Submitted by John A. Pildner, Sr., 75th Infantry Division, 290th Regiment, Anti-Tank Company
John A. Pildner, Sr., a veteran of the United States Army who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, attended the Inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, Sr. He was accompanied on this trip to Washington D.C. by his son, John A. Pildner, Jr., a veteran of the United States Navy and daughter, Pamela J. St. Angelo.
The Pildners’ experience of attending a Presidential Inauguration Ceremony together was a rare opportunity to witness a piece of American history that occurs once every four years. There were many who helped make this trip happen: family members, friends, and even a stranger who was also present at the rally in Geneva.
This trip started when Pildner, Sr. and his daughter Pam attended a Trump rally at the Spire Institute located near Geneva, OH. A memorable moment here was when, at the conclusion of the campaign speech, Mr. Trump saluted Pildner, Sr., to which he offered a return salute.
The Pildners’ trip to Washington, D.C. was highlighted by a side trip to Arlington National Cemetery. They visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the Pildners witnessed the changing of the guard. Here the Pildners were greeted by Marty McFarlin, a Tomb Guard who served in 1973 – 1974, and who emotionally thanked Pildner, Sr. and all of the WWII veterans who fought to preserve, protect, and defend the freedoms of many around the world.
Another highlight of this occasion was locating the burial spot of Dalton Raze, who was a platoon leader in the 290th Anti-Tank Company of the 75th Infantry Division. He rose through the ranks from a 2nd Lieutenant to a Full Colonel at the time of his retirement from the military. At one time during his military career, Raze had carried the codes for the U. S. President.
Pildner served in the mine platoon of the 290th Regiment Anti-Tank Company of the 75th Infantry Division. This was the same company in which Dalton D. Raze served during WWII.
This trip to the Presidential Inauguration of Donald J. Trump, Sr. was a great experience!
When Ralph Bozorth attended a meeting of the Delaware Chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge with a friend VBOB member, he instantly became deeply interested, although not a veteran himself. He joined as an Associate and was soon driving a few of us older suburban members in to meetings at the Naval Yard in Philadelphia and became actively involved, bringing his vitality and expertise to the group. The new electronic age had left most of us behind, so we instantly relied on him. He enrolled all the chapter veterans in the WWII Registry of Remembrances (as well as many more veterans over the years) and created a slide presentation containing veterans’ photos which he presented at reunions.
Recognized for his abilities, he was elected as a Trustee on the Executive Council of National VBOB. Later, taking on the responsibilities of Treasurer, he worked diligently to solve the IRS problems and to get VBOB incorporated. If he himself couldn’t do something, he found someone who could. At reunions, he was seen rushing around organizing bus trips, showing film presentations, and sometimes handling all the other responsibilities of chairman.
But much of his activity for VBOB was behind the scenes and with our website, bringing in his stepson Kevin Diehl to revamp it, making it more accessible and complete, including a searchable digital archive of all issues of The Bulge Bugle. They added the website’s VBOB store, where one can buy QM merchandise, and added online Reunion Registration and a photo gallery of BOB veterans. Ralph posted many photos and news stories to the website on an almost daily basis for years.
Letters were sent by him to all of our member authors who have had their battle stories printed in The Bulge Bugle, to get permission to reprint them in a book. Through his efforts, the book called “The Battle of the Bulge: True Stories from the Men and Women Who Survived” is now printed upon demand and is sold on Amazon’s and Barnes and Nobles’ websites. We receive royalties from the sales of the book. [Click here for how to purchase the book.]
When no longer able to attend reunions because of his wife’s illness, he continued working quietly in the background, helping to edit the Bugle, and became Editor upon the death of George Chekan, who had been editor for many years. Now he has retired, and the website and publication are being handled efficiently by Kevin and Tracey Diehl, VBOB Member Services. His accomplishments on behalf of VBOB have been too numerous to list here. Our best way of summing up is that Ralph brought VBOB into the 2lst Century. We at VBOB thank him for that.
