Throughout the year, we reflect back to the brothers and sisters we have lost while they served our nation in uniform. For many of us, especially at this time of the year, the memories come flooding back.
Perhaps our thoughts turn to a buddy with whom we served. Or a parent we only saw in photographs. For the Post-9/11 generation, Memorial Day may represent a friend who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending our nation in the war on terrorism.
No matter our relationships to these heroes, we are indebted to them and their families every day of the year. With Memorial Day just around the corner, these individuals fill our hearts and minds. As Legionnaires, we serve our fellow veterans, military personnel, families and communities in tribute to our fallen.
We do this every day, but Memorial Day represents a time when all patriotic Americans join us in solemn tribute. Amid the somber services and tearful remembrances, we share our sense of pride, under the flag of our nation, signaling to the world the lengths to which we will go for the causes of freedom, liberty and democracy.
To The American Legion Family, it is up to us to remind all Americans that freedom is not free. There is a price for the liberties we enjoy. It is indeed more than a time for barbecues, picnics and mattress sales. It is like no other three-day weekend.
No matter your plans, or those of your friends and neighbors, I encourage you to lead or participate in remembrance and ceremonies in your communities at this time. Help your Legion post, Auxiliary unit or Sons squadron honor the fallen.
We can never, ever forget them.
For God and Country,
American Legion Post 974, located at 352 Marsh Run Road, New Cumberland, Pa., was honored to dedicate the new bridge constructed over the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Old York Road, Fairview Township as the “Staff Sergeant Guy E. Shelley, Jr. Memorial Bridge”.
Pictured is front row left to right is Michele Cairns Corrigan, Great Niece; Terry McCauley Cairns, Niece; Marian Shelley McCauley, Sister; Taylor Corrigan, Great Great Niece. Second row is Tim Sentz, Post Commander; Ken Howe, Sgt. at Arms; Tom Hoover, Service Officer; John Minito, Sr. Vice Commander; Jules Molczan, Chaplain; and Jerry Wilson, Sgt. at Arms.
A dedication ceremony was held at Post 974 on October 10th, 2014. In attendance were United States Congressman and fellow Legionnaire, Representative Scott Perry, Pennsylvania State Senator Pat Vance, Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Regan, American Legion Department of Pa. Vice Commander Robert John, and American Legion Pennsylvania 22nd District Commander Dale Miller, Post 974 Commander Tim Sentz, Post Service Officer Tom Hoover, and other Post 974’s elected officials. Also in attendance were Fairview Township Commissioners, Police Department Representatives, Boy Scout Troop 284 and Cub Scout Pack 270 Etters members, two local television stations and an impressive turn-out of the post membership and local residents.
The dedication ceremony started with the presentation of the colors provided by the Cedar Cliff High School Junior ROTC Honor Guard. Post Chaplain Jules Molczan gave the invocation followed by Post 974 Commander Tim Sentz reciting Resolution 288, recognizing and praying for the return of all American Prisoners of War (POW), Missing In Action (MIA), and Killed in Action (KIA) military personnel. The assembly recited the “Pledge to Allegiance” followed by Unit 974 American Legion Auxiliary Past President Jill Shaffer leading the assembly in “God Bless America.”
Pictured is left to right is John Minito, Sr. Vice; John Hoover, Finance Officer; Tom Hoover, Service Officer; Tim Sentz, Commander; and Jim Grove, Adjutant.
Post 974 Commander Tim Sentz gave a stirring speech using the “Preamble to the Constitution of the American Legion” with emphasis on “to preserve the memories and incidents of our association in the Great Wars”. Many of the speeches from the elected officials and American Legion Officers focused on information and details of Sgt. Shelley’s and his fellow crew member’s last flight during WWII. The ceremony concluded with Post Chaplain Jules Molczan offering the benediction and Cedar Cliff High School Junior ROTC Honor Guard retiring the colors.
The details of the events that lead to the naming of Guy E Shelley Jr. American Legion follows. In 1941-1942 America, desperate for air crews, the Air Corps changed the pilot training courses, cutting them to just seven and a half months in an attempt to train air crews quickly to cover the shortage.
Aviator cadet, William Hatton, 25 years old from Whitestone, New York, took fighter pilot training in 1942 and would eventually become a pilot as a 1st Lieutenant for a B-24 Liberator Bomber named the Lady Be Good.
