2018 Freedom Medal Honorees Announced — The Delaware County Veterans Memorial Association announced the 2018 Freedom Medal Honorees at a Flag Day ceremony this morning at the Memorial, 4599 W Chester Pike, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania 19073.
The honorees are Marsha Four, US Army Nurse Corps, Vietnam; John Schaffhauser, US Navy, Vietnam; Jeffrey White, US Army, Vietnam; and US Marines Allan Maculey, Lou Camilli and Joe Hinderhofer.
A special presentation of The American Flag was presented in memory of Linda M. Houldin, who was instrumental in creating the Memorial, and it was announced that an education fund of the DCVMA Veterans Education Project in cooperation with Delaware County Historical Society would be made in her name.
The article was originally published Oct. 17, 2009. Russell Boyko passed away in December 2013.
Sgt. Russell Boyko thought the smoke over Berlin was from anti-aircraft shells at first. It was his 17th mission and would have been his seventh over the burning Nazi capital. At 30,000 feet the smoke was near the ceiling of his B-17.
Boyko, who now lives in Upper Darby and attends Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Clifton Heights, was a waist gunner manning a 50-caliber machine gun. His plane was at the front of the formation. As they neared the city, the aircraft began to shake. Water had mixed with the anti-freeze causing an engine to lockup. With just three engines left his pilot chose to forgo the bombing run, break formation and return to Great Ashfield, England, the ETO base of the 548th Squadron of the 385th Bomber Group.
“Not very safe,” said Boyko.
A lone B-17 was extremely vulnerable to enemy fighters.Bomber formations were organized in a way to allow guns from many planes to be concentrated on an attacker. American fighter escorts, of course, would stick with the formation for as long as the gas in their tanks allowed.
“We came close to Bremen. I remember seeing a body of water. I don’t know if it was the North Sea or the Channel. I remember starting to have hope.”
He then saw a German plane with two engines in the distance. It would not have been a front-line fighter and did not attack. It did apparently report the bomber’s position. Nazi fighters soon arrived.
“I don’t know if they were Fock-Wolfes or Messerschmitts,” Boyko said. “They attacked our plane. Our plane went down in a dive.”
The pilot had given a pre-flight order to bail if such an event should happen, which the crew did. The other waist-gunner, Carter, was hesitating at the escape hatch. Boyko gave him a nudge and then followed him out at about20,000 feet.
Boyko said the directions they were given for a bailout were that a count of three before pulling the ripcord would allow them to clear the plane while a count of 10 would make it harder for the enemy to follow his path to the ground to capture him.
He said both he and the other gunner counted to 10 albeit it made little difference. About a half-dozen German militia and civilians managed to get a bearing on them. Boyko said his chute was blossomed on the ground and he had trouble unstrapping it. He heard a gunshot and heard a bullet whistle past his ear. There was a bit of woods a few yards away and he ran into it.
“The Germans kept the woods nice and clean,” he said.
He said a small girl saw him and started screaming. He found himself surrounded and surrendered. He didn’t have a gun and had no intention of resisting.
It was May 8, 1944.
The Germans fed them after surrendering.
“They gave us pea soup,” he said. “It was delicious. The lady was polite. I guess she worked for the Luftwaffe. I looked in her eyes. They were green like pea soup.”
Boyko’s next stop was a prison camp.
He said the camp had four “lagers”, or sections, with 10 barracks to a lager and 300 men to a barracks.
He isn’t sure where the camp was although it was near the North Sea.
“I remember the North Sea during a thunder storm. The lighting would come straight down. It wouldn’t fork like we are used to”.
Camp life was not like Hogan’s Heroes. Each barracks had only two doors at the front and the back. To get to roll call, men would try to beat the crowd by climbing out the large windows. The Nazis gave an order forbidding this. “One or two” who ignored it were shot, he said.
After six months, they heard Russian artillery. The Germans piled the prisoners into boxcars and sent them west. After a few weeks they heard the artillery again. This time the Germans didn’t use boxcars but had them walk.
