objector (CO), medic, LZ Uplift aid station

 Earl Cree was drafted in his hometown of Chicago, IL. As a conscientious objector, he did not get to choose his branch of service; the only path for him to take was becoming a medic. He did his medical training at Fort Sam Houston. He served as a psychiatric technician while living in barracks. In Vietnam, he served as a field medic on a heavy artillery base, LZ Uplift. Here, he screened for and treated infectious diseases, and treated local villagers and their children for wounds and illnesses. He interacted a lot with locals, some who appreciated the military's presence and some who did not. He did patrols to villages to treat people there, but these stopped because of the locals' dislike and also because it put the medics in free-fire zones. Now and again, Cree served as a medic at another service battalion, Bravo Battalion. During his time in Vietnam, he saw a USO show with Bob Hope.  

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Croce, John F.

John F. Croce in Maui, Hawaii, 1944War or Conflict                WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                        1942-1945

Branch/Unit                     United States Marine Corps, 4th Marine Division

Rank                                Private First Class (E-2)

Subject                            Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, Purple Heart

John F. Croce delayed a university education in order to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. Following boot camp at Parris Island, he fulfilled radio training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He participated in several Pacific campaigns, including Kwajalein Atoll, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. Croce acted as a liaison between the frontline Marine infantry and the artillery and fleet firepower that supported their assault. At the beginning of these month-long campaigns, he was often emplaced among the initial waves of infantry in each island assault. As a member of the 4th Marine Division, his unit became frequently tasked with retaking territory held by the Imperial Japanese Army. Their overall objective was to simultaneously gain airfields that would bring the Air Force closer to the Japanese home islands, while denying them of similar capabilities. Successive island campaigns encourages an emotional maturity in Croce, as he began to look at each island campaign with further trepidation, eventually receiving the "good fortune" to be saved from further combat. He was wounded during two of these campaigns, with his injury at Iwo Jima requiring medical evacuation to Guam. Due to the ferocity of the Marine Corps' ground battles, his replacement was killed in action a few days after his own wound, a chilling reminder of the toll borne by United States Marines during the war. Following the war, Croce married and climbed the rungs of bank management, eventually retiring from an administrative position - earned by the teamwork and leadership qualities encouraged by his service in the Marine Corps.


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Cummings, Theodore R.

War or Conflict              WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                      1941-1945

Branch/Unit                   United States Marine Corps, 1st Marine Division

Rank                             Corporal (E-4)

Subject                         Guadalcanal, Tulagi, New Britain Island, New Guinea Campaigns

Theodore R. Cummings joined the United States Marine Corps a few months prior to the US entry into World War Two. Following his infantry training, he fielded the 21-pound Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) with a Marine Corps fireteam during the Guadalcanal campaign. As a member of the "old breed," Cummings and his fellow marines went into battle armed with World War One era firearms and equipment. He describes the maturing process of war, where he endured countless barrages and island assaults. Aside from ground combat, Cummings and his fellow Marines were afflicted with a wide array of stressors associated with jungle combat. In this regard, disease and fatigue became just as deadly as the Imperial Japanese. Subsequent tours included Tulagi, the Solomons, Cape Gloucester, New Britain, New Guinea, and Milne Bay. After his promotion to corporal, he resumed his service as a rifleman with the recently issued M-1 Garand. Following several additional island campaigns with the 1st Marine Division, Cummings returned to Camp Lejeune as a training instructor. In this role, he educated new recruits with the hard lessons he himself learned as a young marine in the Pacific. Through his experience and accumulated knowledge, Cummings saved countless lives and as a witness to the sobering effects of warfare, continues to provide this education into the present.

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Denino, John

War or Conflict              Korean War, 1950-1953

Coverage                      1950-1954

Branch/Unit                   United States Army, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division

Rank                             Staff Sergeant

Subject                         Inchon, South Korea, Chosin Reservoi, 

John Denino served in the United States Army during the Korean War.  Denino underwent basic traning in New Jersey before being shipped to Fort Hood, TX where he was assigned to the 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division.  His unit then traveled to Camp Bender, Japan to undergo more training before being sent to Korea.  During his tour in Korea, Denino participated in the Battle of Inchon and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.  During the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, Denino recalls the hand to hand combat he faced against the Chinese troops.  Denino was awarded the Silver Star for saving his Lieutenant and capturing 8 to 10 Chinese soldiers during the battle.  After his tour ended, Denino would go on to work for a steel company while staying in close contact with the friends he made during his service. 

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Diani, Joseph C.

 Joseph C. Diani

  War or Conflict        Korean War, 1950-1953

  Coverage                1950-1954

  Branch/Ship             U.S. Naval Reserves, U.S.S.

                                  Amphion (AR-13), U.S.S.

                                  Fairview (EPCER 850)                    

  Rank                        Machinist's Mate, 2nd Class

  Subject                   Naval Repair Ship, Optical Repair Lab

 Three weeks into basic training, Joseph Diani went to the hospital with the measles. After that, he was assigned to teach illiterate recruits to read and write. He was sent to Machinist Repair School in Illinois. When he was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia, he was based on a repair ship and worked in an Optical Repair lab. There, he fixed range finders, binoculars, gun scopes, and ship gyroscopes. Sailing from Norfolk to Key West, Florida on a patrol craft, his objective was to intercept enemy invaders of U.S. waters. The ship twice encountered Russian destroyers, using sonar for tracking and communication. The enemy was not the only danger; Diani witnessed a casualty in which a cable-pulley operator was decapitated as a line with heavy tension snapped. Diani enlisted in the Naval Reserve in December of 1950. by which point he was living in Massachusetts. After his service, Diani went to the University of Hartford for engineering. This was covered by the G.I. Bill. He volunteered as a firefighter in Newington, CT and was eventually made State Fire Marshall for the district.  

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Eaton, Eric A.


War or Conflict         Persian Gulf War, 1991

Coverage                  June 1987-June 1993

Branch/Unit              Marine Corps, 3rd Battalion; 1st Battalion

Rank                         Sergeant (E-5)

Subject                     Persian Gulf War, 1991 – Personal Narrative 

Eric A. Eaton enlisted in the Marine Corps the day after his 16th birthday in 1985.  Because of his young age, The Marine Corps assigned him to the the delayed entry program, which restricted him from boot camp until his high school graduation. During June, 1987, he traveled to Parris Island, South Carolina, for three months of preliminary training. Upon completion, he attended his advanced infantry training, where he specialized in anti-tank missiles. In August of 1990, his unit began desert training so they could be shipped to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield.   By January of 1991, the air war began, and by March, a cease fire was declared. Although the war had ended, Eaton describes feeling disappointed that their unit was not deployed to Iraq, leaving the troops feeling that the “job was unfinished.” Arriving at Camp Pendleton in May of 1991, the Marines were treated to a celebration of their success in the Middle East. Although Eaton intended to remain in the Marine Corps, the military began to reduce its Cold War reserves of manpower and equipment. Consequently, Eaton utilized the G.I. Bill to attend both Manchester Community College and Central Connecticut State University. Earning his educational certification in 1997, Eaton transitioned from the Marine Corps to his new profession as a full time history teacher.

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Enderle, James R.

James R Enderle

War or Conflict          Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003-2012

Coverage                  1992-present (currently serving)

Branch/Ship/Unit       USS Wasp (LHD-1), NPDB-3

Rank                          Hospital Corpsman - Chief Petty Officer (E-7)

Subject                     Transitioning Home, Cultural and History Lessons Learned of Iraq, Navy and Military Families

Serving in both Kosovo, Serbia, and Iraq, James Enderle served the U.S. Navy as a corpsman, specializing in radiation safety and advanced X-ray scanning. Following his medical training, Enderle deployed to the USS Wasp for three years, where he served as a member of a 16 person medical staff. The Wasp resembled a floating hospital in the sense that it contained a comprehensive sick bay and operating rooms. In 2007, he deployed to Iraq as part of a "troop surge." Stationed in Camp Bucca, Iraq, Enderle served in the troop medical center, where his primary focus was the treatment of Army personnel or military contractors. In addition to his duties at the camp, he participated in convoy missions as a replacement for exhausted convoy escorts. In order to do so, however, he had to convince both their Army First Sergeant and his own Commanding Officer, who both realized the value of his voluntarism. In addition to his convoy missions, he performed humanitarian aid missions, treating outbreaks of infectious diseases. Currently serving in the Navy, Enderle works at a Tramautic Brain Injury clinic at the Navy submarine base in New London, CT.  