The others fated for the Lady Be Good crew were 26 year old 2nd Lieutenant Robert F. Toner, Co-Pilot from Attleborough, Massachusetts; 23 year old, 2nd Lieutenant D.P. Hays, Navigator from Lee’s Summit, Missouri; 26 year old, 2nd Lieutenant John S Woravka, Bombardier from Cleveland, Ohio; 21 year old Staff Sergeant Vernon L. Moore, Gunner from New Boston, Ohio; 22 year old Tech Sergeant Harold Ripslinger, Flight Engineer from Saginaw Michigan; 25 year old Tech Sergeant Robert Lamotte, Radio Operator from Lake Linden, Michigan; 26 year old Staff Sergeant Guy E. Shelley, Gunner from New Cumberland, Pennsylvania; and 24 year old Staff Sergeant Samuel E. Adams, Gunner from Eureka, Illinois.
Pictured left to right is U.S. Congressman Rep. Scott Perry; PA State Senator Pat Vance; Post Commander Tim Sentz and PA State Rep. Mike Regan.
In late 1942 the nine men were transferred to Topeka, Kansas for training as a flight crew. After training, Lieutenant Hatton and his crew were assigned to the 367th Bomb Group and sent to Soluch, Libya. When they arrived in mid-March, the B-24 they had flown in was reassigned to a more experienced crew, leaving Hatton and his crew without an aircraft. On March 25th a B-24, to be named the Lady Be Good was flown into Soluch and would become Lieutenant Hatton and his crew’s aircraft.
On April 4, 1943, Hatton and his crew received their first call for a mission; a 25 plane, high altitude raid on Naples, Italy, in the daylight, without a fighter escort, to arrive at the target at sunset. The mission was to return to home base under the cover of darkness. The trip to Naples and back was to take eleven hours, and the B-24 Liberator only held twelve hours of fuel.
The Lady Be Good flew in section B, Squadron 514, 367th Bomb Group, 9th Army/Air corps, her mission was number 109. Mission 109 began with take-off scheduled at 1330 from Soluch airfield. At the take-off time, the airfield was in the midst of a sandstorm, blowing north from the Sahara Desert. The sandstorm created many problems for the Liberators in this mission and the two sections that comprised the squadron were scattered. Many of the aircraft in the Lady Be Good section were forced to return to base due to engines compromised by the sand from the storm. The Lady Be Good was one of the last aircraft to take off at 1510. Ground crews reported she appeared reluctant to become airborne, struggling to get off the ground.
Severe winds caused the Lady Be Good to be separated from the other planes, blowing her off-course of the route to Naples in an arching approach from the east. By the time she reached Naples it was night and the other Liberators had already completed their mission and were on the return flight back to Soluch airfield.
Just before 2100, the Lady Be Good turned for home and at 2200 dropped her bombs into the Mediterranean Sea and was on course for Soluch airfield.
At approximately 2400 on April 4, 1943 the Lady Be Good flew over or very near Soluch and continued southeast over the Libyan Desert. She had called her base for help but somewhere at this juncture a critical mix-up occurred.
By 0200 on April 5th the Lady Be Good had flown 400 miles since over flying her base and was now running out of fuel. The crew bailed out into the darkness believing they were still over the Mediterranean Sea. The surprised crew gathered in the desert darkness to discover the Bombardier, John Woravka, was missing. After searching for him in vain, they decided they had over flown their base and if they walked northwest they would surely find Woravka and eventually the base.
Pictured above is front row left to right is Michele Cairns Corrigan, Great Niece; Terry McCauley Cairns, Niece; Marian Shelley McCauley, Sister; Taylor Corrigan, Great Great Niece. The second row from left to right is Teresa Reeser Stevens, Ellen Carter, Barbara Ness Gentzler, Nathalee Kichman, Lowell Reeser Sr. Bonnie Reeser, Donna Reeser Starner, Austin Starner. They are all cousins to Guy E. Shelley Jr.
With little water and hardly any food they started their hike before the sun came up, because the desert temperatures plummet at night, but can reach 140 degrees in the daytime. They had not found Woravka, nor would they, but with the sun draining their lives away, the now crew of eight struggled northwest for five days. By Friday April 9th, five of the crew could go no further and collapsed. Only Moore, Ripslinger and Shelley had the strength to go on, so the three remaining crewmembers continued. Moore and Ripslinger eventually fell in the desert.
The longest distance anyone was reported to have traveled on foot in the brutal desert conditions was approximately 25 miles. At the time Sgt. Shelley’s remains were found, SSgt. Shelley had walked over 100 miles from the point of the bail-out, demonstrating his unparalleled dedication to crew, duty and country. Lt. Woravka’s remains were eventually discovered only four tenths of a mile from the gathering point after the bail out.
