The Connecticut Patriot Guard Riders started off the month with an Honor Mission on Sep 8th in West Haven for Lynwood Hackett, a Marine who served in Vietnam. The following day, Sep 9th, brought a pair of Honor Missions. The first in Naugatuck for John Rodgers who served in the Army during WWII. John was a PFC 1st Class in the 308th Field Artillery, serving as a gun crewman/cannoneer during the Battle of the Bulge, receiving the Purple Heart for head wounds received from shrapnel. The second was in Norwalk for Howard Schanck, who served in the Navy during WWII as a Stewards Mate 1st Class.
A week later, on Sep 16th, we had another pair of missions at the same time in different parts of the state, splitting our resources, but we still managed to provide a good showing at both, showing our respect and pleasing the family with our efforts. One was in Danielson CT and Exeter RI for Paul Miller Sr. who served in the Army in Berlin during the occupation following WWII and was also a Korean Era veteran. The other mission that day was in Middletown for Steven Stupak, who served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. Steven was a flight engineer/top turret gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress, and was shot down on a bombing mission over Germany. The crew was captured and sent to a POW camp, Stalag Luft IV, where he survived the “German Death March” where the prisoners were marched west approx. 600 miles in 86 days during the winter months to evade the advancing red Army.
A few days later, on Sep 15th, we had another Honor Mission in Newtown for CT PGR member Rod Watts, an Air Force Vietnam era veteran. Rod entered the Air Force in 1965, and his last tour was with “Detachment 7 USAF Europe” where he was a Nuclear Weapons Specialist. We stood a flag line outside the funeral home and then went inside, where we stood at attention and saluted while a fellow CT PGR member played taps.
The following week brought another pair of missions on Sept 20th. It’s been a busy month. One was in Middletown for Quitman Otto Bardwell, a veteran of the Army in Korea and the Navy in Vietnam. Otto was a distinguished sailor in the Submarine Service for 14 years, and completed his 26 years of service in the CT Army National Guard. The other mission on the 20th was in Norwalk for William Hoyt, who served in the Air Force during the Korean War from 1948 to 1952, attaining the rank of Sergeant. Once again, we had a good showing at both missions, pleasing the family at our hero’s final service.
The next day, Sept 21st, several of us stood a flag line at the Iwo Jima Monument in New Britain for the long-delayed ceremony where Pvt George Haddam was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries received during the Battle for Iwo Jima during WWII. Pvt Haddam was knocked unconscious during an artillery barrage and woke up on a Hospital ship, returning to the states after recovering. It took over 66 years but he was finally awarded the Purple Heart that he had earned on Iwo Jima, and it was presented at the Iwo Jima Monument. It was an honor standing the flag line at this ceremony, and having multiple Iwo Jima veterans walk between the row of flags on their way to the ceremony.
A few days later on Sep 24th, we had our 4th set of double missions. The first was an Honor Mission in West Haven for Sal Santamauro, an Army veteran who served in the 82nd Airborne in Vietnam where he was awarded the Silver Star for heroism. The second mission of the day was late in the day at Bradley Airport where we welcomed home the Warrior Flight of WWII veterans who had visited the WWII Memorial in Washington DC earlier that day. It’s always a pleasure to cap off the long but rewarding day for these aging veterans of the Greatest Generation. The final mission for this issue was on Sep 29th for Emanuel Moses Howard Jr, who served in the Navy aboard the USS Little Rock and then in the Navy Reserves.
R.I.P. to all the heroes we stood for this month. We hope we provided some measure of comfort to their family and friends as we stood to show our final respect for their service to this country.
That’s it for the missions since the last CT Cruise News issue deadline. As always, we invite you to come out and join us in our mission to honor this country’s veterans at their funeral services. Come out to one, grab a Flag and stand alongside us, experience the same satisfaction the rest of us do. You’ll be back.
Go to www.patriotguard.org for more information or to join up.