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Longboat Key Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009 10 years ago

Veterans' Memories

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by: Dora Walters Senior Editor

On Sunday, Nov. 8, the Longboat Island Chapel will conduct a special service to recognize veterans of all branches of the armed services, in honor of Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. William E. Klein, highly decorated for his service around the world, will be the guest speaker. One of his positions was as deputy division commander of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Since retirement he has been a college professor, president of a major management company and vice president for administration of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Following the 10 a.m. service, all veterans in attendance will be recognized at an informal reception in the church hall. Memorabilia of church members’ service years will be on display, too.

All area veterans and residents of Sarasota and Manatee counties are invited to attend the service at the chapel, an interfaith congregation, located at 6200 Gulf of Mexico Drive.

Below, some of the veterans who are featured in the chapel’s veterans display tribute share their stories.

MARCY EAST
U.S. Army, Nurse Corps
1983 to 1986
Army hospital in Fort Ord, Calif.


Civilian life:
East continued her career in various nursing fields.

Most vivid memory from years in the service: “I was responsible for 36 patients with only two aides. Coming on duty and finding a crisis situation, such as the need to set up four IVS immediately — crises like that were frequent.”

Of your experience in the service, what was it that stayed with you, influenced you or changed your life? “I learned how to manage the challenge of being responsible for 36 patients. I continued in the nursing field and it was very helpful.”

JOHN CASEY
U.S. Army, brigadier general
1951 to 1979
82nd Airborne Division and First Cavalry


Tour of duty:
Two combat tours in Vietnam

Civilian life: Casey taught mathematics at Harlee Middle School, in Bradenton, for several years.

Most vivid memory from years in the service:
“It had to be the day I was made a brigadier general. I never forgot what it was to be a private. I knew I would always watch over my men.”

Of your experience in the service, what was it that stayed with you, influenced you or changed your life?
“As the years went by, I realized that the service had made me physically and mentally tough so that I was able to handle anything.”

PAUL ACHRE

U.S. Navy, lieutenant
1952 to 1956


Tour of duty: In the Atlantic and with NATO groups in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean
Civilian life: Achre worked for 35 years in the steel industry.

Most vivid memory from years in the service: “One of my ships, the Ellison DMS 19, was the oldest combat ship in the Navy. In 1954, it was given to the Japanese and was the beginning of the Japanese Defense Agency.”

Of your experience in the service, what was it that stayed with you, influenced you or changed your life? “After leaving the service, I had a career in the steel industry. I was there 35 years and I think the good management skills I learned in the Navy I was able to use there.”

KEN BECKER
Air Force, lieutenant colonel
1958 to 1970
Intelligence and Aviation


Tour of duty:
In the Philippines, Iran, Saudi Arabia and combat in Vietnam

Civilian life: Becker sold insurance and spent several years working for the U.S. government in the Middle East.

Most vivid memory from years in the service: “That so many of us returned safely from missions so we could fight again the next day.”

Of your experiences in the service, what was it that stayed with you, influenced you or changed your life? “This little verse, to me, best describes my thoughts: ‘A veteran is someone, who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America for an amount of up to, and including, his or her life.’”

JERRY EAST
U.S. Army, colonel
1964 to 1990
Supply Logistics and Infantry


Tour of duty:
In Korea, Japan and Vietnam

Civilian life:
After his service career, East worked as a medical administrator and owned a boat business and is now retired.

Most vivid memory from years in the service: “When within 48 hours I was transferred from combat infantry, in Vietnam, to Fort Stewart, Ga. My tour of duty was up, but I didn’t expect the abrupt departure. All I had with me were the clothes I was wearing and a small shaving kit.”

Of your experience in the service, what was it that stayed with you, influenced you or changed your life?
“I learned that it is absolutely necessary to work together to accomplish goals.”

MARGARET WIERTS-PARRINELLO
Army WAAC 1942 to 1943,  Army WAC 1943 to 1945, Sgt. Tech 4, Ordinance Ammunition


Tour of duty: In the Pacific and Philippines

Civilian life:
She was an administrator at Plymouth Harbor, in Sarasota, and was president of the Southwest WAC Veterans for 10 years.

Most vivid memory from years in the service:
“It was in Manila after the war was over. The Manila Symphony performed in a church, badly damaged, it had no roof. They played the New World Symphony, and it was so moving.”

Of your experience in the service, what was it that stayed with you, influenced you or changed your life?
“I was one of the first women to join the Army. Eventually, more than 400,000 women served in World War II. I was so proud of what they did, I determined to continue to let the world know what they did and that they were not forgotten. I became active in organizations recognizing these women.”
 

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