Connecticut Cruise News – Dec/Jan 2012

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Patriot Guard Riders

The Connecticut Patriot Guard Riders started off this issue with a Honor Mission on Nov 14th in Groton and Ledyard for William Griffen, a Chief Machinist’s Mate who served in the Navy since 1998, most recently aboard the nuclear submarine USS Miami. The next day, Nov 15th, we had another Honor Mission in Montville and Norwich. This one for Kenneth Burrows, a Navy veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, who served for 24 years. Nov 18th we stood another flag line in Old Saybrook for Charles Lloyd, an Army veteran of Vietnam, a Silver Star and Purple Heart recipient. The next day, Nov 19th, brought another Honor Mission. This one was in Wallingford for David Kesilewski, who served in the Army during the Vietnam era.

The next day, Nov 20th, brought a pair of missions. The first was a Honor Mission in Southbury and at the Middletown Veteran Cemetery for Lawrence Edward Lawnsby, a Navy veteran of WWII and the Korea era. Lawrence was at the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, and Okinawa on a troop transport then on a communication ship. He also served during Korea on an ammunition ship. Lawrence was the father of our own PGR member Jody Pascarella, and father in law of PGR member Guy Pascarella, and we are sorry for their loss. This particular mission was my 200th, and I am humbled to have honored so many heroes. The second mission on Nov 20th was a Welcome Home at the Bradley Field Air National Guard Base for the 103rd Air Control Squadron. It’s always emotional seeing the children, wives, and husbands welcome their heroes home.

Nov 25th was our next ‘feel good’ mission. A Welcome Home at the Moodus Town Green for Air National Guard Master Sergeant John Anderson returning from his 3rd deployment. It’s always nice seeing the community come out for their hometown heroes. We had another Honor Mission on Nov 30th in Meriden for Edward Camp, who served in the Army in Vietnam. Edward was a conscientious objector, but he still enlisted in the Army and served as a cook for the troops during the Vietnam War. You have to admire him for sticking to his personal convictions yet still volunteering to serve his country in a war zone.

The first mission in December was on the 3rd in Longmeadow,Mass and Enfield,CT for Dominic Vecchiarelli, who served in the Army in WWII in the China-Burma/India Theater of Operations. Dec 6th was another day with a pair of Honor Missions on opposite sides on the state. Some PGR members attended the one in Westbrook and Derby for Philip Mongillo, an Iwo Jima survivor who served in the Navy and the Marines during WWII. Philip served in the medical corps, landed on Iwo Jima during the first day of the battle, and was wounded during the fighting, being awarded the Purple Heart. Some PGR members attended the other Honor Mission in Moodus for Daniel Maus, an Army veteran from the Korean War era.

The next day, Dec 7th, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, several members attended a Honor Mission at the Veterans Cemetery in Agawam,Mass for Charles Shlosser, an Army veteran of Vietnam. Even though this was a MA PGR mission, Charles was a CT resident for years, and Agawam is just over the border so we were proud to help out.

That’s it for the missions since the last CT Cruise News issue deadline. We hope we provided some peace to the families of the heroes we paid our final respects to. 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 our website to check it out or to join up.                                                                                                                                                                              (Article by Jay D Koonz)