Veterans tell students their stories

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copyright the Chronicle November 15, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — Newport City Elementary School fifth and sixth grades got a glimpse of life in the military when they welcomed a dozen veterans to their classrooms Thursday morning, November 9.

The men, who among them saw service from World War II through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, shared stories of their experiences just in time for Veterans Day.

Representing all branches of the military except the Navy and Coast Guard — perhaps fitting given the distance between Newport and the sea — the veterans introduced themselves with a brief sketch of their history in the service before opening the floor to questions.

The questions ranged widely from the serious to the funny.

“Were you ever wounded?” a student asked one group of veterans. Fortunately the answer was no.

The students had other questions about the more difficult aspects of life in war. What happened when someone got wounded? one asked.

Butch Provencher, a National Guardsman with a specialty as a medic, said the objective was always to get the hurt person to a base camp hospital as quickly as possible.

On a lighter note, one sixth-grader wanted to know how the food was. The seven vets who were in the classroom looked at each other and laughed before replying.

“Green eggs and ham,” one replied.

The real answer, said Richard Deuso a Vietnam veteran, is C-rations, tinned food soldiers carried with them when away from their base.

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Veterans remember Pearl Harbor

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Inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s historic transatlantic flight, Lindy Palin dreamed of flying ever since he was a boy.  As part of the Eighth Air Force, Mr. Palin flew bombing missions over Europe from a base in England, one of the few pilots to survive his 35 missions unscathed, although he ended up in a prisoner of war camp after a forced landing.  He wears the Army Air Corps hat in memory of a friend.  Photos by Elizabeth Trail

Inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s historic transatlantic flight, Lindy Palin dreamed of flying ever since he was a boy. As part of the Eighth Air Force, Mr. Palin flew bombing missions over Europe from a base in England, one of the few pilots to survive his 35 missions unscathed, although he ended up in a prisoner of war camp after a forced landing. He wears the Army Air Corps hat in memory of a friend. Photos by Elizabeth Trail

copyright the Chronicle December 9, 2015

by Elizabeth Trail

NEWPORT — As the years pass, fewer and fewer people are alive who remember what they were doing when they heard the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

On Monday morning, 74 years later, Army Sergeant Major Retired John Wilson of Newport had to stop and remind several local businesses that Pearl Harbor Day is one of the handful of days of the year when flags must be flown at half-mast.

Mr. Wilson is a Vietnam combat veteran. He wasn’t even born on that long ago morning when Japanese bombers struck an American base in Hawaii, killing over 2,500 Americans. It was the event that brought the United States into World War II.

But at the Bel Aire Quality Care Nursing Center in Newport, men and women who still remember Pearl Harbor gathered in the common room at 2 p.m. Monday to share their memories of that day, and of the parts they… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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World War II vet receives a letter from the Queen

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Donald Wheatley, formerly of Glover, received best wishes from Queen Elizabeth II for his service in World War II.  Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Donald Wheatley, formerly of Glover, received best wishes from Queen Elizabeth II for his service in World War II. Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle July 1, 2015

by Tena Starr

NEWPORT — World War II veteran Donald Wheatley, formerly of Glover, received an unusual honor last week. Queen Elizabeth II of England sent him her best wishes and a photograph of herself.

A letter from the Queen’s lady-in-waiting was presented to Mr. Wheatley at Bel-Aire Quality Care Nursing Center in Newport on Wednesday, June 24.

“Donald has a rather illustrious and interesting past that caught Her Majesty’s attention,” said Sharon Campbell of Island Pond.