On February 27, 1959, British oilmen found the Lady Be Good in the Libyan Desert some 400 miles from Soluch. The British oil surveyors found that the desert environment had preserved the aircraft’s hardware astonishingly well; the plane’s 50 caliber machine guns still operated at the pull of the trigger, the radio was in working condition, one of the engines was still functional, and there were still containers filled with water on board. But the remains of the crew were nowhere to be seen. It was later determined that Lady Be Good flew on through the dark night after the crew bailed and it slowly descended to crash-land sixteen miles from the men’s gathering place. The remains of eight crewmembers were found and returned to the United States. SSgt Moore has never been located. Today the wreckage of the plane is stored in a compound in Libya, but many of the crew’s personal effects and a few parts from the plane are on display at the Army Quartermaster Museum at Fort Lee, Virginia.
Upon hearing of the bridge dedication ceremony, some of the Shelley family members, who up until now, have been unaware that an American Legion Post was named for Guy E. Shelley Jr., contacted the post and arranged for a visit. On November 28, 2014 the post officers and members welcomed the opportunity to meet with the family and had arranged for a breakfast gathering in their honor, along with a playback of a recording of the bridge dedication ceremony.
Family members attending the breakfast were (listed by relationship to Sgt. Guy E. Shelley Jr.); Sister – Marian Shelley McCauley; Niece – Terry McCauley Cairns; Great Nieces – Michele Cairns Corrigan and Taylor Corrigan; Cousins – Teresa Reeser Stevens, Barbara Ness Gentzler, Nathalee Kichman, Donna Reeser Starner, Austin Starner; Ellen Carter, Lowell R. Reeser Sr. and Lowell’s wife Bonnie K. Reeser.
Since their visit to the post we have received numerous thank you messages from the grateful family members. Post 974 would like to thank the family for traveling from several states to honor SSgt. Guy E. Shelley Jr.
SSgt. Shelley’s remains are interred at Rolling Green Cemetery in Camp Hill, Pa. less than 5 miles from his boyhood home in New Cumberland, Pa.
This article was written by Jerry Wilson and Ken Howe. They are members of American Legion Post 974.]]>
The Activities Program recorded another great year in The American Legion Baseball Program in 2014 fielding some 530 teams across the state of Pennsylvania. The teams consisted of 299 Senior Teams (16-19 yr. olds), 159 Junior (Youth) Teams (13-15 yr. olds), 54 PREP Development teams (12-13 yr. olds) and 18 Sandlot Teams (14 yr. olds) our newest program. This program involves some 7,000 boys across the State. The younger programs have been doing excellent; however, our Senior Teams have declined the last few years and this has been the trend throughout the National Program.
What makes our number of teams in Pennsylvania quite remarkable is that in the National Program Minnesota had 306 teams, Nebraska 281 teams, Wisconsin 207 teams, and Illinois 163 teams which include both Senior and Junior Teams in their totals. Pennsylvania had 299 teams in the National Program which are all Senior Teams. There were 3,768 Legion teams in the National Program in 2014 which includes Senior and Junior Teams. The National Program does not include our Junior (Youth) Program, our PREP Development Program, or our Sandlot Program. As State Chairman, I attended the 54th Annual National Baseball Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana on September 26-28, 2014.
Important Items covered at the National Conference
Player Eligibility for the Sr. Program will remain the same. Players born on or after January 1, 1996, are eligible to play (19 year olds are eligible). College players meeting the age will also be permitted to play in 2015 if they participated on a Legion team in the past.
Insurance – The Accident and Liability Insurance carrier for the Sr. Baseball Teams will remain with S.A. VanDyk, Inc. The insurance will consist of Accident Insurance at $255.00 and Liability Insurance at $135.00. There will be a $20 fee charged to process the policy, which will bring the total premium to $410.
Junior Legion Baseball Program – National will continue their Junior Legion Baseball program with an age limit of 17 years and younger. Pennsylvania’s Junior Program is for boys in the age range of 13-15 years and we will continue our Junior Program with the age eligibility of 13-15 years. Our Program is designated as the PA American Legion Baseball Youth Program.
Registration On-Line on the National Website – All Senior and Junior teams in the National Program will again Register On-Line. May 15, 2015 is the deadline date – a late fee will be charged for registration after May 15, 2015. Payment must be made by major credit card on-line.
National Registration Fee – The National Program will continue with the $50 National Registration Fee for all Senior Teams in the National Program.
The National Bat Rule for 2015 – Metal Bats are permitted in the National Program
Wooden bats are permitted under Official Baseball Rules and have always been permitted in Legion Baseball. The bat must be a smooth rounded stick not more than 2 3/4 inches in diameter at its thickest part nor more than 42 inches in length. An indentation in the end of the bat up to 1” in depth is permitted.
Non-wood bats, metal, ceramic, composite, or graphite bats may be used provided they do not exceed 36” in length and maximum diameter of 2 5/8”.
Any non-wood bats must have the BBCOR Certification Code marked on the barrel of the bat.
Major New Items in 2015
Background Checks – Will again be required for all managers and coaches for the 2015 Season. Application will be on-line on the National Website. Last year the National Baseball Program completed over 14,000 background checks.
