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...
More

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...
More

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...
More

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...
More

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  
More

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...
More

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  
More

Veterans Book Project Exhibit Opens at Jamestown Community College

While looking through one of the journals on display with the Veterans Book Project, Master Sgt. James Andrews spoke softly of the horrors of war — and why many soldiers don’t share their stories with family. Fittingly, Andrew, an instructor with the St. Bonaventure University ROTC Honor Guard, visited the book project exhibit at Jamestown Community College (JCC) in Olean on Veterans Day. He and his cadets had conducted the JCC Flag Pole ceremony earlier in conjunction with JCC’s Club Valor Veteran Recognition Ceremony. Following the Veterans Day luncheon at the college, the cadets were inv...
More

Never Forget: Decorated World War II Veteran Nagel Shares His Story

Raymond Nagel Sr. remembers firing .50-caliber guns with each of his hands at a German submarine near the Brazilian coast with such accuracy that the enemy gun crews abandoned their stations on the doomed vessel. Nagel, a decorated World War II veteran with the United States Naval Reserve, and his family agreed to share his story to ensure that the battles fought in South America during the war are never forgotten. Now 92, Nagel remembers many of the details of that day in 1943 when he and others on a Navy patrol plane spotted a German submarine in the South Atlantic Ocean making its way...
More

Author Reiter to Discuss Coming of Age During World War II

Retired public school teacher Daisy Reiter, author of “Cora, It’s War,” the story of a small-town Pennsylvania girl who comes of age during World War II, will discuss her book on Saturday at the Eldred World War II Museum and Learning Center. The program, held in the Mitchell Paige Hall will begin at 2 p.m. The event is held on the anniversary of D-Day in 1944 when U.S. and Allied forces invaded Europe at Normandy, France, in the greatest amphibious landing in history. Formerly a teacher in the Philipsburg-Osceola School District, Reiter found very few materials for her fifth graders who...
More