For a half century, Howell Dulaney would not talk about World War II. He tried to shut it out. He didn’t want to think about the horrors he experienced in the war, and he wanted the nightmares to stop.
“It just gets so real. It leaves you with an uncomfortable feeling,” he said.
“It was 50 years after the war before I thought about talking about it,” he said.
That happened after he joined the George S. Patton, Jr., Chapter of the Battle of the Bulge in Birmingham, an exclusive group of veterans of that battle.
VBOB member Richard Brookins, 28th Infantry Division, whose 1944 appearance as St. Nicolas in a Luxembourg town has been commemorated there for 70 years, is featured in a book and documentary, “American St. Nick.” And on July 7, 2016, Brookins was presented with the Luxembourg Military Medal, Luxembourg’s highest military honor, by the Consul General of the Luxembourg Consul in New York at a small ceremony in Rochester.
“American St. Nick” tells the remarkable TRUE story of a handful of American soldiers who during the chaos of war, help bring Christmas back a small Luxembourg town, and unknowingly create a holiday tradition that continues to this very day!
The annual Chapter 22 Luncheon was held this year on Flag Day at The Mill Restaurant in West Boylston, Massachusetts. The event, as usual, was spearheaded by Commander John McAuliffe. It was great seeing some old friends and new friends alike. One of our guest speakers was Denis Hambucken, who is writing a book on the Bulge. Over the past year, we lost many great veterans. The accounts of the men and women who served during these trying times is amazing.
My Dad served in the 5th Armored Division, and I am proud to be an Associate Member of Chapter 22.
The Spring luncheon meeting of the Battle of the Bulge Chapter #62 had 7 stars in attendance. The guest speaker was Joseph DeSalvo, Lt General and Military Commander of the United States Southern Command (3 stars), Pete Osmond, Lt General (3 stars) and our Commander Al Irzyk (Brig General (l star). The local press published a picture with a big headline “7 STARS AND ONE STRIPE.”
As a PFC, I never had the opportunity to speak with, or take a picture with, a general!
The event was well-publicized, and we had 98 veterans and family enjoy the camaraderie and program. As always, we introduced returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan as our guests. They received a standing ovation. Commander Al Irzyk celebrated his 99th birthday and was presented with a cake. All sang the traditional Happy Birthday song. It was a most enjoyable afternoon.
VBOB National has 35+ active chapters and ours is the largest, with the most veteran members, 195 total.
Recently our Mississippi VBOB Treasurer, Ms. Mary Ellen Stanley, called to say she had received a second substantial check from a supporter of our scholarship project of 2015. The check was sent to honor and remember her late husband who was a combat veteran of the BOB. The Mississippi scholarship project for students related to Miss. veterans will now be continued in 2016, and we are at the moment preparing the necessary papers of announcement and applications, etc. Our Miss. Chapter is blessed to have older members who really care about the education of our young people and are happy to support it, even if it is a sacrifice.
Now we hope it is time for the National group of VBOB to have a scholarship project for young people of college age who are related to our wonderful B.O.B. Vets. We can truthfully say that it has energized our group and made us feel positive about what we can still contribute to society… even in our “ last quarter.” At the same time, we are educating students and their parents about this critical battle of WWII … lest we forget … We think the time is now.
—Submitted by Dr. James W. Hunt, Chapter 33 President, and Jane Hunt
CHAPTER 33 PRESIDENT SPEAKS AT MSU
On March 21, 2016, Hillel, a student organization at Mississippi State University, hosted Dr. Jim Hunt, VBOB Chapter 33 President, and veteran Joseph Johnson, to speak about their service during World War II. They spoke in the Union Dawg House to a packed house of roughly 95 people. Both Mr. Johnson and Dr. Hunt were given Cowbells with their Division patch painted on them, and posed for requested photos afterwards. Spectators who came to hear these two men were a mixed group of young and older patrons. This event couldn’t have been done without the help of Jacob Craig, who was newly elected as the next president of Hillel. Seated (l-r:): Joseph Johnson and Dr Jim Hunt. Standing (l-r): Andrew Shamaskin, Alexx Lux, Jacob Craig, Hillel President Joseph Metz, Scott Sincoff, Will Leonard, and Jake Grogan.