During one meal break he saw a familiar face. It was Albert Goodman with whom he attended Benjamin Franklin High School in Philadelphia.
“He was in the chow line ahead of me,” Boyko said. The meal was chicken. “He came back in the line. Is aid ‘Albert you are looking good’ and he was. He was in the ground forces not the air forces.”
Goodman was Jewish. Boyko asked if he said any prayers like the Our Father. Boyko said Goodman told him he said something like it.
Boyko said that during the walk he saw a large group of young girls in Ukrainian costumes but didn’t get a chance to talk to them. He said a few prisoners stole chickens for food. He said in April1945 they were told President Franklin Roosevelt had died. The prisoners went to attention out of respect.
Russell Boyko was freed on May 8. He was promoted to staff sergeant during his time in the camp. He lived in Southwest Philadelphia for 50 years attending Protector BVM, a church his mother was instrumental in starting, before it was combined with Saints Peter and Paul.
He would eventually work at the Philadelphia Navy Yard from which he would retire.
Springfield Press County Press Are No More — The death of a long-established newspaper is a sad thing but what might be even sadder is when there is no place to put the obituary.
We have been told that the Springfield Press, established in 1931; the County Press which traces its origin to the County Leader established in 1932; the Garnet Valley Press founded in 1992; and the News of Delaware County, which traces to the Upper Darby News which if memory serves also started in the 1930s, are no more.
All were weeklies serving Delaware County in suburban Philadelphia. They have been consolidated by Digital First Media, the corporate owners of Delaware County News Network, into something called the News and Press of Delaware County.
David Medina Is Libertarian Pick For 162nd Race — The Delaware County Libertarian Committee has chosen W. David Medina as their candidate this November in Pennsylvania’s 162nd State House District to take on the seat currently held by incumbent Nick Miccarelli, a Republican.
Medina, of Ridley Park, a graduate of the Wharton School of Business, is the proprietor of Medina Kenpo Karate in Springfield.
The 162nd District consists of Tinicum Township; the 3rd, 4th and 5th wards of Darby Township; the 4th, 6th and 9th wards of Ridley Township along with the 2nd precinct of the 1st Ward; and the boroughs of Collingdale, Folcroft, Glenolden, Norwood, Prospect Park and Ridley Park.
Barrar Charlton Save Corrupt Dem Piggy Bank — The Republican-controlled Pennsylvania House, yesterday (Dec. 12), squashed a senate bill that would have stopped the automatic deductions of money used as political contributions from state worker paychecks.
The contributions overwhelmingly go to Democrats and left-wing causes. SB 166 would have ended the practice.
Every Democrat present voted nay as did 26 Republicans including the Delaware County contingent. That would be you Steve Barrar (R-160), Nick Miccarelli (R-162), Jamie Santora, (R-163), Alex Charlton (R-165), and Chris Quinn (R-168).
What is even the point of voting Republican? These guys certainly don’t seem to be trying to make our lives easier. Their own, yes, but not ours.
The vote was 106 to 91. Naturally, every fraud-dependent Democrat present — three weren’t there — voted against it, but strangely so did 13 Republicans including Alex Charlton of Springfield (165), James Santora of Drexel Hill (163); and Bucks County reps Gene DiGirolamo (18), Bernie O’Neill (29), Marguerite Quinn (143), Craig T. Staats (143), Katharine M. Watson (144) and Scott Petri (178).
So what’s up with that Alex Charlton? More interestingly what’s up with that Bucks County? What all do you have to be afraid of?
Anti-Vote Fraud Bill Advances Or Alex Charlton, What’s Up?
Women Veterans Honored In Delco — The public is invited to a flying of Women Veterans Casket Flags, 5 p.m., Sunday, May 21 at the Delaware County Veterans Memorial, 4599 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, Pa. 19073.
To be honored are Elizabeth McGrath of Broomall who served as a U.S. Navy radioman during World War II and Margaret Jane Lozinak Lawrence of Springfield who served a U.S. Army Nurse during the Korean War.