2008 Honor A Veteran Ceremony's
Delford R. Hilton was born in the City of Manning, South Carolina on September 7th, 1933 to parents Frank and Sue Johnson Hilton. One of eight children Delford was raised in Manning along with his three sisters; Essie, Almeta, and Rosetta, and four brothers; Alvin, George, Elbert, and Conor.
Located in South Carolina’s Clarendon County, Manning, the county seat, is a town of some 4,000 residents. Interesting enough, Manning is the birthplace of at least one other notable veteran, WWII ace fighter pilot and early member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, Lt. Col. James A. Walker. Delford was educated in Manning where he attended both the Manning Training School and Rosenwald High School.
On September 10th, 1953 at the age of 20 Delford enlisted in the United States Army and following basic training was assigned to the 16th Infantry Regiment’s Company B. Delford would spend 18 months of those cold war years serving as part of the United States Occupation Force in Germany.
Researching the 16th Infantry is a task that could go on forever and ever! I think just about every state in America has a 16th Infantry and accompanying history thereof, and because so much of it involves the Civil War it can be a little hard to follow. Obviously those states which fought for the Confederacy saw their regiments disbanded after that conflict, but more often than not they were reorganized as part of the Army’s Combat Arms Regimental System.
What would eventually become the 16th was constituted on May 3rd in 1861 as part of the Regular Army and known as the 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry. Following the Civil War it would be reorganized and lose the 1st Battalion designation meaning it was now the 11th Infantry. Shortly thereafter it was coupled with the 34th Infantry and from that point on would be known as the 16th..
In 1917 it would be assigned to the 1st Expeditionary Division and there it would remain for the next forty years. In 1957 it was reorganized and designated a “Parent” Regiment under the new Combat Arms Regimental System. Finally the 16th would be withdrawn from the “Combat Arms System” and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System with its’ permanent headquarters at Ft. Riley, Kansas.
Private First Class Delford Hilton was separated from the 16th Infantry on August 10th, 1955 and for his service was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Army of Occupation Medal (Germany Clasp), and a Good Conduct Medal.
In the City of Troy Delford met and on February 2nd, 1957 married Mae Francis McDonald. They would have two daughters; Anita Michele and Adriene and would be further blessed with four grandchildren; Dellena and Emanuel Tiki Mayben along with Lorenzo and Myron Robinson. They would subsequently celebrate the birth of their great grandson; Hais Mayben.
Delford was originally employed with D.H. Lowenthal and would later go to work for R.P.I. from where he would eventually retire as Supervisor of Environmental Services.
Delford was a member of the Dickerson VFW Post 8758 where he proudly served as Quarter Master and Commander from 2005-2006. He was also a member of the United Trojans Club and loved to take part in the Flag Day Parade.
A sports fan, Delford enjoyed his baseball and basketball and also loved to solve word puzzles, spend time in the garden, or just keep busy fixing “things” around the house.
We lost Delford on July the 5th, 2006, when he left behind many grieving friends and family.
It is certainly my honor as we appropriately take time this morning to honor another of our revered Rensselaer County Veterans, Private First Class Delford Roosevelt Hilton.
Neil J. Kelleher - January 2008
John R. Dwyer Jr. was born in the City of Troy on the 22nd day of August in 1936 to parents John R. Sr. and May McGinnis Dwyer. John or “Jack” as he was better known was raised in the City of Troy along with his sister Shirley.
Jack was educated in Troy Catholic Schools attending St. Joseph’s Elementary and was a graduate of Catholic Central High School. Not long after his high school graduation, on August 27th, 1956, Jack traveled to the City of Albany where he enlisted in the United States Marine Corp. Jack joined with a group of young men mostly from Troy, who were identified in the local media as the “Trojan Platoon”.
Marine John Reeves Dwyer, Jr. was assigned to the Weapons Training Battalion which is located at the Marine Corp’s Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina. The responsibilities and duties attached to that duty assignment are exactly as they sound. The marines assigned to the Weapon’s Training Battalion are responsible for all weapon training facilities on Parris Island. From the actual instruction to making sure they’ve got sufficient supplies of guns and “ammo”, it is the responsibility of the Weapons Training Battalion to ensure that Marine recruits receive the best weapons training on the planet.
Permanent Corporal John Reeves Dwyer, Jr. would serve three years at Parris Island as a drill instructor, and although recommended for re-enlistment, would choose to be released from active duty on August 26th, 1959.
For Honorable Service to country and Corp Corporal Dwyer received the Good Conduct Medal.
