American Airpower Museum hosts Veterans Day program
The American Airpower Museum (AAM) , Long Island’s only flying military aviation museum, hosted a special Veterans Day program honoring Long Island veterans, on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Museum, located at Republic Airport in Farmingdale.
Suffolk County Veterans Services Director Thomas Ronayne represented Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, himself an Army veteran. He noted that they were standing in the space where men and women—including “Rosie the Riveter”—had worked and helped make Long Island unexcelled in the defense industry.
World War II, he said, might have had a different outcome if it wasn’t for the “blood, sweat and tears of Long Islanders.”
A Navy veteran, Ronayne saw service in the peacekeeping force the U.S. sent to Beirut, Lebanon, in 1982-83. He praised the hard work and efforts of the volunteers at the AAM, “who spend countless hours here.”
The AAM is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the men and women who have worn the uniform of the armed forces.
This year’s program commemorated the service performed by each honoree.
“WWII veterans set high standards and passed the torch to later generations of soldiers, who met the challenge by continuing to defend America and her allies around the world to this day,” said AAM President Jeff Clyman,
WWII veteran participation was made possible with help from 101st Airborne Living History Group and Honor Flight Long Island.
Additional honorees were Long Island veterans who were active in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Whether they served in the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Merchant Marines or Coast Guard, all veterans played an equal role in our victory in WWII and the Cold War,” Clyman said. “Long Island’s defense industry produced thousands of aircraft for America’s ‘Arsenal of Democracy.’ Our veterans, aware of the risks, flew them into harm’s way in America’s battles against fascism during WWII and in Cold War conflicts against communist tyranny.”
Afterwards, visitors watched as aircraft from AAM’s fleet of meticulously maintained vintage warbirds departed from the ramp and take to the skies to perform precision flybys over Republic Airport.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran handed out citations to the following veterans honored:
World War II
Frank V. Agoglia of Deer Park, 97. Was 19 when he joined the 82nd Airborne, the U.S. Army’s first airborne division. He served in Normandy, France.
Ed Dionian of Farmingdale, 99. U.S. Army.
Robert M. Edelson of Massapequa, 95. Army, K-company, 350th Infantry Regiment of the 88th Division in northern Italy.
Albert F. Gallo of Garden City South, 97. U.S. Army Captain at Iwo Jima and watched the Americans raise our flag with his own eyes.
Dr. Richard Heinl of Syosset, 96. Served in the U.S. Army Infantry from 1943-46 in Germany and received the Bronze Star, of which he humbly said, “I honestly don’t know what for, I just did my job.” Bronze Stars are awarded for heroic achievements in a combat zone.
Bernard “Bud” L. Rosch of Bethpage, 99. U.S. Army Air Corps, was shot down in Italy December 28, 1944. Crew member on a B-24, credited with 51 missions.
Armand (Mr. T) Tarantelli of Hicksville, 94, served in U.S. Army in Germany on a Sherman Tank.
Carl Tringali of Brooklyn, 96. At 19 in 1943 he joined the U.S. Navy, survived a typhoon in Manila and kamikazes while serving in the Pacific until 1946.
Tom McTigue of Wantagh, 93. He served in The Battle of North Atlantic from Nova Scotia to England. Tom’s brother, 2nd Lieutenant John F. McTigue, was killed in action Aug. 24, 1944, when he was shot down over Germany.
Joseph Randazzo of West Babylon, 94. Enlisted in the Army’s 75th Infantry on his 18th birthday, June 6, 1944, which was also D-Day. He received the Bronze Star for serving in three combat zones: Rhineland, Central Europe and The Battle of the Bulge (where 48 men in his infantry were killed in action). On April 7, 1945, Randazzo was shot through the leg, for which he received the Purple Heart.
Korean War Veterans:
Salvatore Scarlato, 87, was born in Brooklyn. Served from Oct. 14, 1951 to Nov. 14, 1953. Was at the Jamestown Line Combat Zone, and was stationed on the west coast, 40 miles form Panmunjeom on the front line from April 14, 1952 to April of 1953. He served in the B Company, 1st Shore Party Batallion, 1st Marine Division as a private before his discharge. He participated in Kimpo Peninsula, Bunker Hill, Siberia (58), Nevada City (Vegas, Reno, Carson), The Hook. Received many honors for his commitments. After returning to United States, he was sent to Camp Lejeune Naval hospital, where he spent 5½ months, and received a medical discharge from the Marine Corps. for the wounds received by the enemy. Currently receives medical treatment from VA Veterans Hospital. When asked what the most memorable experience of the war was for him, he mentioned how horrible it was. What impacted him most during the war was that he helped to free South Korea from the Communists, and it then went on to become one of the best economies in the world. His hobbies include helping other veterans. He is currently the president of the KWV Long Island Chapter and the NYS KWVA.
William Arnaiz (90) was born in Jamaica, Queens. He was living with his parents in Lindenhurst and working with Borden’s Milk Company as a lab technician when he was drafted. His U.S. Army military service was carried out from Sept. 12, 1951 to June 16, 1953, and was formally discharged in June 1959. During his service period, he went to Pusan, Korea and was stationed for two months in Keojedo, guarding prisoners, then to the East Coast Punch Bowl from early January 1952 to early March 1953. He served in the 5th Regimental Combat Team, HG+HG Co. Communications Platoon and later gained the rank of corporal. He participated in three campaigns (two in the winter and one in the summer), and his job was as a messenger and code clerk in the security clearance. His unit was part of the communication platoon, decoding messages. He received the Combat INF Badge, Korean War Medal, UN Medal, NYS Conspicuous Service Award, National Defense Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation for his commitments. After returning to the United States, he was inactive for six years. After he was discharged from military service, he went to work for the NYS Department of Transportation and returned to college. The most memorable experience of the war for him was staying alive, and the trip home (31 days) to Colombia, and Puerto Rico. When asked what impacted him most during the war, he says that the people of Korea were very sympathetic, and he was proud to serve against Communist threats. His hobbies include fishing and boating. He is currently the director of the KWV Long Island chapter, and the NYS KWVA.
John Sehe Jong Ha (86) was born in Seoul, Korea. He was living in Pusan, Korea, as a refugee from Seoul, before enlisting in Pusan. His military service as Korean Augmentation to the United States Army (KATUSA) was carried out from 1951. During his service period, he was stationed at Pusan. He served in the US Military, 8th Army Signal Corps. He was an official interpreter between the 8th Army Signal Corps and Korean Military Units. Although his experience involved no actual combat, he witnessed the aftermath of the combat. He is currently the 1st VP of the KWV Long Island chapter, and the NYS KWVA. At the ceremony, he was applauded for having been rewarded the South Korean Presidential Medal.
Cold War Veterans:
Roger Kilfoil of Lake Grove. U.S. Marine Corps, 1978-1982, Iwakuni, Japan.
Meloney Hill, 52, is the postmaster of the Franklin Square Post Office. She served three years active duty in the U.S. Army, early 1990s and was stationed in Korea. On her return to the United States she served 6½ years in the Reserves where she attained the rank of sergeant.
The AAM is an aviation museum located on the landmarked former site of Republic Aviation at Republic Airport. The Museum maintains a collection of aviation artifacts and an array of aircraft spanning the many years of the aircraft factory’s history. The Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational foundation and is located at 1230 New Highway, Farmingdale 11735.