American Legion Baseball will be played by Major League Rules and National Legion Rules.
ESPN U will televise live the Championship Game of the World Series on Tuesday, August 18th at 7:00 pm. Also, this year (2015) the two semi-final games will be shown live on ESPN U on August 17th at 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm.
National Playoffs in 2014
Swoyersville was the Pennsylvania State Champion in 2014 and Northampton was the Runner-up. Both teams went on to participate in the Mid-Atlantic (Region 2) National Tournament at Brooklawn, NJ and both teams played extremely well with Pennsylvania coming in Second. Brooklawn, NJ won the Tournament and went on to participate in the World Series at Shelby, NC on August 15-19, 2014. The Brooklawn team played super in the Series and beat Michigan in the Championship Game and was crowned the World Series Champ. The attendance record was again broken in 2014 at the Series with an amazing 110,036 in attendance.
Our Department Activities Committee Meeting was held on October 11-12, 2014 at Department Headquarters. The purpose of the meeting was to review and adopt the Baseball Rules for the 2015 Season and establish the Activities Program for the year.
The following major items were concluded at the meeting:
Entry Fee for the Sr. Program will remain at $75.00, the Jr. Program at $75.00, the Sandlot Program at $75.00 and the PREP Development Program at $55.00.
Senior Teams – Senior teams participating in the National Program will register On-Line on the National Website. They will also pay their Registration Fees on-line by major credit card, which will consist of Team Insurance ($410), State Registration Fee ($75), and National Registration Fee ($50) – a total of $535. For seasonal coverage, the team insurance will be $330.00 with a total registration fee of $455.00.
Wooden Bats – Pennsylvania will continue to use exclusively all wooden bats in 2015.
Hall of Fame – Seven (7) members were voted into the PA American Legion Hall of Fame. They will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the State Legion Baseball Banquet at West Lawn on July 27, 2015.
Tournament Schedule – The State Championship Tournament will be at West Lawn on July 28 – August 1, 2015. The Region 2 National Tournament will be at Leesburg, VA, on August 6-10, 2015. Both Pennsylvania teams (Winner and Runner-up) will play in the Region 2 National Tournament. This new alignment was established in 2011 to save travel expenses. The National World Series Tournament will be at Shelby, NC on August 14-18, 2015.
Major Changes in the Baseball Program in 2015
New Activities Director – Jonathan Wiest was appointed the New Activities Director for the Pennsylvania American Legion Baseball Program. Skip Carnes will remain on in an advisory position assisting Jonathan in his new role. Jonathan will work out of Legion Headquarters on Staff and will be given additional duties besides Legion Baseball. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Background Checks – In regard to background checks for Legion Baseball, Pennsylvania Legislators passed Legislation requiring any person that works with youth must complete a background check that contains “PA Statewide” and “PA Child Abuse Registry” searches through the “Department of Public Welfare.” “Protect Youth Sports,” the Agency who does the background checks for the American Legion Program, will be able to facilitate the searches for the PA Baseball Applicants but will have to pay Pennsylvania for their searches. The result will be “Applicants” that previously paid $8.00/search will now pay $37.00/search.
Other Activities Programs
State Bowling Tournament will be at Bath, PA hosted by Post 470 starting the weekend of April 25-26 and continuing thru weekends of May 2-3 and May 9-10, 2015.
State Golf Tournament will be at Carlisle War College Golf Course, on June 12-14, 2015 and hosted by Post 101. This has been a very successful program since its inception.
This will again be an extremely busy year for the Activities Program. With Jonathan Wiest as our new State Activities Director and Skip Carnes remaining in an Advisory Position along with our dedicated State Activities Committee, coupled with the tremendous support and hard work of all the many Activities Committees, we are looking for another banner season in 2015.