Upon returning home Jack would join his dad, Detective John R. Dwyer, as a member of the Troy Police Force, being appointed in 1959. Such was the beginning of a forty-two year career in Law Enforcement from which Jack would never completely retire. Initially serving as a patrolman and as a “motor” officer, riding a motorcycle, Jack would eventually find his niche in “Special Operations”.
While still on the police force Jack joined the Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office as Chief Investigator. It was while on that job that Jack made the acquaintance of a young Assistant D.A., Con Cholakis, a friendship which would become almost legendary in the City of Troy.
Con Cholakis, of course, would go on to become the District Attorney, a County Court Judge, and eventually, although somewhat reluctantly, a federal judge, appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986.
Judge Cholakis was known not only as a brilliant jurist, but also for his “street smarts” and keen intuition, which probably goes a long way in explaining his thirty year friendship with Jack Dwyer, a bond built on mutual trust and respect.
Jack, often wearing a Greek Fisherman’s hat, and Judge Cholakis ,who was an icon in the local Greek Community, actually spent so much time together that Jack came to be known as an “Honorary Greek”, or in the words of long time Troy Record Columnist John Scanlon, the “Irish Greek”.
In the late seventy’s Jack would actually join the Staff of then County Court Judge Cholakis, serving as his confidential assistant.
Retiring from his Chief of Communications position in the Troy Police Department in 1992, Jack was appointed by Sheriff Daniel Keating to the post of Undersheriff, a position he’d hold until the time of his death.
Extremely active in the community Jack was an officer in the State Police Information Network, a member of the Troy Kiwanis and the Troy Rotary. He served as the Troy Police Benevolent Associations Chairman of the Board as well as chairing the P.B.A.’s Annual Dinner for over a decade.
Fiercely proud of his Irish Heritage, Jack supported a cause close to his heart, Aid to Northern Ireland. He also found time to support both the Annual Toy’s for Tot’s Campaign and the Doors of Hope.
When time allowed Jack, himself a natural athlete, could often be found cheering on his Yankee’s and Giant’s, which would lead one to think that he probably enjoyed last Sunday’s Super Bowl!
Jack left us much too soon on January the 5th, 2001, leaving behind his cherished family: daughters Nora and Susan, son John R., III, and four grandchildren, John R. Dwyer, IV, Kasey, Kelly, and Connor.
Everybody remembers Jack in their own way, but my minds eye will always see a motorcycle officer complete with helmet, knee high boots, and riding chaps. A motorcycle cop who was never too busy to show the neighborhood kids his bike.
It gives me a great amount of honor and pleasure to be here this morning as we honor and recognize the contributions of another of our Rensselaer County Heroes, United States Marine Corporal John R. Dwyer, Jr.
Neil J. Kelleher - February 2008
John P. Rogers was born in The City of Troy on August the 1st, 1919 to parents Ansel and Sarah Scott Rogers. John grew up in the Lansingburgh section of North Troy along with his brother Ansel and four sisters; Irma, Marge, Janet, and Dorothy. John attended public schools in North Troy including Lansingburgh High School from 1935 to 1937.
After school John found work as a truck driver which was probably what he would have been doing on that fateful December day, had it not been a Sunday, when the Japanese attacked the United States Navy’s Fleet at Pearl Harbor on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. Six months later John, like millions of other young men and woman throughout America, had a new boss, Uncle Sam.
John officially became a member of the United States Army Air Corp at Camp Upton, New York on June 16th, 1942.
John was now part of an organization that six months earlier, at the time of the United States entry into WWII, had an enlistment of 25,000 and an inventory of about 4,000 aircraft. This force would grow to an eventual peak wartime strength of almost two and a half million men and woman and a “flying arsenal” of some 75,000 aircraft.
Thanks to the demands of the “lend lease” program our nation already possessed the necessary manufacturing capabilities to undertake the task of arming ourselves. The personnel that manned and serviced these aircraft were a diverse group of people. Ninety percent would be new recruits coming on board as a result of the war. Coming from all backgrounds and all parts of our country, these farmers, bookkeepers, and truck drivers, like John Rogers, would be quickly and efficiently turned into pilots, navigators, gunners, and mechanics. This group of “rookies” would be meshed with a small core of experienced personnel from prewar days and would eventually constitute the largest, most powerful Air Force the world had ever known.
Sergeant John P. Rogers would indeed be one of those newly trained personnel whose job it would be to keep our aircraft in fighting shape. As an airplane and special engine mechanic John was stationed at Lowry Field in Colorado where he shouldered the immense responsibility of making sure that our air crews were flying in aircraft that where maintained to the highest possible standards.
