About David Venditta

the author David Venditta

David Venditta

A writer and editor, David Venditta worked for Pennsylvania newspapers for forty years, thirty-two of them at The Morning Call in Allentown. He retired in July 2016. He has a long history of experience in writing about the military and veterans’ affairs. His book Tragedy at Chu Lai chronicles his quest for information about a cousin’s death in Vietnam twenty-five years after the fact, http://tragedyatchulai.com/ It was published in June 2016 by McFarland & Co. To buy the book, go to the publisher’s site at http://www.mcfarlandbooks.com/book-2.php?id=978-1-4766-6431-6 or Amazon at http://amzn.to/2aoYEOG

Venditta’s in-depth interview with reclusive Medal of Honor recipient Alton W. Knappenberger is posted on the Arlington National Cemetery website, http://arlingtoncemetery.net/awkappenberger.htm. He received a statewide award for enterprise reporting for a 10-part narrative about a prisoner-of-war’s struggle to survive. His interest in Pennsylvania history led him to be the co-project editor and one of the writers of a 90,000-word narrative history of Bethlehem Steel Corp., Forging America: The Story of Bethlehem Steel, winner of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s top Keystone Press Award for Special Projects.

Since 1999, he has written more than 100 “in their own words” war stories from eastern Pennsylvania veterans. The stories are available online at http://www.mcall.com/news/local/warstories/.  In 2011, The Morning Call published 34 of them in a book, War Stories: In Their Own Words. It earned him the Allentown Arts Commission’s 2012 Arts Ovation Award for Literary Excellence. To order the book, go to http://store.mcall.com/war-stories.html. A native of Chester County, Venditta graduated from Downingtown High School and received his B.A. in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Allentown with his wife, Mary.

34 responses to “About David Venditta

  1. I am really impressed with the seamless way the MC website connects with your blog. I went from reading about Mr. Ritchie’s jaw right to the archive at the MC which included other wars as well. Great reading!

  2. Pingback: Dr Iwan’s BOOK :”THE VIETNAM WAR 1965-1975 “(INTRODUCTION AND SELLING PROMOTION) | Driwancybermuseum's Blog

  3. midaevalmaiden

    Hi David, Just letting you know That I linked to your blog today in my post. Im not 100% certain if the statement I made in the sentence that links to you is acurate though. If you get a chance. Could you just check it for correctness? Its one sentence.

  4. Oh sorry, If you click my name it will bring you to the post in question. I didnt want say the sentence here just in case it is inaccurate, I want to be able to change it. I made a statement about The Purple Heart and World War II. Its 3/4 down the page with a light blue colored link.
    I did not realize you were still new to WordPress. Your blog looks great and I hope you continue with it. Welcome to WordPress! There are lots of friendly people who can help new bloggers on the forum. On the very bottom of your dashboard page…thats were you’l see the word forum. If you ever need that is. 🙂

  5. Oops, dont click the name sara… click the name Midaevalmaiden.

  6. Ill have to change my wording then. Thanks for checking that for me. I really appreciate it.

  7. HI David, this is Joseph Moore, III, grandson of Joseph Moore Sr. in your Pearl Harbor article. Unfortunately, he has passed away this week and I wanted to thank you for helping to tell his story.

    Thanks,
    Joe Moore

    __________
    Joseph B. Moore III
    Attorney at Law
    219.308.0625
    midwestattorney@yahoo.com

  8. I recall you are an alumni of Indiana University. Did you know that there were three alumni from the university that were killed on 9/11? One of the young men, Bill Sugra, Jr. was from Allentown. His parents have a memorial fund in his name and an annual golf tournament to raise funds for the disadvantaged in his name. I believe that IUP also has a memorial in honor of the three alumni who were lost that day in 2001.

  9. While attempting to compose a post about Hank Behren, Orel Pierson and the USS Pres. Harrison, I accidentally came across your site – and I’m very glad I did. You’ll be seeing more of me!

  10. Renee and Carl Kiser

    My uncle Tech.Sgt. Michael Rishko (who since passed) was in the 8th and 15th .Army Air Force. His B-24 was shot down somewhere, we believe over Austria. We found his name listed on the rooster for Stalag luft IV. Although he never talked about his military experience, we found out about what he went thru in your Nov. 15th. article interview with Leonard Siegfried. It was a great interview. My mother is 93 and she has kept the Western Union Telegram from the War Dept. that declared him MIA. .My husband and I would like the opportunity to speak with Mr. Leonard Siegfried or his friend Mr. Harry Tachovsky. Renee

  11. Excuse me, I’d like to know more about the young Mr. Boswell you wrote about a few years back. My friend and I were trying to get all the info we could on him, your article basically covers everything, but I’d like to get in contact with you, or his sister.

    my email is pozzutos@gmail.com

  12. Would like to get in touch with David Venditta regarding his article on Alpha Company 3/22 of the 196th refusing to move. I was there and served as the Forward Observer and was in close contact with Lt Eugene Schultz when the issue came up. I was standing right next to him when he called LTC Bacon.