Seventy-two years ago, more than 160,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy. On January 6, 2016 at the World War II Memorial in Washington DC, veterans in their 90s, and the families of fallen soldiers, commemorated the epochal D-Day, gathering to honor those who fought during the invasion.
The ceremony was traditional in nature—there was a public wreath-laying event to remember those who died. I was indeed honored, representing the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, to lay a wreath at the Atlantic Arch of the World War II Memorial. This was in memory of 9,000 Allied soldiers killed or wounded during the invasion. I was accompanied by Col. Andrew Ordynovych, the Military Attache of Ukraine.
David O’Sullivan, The European Union Ambassador to the United Sates, was the main speaker, and also presented a wreath during the event. Josiah Bunting III, chairman of the Friends of the WWII Memorial, delivered special remarks, and the Military District of Washington provided support for the event.
The sound of trumpets playing “Taps” concluded the ceremony.
The countdown to Spirit of ’45 Day 2016 officially began with the installation of Seward Johnson’s monumental sculptures depicting the “Times Square Kiss” a few miles outside Detroit at the future site of the Michigan WWII Memorial. The 25 foot sculpture is identical to the ones in Sarasota, FL, San Diego, and Normandy, France symbolizing the national day to honor the legacy of the WWII generation, that was passed unanimously by the U.S. Congress in 2010.
This year, Spirit of ’45 events and activities will be helping to promote public awareness about the 75th anniversaries of important WWII events that will be taking place, beginning this year. 75th anniversaries include:
President Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech on January 6, 1941
The formation of the USO on February 4, 1941
The formation of the Tuskegee Airmen on March 22, 1941
The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941
Several Spirit of ’45 Day ‘signature’ events have already been announced by coalition partners:
Walgreens is again showing the Spirit of’45 Day video on its jumbo screens in Times Square on the anniversary of the Kiss
The National Park Service is repeating its highly successful “Rosie the Riveter Rally” with the goal of setting a new Guinness World Record
The Medical Musical Group will perform two concerts in Washington, DC honoring the caregivers of WWII honoring the caregivers of WWII
Community events are planned across the country in virtually every state from Florida to California
Dignity Memorial and Bugles Across America are organizing Tribute wreath laying ceremonies at all VA national veterans ceremonies.
THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE HISTORICAL FOUNDATION, INC. Invites You to Join Your Friends for the “EVENTS OF REMEMBRANCE AND COMMEMORATION” OF THE 72nd ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE December 14, 15 and 16, 2016 Metropolitan Washington, DC
We have been invited by the new Luxembourg Ambassador, Sylvie Lucas, to a reception at the Luxembourg Embassy, on Wednesday, 14 December 2016, from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. We will hold our annual Battle of the Bulge Commemoration Banquet, at the DoubleTree Hilton Crystal City, on Thursday evening, 15 December 2016, between 6:00 and 10:00 PM. Our speaker for the Banquet will be announced in the November Bulge Bugle. Our bus trip this year on the 15th of December will be to the National Holocaust Museum on 15th Street SW in Washington followed by lunch on your own and shopping at Union Station and their Mall. The DoubleTree Hotel Crystal City by Hilton, 300 ArmyNavy Drive, in Arlington VA 22202 has been selected again for this event, with its panoramic view of our Nation’s Capital. This hotel, just off Route 1, in Crystal City, is a 7 minute drive from Reagan National Airport and a 2 City block walk to the Pentagon City Metro Station and the Pentagon Mall. It provides easy access to Washington DC and has recently completed major renovations to the entire hotel for great accommodations.