John was honorably discharged at Lowry Field on January 22nd, 1946 and as a result of his service to his country was awarded the American Theatre Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Returning to his hometown of Troy John married Mary Louise Dietchel and had two children, daughters Marjorie, and Christine. The Rogers would be further blessed with their two grandchildren, John Sislowski, and Tim Holland.
No stranger to hard work John would spend many years in the roofing business, subsequently retiring from the Tilo Roofing Company in Brunswick, N.Y.
John was an active member of the Lansinburgh Veterans Club and when not there helping out or playing cards, he could often be found on a bowling lane.
It is both a pleasure and a great honor for me to be here this morning and take part in these proceedings as we recognize and pay fitting tribute to another of our Rensselaer County Distinguished Veterans, Sergeant John P. Rogers.
Neil J. Kelleher - March 2008
William Daniel Mohan was born on January 24th, 1921 in Albany, New York, to parents Carolyn Winnie and Daniel S. Mohan. Bill, or as he would come to be better known, "Mo", grew up in Albany along with his sister Ann and brother Jack. Bill was educated in Albany and was a graduate of Vincentian Institute. He would also attend numerous specialty trade schools as part of his job training.
In 1940 Bill enlisted in the United States Army Air Corp. stationed at Mitchell Field on Long Island, New York Bill would advance to the level of Chief Staff Clerk before his discharge in 1942.
Not seeing the action he probably craved Bill re-enlisted in January of 1943, attended Officer Candidate School, and was commissioned a First Lieutenant assigned to the Army’s 9th Armored Division. Lieutenant Mohan worked as an automotive maintenance officer in the 9th’s Infantry Division.
On December 16th, 1944 the Germans started what they would call the Ardennes Offensive. Their goal was to break through the allied armies which had encircled them, reach the sea, and in the process trap four allied armies, which would hopefully allow them a negotiated end to the war, as opposed to unconditional surrender. The most they were able accomplish, after four weeks of horrific fighting in the worst weather the region had seen in recent years, was to make a “bulge” in the allied lines, resulting in the action to be forever known as the “Battle of the Bulge.” During those four weeks over one million men, German, American, and British, would clash in what would be some of the most intense ground action of the war.
After it was all over there would be about 100,000 casualties on each side. The Americans would suffer 81,000 themselves, with 19,000 killed, and over 23,000 captured. Unfortunately, the ranks of those captured would include Lt. William Daniel Mohan.
When one hears the words “death march” the first thing that comes to mind is “Bataan”. Unfortunately that 60 mile trek across the Philippine Bataan Peninsula would not be the only WW II “Death March” involving American P.O.W.’s.
Lt. Mohan and his fellow prisoners were being held at Stalag IV in Poland. Stalag IV consisted of five compounds separated by barbed wire fences. Three of these contained only American P.O.W.’s, the fourth a combination of British and American.
In February of 1945, a little more than a month after the arrival of Lt. Mohan, Stalag IV was about to be over-run by the Red Army. With only a few hours notice some 6,000 prisoners including our Lt. Mohan, were ordered to leave the camp on foot.
Split into groups of 2 to 300 men each, they were forced to march long distances every day on starvation rations. The entire march would take over 80 days encompassing an estimated 600 miles. Thirteen hundred men would perish along the way, some to disease and others at the hands of German guards.
Some of the more fortunate were able to escape along the route and manage to hide out until able to make contact with advancing allied troops.
Thankfully, among those was Lt. William “Mo” Mohan. The heroism of the men involved in the European “Death March” stands as a legacy to the American G.I. and one that many feel has never been properly recognized.
“Mo” arrived back in the United States in June of 1945 and was honorably discharged on February 13th, 1946 at FT. Mead in Maryland. He was awarded the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal w/ a triple Bronze Star Attachment, American Defense Service Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, Victory Medal, WWII Honorable Service Lapel Button, and POW Medal.
Prior to his official discharge, on July 14th, 1945, Bill was married to the former Marie Ruth Stark. Bill and Ruth would raise their four children, daughters Ruth, Kathleen, and Tina, and a son Daniel, in the City of Rensselaer where they resided for over 50 years.
The Mohan’s would grow to include nine grandchildren; Jennifer, Jean, Paul, Michelle, Kimberly, Michael, Steven, Gregory, and Shawn, as well as nine great-grand children; Kayla, Gabriella, Tyler, Justin, Ashleigh, Jordan, Madison, Mohana, and Shawn.
Bill worked for Otis Elevator, The New York Central Railroad, and would eventually retire from the Albany Public School District where he worked for many years as Chief Mechanic at both Phillip Livingston Junior High and Albany High School.