On September 19, 2014 at the DEC in Grantville, a Resolution was passed to form a committee to restructure the current Regions to better represent the membership. The committee was decided at the Riders DEC to be the current Legion oversight committee. The Committee decided that only Regions 1, 2, & 3 all making up the Western Section was in need of realignment. This was mainly because Region 2, being geographically from Lake Erie to South of Pittsburgh, has 20 Chapters within an11 County area, and Region 3 has only four Chapters within eight Counties. I called a meeting with the Regional Directors of Regions of 1, 2, & 3 along with Western Vice Chairman Gary Weaver to meet at Post 515 after Legion College West. It was then decided that the Regions will be re-divided horizontally. Each Region will have 9 counties and approximately 6,500 square mile sections. The new Regions will be as follows:
Region 1 – Allegheny, Westmoreland, Cambria, Blair, Washington, Green, Fayette, Somerset, and Bradford
Region 2 – Erie, Crawford, Venango, Forest, Warren, McKean, Elk, Potter, and Cameron
Region 3 – Mercer, Lawrence, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Armstrong, Indiana, Jefferson, and Clearfield
Tioga County will be placed into Region 4
As a tireless advocate of U.S. military veterans, she developed and conducted over a dozen Veterans Crisis Command Centers and Veterans Benefits Centers throughout the country in 2014 and early 2015 in the aftermath of revelations that VA employees intentionally misreported medical appointment performance, such as the number of veterans waiting extended periods of time to see doctors. She leads The American Legion’s Washington-based divisions, which work in government policy on behalf of the organization’s National Legislative Commission, Veterans Employment and Education Commission, National Security Commission, and Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Commission. She is a lawyer and a member of American Legion Post 55 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
As an African-American woman, Jones also represents a shifting demographic landscape – and growing awareness – among veterans and those who now serve in the armed forces. In observance of Black History Month, she recently discussed with The American Legion Media & Communications Division the ways in which race and gender diversity have evolved during her career and how it influences the Legion’s work going forward.
Q: Is there a specific group of black veterans who have inspired you?
A: I was inspired by all of those who came before me who serve in the military and who had an amazing amount of patriotism.
I come from a long line of veterans. My dad (Gaither Jones, Jr.) served in the Army. Although he served for a short period of time, he was very proud of his time in the military. All my dad’s brothers served in the military as well. My family is very patriotic and serving in the military was deemed honorable. Growing up with that kind patriotism, especially from such a strong culture of African-American, instilled in me a great amount of pride and love for my country. To become a part of something bigger than self and to be revered for it is very special.
Q: Describe the changes in racial tolerance you have witnessed since you joined the Army through today, as you work as an advocate for veterans.
A: The military has developed a no-tolerance policy for racism among other things. There was a time when the military was segregated and the thought process was African-Americans did not have the mental capacity or the aptitude to fly planes. It’s now understood that was not at all true. The Tuskegee Airmen flew hundreds of escort missions and total loss of bombers was only half of the loss rate of bombers protected by the Red Tails. African-Americans have proven that it does not matter what color your skin is, we have the capacity to serve our country and perform with the same amount of excellence as anyone else. Other examples during World War II are the Redball Express truckers who delivered approximately 412,193 tons of gas, oil, lubricants, ammunition, food and other essentials. Seventy-five percent of the drivers were African-American. The Buffalo Soldiers are also a great example of African-American military contributions. The military expects total loyalty and dedication to this country. It is comprised of men and women who dedicate themselves to protecting the freedom and American values. Racial inequality for the military should not be tolerated and great strides have been made to drastically reduce those occurrences and that’s a great thing.
Q: In what ways does military service itself contribute to racial equality?
A: The military has placed a lot of emphasis on education and training. It has always focused on discipline and pride. All of those things together lend themselves to producing a more mission focused force that does not care about differences in skin color, gender or other differences. Being a team, leaving no one behind and taking care of the military, their families, our veterans and their families is what’s important. The important thing gained from this is that we all have an opportunity to do whatever we desire to do or become no matter your race.
Q: Are the contributions of African-American groups like the Tuskegee Airmen of the past are now starting to get adequate recognition?
A: These groups are getting more recognition and that’s important. Raising the level of awareness of the sacrifices made by the Tuskegee Airman and other African-American groups and their contributions has made a profound influence on this country.
Q: Are there moments in black military history that stand out to you as especially significant?
A: There are many things that I can think of. One of the most significant moments for me was when there was an apology by President Clinton in 1997 to the eight remaining men injected with syphilis for what was called the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment. These people died; they suffered a great deal and for years no one thought to say, ‘We apologize.’ While the apology didn’t reverse (what happened), it helped. It was a long time coming. The mere fact that someone thought so little of their value – the value of their lives, the value of their health, the value of longevity and years later and say that it was absolutely wrong and we sincerely apologize, and the fact that it was the president of the United States, it was a defining moment for me.
Q: When you look at the armed forces and VA services, is the playing field even today for people of different ethnicities?
A: That’s a hard call to make. I believe significant efforts have been made to even the playing field, I’m not quite sure we are there yet. The VA does have a Center for Minority Veterans to help foster that equality. About three weeks ago, I had a meeting there with one of the leaders of the Center for Minority Veterans. People ask all the time, ‘Why do we need the Center for Minority Veterans?’ and there has to be a reason why. I think we have come a long way, but the VA is operated by humans and people have their own feelings about things for whatever reasons and who know why. What we do know is all veterans deserve timely quality treatment from the VA, regardless of their ethnic background.
Q: When will we know that the VA treatment is as it should be?