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England, George W.

 War or Conflict        World War II, 1939-1945

Coverage                 1943-1946

Branch/Unit              Navy, VPB 111 Patrolled Bombing Squadron

Rank                        Aviator 1st Class

Subject                    Navy Aviation, Campaigns – Japan – Okinawa Island  

George W. England enlisted in the U.S. Navy during June, 1943, and completed his basic training in Sampson, New York. England received further training in Memphis, Tennessee, at aviation center and naval airport, where he was designated as an aerial gunner. He became a crew member aboard the navalized version of the Army B-24 "Liberator," known as the "Privateer." Assigned to the VPB 111th Patrolled Bombing Squadron. Prior to their Pacific deployment, England and the B-24 crew decided that their aircraft needed a mascot. As a result,  they adopted a German Shepherd that flew every mission on their aircraft. Their operational deployments included Hong Kong, the Philippines, Okinawa, Singapore, and Borneo, where they provided airborne surveillance of downed aircraft, ships, and submarines. The crew endured frequent aerial combat with both the Imperial Japanese Air Force and Navy, as enemy forces attempted to engage these long-range patrol craft. England ended his service in April, 1946, and returned home to Connecticut where he completed a university degree and a career at IBM. 


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Evon, Francis J.


War or Conflict        Afghanistan

Coverage                1943-1946

Branch/Unit             Army, 102nd Infantry Battalion

Rank                       Colonel (O-6)

Subject                  Afghanistan 

 Bio to be added soon



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Feitelson, Norman

 War or Conflict        WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                1943-1946

Branch/Unit             Army, 5th Infantry Division, 11th Infantry Regiment

Rank                       Corporal (E-3)

Subject                    Europe, Concentration camps, Czechoslovakia, Army Infantry, Combat, George S. Patton 

Norman Feitelson entered the U.S. Army during June of 1943. Following the Battle of the Bulge, he deployed overseas with 30,000 soldiers in order to bolster embattled army divisions in the European Theatre of Operations. The army issued him the Browning Automatic Rifle, a 17 ½ pound squad automatic weapon intended to supplement the firepower of army rifle squads. As a replacement, he joined his unit and experienced ground combat within the first two days at the Battle of Bitburg.   In March of 1945, his unit was part of the crossing of the Rhine, where they heard the famous speech given by General Patton before the battle that ensued.  Feitelson knew the war would be over soon in April of 1945, because of the number of German soldiers surrendering to the 5th Division.  When the surrender was officially announced, his unit moved into Austria and Czechoslovakia, where it was their duty to “clean up” units that were not aware that they had surrendered.  They also liberated one of the satellite concentration camps in Czechoslovakia, where Feitelson’s knowledge of Yiddish was useful for interpretation.  When the end of the war was announced, he was sent to Fort Campbell where he played and refereed basketball for the army team.   He used the GI Bill to obtain his degree in elementary education.   


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Fluckiger, John S. 

War or Conflict         WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                 1943-1945

Branch/Unit              Marine Corps, 4th Battalion, 4th Infantry Division

Rank                        Corporal (E-4)

Subject                    Saipan, Tinian, Roi-Namur, Iwo Jima

John Fluckiger enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1943 and found himself embroiled in many of the Pacific island campaigns of World War II. The 4th Marine Division was involved in many of the "island hopping" campaigns that ultimately led the United States to victory over the Japanese. Consequently, Fluckiger joined the members of the "old breed," marines who had earned their stripes on Guadalcanal and Kwajalein Atoll, as he helped secure the islands of Roi Namur, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima.




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Gamache, Timothy J.


War or Conflict          Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                   1967-1970

Branch/Unit                U.S. Navy, CBMU-302

Rank                         UT-3 (E-4)

Subject                     "Seabee" training," Cam Ranh  Bay, My Tho, Dong Tam






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 Giftos, Sarando


War or Conflict         WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                1945-1946

Branch/Unit             Navy, USS Tarawa (CV-40)

Rank                       Seaman 2nd Class (S/2C)

Subject                   Tarawa (Aircraft Carrier: CV-40), Navy – Firemen 

Sarando Giftos enlisted in the naval reserves in March of 1945, and was called into active duty just a month later.  He went to the Sampson Naval training station in New York for his basic training, and then was sent to a staging area for preparation for the Invasion of Japan.  However, since the invasion was called off, he was not shipped to Japan, instead attending firefighting school in Virginia. He was assigned to the newly constructed U.S.S. Tarawa aircraft carrier in Virginia.  On the ship Giftos’ duties were to put out fires, guide the planes, and retrieve the planes.  The U.S.S. Tarawa held 101 airplanes.  They sailed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and then through the Panama Canal to reach the West Coast.  Being on the deck of an aircraft carrier was a very dangerous job, and there were many casualties on board, although they saw no combat.  Giftos was discharged August of 1946.  When he returned home he used the G.I. Bill to attend drafting school, and he later established a career in the field. 

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Godenzi, Joseph A.

War or Conflict           Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                  1968-1969

Branch/Unit               Army, 4th Infantry Division

Rank                         Specialist Fourth Class (SP4)

Subject                     Pleiku Province, LRRP, Recon

As recent high school graduates, Joseph Godenzi and two of his high school friends enlisted in the United States Army at the height of the Vietnam War. Although they were able to attend basic training together, they were assigned to various infantry units as soon as they entered the Republic of Vietnam. Godenzi received orders to report to the 4th Infantry Division, stationed at Pleiku Province in the Central Highlands. There, he was assigned to the recon element of the unit, which conducted LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols) into the units area of operations. The purpose of these patrols was to designate targets for airstrikes, as well as to ascertain the strength and location of nearby enemy forces, which were routinely supplied by staging areas across the nearby Cambodian border. Wounded in action, he returned to the United States, where he eventually retired from the United States Postal service. He still keeps in touch with his two comrades.


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Gozzo, Francesco

War or Conflict            WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                    1942-1945

Branch/Unit                 Army Air Corps, Gulf Coast Training Command

Rank                           1st Lieutenant (O-1)

Subject                       Army Air Corps Training

Serving as an Army Air Force flight instructor, Francesco Gozzo volunteered for service early in the war. Although he never saw combat, he prepared hundreds of pilots and flight crewmen for the hazards of overseas duty. As an instructor, Gozzo had to be an expert in emergency situations and celestial navigation, for he had to instill these skills in every graduating pilot. He worked alongside Air Force WASPS, who were excellent pilots that shared the same duties as the instructors, as well as ferrying aircraft to war deployment locations.








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Guenon, William A., Jr.

 Guenon, William A., Jr.

 War or Conflict              Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                       1962-1964

Branch/Unit                     U.S. Air Force, 779th TCS, 7SOS, 2064 Comm. Sq.and 2069th Comm. Sq.

Rank                                Major

Subject                            Son Tay P.O.W. raid






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Gutierrez, Chris G.