Bill was active in the Ft. Crailo American Legion Post 471 as well as the Hill Hook and Ladder Fire Department.
When he wasn’t overseeing the Soap Box Derby, which he directed, he could usually be found enjoying time with his family, especially fishing with his grand children.
Bill passed away on December 9th, 2005 just about a month shy of his 85th birthday. Our WWII Vets, of whom we owe so much, are truly something to be cherished, especially today as we lose them much too quickly.
It is an honor for me to be here today as we recognize the contributions of another of our own Rensselaer County WWII hero’s, Lieutenant William “Mo” Mohan.
Neil J. Kelleher - April 2008
Edward Joseph Patrick, Jr. was born on May 14th, 1944 in the City of Troy to parents Edward J. and Mary C. Doherty Patrick. Ed was raised in Lansingburgh along with his seven brothers; Mike, George, David, Joe, Andy, Tim, Marty, and three sisters; Allyce, Mary Kay, and Ann.
Ed attended elementary school at St. Augustine’s in Lansingburgh and would also attend Lansingburgh High School.
On June 30th, 1961 Ed enlisted in the United States Navy at the recruiting center located in downtown Troy. During his naval career Ed, in addition to his two tours in Vietnam, was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, Italy, and Hawaii. He also worked as a recruiter in both Massachusetts and Vermont.
On June 30th, 1982 Chief Boatswains Mate Patrick separated from the United States Navy in Norfolk, Virginia, after twenty-one years of service.
When you add up the combined service of Ed, his brother’s, and his son Edward J., you come up with over eighty years of naval service.
For Ed’s service to his country he was awarded two Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, a Bronze Star with V for Valor, a Combat Action Ribbon, RVN Armed Forces Merit Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Small Craft Insignia, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, RVN Meritorious Unit Citation, Navy Expedition Medal, and a Sea Service Medal.
On August 8th, 1968 Ed married Alice M. Pollay. Alice and Ed would raise three children, two daughters; Patricia and Pamela, and a son Edward J. Patrick III. They also have a grandchild, Martin Patrick Benoit.
Although perhaps not technically considered employment, one would be hard pressed to find anybody who worked any harder than Ed did in his position as president of the Veterans of Lansingburgh, a position he held for some twenty-four years.
It was under Ed’s leadership that the Lansingburgh Vet’s became known not only as tireless supporter’s and advocates for “all things veteran” but indeed “all things community” as well, especially those dealing with our youth.
One of my favorite accomplishments attributed to Ed and the Veterans of Lansingburgh is their bringing back the Memorial Day Parade, an event which those of us who grew up in “the Burgh” have a lot of fond memories of before it’s being discontinued.
I had the pleasure of working with Ed on numerous occasions, most notably when “The Club” was looking to obtain what is now their beautiful First Avenue River Front location, which at that time was Rensselaer Counties’ North Troy Highway Garage. Ed was a tough guy to say no to and I can’t thing of many instances when he didn’t accomplish his mission.
In addition to the Vets, Ed was also a member of the All Troy Club, the Elks, the Eagles Club, the American Legion and VFW.
A big sports fan, Ed somehow found time to also enjoy his hobby of coin collecting.
Ed passed away on the 30th day of April in 2007. A larger than life figure who certainly left his mark on his community, it is my honor to be here this morning as we honor a “veterans veteran” Chief Boatswains Mate Edward J. Patrick, Jr.
Neil J. Kelleher - May 2008
Charles E. Thompson was born in the Town of Waterford on April 25th, 1920 to parents Robert and Blanche Rawlins Thompson.
Raised in Waterford along with brothers Robert and Milford, Charles attended Waterford Public Schools and was a graduate of Waterford High School. Following high school Charles, better known to friends and family as Ed, went to work for Cluett and Peabody at their Bleachery Facility located in Waterford.
Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Ed, just like millions of other young American men and women, answered our country’s’ “call to arms”, enlisting in the United States Army on February 10th, 1942 in the City of Saratoga Springs. Assigned to the 152nd Infantry Company I, Ed served as a Rifleman in a frontline combat unit seeing action in locations throughout the Central Pacific including New Guinea, Luzon, and the Southern Philippines. While on duty in the Philippines Private Thompson was wounded in action receiving shrapnel wounds to his leg as well as injuries to his back.
On the 8th day of November in 1945 Technician Fifth Grade Thompson arrived back in the United States and was honorably discharged ten days later on the November 18th, 1945.