A: We will know when we can see a veteran go into the VA and get treated in a timely fashion. When we no longer hear stories about leadership sacrificing veterans because of a bonus. We will know when there are no more stories about veterans waiting in line, veterans dying before they get quality care and receiving the attention that they deserve. We will know when groups who fight for improved VA health care and other benefits say, ‘Hey, do you have anything else for us to do? Because right now we are just not that busy.’ That’s when we will know our veterans are getting proper VA treatment
Q: What changes would you like to see both the DoD and VA make to ensure racial and gender equality?
A: We often talk about culture change. I think the cultures change by consequence. I want to see absolute zero tolerance and increased consequence for gender or racial inequality. No exceptions. When someone does something wrong, there shouldn’t be a slap on the wrist for what you have done. There has to be a serious consequence for what was done. The first time is too many times. Neither DoD nor VA should tolerate that.
This article first appeared in February during Black History Month. If you would like to see the article in full please go to http://www.legion.org/honor/226076/inspired-lineage-service-patriotism]]>
Adjutant Kit Watson and I visited Shippensburg University in January and met with their representative. We discussed all aspects of 2015 KBS week. As with everything else costs are increasing. However, we have our budget set for this year so the cost for sending a 17 year old that is going into 12th grade or home school remains unchanged. We will require the citizens to bring along their own bed clothes to include sheets, pillow cases, blankets, towel and face cloth.
Already applications are being submitted on line. Once again Sharon is our point person at headquarters. Please feel free to contact anyone on the KBS team for information. I can be reached at 267-566-5572, email EMStelacio@gmail.com. Director Bob Munhall’s cell phone @ 724-443-6429. Please refer to directory or call headquarters for area District and Post Chair numbers.
Our goal is for three hundred citizens for 2015. To accomplish this we need your help. Please advocate at all Post and District meetings on behalf of KBS. Visit schools and speak at parent and other school functions along with Boys Scouts. Local papers are willing to run our advertisement as a community service. Myself, along with all our team members are eager and willing to visit your section, district or post and speak on behalf of KBS. We are waiting for your invite.
God Bless you and God Bless America,
Chairman Keystone Boys State.
“It took me almost 70 years to find out more about his service,” said John Gallo, 84, a member of the James E. Zundell American Legion Post 446Honor Guard in Mt. Pleasant.
Pictured to the left: John Gallo represents the James E. Zundell American Legion Post 446 during a ceremony in which he accepted an induction plaque on behalf of his late brother, World War II veteran Domenic Gallo, into the Joseph A. Dugan Jr. Hall of Valor at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.
During the winter, Bertha Gallo, the 86 year old widow of Domenic Gallo, was rummaging through the garage of her home in Vero Beach, Fla., when she came across her late husband’s DD-214 form, which specified details of his service and honorable discharge from the U.S. Army on Oct. 24, 1945.
The record conveyed details of Domenic Gallo’s military tour; one in which he was wounded four times in battle.
“How many soldiers do you know that get wounded four times that don’t get killed?” John Gallo asked. “I was 15 when he came home from the war. When I asked him about it, he just said ‘I’m no hero; the heroes are all dead in the graves in Europe.” He never talked about it again, ever.”
Late soldier is inducted into hall John Gallo, a veteran of the Korean War; recently accepted a plaque on behalf of Domenic Gallo signifying his induction into the Joseph A. Dugan Jr. Hall of Valor during a ceremony at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial hall & Museum Trust, Inc., in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.
Domenic Gallo, a Vandergift native, was one of 17 Pennsylvania veterans inducted into the hall, which recognizes nearly 700 veterans from the state awarded military medals for their bravery and heroism.
The class of 2015 represents 13 counties, four branches of the military and four kinds of medals.
Purple Heart recipient and former Auditor General Jack Wagner co-hosted the ceremony with museum President and CEO John McCabe.
“The purpose of our mission in this building is to honor and remember our veterans,” McCabe said.
John Gallo commended the work of those involved in honoring the veterans’ actions.
“They’re preserving the history of these great service people,” he said. “Otherwise, it would never be done.”
Veteran earned honor with courage under fire.
During an attack against an enemy-held hill in France on Aug. 16, 1944. Domenic Gallo, then a 19 year old Army private with Company G, 142nd Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, crawled forward under machine gun fire to advance against the enemy and allowed the company to push forward.
He worked his 5 foot 7 inch, 175 pound frame to within a few yards of the hostile position, and he opened fire with his automatic rifle, killing six of the enemy soldiers, wounding three and capturing one.
For his gallantry in action, Domenic Gallo was awarded the Silver Star Medal.
Prior to that, he sustained unspecified wounds while in battle. He also was wounded while in France in October 1944 and in Germany in March 1945.