Joe Landry (776 AAA AW BN) and Barbara Mooneyhan (Executive Vice-President, VBOB) need your help in raising money to bring these two deserving Belgium citizens to Washington, DC for the 72nd anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge by the Historical Foundation!
Here is a little bit of background information about Marcel and Mathilde Schmetz.In 1940, When Marcel was 7 years old, aided by the hazards of war, his village Clermont-sur-Berwinne was cut into two parts … Germanic annexed by the German Reich and occupied Belgium.Marcel lived in a locality clearly of Germanic origins and he would spend all of his primary school years in German.The Liberation came on September 11, 1944.Then there was the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest (which Barbara’s Dad was involved) and this lasted all fall.The losses were enormous and unbearable.The Allied Command decided to take a break as winter was coming.
Marcel’s family farm (he was 11 years old) was transformed into an immense bivouac with 110 soldiers from Company D of the 26th Regiment of the First Division, (the famous “Big Red One”). This paradise for a kid deprived of everything for four years, would only last three weeks.These 3 weeks marked this child for life:the contrast between the occupation and the overwhelming abundance of the American GIs.
This dream ended on December 16, 1944 when Hitler decided to change the course of events and the Battle of the Bulge began.At the Schmetz farm, everyone packed his kit and departed for the north flank in a rush.The soldiers didn’t burden themselves with excess weight and the result was the Schmetz’s found themselves with a treasure trove of mixed objects.At the Schmetz farm, it was kept – first out of a reflex of economy but over time out of respect in memory of the people who had become dear to them.
Then Marcel met Mathilde in 1991.Together, they would become a dream team.Mathilde would take advantage of Marcel’s retirement and his many talents to “put a little order in all that stuff”.In fact, she would help him to highlight the patient work of an entire life spent collecting.An immense abandoned stable on the farm would serve their purpose.It was emptied and after a multiple of improvements, was dedicated on June 12, 1994 for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day as The Remember Museum 39-45.
Since that time The Remember Museum 39-45 had hosted many visitors, most of all American veterans and the families of American soldiers who rest forever in the American cemeteries in Europe.These veterans, struck by the respect surrounding these objects, bring more and more personal souvenirs, certain that their memory will be faithfully kept.In addition to this magnificent museum, Marcel and Mathilde have adopted two graves at the nearby Henri-Chappell Cemetery, one of which is PFC James G. Ellis of the 99th Division from South Carolina who was killed on December 17, 1944. They also host wounded veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.They come to the Museum to stay for a few days from the hospitals in Germany.
Their organization relies strictly on donations and personal finances to maintain this remarkable museum.Please help us recognize their extraordinary efforts by having them as our guest in Washington on December 13 – 17, 2016.Please send questions or donations to Barbara Mooneyhan, Stages of Remembrance, 2440 Wash Lever Road, Chapin, SC or email@example.com. She can be reached at 803-318-1184.While these donations are not tax deductible, the IRS allows tax free gifts to any individual up to $14,000 per calendar year.
The next 6th Armored Reunion is scheduled for September 28-October 2, 2016 in Oklahoma City. Reservations can be made at the Hampton Inn in Bricktown, 300 E Sheridan Ave, Oklahoma City, OK, 405) 232-3600. Just ask for the 6th Armored rate. Tours and events are still being coordinated, but more information will be available shortly. We hope to see you in OKC! Jerry and Donna Shiles
405-408-6692 or 6697
The Annual 28th Infantry Division Conference and Reunion is held each year at Fort Indiantown Gap. This is the major activity of the 28th Infantry Division Association’s mission. The Annual Reunion is held the Wednesday through Saturday after the Labor Day holiday. September 7-11, 2016. Tours of Fort Indiantown Gap, local excursions and a day trip to a place of historical interest are some of the activities available to reunion participants. The week concludes with a memorial service at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery on Saturday morning and a Veteran’s Banquet that evening. Please contact Gwenn Underwood at 717-944-6721 or go to: 28thinfantrydivisionassoc.org