In recognition of his service a grateful nation awarded Tech 5 Thompson the American Service Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, a Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal, the Philippines Liberation Ribbon, a Combat Infantry Badge which would later qualify him for a Bronze Star, and of course as a result of being wounded in action, a Purple Heart.
Returning home to Waterford Ed went back to work for Cluett and Peabody and it was there that he made the acquaintance of his future wife Elaine.
On June 30th, 1945 in the Town of Waterford Ed married Elaine M. Normandin, a union resulting in the subsequent births of their five children: John, Bruce, Karen, Diane, and Wendy.
In 1948 Ed and Elaine moved their family to the City of Troy. Ed would continue working for Cluett and Peabody until the company closed and relocated south almost thirty years later. At that time Ed went to work for GE Waterford where he would work as an assemblyman on the silicone tube line, retiring some ten years later.
An avid “bocce” player, Ed also kept busy giving back to his community via his memberships in the Purple Heart Club, Lansingburgh Veterans, and the Troy Elks.
A card carrying member of the American Association of Retired Persons Ed was first and foremost a “family man” whose greatest joy was spending time with his family which grew to include eleven grandchildren: Michelle, Bruce, Keith, Heather, Tracey, Philip, Tara, Daniel, Lisa, Kevin, and Scott, and eight great-grandchildren: Gabriella, Rocco, Santiago, Lucy, Philip, Justin, Michael, and Jonathon.
Ed passed away on October 12th, 2003 leaving behind a grieving family which itself is a tribute to the love, compassion, and dedication to country that embodied Ed Thompson.
It is with great honor that I take part in this mornings’ ceremony as we remember and recognize Technician 5th Grade Charles Edward Thompson for his selfless contribution and service to his country.
Neil J. Kelleher - June 2008
John Edward “Jack” Thompson was born in the City of Albany on June 20th, 1946 to proud parents Charles E. and Elaine Normandin Thompson.
At the age of 2 Jack and his family moved to the City of Troy where Jack would attend St. Augustine’s Grammar School and Catholic Central High School, both in the Lansingburgh section of North Troy, graduating in 1964.
Shortly after his graduation, in August of that same year, Jack enlisted in the United States Navy. Upon completion of his Recruit Training at the Great Lakes in Illinois, Jack was transferred to Key West, Florida. Jack’s career would end up spanning over 22 years during which he’d rise to the rank of Lieutenant. A career that would see Jack hold numerous positions and designations including Training Chief Petty Officer, Post Analysis Chief Petty Officer, and Chief Ocean Systems Technician. These assignments would provide Jack the opportunity to live and work all over the world. Jack’s duty stations, which were usually at training facilities under his command included locations in Wales, Bermuda, Argentina, Newfoundland, San Diego, the State of Washington, and Norfolk, Virginia to name a few.
It seems everywhere Jack went what would soon follow were kudos for a job well done.
As well as being commended by his U.S. Navy Superiors Jack was also recognized by Canadian Forces for his training of Canadian Personnel at their station located at Shelburne, Nova Scotia.
Jack would also be recognized for his “shipboard training” when he was commended for “Underwater Surveillance” exercises he conducted aboard the U.S.S. Albert David, a Garcia Class Destroyer.
Interestingly the “Albert David” is still in service today, but not as part of the United States Navy. The “Para” as it is now known, sails under the flag of Brazil, which first leased and then purchased the ship in 2001.
Lieutenant Thompson retired from active duty in April of 1987. Upon the occasion of his retirement Jack was again cited for his faithful service and successful career. To paraphrase from a letter written by his commander, L.C. Bucher, “your performance in a wide variety of assignments throughout your naval career has been outstanding and highly commendable. You have set the example for not only your department but the entire command. Your talent and expertise will be sorely missed.”
In recognition of his service Jack received, in addition to the numerous commendations and citations already mentioned, the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Letter of Commendation, and Letter of Appreciation.
Jack married Cecilia Marie Phillips on August 19th, 1967. Together they would raise their four children; Michelle, Keith, Bruce, and Heather. They would also be blessed with their five grandchildren; Phillip, Lucy, Jonathon, Justin, and Michael.
Jack spent the better part of his life as a Navy Retiree with his children and grandchildren. He especially enjoyed attending the numerous sporting events in which his children and later grandchildren took part.
Jack passed away on the 15th day of October in 2005 at the too young age of 59.
This morning it gives me great honor and pride to recognize the career and selfless service of another of Rensselaer County Honored Veterans, Lieutenant John E. Thompson.
