Opinion

Jourgensen: Their service and sacrifice are enshrined in history

Yellowed with age and on the verge of crumbling into bits and pieces, each piece of paper is lined with typewritten descriptions summarizing the service and sacrifice of Lynn area residents who fought and died in World War II. 

Joseph Pace, a Navy seaman from Saugus, died Dec. 20 from wounds inflicted during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor two weeks earlier. 

Edward J. Pettipas Jr., wounded aboard a plane during action in the Pacific, July 17, 1942. Dean V. Burdett from Swampscott stationed with the 9th Signal Service at Fort Shafter during the Pearl Harbor attack. Robert F. Allen of Saugus stationed at Schofield barracks at Pearl Harbor “reported safe” following the attack. Sigmund Ustaszewski of Lynn reported missing in action aboard the USS Houston during a 1942 battle in the Pacific. 

I will never forget speaking with the late William Hawkes of Marblehead about his D-Day service and what he recalled from Omaha Beach. Former Item writer Tom Dalton captured those memories in a 50th-year retrospective on D-Day.

“Omaha, that was the worst … we lost a lot of our officers and men within an hour or two. In order to get off the beach, I studied the rhythm of the machine-gun fire. I timed my run to the moment one burst stopped,” Hawkes told Dalton. 

Herbert Weiner of Lynn stationed with the Army Air Corps in Hawaii. Chester Wheeler of Saugus present at the attack on Pearl Harbor. Howard O. Wysong of Lynn stationed at Wheeler Field during the Japanese attack. 

Hugh M. Spencer of Lynn reported missing after taking part with a Canadian unit in a raid on German-held Dieppe, France. William B. Morris of Marblehead, a U.S. Maritime Academy graduate, injured when his ship was torpedoed in the North Atlantic. Lenny Barnes of Lynn injured while serving with the Navy in the Pacific. 

David Solimine Sr. organized a trip to Washington D.C. for World War II veterans and, as the group prepared to board a bus, I spoke with a former Army cook who asked his commanding officer to let him put down his ladle and pick up a rifle. It was December, 1944, and the German offensive dubbed the Battle of the Bulge had erupted in Belgium. The officer denied the request, telling the cook, “Men are fighting and dying up there and you’re damn lucky to be here.”

Ronald E. MacLean of Lynn killed with a Navy bomber crashed. USS Marblehead fought with its crew sustaining injuries in the Battle of Java Sea. 

Raymond J. Cool of Lynn killed July 10, 1942 in a plane crash. Andrew L. Comeau of Lynn, a pharmacist’s mate aboard the USS Tennessee attacked at Pearl Harbor. Leo E.A. Gagne of Lynn killed at Hickam Field during the Pearl Harbor attack. Paul Pinkham of Lynnfield reported missing. Lawrence Gallagher of Lynn reported missing when his merchant ship was attacked by a submarine. 

Frank W. Humphries of Swampscott, Herbert G. Hunt Jr. of Lynn and Gordon Landry of Peabody reported “safe and well” following the Pearl Harbor attack. 

“I was shaving,” Comeau recalled in another Dalton article. “I heard machine-guns then looked out the porthole and saw the planes … I was trying to tell my friends that we were under attack, but they said not to worry, that it was only a drill.”

Charles T. Lane of Lynn survived the sinking of the Canadian warship Windflower. James MacCarthy of Lynn survived a battle against the Japanese only to be captured in the Philippines. William H. Manning Jr. held as a Japanese prisoner of war. 

Bill Manning is among the honored dead buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was laid to rest on a bright spring day as tourist groups filed by the small plain stone marking his grave. The Navy chaplain presiding at the burial smiled and said, “That’s where the rubber meets the road in the U.S. Navy” when he heard about Manning’s service record spanning three wars. 

With Veterans Day’s approach, we remember all veterans for their service and sacrifice. 

 

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