Each time Domenic Gallo was wounded, a representative of the American Red Cross would come to his family’s home stateside and deliver the news to his parents Jack Gallo, a World War I veteran, and wife Rose, John Gallo said.
“Each time, my parents kept it from me, my brother; and my sister … they didn’t want us to worry,” he said.
Man chooses military over job in the mines.
Upon his discharge from the military in October 1945, Domenic Gallo’s father secured employment for him in an area coal mine.
However; an accident months later; which resulted in the death of several co-workers and wounds to several more, prompted Domenic Gallo to reenlist in the Army.
“He told dad, ‘I’m not going back into the coal mine, I’m going back into the service, where it is safer,’” John Gallo said with a laugh. “That was 1946.”
At the time, Domenic Gallo proffered some advice to his kid brother.
“He told me, ‘John, if you’re going to join the service, don’t join the Army, join the Army Air corps, and that’s what I did in 1947.” John Gallo said.
Three months later, the corps became the U.S. Air Force, he said.
Following Domenic Galllo’s discharge in the mid 1950s, he was transferred to Fort Riley in Junction City, Kan., where he met Bertha and the couple soon after married before moving to Florida.
Form proves pivotal to recognition
Following Domenic Gallo’s death at age 68 in 1992, John Gallo said he believed he wouldn’t ever learn any more about his brother’s military service.
“He never even registered with Department of Veterans Affairs. I eventually went to a federal government website to seek more information, but the building in St. Louis where the records were stored burned,” he said in reference to the national personnel Records Center fire of 1973 in Overland, Mo., during which the facility lost approximately 16-18 million official military personnel records as a result of the blaze.
“It was a dead end.” John Gallo said.
For more than two decades, that remained the case before Bertha Gallo’s discovery of the form detailing Domenic Gallo’s proof of honorable discharge.
“It was in a box I hadn’t opened for a long time, it wasn’t labeled or anything.” She said. “When I ran across it, I made copies and sent them to John. I’m very pleased I found it now.”
Fellow guardsmen aid in effort
Upon receiving copies of the form, John Gallo received aid from Ret. U.S. Army Lt. Col. William “Bill” Lozier, a fellow member of the local American Legion post’s honor guard, in submitting the form to the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum Trust, Inc., prior to the Feb. 1 deadline to nominate Domenic Gallo for induction to the Hall of Valor.
Two weeks later, John Gallo received confirmation his older brother was to be enshrined.
“If I didn’t have his DD-214, he wouldn’t have been inducted,” John Gallo said. “Bill and (fellow local American Legion post honor guard member Leonard Dulik) were very instrumental in helping me.”
Lozier said he and Dulik were happy to help.
“John had a problem, and he’s a vet, and he wanted to get his brother’s name in the hall there … so we just started digging, got information on how to do it, and put it in letter form,” Lozier said. “It was a group effort to recognize a man who was very deserving of this honor.”
Pictured above is East Huntingdon resident John Gallo recently accepted an induction plaque on behalf of his late brother, World War II veteran Domenic Gallo, into the Joseph A. Dugan Jr. Hall of Valor during a ceremony at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.
The law governing Small Games of Chance (SGOC) has been changed! House Bill 290 has passed and signed into law as ACT 92. The law has several changes in it; however the notable change to the law is the home association when making the 60% – 40% split of SGOC monies is now allowed to donate the 60% to The American Legion Post they operate in. This now gives the ability of a home association to support the post in their responsibility, from participating in the programs of the post, community service, and maintaining the property of the post. The structure of our home associations/American Legion Posts is beneficial, now more than ever, for both entities to work together for a common good! Commander Haas, Past Commander Cleveland and I met with legislators Stephen Barrar and John Payne and representatives of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to assure the 60%/40% split could be made to the post of the home association and the answer was yes!
There was some mention as to LCE agents’ interpretations of the law differing and both the LCB/LCE said no post has been cited for this and they would make sure the word gets out that this is not illegal. It is imperative home associations still have to follow all the regulations on reporting and accounting on the SGOC requirements, but once the donation is made to the post or any other legitimate non-profit their obligation is complete. No other reporting is required on the 60% that goes out. This is an important change that we will cover in greater detail at our two “Legion Colleges” held the last Saturday in October and the first Saturday in November. All posts and home associations should have someone attend this class.