Chris G. GutierrezWar or Conflict         Iraq War, 2003 - 2012

Coverage                 Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2006-2007

Branch / Unit           CT Army National Guard, 143rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion

Rank                       Captain (O-3)

Subject                   Counter - Insurgency in Iraq

Chris Gutierrez enlisted in the Connectcut Army National Guard during his CCSU enrollment. His aspirations for leadership guided him towards an officer commission among the     143rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion stationed in Waterbury, CT. His unit deployed to Iraq in 2006 in order to provide logisitical support for embattled US soldiers. Although unrequired, he supplemented his organizational duties by leading patrols "outside the wire" of his forward operating base. He was stationed in an area that was heavily trafficked by political leaders, hosting both Saddam Hussein as well as former Vice President Dick Cheney. His ongoing commitment to the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization, as well as assisting veterans among CCSU's student population, demonstrate the military's support for their lifelong veterans.




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Guzman, Leonard F.

War or Conflict         Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                  1968-1970

Branch /Unit             United States Marine Corps, K Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, 1st Marine Division

Rank                        Lance Corporal (E-3)

Subject                    Malaria, Marine Corps, Infantry drill and tactics, leaves and furloughs, Vietnam War Chaplains 

Leonard F. Guzman enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on July 26, 1968.  He enlisted because he felt he would inevitably be drafted into service, and by enlisting, his service would end sooner.  He attended basic training at Parris Island (SC) for 12 weeks, and then went to Camp Lejeune (NC) for advanced infantry training.  From there he flew to Okinawa, where he stayed for about two months in order to receive sufficient supplies, shots, and additional training.  In December of 1968, Guzman arrived in Saigon where he was assigned to the 5th regiment in An Hoa.  Guzman elaborates on the details of daily life for the marines in the 3rd Battalion, including mail service and the food that they ate.  He also describes the skirmishes and fire fights that his platoon encountered when out on patrol.  While in Vietnam, Guzman contracted malaria.  He returned to the United States after 13 months in Vietnam, and went back to Camp Lejeune, where he remained for an additional year.  After his discharge, he returned to Hartford, CT and got a job at Pratt and Whitney where he worked for 20 years. 



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Havens, Robert C.


Horn, Frederick G.


Hurst, James P.

 War or Conflict         World War II, 1939-1945

Coverage                  1943-1945

Branch/Unit               Army Air Corps, Army Air Force, Army Air Corps, 782nd Bomb Squadron, 465th Bomb Group

Rank                         1st Lieutenant (O-1)

Subject                     Air Force – Airmen, B-24 Bomber, Campaigns – Italy

James P. Hurst enlisted in the Air Force at the age of 17 with the hope of becoming a pilot.  He attended basic training in Biloxi, Miss.   He later attended college-level training at UMASS specifically designed for aviation students.  Upon his graduation from flight school, he was promoted to 2nd lieutenant and reassigned to Maxwell Field in Montgomery, Ala., where he was taught to fly the B-24, the plane that he would later fly in Italy.  Hurst and his assigned crew were shipped to Naples, Italy to begin their missions. The air base was in Canosa di Puglia, and Hurst’s crew flew 20 missions from this base.  He flew missions all over Europe, some of which were very daunting.  He was later promoted to 1st lieutenant, and when the war ended in Europe, he was reassigned to support forces in Japan.  He flew two missions over Japan before the war ended.  He returned to the States but decided not to remain in the Air Force.  He later graduated from UConn, and worked at Travelers for 29 years.


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Katz, Morton N.

War or Conflict         WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                 1940-1946

Branch/Unit             Army, Airborne Parachute, Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry

Rank                        Colonel (O-6)

Subject                    Parachute Infantry, Battle of the Ardennes, 1944-1945, Concentration Camp 

In 1940, Morton N. Katz received a commission in the U.S. Army Reserve. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he volunteered for parachute training and was sent to England with the 503rd parachute infantry.  Katz’s unit prepared for the invasion of North Africa, however, they eventually arrived in Iran by train.  His battalion deployed to Italy and by October of 1943, they were engaged in combat near Naples. Attached to the 82nd airborne division, they participated in both the Anzio invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. While serving with the 82nd, he assisted in the liberation of Wobbelin concentration camp outside of Ludwigslust,Germany. Following the German capitulation, Katz was sent home, but remained in the postwar reserve. He utilized the G.I. Bill to attend law school, yet still participated in the reserves between semesters. After graduating from law school, he accepted a position with a Civil Affairs Unit, where he worked for 17 years.  He was promoted to Colonel and served at the Pentagon.  


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Kelleher, Alyssa M.

War or Conflict        OEF, 2001-2012

Coverage                2000-2012     

Branch/Unit             U.S. Army, A Co., 710 BSB, 3rd BDE, 10th MTN. Div.; and F Co., 186 BSB, 1-102 In. Bn.

Rank                       Captain

Subject                    women's perpsective, 9/11, 102nd Infantry, supply officer


Alyssa Kelleher enlisted in the National Guard in December of 2000. She never saw the TV coverage of the 9/11 attacks, but was told of the incident by her drill sergeant during basic training. There were 190 men and 8 women in her unit. Kelleher contracted with ROTC in 2002 while still in the National Guard. She was called to active duty in 2004, immediately after graduating from ROTC. After 4 years spent at Fort Drum, in New York as a General Supply Officer, she was deployed to Afghanistan. After volunteering to support the 102nd Infantry, she hand-picked people for her unit. Her infantry had recovery missions in the Ghazni area, then moved to Mehtar Lam. There was some interaction with locals; little girls wanted the female soldiers to take off their helmets so that they could see their hair. Kelleher was ultimately made the Executive Officer for her company and went back to the States, to Fort Drum. She had experiences with Russian mines and IEDs.          

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 Lawrence, John T. W.

War or Conflict           WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                   1944-1952

Branch/Unit                United States Army, Massachusetts National Guard

Rank                          Staff Sergeant (E-5)

Subject                      For presentation topics, Jack draws upon his book, "Jump-off at 0545 - Memoirs of a WWII Combat Infantry Rifleman."

John T.W. Lawrence volunteered for the U.S. Army (infantry) in August of 1944.  After completing Advanced Infantry Training, he was shipped overseas in March 1945 joining "E" Company, 310th Combat Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division.  With the conflict in Northern Germany over by early May 1945, he was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and two Bronze Star Medals with the combat "V" clasp for heroic/meritoroius achievements.  Following two tours of occupation duties (71st and First Infantry Divisions) in Europe, he returned home, receiving an honorable discharge. In April 1947, he joined the Massachusetts National Guard, 26th Infantry Division (26th Armoured Recon Troop) as a Platoon Tank Commander.  In July 1951, while directing his platoon's simulated combat exercises at Pine Camp (now Fort Drum), New York, Jack's tank overturned and he was pinned under his vehicle's turret.  He received a medical discharge in April of 1952.  Jack went on to earn a Bachelor's and Master's degree in business from Boston University and retired as a management consultant. 


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Leger, JoelPatrick

 War or Conflict          Iraq War, 2003-2012

Coverage                   1998-2004

Branch/Unit                Army, 101st Airborne Division

Rank                          Specialist Fourth Class (SP4)

Subjects                    Iraq War 2003 invasion, Black Hawk Helicopter, Patriot Missile, 9/11/2001, Counter-narcotics Trafficking

JoelPatrick Leger enlisted in the U.S. Army two weeks before his 18th birthday, in December of 1997. After basic training, he transferred to Fort Eustis (VA) for advanced training, where he learned how to fix and maintain Black Hawk helicopters. He eventually switched to flight duty and becoming crew chief.  His job was to navigate, calculate fuel consumption, and do surveillance.  Leger was stationed in Korea during the bombings of September 11, 2001.  At the time they thought the news was a rumor for training purposes.  When Leger returned to the United Sates, he was eating lunch with some friends when they learned that their 101st Division would be deployed to Iraq while watching CNN, where it was listed on the bottom ticker.  In February of 2003, he was deployed to Iraq, where he would fly transport missions as a Black Hawk crew chief for one year.  He was discharged in August of 2004, and returned to Connecticut where he began school at CCSU just a few weeks later.  He is working towards earning a B.S. in History Education.