Neil J. Kelleher - July 2008
George Albert Randall, III was born in Harwood, Maryland on the 14th day of April in 1927. George’s parents, George W. and Susie Brown Randall would raise ten children in all, including in addition to George, his two brothers William and James, a half brother Sam, and his seven sisters, Dorothy, Rosalie, Alverta, Irene, Beatrice, Shirley and Mary.
George was educated in Maryland attending both Stanton Elementary and Bates High School.
On August 14th, 1944 in Annapolis, Maryland, a town of course known for its’ Naval history, George enlisted in the United States Army. George and his outfit, the 4495th Service Company, “shipped out” in July of 1945 arriving on the Island of Luzon in the Philippines on July 20th, 1945.
Luzon, the largest of the Philippine Islands, had just recently been liberated from the Japanese Imperial Army a few months prior to George’s arrival. That action was known as the Battle of Luzon which had begun with an immense amphibious assault on January 9th, 1945.
George served in Luzon as a rifleman returning to the United States on July 20th, 1945. Cpl. Randall was honorably discharged on July 29th, 1946 and in consideration of his service to his country was awarded a Good Conduct Medal, Army Occupation Medal (Japan), Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, and the WW II Victory Medal.
George relocated to New York in 1951 and on April 14th, 1953 was married to Thelma Bowen. The Randall children would eventually “number” ten in all with five sons; William, Julius, Leroy, George, IV, and Gene, and five daughters; Gail, Pearlester, Connie, Helen and Elaine, who in turn would be responsible for twenty- two grandchildren and thirty-three great-grandchildren.
George’s work history was eclectic, including Holts Barber Shop, the Johnson Lumber Company, the United States Naval Academy, General Electric, Union College, and St. Mary’s Hospital. He drove for the Benjamin Sturgess Funeral Home, worked for a period of time at our own Troy Senior Center and was a retiree of Garden Way Manufacturing in North Troy.
George was a long time member of the Fifth Avenue AME Zion Church where he served on the usher board.
A past member of the Prince Hall Masons George was most happy when spending time with his family.
He was a life time member of the Cpl. William A. Dickerson VFW Post 8758 and of course was a fixture here each and every month at our Honor-A-Vet Ceremonies. A proud veteran and patriot George was the captain of the Dickerson Post’s Color Guard as well as serving on both their house committee and board of directors.
George would often visit veterans at both hospitals and nursing homes and was volunteering in the Rensselaer County Aging Departments Home Delivered Meals Program right up until the time of his death.
It is certainly my pleasure to be here this morning as we honor a WWII Veteran, a patriot, and our friend, Cpl. George Albert Randall, III.
Neil J. Kelleher - August 2008
Today we celebrate the life and times of Joseph F. Salmon, Sr., who was born on October 19, 1931 in Troy, New York. Joseph was one of three children born to Hobart and Mary Marcella (Vallee) Salmon, having two sisters, Joan and Mary.
Joseph received his education in the Troy Public School System. After Joseph finished his academic studies, he acquired work with the City of Troy as a truck driver prior to entering into the U.S. Army on May 23, 1952 in Albany, New York. Private Salmon received his basic training at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. He was assigned to Co. B 506th AB Inf. Regiment and trained with the 101st Airborne Division, known as the Screaming Eagles.
On November 1, 1952 Pvt. Salmon departed the United States for the theater of war from Lawton, Washington via a troop transport ship. Pvt. Salmon arrived at the replacement depot at Camp Drake, Japan on November 14, 1952 for a short two day stay before he continued on to his destination, Korea. On November 22, 1952 Pvt. Salmon arrived in Korea and officially on November 24th, and was assigned to the 7th Division APO 7 Korea.
Pvt. Salmon was serving with this division as pointman on a search patrol on the night of February 6, 1953, when he was wounded in the vicinity of “Old Baldy”, North Korea. Pvt. Salmon sustained five wounds that night from what is referred to as a “burp gun”, a lightweight portable machine gun. In Pvt. Salmon’s case, the cold North Korean temperatures proved to be a blessing, if it was not for the -30 below zero temperature that night slowing down his circulation, he very well could have been a casualty of the Korean War.
Pvt. Salmon was carried all night long on a litter until he arrived at a U.S. Army MASH Unit around 6 a.m. the next morning in critical condition. He now not only suffered from five gun shots to his body, but also frost bite to his hands and feet. It was here that he would receive emergency surgery to repair his most serious wounds before eventually being transported to Seoul, Korea for further surgeries and to be placed in a body cast from his chest to his ankles. On February 10, 1953 he was flown to an Army hospital in Yokohama, Japan where more surgeries would follow. Finally on April 9, 1953 Pvt. Salmon was flown from Japan back to the United States.