    • Mr. Freeman, thank you for writing. I’m very interested in hearing from you, someone who was so close to the action. Would you like a phone call, or is email OK? I’m eager to learn more about what happened that day.

  13. Hello David, you should contact me re: The Lane Gang article as my father , John LoPinto was one of the lead CID investigaters the finally caught Lane. Good article. Best regards, Joe Lopinto

  14. I was at the 312th/91st evac for 3 days in Feb 69. Even got my pic (Polaroid) taken with visiting Troy Donahue before getting transferred to an AF hospital at Cam Rahn Bay and finally Camp Zama Army Hospital in Japan.

  15. Hi David,

    My father saved the second page one of your articles on the D-day invasion of Normandy from the Sunday, June 6, 2004 Morning Call. We think it was related to his personal experience. I would like to access the beginning of the article. Is there a link or other way I can find it?

  16. Stephen R Henninger

    Hi David,
    I was given your book War stories, In their own words. You interviewed 34 PA Veterans, who told you their stories in 2011. I gave the book to another friend and highschool classmate whom one of your stories in the book was from his father. Joseph Anfuso. His story was about living in his tank. The Classmate is Philip Anfuso. He was also in the Army. He served during the Vietnam conflict, but was sent to Korea instead of Vietnam. He guarded the DMZ. I am sure he has some stories to tell also. I would like to suggest you doing a follow up book by interviewing sons and or daughters that served of those 34 you originally interviewed. I think that would be very interesting to tie the new stories of the sons and daughters to their fathers stories

  17. Stephen R Henninger

    Thank you for your reply

  18. Ludovic ROUALLE

    Dear Mr. Venditta,

    Form France, I’m contacting you regarding a wonderful article you wrote about Private Bill Munsch, 357th Regiment, in the Morning Call : https://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-xpm-2012-10-05-mc-war-story-bill-munsch-20121005-story.html

    I present myself, Ludovic Roualle, french historian, and President of the association Port-Bail sur Mer 1944. Our town was liberated at the end of June 1944 by M. Munch and all soldiers of the 357th regiment of the 90th division after 18 days of fighting .

    Port-Bail sur mer is a coastal town in the southwest of the Cotentin peninsula.

    Our city erected a monument last year in tribute to the 127 soldiers of the 357th regiment killed for the liberation of our town. Among the 127 soldiers killed, there is William L. Phillips killed on June 19, 1944, mentioned in your article. William L. Phillips is mentioned on the plate of Memorial Monument.

    With your help, our association would be delighted to be able to contact the Munsch family and the Phillips family (Mr. Vance Phillips) to share messages across the ocean, and give more information about the liberation of our town. We will be forever grateful for the sacrifice of the soldiers of the 357th infantry regiment.

    Hope to hear from you.

    Ludovic ROUALLE
    President
    Association Portbail sur Mer 1944
    portbail1944@orange.fr

  19. Ludovic ROUALLE

    Dear Mr. Venditta,

    I’m contacting you regarding a wonderful article you wrote about Private Bill Munsch, 357th Regiment, in the Morning Call.

    I present myself, Ludovic Roualle, french historian, and President of the association Port-Bail sur Mer 1944. Our town was liberated at the end of June 1944 by M. Munch and all soldiers of the 357th regiment of the 90th division after 18 days of fighting .

    Port-Bail sur mer is a coastal town in the southwest of the Cotentin peninsula.

    Our city erected a monument last year in tribute to the 127 soldiers of the 357th regiment killed for the liberation of our town (photo attached to the memorial monument). Among the 127 soldiers killed, there is William L. Phillips killed on June 19, 1944, mentioned in your article. William L. Phillips is mentioned on the plate of Memorial Monument (copy of the plate in attachment)

    With your help, our association would be delighted to be able to contact the Munsch family and the Phillips family (Mr. Vance Phillips) to share messages across the ocean, and give more information about the liberation of our town. We will be forever grateful for the sacrifice of the soldiers of the 357th infantry regiment.

    Hope to hear from you.

    With all our gratitude.

    Ludovic ROUALLE
    President
    Port-Bail sur Mer Association 1944
    portbail1944@orange.fr

  20. Dear Mr. Roualle,

    Thank you for writing. It’s wonderful that you want to contact the families of American soldiers who helped to liberate your town. I can help you with this. Bill Munsch died in 2014, but I will try to reach one or both of his daughters. I will also try to contact Vance Phillips. I will start working on this immediately and get back to you as soon as possible.