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Marshall, Vanessa A.

 War or Conflict        Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                 1964-1978

Branch/Unit              U. S. Army

Rank                        Major (O-4)

Subject                    Women and the military, Army Nurses, Vietnam War, Yale University, Harvard University, Military life

Vanessa A. Marshall enlisted in the army in 1964 as a captain because she had a bachelor’s degree in nursing and five years of experience. She went to basic training in Ft. Sam Houston, TX, where she was a platoon leader, and learned field techniques for dressing wounds in combat situations.  She was transferred to Japan, just as the war in Vietnam was escalating.  She stayed at the hospital in Japan for three years, where they treated wounded soldiers from Vietnam, in a 100 bed hospital that ended up accommodating hundreds more than intended.  When she was sent back to the U.S. in November of 1967, the Army granted her request to obtain a master’s degree in midwifery from Yale University in exchange for two years of service for each year of education.  She was the first military nurse in Yale’s nursing school.  She moved around the country, practicing midwifery at many military hospitals, and delivered over 200 babies in about two years.  She also spent 18 months on a military base in Germany, before she was discharged in 1978.  She then joined the reserves, and obtained a doctorate in Public Health from Harvard, before retiring from the military in 1986.  Since her discharge she has taught at Yale, and set up a midwifery masters program at University of Rhode Island among other accomplishments.


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McBriarty, Thomas S.

War or Conflict                    Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                           1968-1971

Branch/Unit                        U.S. Army / 1st Cavalry, A Co. 228th Aviation Co.

Rank                                  Staff Sergeant (E-5)

Subject                              CH-47 Chinook Crew Chief, UH-60 Blackhawk and RAH-66 Comanche Development Program

As a crew chief and later a flight engineer, Thomas McBriarty flew over 250 combat hours during the Vietnam War, where he received nine air medals as a crew chief aboard a CH-47 "Chinook." On the morning of October 31, 1969, his helicopter came under heavy fire, resulting in a catastrophic systems failure. The aircraft executed a "controlled crash" from 2,000 to the jungle canopy below. Rather than flee the burning vehicle, however, the young crew chief ran back into the fuselage and rescued the remaining crew. Nevertheless, his career with rotary wing aircraft continued throughout the war and into his civilian career. He worked as an official army representative for the Black Hawk helicopter program as the official Army representative to Sikorsky aircraft. Including both his military service and civilian contracting, he spent over thirty years working with the military, the majority of which was devoted to Army aviation.



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Miller, Jane

Portrait of Jane MillerWar or Conflict                WWII, 1941-1945

Coverage                       1943-1945

Branch                           WASPs (Women's Air Force Service Pilots)

Rank                              1st Lieutenant (O-1)

Subject                          Women and the military, military pilot training, Military Aircraft (AT-6, BT-13, P-40)

Jane Miller grew from generations of military women, with a mother who had served as a nurse during World War I. Her vigor "pushed her into the cockpit" of the U.S. Army Air Force's latest fighting aircraft. A commitment to the WASP program reflected her desire to achieve her fullest potential, regardless of gender roles in her society. She set out to test the limits of her pilot program, excelling in flight characteristics and qualifying on numerous types of aircraft. Her pilot training ended with the pinning of her pilots wings, courtesy of Eleanor Roosevelt. Her ferrying missions brought her to numerous locations throughout the European theatre of operations. Among the military personnel she encountered, Miller also befriended the actress Marlene Dietrich, with whom she traveled France. She remains proud of the deserved recognition awarded to WASP pilots, who supplied the aircraft necessary to overcome Axis forces entrenched across the European continent.  

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Mitnick, Jonathan T.

War or Conflict         Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                 1969-1971

Branch/Unit               U.S. Army, AMERICAL Division

Rank                         E-5

Subject                     stenography, military justice system, AMERICAL

Jonathan Mitnick was drafted and made a military stenographer. He was trained at Fort Dix and Fort Benjamin Harrison.In June of 1970, Mitnick was sent to Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. His primary role there was type up court martial reviews and other legal documents. The job was very slow, because there could be no erasing of mistakes. His work sometimes pertained to murder cases and drug trials within the military. He also gained knowledge of the drug issues in Vietnam, both heroin and marijuana. He learned much about the military justice system.  


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Momparler, Michael

War or Conflict             Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                     1966-1969

Branch/Unit                   U.S. Army, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry, 1st Division

Rank                             1LT

Subject                         Officer Candidate School, Tet Offensive, leading troops, nighttime ambush

Michael Momparler enlisted in the Army in April of 1966, while living in College Point, NY. He was selected for Officer Candidate School and entered the program at age 19. His first assignment after OCS was in Fort Campbell, KY as an infantry training officer. He went to Fort Jackson, South Caroline before finally being sent to Panama for jungle training. There, he was taught map reading, escape and evasion, rappelling, and crossing streams and rivers. He was flown to Bien Hoa Air Base in Vietnam, at which point he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry, 1st Division - "the Big Red One." He was eventually assigned to provide leadership to Lima 6. They were called the Black Scarf battalion. Momparler was involved with air assaults and overnight operations. His first firefight involved killing one of two snipers between Quan Loi and An Loc. Momparler earned the Bronze Star when he tried to dislodge an enemy soldier from a spider hole.


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Morawski, Frederick Peter

War or Conflict                 WWII, 1941-1945

Coverage                        1942-1946

Branch                            United States Marine Corps Reserve, 2nd Marine Division

Rank                                Corporal (E-4)

Subject                            Pacific Theatre of Operations : Tarawa, Guadalcanal,Saipan, Guam

Frederick Peter Morawski volunteered for the United States Marine Corps reserve in 1942. Deploying to the Pacific, Morawski fought in successive island campaigns, including Tarawa, Guadalcanal, Siapan, and Guam. Both he and his brother John served as marines, by war's end, however, Frederick was the only son who returned. The visciousness of jungle combat taught hard lessons to these young soldiers. As a veteran of several amphibious assaults, his senior NCOs taught him survival techniques, such as maintaining noise and movement discipline in order to avoid Japanese snipers. Recruited for the "V-12" program, Morawski utilized the GI Bill, which allowed him to complete a degree at Yale University.


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Muro, Steve L.

Portrait of Steve L. MuroWar or Conflict                 Vietnam, 1961-1975

Coverage                         1968-1972

Branch/Unit                      Navy, U.S.S. Benjamin Stoddert (DDG 22), Mobile Construction Battalion 10 (SeaBees)

Rank                                CMCN (Constructionman, Construction Mechanic Striker) (E-3)

Subject                            Vietnam deployment from the perspective of a seaman as well as a SeaBee, returning Vietnam veterans' experiences.

Steve Muro belonged to a second family generation of US Navy personnel. He initially deployed to Vietnam as a seaman aboard the U.S.S. Benjamin Stoddert, a guided missile destroyer engaged in gunfire support operations along the North Vietnamese coastline. He traded in his "sea legs" for a ground support role, one which fully utilized his prewar construction experience. Following a four month training course for heavy machinery repair, as well as the SERE (Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape) course in Coronado, California, Muro redeployed to Vietnam as a SeaBee. Stationed at NSA Da Nang, Vietnam he repaired heavy machinery for the US Naval forces operating in Southeast Asia. Following his two tours in Vietnam, he continued to support his fellow veterans from his position in the National Cemetery Administration as well as the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Nevers, Peter J.

Peter J. Nevers

War or Conflict              Vietnam, 1961-1975

Coverage                      1966-1967

Branch/Unit                   G Company, 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines

Rank                              Sergeant (E-5)

Subject                          Booby traps, Patrolling, Washington D.C. Silent Drill Team

Arriving in Da Nang, Vietnam, in July of 1966, Peter J. Nevers quickly transitioned from his stateside service as a guard on the Silent Drill Team in Washington, D.C., to a squad leader in a combat zone. Faced with ambushes both day and night, the Marines formed "killer teams;" three-man listening posts that stayed outside the wire at night reporting enemy activity. As a squad leader, Nevers dealt with both ambushes and booby traps, the latter of which became prevalent during his tour. He recalls eating C-Rations for his Christmas dinner, as his platoon was called in for mine-sweeping duties. These hardships were made more bearable, however, for the fact that while under his command, every one of his squadmates survived their tour. Following an honorable discharge, he began a career at Pratt & Whitney and enrolled in the University of Hartford.  