Ms. Campbell is originally from England…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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World War II veterans gather on the anniversary of D-Day

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Joe Queenin of Derby Line holds up a Japanese flag, which was folded inside the helmet of the Japanese soldier he killed during the war.  The flag is covered with wishes for a safe return, hand-written by friends and family of the young soldier.   Photo by Elizabeth Trail

Joe Queenin of Derby Line holds up a Japanese flag, which was folded inside the helmet of the Japanese soldier he killed during the war. The flag is covered with wishes for a safe return, hand-written by friends and family of the young soldier. Photo by Elizabeth Trail

copyright the Chronicle June 10, 2015

by Elizabeth Trail

NEWPORT — They came walking upright, leaning on canes, or struggling with walkers, holding in their hands treasured memorabilia from over 70 years ago.  Seventeen World War II veterans — 16 men and one woman, ranging in age from their late eighties through mid-nineties — assembled at the Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport Saturday to mark the anniversary of the allied invasion of Normandy, France.

The event was organized and hosted by Scott Wheeler, owner and editor of Vermont’s Northland Journal, along with his wife, Penny, and daughter Emily. Over 60 people attended, including the veterans, their families, and members of the community.

“I came to mingle with the other vets and remember the occasion,” said 93-year-old Lindy Palin.  “I was reliving a few missions this morning….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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In Orleans: Fenton, 94, gets new medals

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Robert Fenton of Orleans shows off a row of medals reissued to him by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Fenton earned the medals over his years of service in World War II and the Korean War.  American Legion Post 23 presented him with the replacement medals to Mr. Fenton at Monday’s Memorial Day service in Orleans.   Photo by Elizabeth Trail

Robert Fenton of Orleans shows off a row of medals reissued to him by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Fenton earned the medals over his years of service in World War II and the Korean War. American Legion Post 23 presented him with the replacement medals to Mr. Fenton at Monday’s Memorial Day service in Orleans. Photo by Elizabeth Trail

copyright the Chronicle May 27, 2015

by Elizabeth Trail

ORLEANS — Thirty years ago, Robert Fenton’s military medals went missing. The 94-year-old Mr. Fenton, who is from Orleans, is a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War.

On Monday, at a Memorial Day ceremony in Orleans, American Legion Post #23 presented Mr. Fenton with a duplicate set of medals, reissued by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I’m going to put ’em in the bank vault this time,” Mr. Fenton said happily a few minutes after the row of medals was pinned to his chest.

The medals were a U.S. Army Good Conduct Medal, a….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Wheatley remembers World War II

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Donald Wheatley served in the Army during World War II.  Here he poses with a picture of his outfit during the war, of which he is the last living member. Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Donald Wheatley served in the Army during World War II. Here he poses with a picture of his outfit during the war, of which he is the last living member. Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle May 20, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

NEWPORT — At 93, Donald Wheatley has witnessed most of the major events of the twentieth century, and participated in a big one, World War II.

“I’m 93 years young,” he said in an interview Friday. “I say that seriously. I’m only 93.”

His sister is 96 and still drives, and his father’s mind stayed sharp until he died at 106, Mr. Wheatley said.

None of the members of Mr. Wheatley’s Army outfit were casualties of war, but 70 years after the end of World War II, he is the last surviving member of his company.

“They say 1,000 World War II veterans die every day,” he said.…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Pete Cocoros’ trumpet takes him from Brooklyn to Barton, the long way

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Pete Cocoros, veteran, trumpeter, and photographer, plays “Taps” in Glover on Memorial Day, 2013.  Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

Pete Cocoros, veteran, trumpeter, and photographer, plays “Taps” in Glover on Memorial Day, 2013. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

copyright the Chronicle December 23, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

BARTON — As he hears a visitor pull into the dooryard of his camp, only a stone’s throw from Crystal Lake, Pete Cocoros pokes the bell of his trumpet out his door and blows a fanfare. It proves to be an apt prelude to a two-hour conversation about music and the adventurous path blazed by a horn.

Mr. Cocoros has performed for generals, played before thousands at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, entertained troops in Iceland, Morocco, and Greece, and set people to dancing all over the United States.

Most people who know him these days think of Pete Cocoros as the man whose playing of “Taps” brings tears to the eyes of those gathered to celebrate Veterans and Memorial days in Barton. Or they know him as the man whose photographs of local school band concerts appear in the Chronicle a few times a year.

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