Upon his return to the United States, Pvt. Salmon was sent to Murphy Army Hospital in Waltham, Massachusetts. When it was determined that his wounds had healed, he was transferred to Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, and assigned to the 398th QM Co. Graves Registration Co. It was while stationed at Ft. Devens that Pvt. Salmon would meet his future wife, Jacqueline D. Therrien, at a social club in Lowell, Massachusetts, where he had gone with a few of his fellow wounded comrades. Less than a year later, on January 16, 1954 they would marry in Lowell, Massachusetts.
On March 5, 1954 Pvt. Salmon was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts. For his honorable service to his country Pvt. Salmon was awarded the Purple Heart, United Nations Service Medal, Koreans Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, Combat Infantry Badge and the National Defense Service Medal.
Joseph settled into civilian and married life with Jacqueline in Troy prior to moving to Lansingburgh. Of their union together they had four children, two sons Joseph Jr. and Gary, and two daughters, Jacqueline and Shelia. Joseph supported his family through his employment with the City of Troy Department of Public Works, where he would later retire from with 42 years of service; as well as various part-time jobs.
When Joseph was not spending time with his family traveling around the world, he could usually be found watching his beloved N.Y. Mets games. He was also a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Sons of Spanish/American War Veterans and a Life Member of the Veterans of Lansingburgh.
Sadly, on September 7, 2006 Joseph passed away, leaving behind his loving family that had grown to include 9 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
Presented By: Robert Mirch - September 2008
Marjorie Rogers was born in Denver, Colorado on the 28th day of February in the year 1947 to parents John and Mary Louise (Dietchel) Rogers. The Rogers family also included another daughter, Marjorie’s sister Christine.
Moving to the City of Troy in 1949 Marjorie would attend St. Patrick’s Elementary School and Catholic Central High School graduating in 1964.
Following the lead of her dad John Rogers who served in the United States Army Air Corp, Marjorie enlisted in the United States Air Force in Albany, N.Y. on November 3rd, 1965.
Here Marjorie’s “bio” gets a little interesting, as well as ironic. Evidently she had been told at the time of her enlistment that she’d be assigned to an Air Base in Massachusetts where she would be attending nursing school. Well the good news is that M. Rogers was indeed assigned to attend nursing school in Massachusetts; the bad news was that it was AirMAN Rogers that would be going to nursing school instead of Marjorie.
She would instead be assigned to what we have to assume was supposed to be the assignment of the soon to be male nurse, and that was joining a B-52 Inspection Squadron based at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California.
Now here’s where the irony comes in. It was while on this assignment that Marjorie would meet and on August 20th, 1966 at March Air Force Base marry, her husband Donald Sislowski. A meeting and subsequent marriage which would not have taken place had Marjorie’s orders not been mixed up.
Following completion of their military service Marjorie and Don lived in Loraine, Ohio for six years before moving to Lansingburgh in 1972. It was during their stay in Ohio that they were blessed with the birth of their son John.
Once in Troy Marjorie went to work for the Watervliet Arsenal retiring in 1998.
An avid gardener, Marjorie was always a supporter and participant in the Earth Day Celebration which takes place at Powers Park every spring in the month of April.
When the weather kept her out of the garden, Marjorie, an avid reader, could often be found with her nose in a good book. I’m guessing she also found time to dote on her grandson Aaron, as well.
Sadly, Marjorie passed away on September 24th, 2007.
It is my pleasure to be here this morning as we recognize the life, contribution, and sacrifice of another of our proud Rensselaer County Veterans, Airman Third Class Marjorie Rogers Sislowski.
Neil Kelleher - October 2008
Charles Joseph Werger was born to proud parents Harry Grant and Ellen Felter Werger on July the 23rd, 1928 in the Town of West Sand Lake.
A 1945 graduate of Averill Park High School Charles would go on to attend and graduate from both Union College and Albany Law School.
In 1949 on August 26th Charles was married to Marjorie Carpenter. They would have three children, a daughter Martha, and two sons H. Charles and Matthew.
At the time of his passing Charles and Marjorie’s family had grown to include grand children Matthew P. Jr., and Joseph W. Werger, Matthew, Stephen, and Christopher Ezell, and Kyle Kresse.
In 1952 Charles enlisted in the United States Marine Corp, beginning a military career which would span over 35 years. Prior to retiring in 1988 as a Lt. Colonel, Charles would serve in numerous legal capacities, including trial counsel, defense counsel, legal officer, finance officer, as well as an adjutant and administrative officer.
Also in 1952 Charles had become a member of the New York Bar and authorized to practice in all New York and Federal Courts.