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Niedermayer, Joseph

War or Conflict         Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Branch/Unit              Navy, U.S.S. Enterprise (CVN-65)

Coverage                 1971-1975

Rank                         Gunners Mate 3rd Class (E-4)

Subject                     Vietnam War, Military Discharge, U.S.S. Enterprise, Operation Linebacker 1, Linebacker 2

Joseph Niedermayer enlisted in the United States Navy in October of 1971. His very low draft number motivated him to enlist in the Navy, which ensured that he would gain entry into his military branch of choice. At basic training at the Great Lakes Naval training center in Illinois, the recruits had to sign waivers called “Black Flags.”  This was because it was so cold outside that sailors risked death from exposure. Niedermayer was assigned to the U.S.S. Enterprise, which was a nuclear powered aircraft carrier deployed to the South China Sea.  The purpose of their carrier battle group comprised patrols of the North Vietnamese coastline, launching combat air patrols and airstrikes in support of US military operations. Niedermayer’s job on the ship was in the weapons division, which actually operated seven decks below the main deck.   After the ship finished its mission in the waters of Vietnam, they sailed to the Indian Ocean to assist the island of Mauritius, which had experienced a large typhoon.  He was discharged from the navy in October of 1975. He returned to Connecticut and began a career with the Connecticut Department of Public Safety, where he still worked to the date of the interview. 



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Niland, William T.

William T Niland

War or Conflict        Vietnam War Era, 1961-1975

Branch/Unit             U.S. Army, 25th Transportation Battalion, 8th Army

Coverage                1969-1972

Rank                        Sergeant (E-5)

Subject                    ROK Defence Force, North Korean Infiltrators

Attached to a transportation battalion in the Republic of Korea, Niland's unit supplied all of Southeast Asia with water, food, bombs, and bullets. While in-country, the North Koreans attempted to infiltrate the south once a week. At the time, the army suspected they were attempts to assassinate the South Korean president. The western coast of Korea was rocky, so Incheon was the easiest location for the North Koreans to infiltrate by boat. His unit prepared for the second defense of the south by conducting war games, in which they organized the dispersal of truck convoys. He feels as though military service prompted him to mature, as well as provided access to the GI Bill, which he used to obtain a Bachelor of Art's degree in Business Management.




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Phouthasack, Sar

Portrait of Sar PhouthasackWar or Conflict             Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Branch/ Unit                 Royal Lao Army, SGU (Special Guerilla Unit attached to US Special Forces)

Coverage                     1960-1975

Rank                             Active Duty: Major (O-4)

Subject                        Vietnam War, Secret War in Laos, Covert Operations, Radio listening posts, raids along Ho Chi Minh Trail

Sar Phouthasack enlisted in the Royal Lao Army in 1960 and served until the fall of the Kingdom of Laos in 1975. His elite special forces training, as well as radio proficiency, enabled him to conduct covert operations along the Ho Chi Minh trail that bordered Laos and North Vietnam. Often, he would parachute into dense jungle canopies in order to reinforce special forces teams or supplement their communications capabilities. After the fall of Laos, Phouthasack navigated his own escape into Thailand, avoiding both Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese patrols, who had blocked every immigration point in the hopes of capturing Laotians who had been sympathetic to the United States' war with North Vietnam. By war's end, he had experienced training from a variety of various nationalities and their own special forces personnel. The elite Thai "Black Tigers," US "Green Berets," and the Royal Lao Army trained Phouthasack in all the implements necessary to interdict the North Vietnamese supply route to South Vietnam. Due to the actions of Phouthasack and his comrades, countless American lives were spared from death, injury, or torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese Army.


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Rizzo, Dominic J.

War or Conflict        WWII, 1939-1945

Branch/Unit              Army, Anti aircraft artillery (AAA)

Coverage                1943-1945

Rank                        Technician, Fourth Class (T-4)

Subject                    European Theatre of Operations

Dominic Rizzo was drafted into the United States Army in 1943 and served as an assistant supply sergeant and armorer in an anti aircraft artillery unit. Deployed to the European Theatre of Operations, Rizzo joined the Allied spearhead as they pushed their way across the continent. His responsibility was to preserve air-supremacy by maintaining a constant vigil for any German air attacks. He contributed to the success of this operation through logistical support. As an armorer and assistant to the supply sergeant, he ensured that the unit would be ready for any air attack that would threaten to lives of American soldiers.





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Roberts, Arthur E.

War or Conflict             Vietnam, 1961-1975

Branch/ Unit                 6594th Test Squadron, Tactical Photo Reconnassance

Coverage                    1966-1967

Rank                            Staff Sergeant (E-5)

Subject                        Cold War, Corona Satellite Photographic Intelligence, Precision Print Technician, SR-71

Arthur Roberts enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1961, completing tours of duty in Japan, the United States, and Vietnam. As a young airman, he was stationed at Misawa AFB in Northern Japan - only six minutes flight time from the Soviet Union. This proximity to the ongoing Cold War catalyzed his entry into the field of photo reconnaissance. From the base photo lab at Misawa, he was sent to Westover AFB in Chicopee, Massachusetts, where he participated in the "Corona" project, which involved an early generation of Air Force satellite surveillance systems. From high orbit, these devices would eject their negatives, which reentered the atmosphere near Hawaii and were sent to Westover for precision processing. For each satellite patrol, Roberts and his fellow technicians processed nearly thirty miles of film prints! During the Vietnam War, he was stationed at Ton Son Nhut Airbase in Saigon, where he continued his photographic reconnaissance duties with RF-101s and RF-4Cs flying both high and low level surveillance missions. He continued these clandestine duties at both Beale AFB in California, which sheltered the SR-71 "Blackbird" spyplanes, as well as Air National Guard in Pennsylvania, which serviced EC-130 Psychological Operations Aircraft.

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Roberts, James E.

War or Conflict           WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                   1943 – 1945

Branch/Unit                Army, 385th Field Artillery Unit, 104th Infantry Division

Rank                          Sergeant (E-4)

Subject                      Campaigns – Germany, Nordhausen (Concentration camp), Prisoners of war, WWII – Equipment and Supplies

James E. Roberts enlisted in the United States Army after finishing his sophomore year at the University of Illinois.  He decided to enlist so that he could choose the branch of service with which he would serve. He attended basic training at Fort Bragg, NC, and then went to Rutgers College, NJ for a semester while he awaited an assignment.  In August of 1944, Roberts arrived on the Belgian/German border and became part of the 385th Field Artillery Unit, 104th Infantry division, where he was an ammunitions handler.  His job was to load and unload the ammunition for the Howitzer his unit used in combat.  Robert had many experiences in Europe, including the crossing of the Rhine River, interacting with German civilians, witnessing serious battle fatigue, exposure to British prisoners of war, the liberation of the Nazi death camp, Nordhausen, and meeting up with the Russian army.  Roberts was discharged from the army in December of 1945, and returned to the University of Illinois to finish his education.