Tax time is here and our Department has been flooded with calls on EIN numbers and filing IRS form 990 requirements. We have been reporting to you for the last several years the requirement for all posts and all home associations to file an IRS form 990. The requirement is for each and every post to file regardless of the annual income. A real big issue is emerging where some of the EIN numbers are not included under the tax exempt status of our National American Legion. These EIN numbers have been obtained through either post officers, post employees or an accountant that does not understand the requirements of non-profit status. We are undertaking a plan to keep on file here at your Department headquarters the correct EIN number for each post and where the post also has a home association we will keep that on file also. This will not be a simple task as we have posts with literally multiple EIN numbers and they have been obtained with variations in the post name. Also keep in mind that neither the Sons of The American Legion nor the American Legion Riders are allowed to have EIN numbers. The SAL and the ALR are programs of the posts and as such, the post is responsible for including the financial information of them in the Post’s IRS form 990. Please note the American Legion Auxiliary is autonomous and is responsible for their own reporting.
Nomination and election of post officers is upon us. Many calls come in asking for clarification of the process. One issue is the nominations are made in May and the election takes place in June. Under the “Standardized Post By-Laws” that every post in Pennsylvania operates under, it states in Article VII the nominations are in May and the election is in June.
This actually makes it fair to everyone as the nominations are made in May, it gives everyone a chance to attend the June meeting and vote for or against a candidate.
Also under the same Article VII it states in Section 2 individual nominees for the office of the Post Commander, Vice Commander, Post Finance Officer, Adjutant or at large Executive Committeeman should have been a member of the Post for at least twenty-four (24) months or have attended Legion College or Legion College extension prior to the June meeting at which the election will be conducted.
The requirement for being a member for two years states “should”, not must. Therefore, virtually every Legionnaire in good standing can be nominated for and if elected hold an office. There is no mandated two years member of Legion College attendance requirement. This article also is why the Commander, 1st Vice, 2nd Vice, Finance Officer and Adjutant cannot hold more than one of these top five positions.
Another recurring question concerns absentee ballots. Under Article VII Section 2 it states “Absentee Ballots will be provided to the following members upon written request thereby: hospitalized and homebound members, members on active duty in the regular military and Reservists and National Guardsmen on active duty.”
Flag Day/Round-Up will be June 7, 2015 at our Department headquarters. The entire Legion family is invited to come out for the program and the picnic after. The ALR will be escorting our Department Commander. If you have an item for our annual auction, please bring it with you! This year the proceeds of the auction will go to Commander Dennis Haas’ program.
Our Department Convention is July 9 – 12, 2015 at the Hilton Hotel in Harrisburg. All Legion family members must go through our Department for your reservations. The forms have been mailed out to each post adjutant and are on our website. Also, Convention shirts are available for purchase through our Department Emblem Sales by calling us at headquarters.
The National Convention is in Baltimore, MD and the reservation forms have been mailed to every post adjutant. The dates are August 28 through September 3.
Our Keystone Boys State (KBS) and State Police Youth Week (SPYW) are coming up. We hope every post has candidates for each of these two excellent programs.
Finally, this last item is for all posts, squadrons, chapters and units. Many of you know the Housing for Homeless Veterans program our Pennsylvania American Legion. The homes in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Ephrata and Harrisburg are always looking for volunteers! If your membership is looking to support a worthy program, this is it. Whether it is goods, monetary donations or hands on workers, we welcome your participation. If interested, call us here at Department headquarters.
Until next time……. Kit]]>
So much has happened that it is difficult to pinpoint one day as being the best. A very memorable moment for me was the Christmas tour to the VA hospitals and the State Veterans Homes. I was inspired with each and every veteran I had the opportunity to meet. I saw their spirit as they dealt with health issues and their pride in their service to their country. It left me speechless. To see the look of joy on their faces when we walked in was an experience I will hold very dear to my heart. It reaffirmed my faith in the warrior’s code of dedication and sacrifice as well as taking care of each other.
My travels throughout the Department cannot be described as anything but fantastic. The hospitality was always “above and beyond” what I would have ever expected. Each and every post I visited displayed the principles put forward in the Preamble to our Constitution.
You made the National Commander’s tour a complete success and he left with a feeling of friendship with the entire Department. You showed him the friendship and respect that only the Department of Pennsylvania can hand out. I want to personally thank all of you for going out of your way to make Commander Helm feel at home.
The leadership from the Post level and on up cannot be compared to any other Department. I see it in everything we do. I see it in our programs. I see it in how we support the four pillars that we were founded on. The hours of personal time that was sacrificed by our Legionnaires brought a lot of smiles to a lot of people and showed the public who we are and what we stand for. When we hold a Veterans Day Breakfast, Children’s Miracle Network fund raiser, Memorial Day ceremony, and a park cleanup it shows our commitment to each other and to our community. Remember that our actions in the eyes of the community should always be positive.
As I prepare to pass the torch on to our new Commander, I only ask that you please give him the support that you gave me. You are a very special family and will always remain so. Again, thank you for a wonderful year and I will see you all soon I’m sure. I wish you all “fair winds and following seas “as we say in the U.S. Navy!
Remember to “Inspire, Motivate, and Lead.”]]>