Every year the Lehigh Valley Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge hold a picnic to salute D-Day veterans. This photo by Dick Musselman, a Navy veteran who’s dedicated to honoring World War II vets, shows the men who came to this year’s June 6 event in Nazareth Boro Park.
Raymond Davis was with the 90th Infantry Division, Utah Beach.
Joe Motil was with the 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, Utah Beach.
Dick Schermerhorn was with the 531st Engineer Shore Regiment, Utah Beach.
The Rev. Ed McElduff, a retired Catholic priest, was a Navy ensign aboard a landing ship tank, the LST 981.
Nate Kline flew in a B-26 with the 454th Bomb Squadron, 323rd Bomb Group.
And Bob Gangewere was with the 357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division, Utah Beach.
I’ve done “in their own words” war stories for The Morning Call on all but Davis.
To get an idea of how old these guys are: D-Day was 69 years ago.
Others from the Lehigh Valley who weren’t at the picnic are:
Dr. John Hoch, who served on a landing craft that came in to Omaha Beach;
Walter Kuchinos, a flight engineer/gunner on a B-24 with the 861st Bomb Squadron, 493rd Bomb Group;
Bill Munsch of the 357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division;
And Dan Curatola of the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, who’s in the VA hospital at Wilkes-Barre.
We lost two D-Day veterans in the last few months:
Ralph Mann of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment attached to the 82nd Airborne Division, died May 14.
And Bench Hartman of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, was in hospice care at the time of the picnic and died two days later, on June 8.
Other D-Day vets I’ve written about who are no longer living:
Duncan Cameron of the 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, died in 2012.
Harold Saylor of the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, died in 2006.
Ernie Leh of the 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, died in 2010.
John Umlauf, who commanded a Navy gunboat, died in 2007.
John Desrosiers Jr., who was at the helm of a minesweeper, died in 2009.
Frank Cudzil of the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, died in 2004.
And John Feninez Jr., an amphibious engineer with the 487th Port Battalion, died in 2005.
They are gone but not forgotten.