State & Union: Remembering Pearl Harbor One Year Later

On Dec. 7, 1942, one year after the disastrous Japanese sneak attack at Pearl Harbor, the United States for the most part had its footing back. The Japanese rampage across the Pacific had been turned back with the decisive Battle of Midway the previous June, while American forces had joined the British in taking the fight to the Nazis and Italians in North Africa. Allied bombers were beginning to punish the interior of Germany. While it wasn’t known by the U.S. high command in early December 1942, the Japanese were considering giving up the desperate, exhausting battle for the island of ...
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Pilot in Training: Briefs from Local Veteran Wildrick Hart’s Book, “The War Years”

“For whatever reason — patriotism, loneliness, whatever — I decided that it was time for me to sign up.” At just 22 years old, Wildrick Hart had made up his mind — he was going to fight in the second World War. Hart, who moved to Bradford after the war, told his story of service in his book “The War Years.” He took steps to enlist in the Army’s Aviation Cadet Program, and in late April of 1943, he was on his way to Maxwell Field in Montgomery, Ala., for pre-flight training. “I was amazed at how poor my physical condition was the first time we hit PT,” Hart said. “But after two mont...
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Cultural Icon ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Graces Library Wall in Eldred

Eldred has a familiar face that will now be welcoming people into its town. “Rosie the Riveter” took up permanent residence on the side of the Eldred Area Free Library and Historical Society Tuesday thanks to the efforts of many individuals. The mural project was suggested by Linda Devlin from the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau. From there many organizations in town and the community helped make the mural a reality. The painting event was funded in part by a grant provided by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, Behr, and the Home Depot through the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Fresh ...
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Stories of Seven Local Heroes Remembered Decades Later

World War II was an incredible series of crossroads in which U.S. military personnel were brought together in almost infinite circumstances around the globe. Circumstances would indeed bring seven men from McKean County together in the fact that they each lost their lives during the war — each of them in famous actions far, far away from home. It must be noted that the retelling of the following stories were made possible by Joel Gilfert of Portville, N.Y., formerly of Eldred, who has compiled an extensive website covering McKean County’s service personnel who died in the wars throughout...
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Erie Paratrooper, Now 92, a “True American Hero”

In the early morning hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944, Erie resident Joseph Morettini, a 19-year-old paratrooper with the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, jumped from a Douglas C-47 Skytrain over France's Normandy coast. German anti-aircraft tracer fire filled the nighttime sky, and Morettini's first thoughts were that his life was about to end before he reached the ground. "When my parachute opened up, I thought I would be dead," said Morettini, a 92-year-old veteran who lives in the 1400 block of West 32nd Street in Erie. "I never saw so many tracers." Morettini landed about 16 miles i...
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Combat veteran: Smethport man Dille served during World War II, Korea

Smethport veteran Garvin Dille served in both World War II and the Korean War. A U.S. Navy veteran, Dille, 89, is one of the 65,704 American servicemen — government figures — to see active duty in both wars. Both times, Dille, a technical specialist, was assigned to repair ships, auxiliary vessels, staffed by capable crews of qualified repairmen and designed to provide maintenance support to warships that had suffered equipment failures or battle damage. Without his parents' immediate knowledge and against their objections, Dille still 16, quit Emlenton High School in 1944, while World W...
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Elk County Catholic Band Sudents to Perform at Pearl Harbor Anniversary

Seven Elk County Catholic High School band students will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform on Dec. 7 — the 75th anniversary of the tragic Pearl Harbor attacks that brought the United States into World War II. This is the last major anniversary of the attack that event organizers feel living survivors will still be present and able to participate in. As such, the state of Hawaii projects this to be the largest event of its kind in its history. Every year, parade organizers strive to have a high school band represent each battleship state. Elk County Catholic students were c...
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Far East Find: Photos Show Captured Japanese Sub from World War II in Kane, PA

Much to the surprise of the Kane Historic Preservation Society, a recent donation of a collection of photo negatives contained negatives of a captured Japanese submarine from World War II on display on Field Street in Kane on June 16, 1943. According to the Historic Naval Ships Association, the submarine is the HA-19, a Japanese Type “A” midget submarine. The submarine was one of four deployed by the Japanese during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. However, none of the midget submarines caused any damage to the American fleet. Read more from The Bradford Era  
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Local Man Tells Origin of Japanese Flag Featured on Reality TV Show

The mission of a Bradford woman to track down and connect World War II veterans with a Japanese flag they signed nearly 70 years ago spurred a segment on a reality television show that aired on Veterans Day — and now it has triggered the memory of a Limestone, N.Y. man, who stopped by The Era Friday to tell the origin of the flag. Marine Corp. veteran George Brown, a 62-year resident of Limestone, says he knew the man to whom the flag belonged for many decades. Brown is certain it was the property of now-deceased Army Sgt. Harold St. Clair, who served in World War II and survived three year...
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World War II Museum Announces Re-Dedication of Holocaust Room

In honor of Veterans Day, the Eldred World War II Museum will re-dedicate its updated Holocaust Room on Friday. The room has been improved with new images, artifacts and a small library of Holocaust-related books. Steve Appleby, curator of the museum, credited Diana Phalon for her work with the update. Phalon is a former intern with the museum and is currently a history teacher at Allegany Limestone (N.Y.) High School. Read more from The Bradford Era  
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