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Rodin, Jack

Portrait of Jack Rodin

War or Conflict              WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                      1942-1945

Branch/Unit                   Army Air Force, 330th Bombardment Group

Rank                            1st Lieutenant (O-1)

Subject                         Pacific Air War, 23 Missions as a B-29 Flight Crew Navigator

Jack Rodin enlisted in the United States Army Air Force, where he applied for various station assignments as a candidate flight crewman. He began his Air Force career as a candidate for pilot school, advanced through aerial gunnery school, and eventually graduated from Navigation School as a commissioned 2nd Lieutenant (O-1). Rodin deployed to the Pacific Theatre of Operations as a member of the 458th Bomber Squadron, 330th Bomb Group, where he completed twenty three missions in a B-29 "Superfortress." Their missions included a variety of high priority targets, which they raided either day or night. He observed the historic conclusion on the deck of the USS Missouri while flying "top cover" over Tokyo Bay. Although the war had ended, Rodin's appreciation of aviation had not. He forged a career as a draftmen for Pratt and Whitney Aviation, assisting the production of the sophisticated Lockeed SR-71 "Blackbird." 


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Rosenfeld, Harry A. 

Harry RosenfeldWar of Conflict              WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                      1943-1945

Branch / Ship                US Navy, USS Nevada (BB-36)

Rank                             Electrician's Mate, Third Class (EM 3/C)

Subject                         Offshore fire support of Normandy invasion, seaborne invasion of Iwo Jima, Okinawa

Harry A. Rosenfeld enlisted in the United States Navy in 1943, initally deploying to the European Theatre of Operations aboard the battleship USS Nevada. As an onboard engineer, Rosenfeld maintained the electical generators, providing a crucial power source to his vessel. At the height of his deployment, the Nevada provided naval gunfire support for the "Overlord" invasion of Normandy, firing 540 14-inch shells during the first day of the campaign - so many, in fact, that they were soon forced to rearm in England. Rejoining the US Atlantic fleet, the Nevada guarded landing operations on Omaha Beach, as well as continued gunfire support along the French coastline, as they supported Army operations in the port of Cherbourg. Following the invasion of France, the USS Nevada joined the Pacific Fleet and participated in the Marine Corps' amphibious landings on both Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Present at these decisive moments of both European and Pacific campaigns, Rosenfeld received a comprehensive vision of war, including the images of distant combat as well as the horror of casualties among his own, tight-knit crew,  At Iwo Jima, he bore witness to the American flag atop Mount Suribachi, not yet realizing this iconic potential of the Pacific War. Subsequent campaings off the coast of Okinawa involved a kamikaze attack upon the Nevada, as well as a penetrating shell from a Japanese shore battery, which nearly struck the ammunition feed near his own station. Within a transitioning military structure, his own discharge was concurrent with an increased nuclear potential among the armed forces. His ship, the USS Nevada never fell to enemy action, but rather, became designated as a target ship for the US Navy's postwar nuclear testing. 


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 Sandler, Heather L.B.

Heather LB SandlerWar or Conflict                  OEF 2001-2012, OIF 2003-2012

Coverage                          1995-2005

Branch / Ship                    U.S. Navy, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), VX-23, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75)VF 37.

Rank                                 AO1  Aviation Ordanceman 1st Class (E-6)

Subject                             Aircraft Carrier Flight Operations and Armorer Duties

Heather Lori Belanger Sandler enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln, the first male-female integrated ship on the West Coast of the United States. As a naval ordnanceman, her responsibilities included loading ammunition and missiles for F/A-18 Hornets, multirole air/ground attack aircraft. In 2001, she was transferred to the USS Harry S. Truman, which travelled to the Persian Gulf in support of ground operations. She noticed an increasing number of female personnel aboard the Truman from her 1st to 3rd deployment, nevertheless and through her hard work, helped to prove that she was just as capable of performing her duties as her male counterparts. Currently, she works for Senator Blumenthal, specializing in Veteran Constituent Affairs.


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Scahill Sr., Frank

War or Conflict           Vietnam Era, 1961-1975

Coverage                   1959-1970

Branch/Unit                USAF, Air National Guard

Rank                          Captain (O-3)

Subject                      F-84, RF-84, F-100, Berlin Wall, Gulf of Tonkin, TWA

Frank Scahill, Sr. began his flying career at a young age, before enlisting in the United States Air Force. He flew early jet aircraft during the Cold War, beginning with the F-84 fighter and the RF-84 photoreconnaisance platform, then graduating to supersonic aircraft such as the F-100 "Super Sabre." His deployments ranged from Berlin to stanby alerts during the Gulf of Tonkin attack. He predominantly flew the F-100, which excelled as both a fighter and bomber. Consequently, he was involved in both Air Combat Command (ACC) and Tactical Air Command (TAC) duties. As a deterrent for potential Soviet incursions, Scahill flew for several Air National Guard squadrons, completing 11 years of service in the armed forces. Following his military career, he maintained a lifelong devotion to aviation as a TWA pilot.

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Shetland, Andrew F.

Andrew F Shetland

War or Conflict           Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), 2001-present

Coverage                   2006-2007

Branch/Unit                U.S. Navy, USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), U.S. Army National Guard, 2nd Battalion, B Company 242 Engineer Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment

Rank                          Corporal (E-4), presently a 1st Lieutenant (O-1) 

Subject                      Improvised Expolosive Devices, Humanitarian Aid, Convoy Escort Duties

A veteran of both the United States Navy and United States Army, Andrew Shetland began his military service as a Machinist Mate aboard the conventionally power aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy. Discharged in 2000, he reenlisted in the military after the September 11, 2001 attacks, this time selecting the Army National Guard. His original military occupational speciality was combat engineering, however, his unit merged with an infantry company and he was retrained in small-unit tactics. Deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, his unit became a Quick Reaction Force (QRF), specializing in convoy escort and response-to-contact. He was quickly promoted to Corporal and following his tour, he applied for Officer Candidate School and is currently serving with the 169th Aviation Regiment in Enfield, CT.


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Skeels, Robert F.

War or Conflict          Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                  1967-1971

Branch/Unit               U.S. Marine Corps, E Co., 2nd Bn., 4th Marine Reg., 3rd Marine Div; and B Co., 3rd Tank Bn., 3rd Marine Division

Rank                         1st Lieutenant

Subject                      leading a rifle platoon, leading a tank platoon

Skeels enlisted in the Marine Corps after finishing his master's degree in education, deciding to "step up" and serve as his friends were doing. He thought the training in the U.S. Marine Corps would be the best. He joined in November 1967, graduating Officer Candidate School in August 1968. He selected armor as his Military Occupational Specialty and was sent to tank school in Camp Pendleton, California. When he graduated he was made a Tank Officer. He was sent to Vietnam to command an infantry platoon. Eventually he would switch to commanding a tank platoon. His platoon was often under-strength because of medical issues that were not combat-related. They patrolled jungle landscapes and travelled under cover of "harassing and interdiction fire." Skeels witnessed individuals fleeing to Laos, and had lots of contact with the North Vietnamese Army and mines, mortars, and rockets.


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Southergill, Norman C.

War or Conflict         WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                  1943-1945

Branch/Unit               Army, 150th Combat Engineer Battalion

Rank                         Technical Corporal (T-5)

Subject                     Combat Engineering, German prisoners of war

Norman C. Southergill was drafted into the U.S. Army in March of 1943.  He volunteered for the Army Air Corps, but the army placed him in an engineering battalion.  He was sent to West Virginia to train in combat engineering.  His unit specialized in building temporary bridges, laying mines, and sweeping mines.  From West Virginia, his unit went to Fort Dix, and subsequently sailed to Gloucester, England on the Queen Mary, which took 11 days.  Southergill stayed in England for six months while his battalion did additional training and built an airport.  In July of 1944, his unit landed in Normandy, where they maintained the roads and bridges that were under U.S. control.  It was at this time that his unit became part of Patton’s third army, and the soldiers constructed miles of bridges across France and Germany.  After the war in Europe ended, Southergill was transferred to an artillery unit, where he was charged with building a garage using the labor of German prisoners of war.  When he was discharged in November of 1945, he returned to Connecticut, and learned how to paint, among other skills, on the G.I. Bill.  He also wrote a book about his experiences in the army and became a second lieutenant in the CT State Guard. 