In 1955 Charles joined the law firm of Dunne and Lee and just 5 years later in 1960 opened his own practice in West Sand Lake, a successful general practice he would operate until the time of his death in 2006.
Like so many of our veterans Charles would serve his community in numerous capacities, at various levels of government, including First Assistant D.A. in Rensselaer County, Town Attorney for both Sand Lake and Poestenkill, and general counsel for the West Sand Lake Fire district #1.
Charles served in many service organizations both during and after his military career including his Life Member, past commander and judge advocate status in the Sgt. Walter Adams American Legion Post #1021, Life Member of the Marine Corp League’s Troy Detachment where he also served as Judge Advocate, and Senior Vice Commandant and Chaplain of the Department of New York Marine Corp League.
He was also a member of the Reserve Officers Association, New York Veterans Council, the Watervliet Elks Lodge #1500, Sand Lake Republican Club and a Life Member of the West Sand Lake Fire Company.
Believe it or not Charles did find time for some more personal activities, among them playing the organ, building model cars and planes, some radio controlled, and collecting classic automobiles.
It is certainly my pleasure and more than appropriate that on this “Veterans Day Version” of our Rensselaer County Honor a Vet we celebrate the life of such a distinguished military officer and citizen, Lt. Colonel Charles J. Werger.
Neil Kelleher - November 2008
Frank J. Malloy, Jr. was born in the City of Troy on August 2, 1924 to parents Frank Sr. and Alice Meyers Molloy. Frank would later relocate to Green Island and at the time of his passing was living in the Town of Brunswick.
The Malloy’s, including Frank and his sister Doris resided on River Street in Troy. Frank attended St. Patrick’s Grammar School and LaSalle Institute, both also located in Troy.
After high school Frank, following in his father’s footsteps, went to work for the Troy Publishing Company as a proof pressman on the Troy Record Newspaper.
On March 11th, 1943 in the City of Albany Frank became a member of the United States Army. Frank served in the 710th Tank Battalion as a crewman on a light tank.
Serving in the South Pacific Private First Class Molloy saw action throughout the Philippines where he took part in both the Southern Philippines and Ryukyus Campaigns.
Most people of course recognize and know of the Philippines but Ryukyus is often another matter. The Ryukyus Island Chain, known by the Japanese as the Nansei Islands , which translates literally as Southwest Islands, are a chain of Japanese Islands located in the Western Pacific Ocean at the eastern limit of the East China sea. A more familiar name is that of the chain’s largest island, Okinawa.
In September of 1944 the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington decided to invade Okinawa as part of the ongoing strategy to defeat Japan by taking the fight to the “home” islands.
Possession of Okinawa would also provide American Forces air bases within striking distance of Japan as well as the deep anchorages deemed necessary for the then thought inevitable Invasion of Japan. The actual invasion of Okinawa began in March of 1945. Fighting would be fierce and Private Malloy along with his fellow “tankers” got a first hand look at fanatical Japanese resistance.
A Japanese soldier couldn’t have a better day than the one that would see him killed in defense of the emperor. The Japanese even had a “kamikaze” style method of attacking American Armor which involved Japanese troops running out in front of the tanks and throwing satchel charges.
In the end the Japanese defenders would prove no match for the American Assault, which was called by some Japanese the “tetsu no bow” or Storm of Steel.
Frank or “Brud” as he was known to his friends and family was honorably discharged on January 25th, 1946. For his service to his nation Private 1st Class Malloy was awarded the American Service Medal, Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Philippines Liberation Medal, and the WW II Victory Medal.
Returning to his home in Troy Frank went back to work for the Troy Record retiring 47 years later on July 1st, 1988. (Eclipsing by two years his fathers 45 years as a Record pressman!)
On September 14th, 1946 Frank was married to Jean Curley at St. Joseph’s Church in Green Island. Frank and Jean had four children; two girls Susan and Cynthia, and two boys Martin and David. They would be further blessed with six grand children; Todd and Suzann Schettini, Brian and Kevin Platt, and Tara and Eileen Malloy.
Active in his community Frank was associated with both the Green Island and Brunswick Little Leagues, the Knights of Columbus in Troy, Catholic War Veterans of Green Island, and the Legnand-Curtin Post. Frank was also a devoted fan of both the New York Yankees and New York Giants.
Frank passed on January 29, 1995 leaving behind both a grieving family and community.
It is with a great amount of pleasure and honor that I take part in this morning’s recognition of the contributions of another of our “homegrown heroes”, Private First Class Frank J. Malloy, Jr.
Neil Kelleher - December 2008