    Sincerely,
    David Venditta

    • Ludovic ROUALLE

      Dear Mr Venditta,

      Thanks you so much for writing so fast. We will be very happy to contact and exchange with children of Bill Munsch and William L. Phillips. I am also reachable by email to send photos and information (portbail1944@orange.fr).

      Looking forward to hearing from you and connecting with families across the ocean.

      Sincerely.

      Ludovic ROUALLE

  21. Dear Dave,

    Mary and I are very happy to have met you yesterday at Lisa Somers’ get-together.

    I always find the tales of the Military fascinating no matter how mundane they may seem to others. My own peacetime experiences as an Airborne Soldier pale in comparison to the old timers I was so privileged to meet and get to know and who are passing all too soon and who may consider their efforts insignificant in the grand picture so many years ago.

    In the ‘70’s I met Gen. James Gavin, Commander of the the 505th Airborne Battalion and later the 82nd Airborne Division and then CEO of a research firm. We talked about much in those two hours and he came across as a truly good person and officer. How lucky I was.

    Again, it was good to meet you. Hopefully, your mother-in-law will weather her current condition and find her lasting peace.

    Ed Figuli

    • Hi Ed,

      A nice surprise to get your note! Thanks for writing. It was a pleasure to meet and chat with you and Mary the other day.

      As someone who was never in the service, I have the highest regard for people like you who stepped up to do their duty to country. These include many in my extended family — a great-uncle who served in France in World War I with the 14th Engineers; a bunch of uncles, including one who died from a non-combat injury he suffered in the South Pacific in WWII; my cousin who was dead 11 days after he arrived in Vietnam; and my Coast Guard dad, a WWII radio operator on patrol frigates in the North Atlantic.

      I’m especially in awe of paratroopers and interviewed several over the years. Just the idea of jumping out of a plane makes me shudder — and you did it 22 times. It was interesting that you said jumping off that 34-foot platform in training was scarier than jumping from a plane high above. That stuck in my head. I envy you that you spent a couple of hours talking with Gen. Gavin. You’ll always have that memory of a good person and soldier. It’s inspiring.

      My mother-in-law, Naomi Schleicher, who was 98, died at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Lehigh Valley Hospice. She passed peacefully in her sleep, with no discernible pain. My wife, Mary, was with her. I’ve written about Naomi and her husband, Harry, in my blog. They met in California during WWII while Harry, who was from Easton, was training to be an Army Air Forces pilot. He wanted to fly fighters, but washed out when he made a less-than-perfect landing. He ended up in Texas, training to be a bombardier, and never went overseas. Instead, he trained others on the Norden bombsight. Cancer got him in 1999.

      As you say, everyone in the military has a story. Like you, I find them all fascinating.

      Take care and hello to Mary,
      David

  22. Alan Drew Siegfried

    David, I am writing to thank you for telling the life-war stories of the many great veterans that we have living amongst us. These stories of dedication, bravery and service are amazing in all cases. You interviewed our dad, Leonard Siegfried of Bethlehem (Hecktown), along the way and it meant a lot to him that you took time to sit with him and truly listen to him tell his own story. He very much enjoyed the time he spent with you. He flew as a nose gunner and asst engineer in the B-24’s, based in Italy. He was shot down twice and taken POW after the second downing. He was captured and ultimately survived the Black March and all of its brutality. Those memories haunted him throughout much of his life and shaped much of the person that we knew as our father. You have done us all a great service by telling these stories of personal sacrifice and dedication to service, Our dad passed away over the weekend at age 95 (soon to be 96), but his story will live on thanks to you. My sister and I want to say thank you for taking time to do this incredibly important work. Your dedication to your craft and your interest in documenting these war experiences is very much appreciated. Thank you for all that you do!

  23. Alan, I am so sorry for your loss and saddened that your dad is gone. But what a life he had, and how much courage and sacrifice he showed! His war story was so compelling and had so much riveting detail, it had to be told in The Morning Call in two parts. I clearly remember those days, some five years ago, that I sat across from him and heard him tell it. He brought the war to life. I had to fight against letting my jaw drop, his struggle for survival was so amazing. I don’t know if he ever told you that one day I brought my plastic model B-24 to his house, and how much he seemed to enjoy holding it. Thank you and your sister for your kind words about my work. I’ll always be glad I took advantage of the opportunity to talk with your dad and others about their experiences and to get their remembrances into print and on the internet. Absolutely, these stories have to be “out there” for all of us here now, and future generations, to appreciate. By the way, I have MP3 audio files of my sessions with your dad and might be able to get them to you, if you like.

  24. Alan Drew Siegfried

    David we would very much appreciate gaining access to the MP3 files of your interview sessions with dad. You can reach me at 443-386-4019. Pls feel free to call or text.
    Thanks so much.

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