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St. Laurent, Andre J.

Andre St. LaurentWar or Conflict               Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                       1965-1970

Branch/Unit                    U.S. Army, 1st Special Forces (Airborne), 5th Special Forces Group, Delta Project

Rank                              Master Sergeant (E-8)

Subject                         Special Operations in Southeast Asia, Intelligence Gathering, MACV-SOG (B-36, B-52, Mobile Strike Force)

Andre St. Laurent served the United States as both a Marine and then an Army Special Forces soldier. After serving as an artilleryman in the United States Marine Corps, he re-enlisted in the Army. After completing countless military schools and training programs, the Army deployed St. Laurent to Southeast Asia, where he became an advisor for South Vietnamese and Montagnard soldiers. Serving with the 5th Special Forces Group, he and fellow soldiers of these "A-Teams" conducted armed reconnaissance missions into areas of Southeast Asia controlled by either the Viet Cong or North Vietnamese Army. Several tours of duty included participation with the Army's "Delta Project," which launched border operations from forward operating bases (FOBs) in South Vietnam. Under the command of MACV-SOG (Military Advisory Command Vietnam - Studies and Observations Group), these "Green Berets" performed unique intellgience gathering missions, cooperating with indigenous forces that allowed the military a "ground level" perspective for strategic planning. For exemplary action in combat, St. Laurent earned two Silver Stars and a Bronze Star as he lead these small combat teams into harm's way throughout subsequent tours of duty. Although his proud service earned him countless accolades and acknowledgements, St. Laurent maintains that the friendships formed within this elite family of soldiers constitute his most valued record of achievement.  



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Suares, Kevin P.

Kevin P. Suares

Coverage             1994-1998

Branch/Unit           U.S. Air Force, 305th Medical Group  

Rank                     Senior Airman (E-4)

Subject                 Air Force Medical, College of the Air Force, Sheppard, McGuire Air Force Bases


Kevin Suares initially wanted to enlist in the Navy, but chose the Air Force instead. While at Sheppard Air Force Base, he volunteered to be an "Element Leader," or "Green Rope." This meant that he was responsible for the airmen assigned to a certain dormitory bay or element. He scored 97 points out of a possible 99 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), so that he was eligible for most any military career of his choosing. His top choices were all medical in nature, so he was made a pharmacy technician. Training for this position lasted three months and included learning the names and side effects of about 200 drugs. He was assigned to the hospital at McGuire Air Force Base in June or July of 1995, at which two people would fill between 1,500 and 3,000 prescriptions a day between them. He didn't leave the continental U.S., and his service became akin to a 9-5 job. While in base housing, he stopped what would have been a fire in a Marine recruiter's condo.  



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Sullivan, John

War or Conflict                     Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                             1968-1970

Branch/Unit                          U.S. Army, 27th Engineers

Rank                                    1st Lieutenant (O-1)

Subject                                Camp Eagle, 101st Airborne Division

John Sullivan served as a Lieutenant in the 27th Engineer Battalion, which supported the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War. Assigned to Fire bases Bastogne and Birmingham in the A Shau Valley, Sullivan was responsible for leading a platoon of engineers. They assisted in building Route 547, a task that included both construction and mine clearing operations. At Camp Eagle, they established a network of base defenses, including bunkers and gun platforms. The engineers maintained base defenses, which consisted of 105mm and 155mm artillery emplacements and Quad .50 caliber machine gun mounts. With bulldozers and dump trucks as their weapons, the engineers allowed the 101st airborne to deploy from a fortified position. He recalls the consistent rocket attacks on Camp Eagle, as well as the "mad minutes" when the base defenders would focus their firepower on enemy infiltrators.


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Tadiello, Isadore A.

War or Conflict                WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                        1940-1946

Branch/Ship                    U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Curtiss (AV-4)

Rank                               CPO (E-7)

Subject                           Pearl Harbor, Seaplane Tenders

Isadore Tadiello served from the first day of World War II until the last. Present at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack,Tadiello witnessed the fury of the Pacific War firsthand when a Japanese aircraft struck the seaplane tender where he was stationed. After repairs were completed, his ship, the U.S.S. Curtiss, became a command and control vessel staffed by the fleet admiral. Consequently, he participated in nearly every naval invasion in the Pacific Theatre of Operations. After enduring countless kamikaze attacks, Tadiello was discharged from the U.S. Navy after earning the rank of Chief Petty Officer. 

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Taylor, John C.

War or Conflict         WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                  1943-1945

Branch/Unit              Army,  8th Air Force, 452nd Bombardment Group

Rank                        1st Lieutenant (O-1)

Subject                     Aerial Operations, Campaigns – Europe, Battle of the Ardennes, 1944-1945, B-17 Bombers

John C. Taylor enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1942 while he was a sophomore in college.  He was activated in February of 1943.  The Air Force gave all airmen aptitude tests, and Taylor was found to be a match for a navigator position.  He attended Navigation School in Louisiana, and began training on a B-17 aircraft.  Taylor left for overseas duty after his crew was established in August of 1944.  By September they were flying missions over Germany, where the object was to bomb enemy targets such as oil refineries, and provide air support for ground battles, such as the Battle of the Bulge.  The missions were very dangerous, and on Christmas Eve of 1944, Taylor’s plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire which knocked out two of the B-17’s four engines.  They were able to make an emergency landing on the coast of England just before the plane would have crashed.  Taylor was sent home just before the war ended, and was discharged in May of 1945.  He returned to college at Princeton University, and his education was supported by the G. I. Bill.                                       

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 Tazzara, David E.

War or Conflict          Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                   1968-1970

Branch/Unit               120th Americal Division Recon

Rank                         E-5

Subject                     120th Americal Division Recon, friendship in the military, M-16 rifle

David Tazzara volunteered to serve along with his two friends, Paul Vaccari and Joseph Godenzi.All three were sent to Fort Dix, NJ for basic traning. Their advanced training took place at Fort Polk, VA. After they were processed in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, they were finally split up. Tazzara was assigned to LZ Bronco, but kept in touch with his two friends with letters. Being in a reconnaissance platoon involved missions that were "high-anxiety, quite frightening, and chaotic;" about six men from Tazzara's platoon were killed in action. In the middle of a firefight, Tazzara saved a soldier from crossing enemy lines by tackling him. A typical day included surverying the ground for enemy movement or tracking for potential hazards like booby traps or snipers. Missions averaged at five days long, though one went on for forty-seven. Tazzara spent his last five months in Vietna, working as a driver/assistant for the Intelligence commander. He saw Paul Vaccari again upon return to Cam Ranh Bay, but Joseph Godenzi was in a hospital in Japan at the time. Tazzara returned Winsted, CT which was not harboring as much anti-Voetnam sentiment as the west coast. With five months remaining in his tour, Tazzara was sent to Fort Benning, GA to train officers for deployment to Vietnam. On the way there he became very sick due to blood worms contracted in Vietnam. After taking medical leave, restrictions regarding strenuous activity were placed on his record. Tazzara received two Purple Hearts; one was awarded for an injury sustained while chasing Viet Cong, and the other was awarded for an injury sustained during a search and destroy mission.   

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 Tollefsen, Kjell T.

War or Conflict         Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                  1966-1968

Branch/Unit              Army, 188th Assault Helicopter Company

Rank                         Chief Warrant Officer (CW-3)

Subject                     Vietnam, Assault Helicopter, Distinguished Flying Cross

Kjell T. Tollefsen joined the U.S. Army in 1966 and went for flight training and helicopter school.  He arrived in Dau Tieng, Vietnam in November of 1966, where he became a pilot in the 188th Assault Helicopter Company, also known as the “Black Widows.” Tollefsen went out on his first mission as a co-pilot, and describes the mission as overwhelming because of the intensity and aggression involved.  In subsequent missions he describes how the activity became routine.  The helicopter pilots were responsible for transporting supplies, troops, ammunition, and medical evacuations, among other activities.  Tollefson was shot down on three different occasions, for which he earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses.  One of the helicopters Tollefson flew pumped thick smoke in advance of troops, in order to confuse the North Vietnamese. As one of only a few helicopters in Vietnam that had this capacity, the helicopter earned the nickname “Smokie.”  He returned to the United States in 1968.  He was then sent to Germany to teach other pilots how to be flight instructors, and to finish out his four year enlistment.  After his discharge he returned to Connecticut. 


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 Tramontano, Joseph D.

Joseph TramontanoWar or Conflict               Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                       1963-1966

Branch/Unit                    11th Air Air Assault Division (Test), 1/9 1st Air Cavalry

Rank                               Sergeant (E-4)

Subject                           Air Assault Training, Battle of Ia Drang

As an army paratrooper attached to the reactivated 11th Airborne Division, Joseph D. Tramontano received both airborne and air assault training at Fort Benning Georgia. For two years, his unit trained in experimental helicopter assault techniques, which would soon be battle tested in the Vietnam War. Reassigned to the 1st Air Cavalry Division, Tramontano volunteered for a position in the 1/9th Reconnaissance Platoon, which was in dire need of machine gunners. After locating an NVA presence in the Chu Pong mountains, Colonel Hal Moore led 1/9's sister company, 1/7 into the Ia Drang Valley, which became the site of a vicious three day battle for the US Cavalry troopers. As reinforcements for 1/7, the scout platoon was sent into the Ia Drang Valley on the third and final day of battle. Although wounded during the assault, Tramontano and the 9th cavalry assisted in overpowering the North Vietnamese and routing them from the Chu Pong mountains.  


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Treff, Ernest

War or Conflict           WWII, 1939-1945

Coverage                   1942-1946

Branch/Unit                United States Army Air Force, 56th Fighter Group, 61st Squadron

Rank                          1st Lieutenant (O-1)

Subject                      P-47 Thunderbolt, European Theatre of Operations

Ernest Treff flew the P-47M "Thunderbolt" as a pilot in Zemke's Wolfpack, a unit which directly engaged the German Messerchmitt 262 jet fighter. Although propeller drive, the Thunderbolt displayed a parity with the early jet fighters, reflected by the numerous victories scored by the P-47 pilots. On one day alone, the squadron destroyed 95 German aircraft in a surprise attack on the Eggebek Airdrome. The pilots cherished their aircraft to the extent that when offered the newer P-51 "Mustang," the squadron wholeheartedly declined. Treff is currently a member of the Army Air Force Roundtable in Connecticut, an organization that preserves the comradeship of the Army Air Force pilots, as well as preserving its own contributions to the Allied war effort.



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Urso, Lou

  War or Conflict                Vietnam War, 1961-1975

  Coverage                       1965-1968

  Branch/Unit                    United States Army, 3rd BDE, 4th ID

  Rank                               Sergeant (E-5)

  Subject                          Vietnam, Fire Support Base Gold and the Battle of Soui-Tre

   Bio comming soon





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Wekerle, John J.

War or Conflict            Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                   1965-1968

Branch/Unit                United States Army, 101st Airborne Division, 1st BDE, A CO 2/327th INF

Rank                           Sergeant (E-5)

Subject                      Vietnam War, Airborne Training, "Stay Alert and Stay Alive"

During the Vietnam War, John J. Wekerle volunteered for the United States Army, applying for airborne training. With his "go ahead, you are not going to break me" attitude, he passed airborne selection and jumo school. Once he arrived in-country, he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, where he learned the mantra of "Stay alert and stay alive." As a young "cherry" in the field, he quickly learned the hard lessons of the field. Being so close to death, he developed a new appreciation for live, recalling the horrific excitement of walking point and the aftermath of NLF booby traps. Following his tour in Vietnam, he joined the New York police force, where he was able to apply some of his service lessons to the "street wise" mentality needed for an urban patrolman.



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Wiknik, Jr., Arthur

War or Conflict          Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                  1968-1970

Branch/Unit               U.S. Army, 101st Airborne Division

Rank                         Staff Sergeant (E-5)

Subject                     Infantry, Battle of Hamburger Hill, Vietnam, 1969

Arthur Wiknik, Jr. was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1968.  He was assigned to an infantry unit, was chosen to go to Non-commissioned Officer Candidate School, and went to Vietnam as a Sergeant.  Because of the short amount of time that Wiknik was in the Army, he was known as an “instant NCO”, and some of the men and fellow officers in Vietnam were less than enthusiastic about having him as their squad leader at first.  After a month in Vietnam, Wiknik had not experienced any combat situations, then his platoon was sent to the A Shau Valley to back up another platoon.  As it turned out, Wiknik’s platoon was the back up for the battle of Hamburger Hill, one of the most significant battles of the Vietnam War.  After the battle, the platoon stayed in the A Shau Valley, where they rotated patrols through the jungle, and maintaining the firebase.  After a year, Wiknik was discharged and sent home to Connecticut.  When he arrived at Bradley International Airport, he was saddened to find that people would not sit next to him because he was wearing his uniform.  While in Vietnam, he was unaware of the turmoil within the U.S., and how troops arriving home from the war were treated.  Wiknik’s book about his experiences in Vietnam, “Nam Sense” was published in 2005.

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Wing, Ron P.

Ron P. Wing

War or Conflict        Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                1966-1967

Branch/Unit             U.S. Army, A Company, 2nd Bn, 8th

                                Infantry, 4th Infantry Division

Rank                        Specialist 4th Class (SP-4)

Subject                    Infantry, Central Highlands (Pleiku

                                Province), Radio Telephone  

                                Operator (RTO)

Ron P. Wing was drafted with two older brothers already in the service. He was shipped off to Vietnam in a merchant marine ship, during which he experienced a typhoon. After arriving in Qui Nhon, the 4th Infantry Division traveled at length to ultimately set up the 4th Infantry Headquarters. His first combat assault included jumping out of a helicopter into elephant grass, which injured more people than enemy combat did during that mission. His division encountered Viet Cong, the Vietnamese Army, and some Chinese. As the Executive Officer's radio operator, Wing took care of food supply, clothing, medical needs, and communicating with helicopters. Wing was also a mail clerk. He saw Bob Hope during a USO show, and was given one week of leave in Japan. He remembers crossing into Cambodia and traversing the Ho Chi Minh Trail, though U.S. military was not supposed to be there. He sometimes had to relocate indigenous people from villages that were to be bombed. An interpreter would interrogate POWs for information. Halfway through his campaign, Wing's unit was mechanized. At the end of his service, Wing was surprised by the negative reception he received; he was even spat upon. He is commited to making sure today's veterans get a better homecoming.  

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Winn, Gerald P.

War or Conflict              Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage                      1968-1970

Branch/Unit                   United States Marine Corps, 2nd Marine Division

Rank                            Corporal (E-4)

Subject                         An Hoa Province, Ia Drang Valley, Booby Traps

Gerald Winn enlisted in the Marine Corps in August of 1968. Following 14 weeks of weeks of training, he deployed to An Hoa Province in Vietnam, where the Marines conducted ambushes and patrols. The men pursued the NVA on helicopters, trucks, and foot, mounting frequent patrols in areas nicknamed "Dodge City" or the "Arizona Territory." The North Vietnamese and NLF were active in these areas and his unit, "Fox company," suffered many casulties. As evidence of future offensive operations, the unit often discovered chaches of rice and weapons, as well as numerous "booby-traps" and expolsive devices. One of these weapons, a rigged grenade or mortar round, exploded near Winn, projecting him nearly ten feet in the air. He was evacuated in the span of half an hour and reached a Navy hospital in Japan, where he spent three months in recovery. After the war, Winn worked for the United States Postal Service for 31 years, never regretting his years as a young marine, where he enlisted as a "young punk and came out a wise man."






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