China Sea Keeping Free — China is claiming just about the entire ocean between Vietnam and the Philippines as its own and the rest of the world is telling it to get real.
The United States periodically sends warships into the area to make its point most recently the destroyer USS William P. Lawrence.
The William P. Lawrence is named for a man who was the first naval aviator to fly twice the speed of sound in a naval aircraft and was also one of the final candidates for the Mercury space program. During the Vietnam War, Lawrence was shot down while on a combat mission and spent six years as a prisoner of war, from 1967 to 1973.
He was noted for resistance to his captors. He memorized every POW by name and rank while in captivity and developed a code by tapping on the prison walls to communicate with other prisoners.
John McCain said “he’s probably the greatest man I’ve ever known in my life.”
Ceremony Honors Woman Pilot, Korean War Vet — This month’s Casket Flag Ceremony at the Delaware County Veterans Memorial is 6 p..m., Sunday, May 8. It will honor a young woman pilot from Radnor who died in a World War II plane crash and a father of eight from Lansdowne who served in the Korean War.
The ceremonies are being held the second Sunday of the month through November at the Memorial, 4599 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, Pa. 19073, notes Barbara Ann Zippi of the Casket Flag Committee.
Mary Holmes Howson graduated from Radnor High School and joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots in 1943. She was killed in a mid-air collision in Sweetwater Texas on April 16, 1944.
Mary was born Feb. 16, 1919. She was the daughter of Richard and Mary Howson and had three brothers, two of whom would also serve in the military.
She attended private school in Devon for middle school, then Radnor High School graduating in 1936. She then attended Smith college, and took on a teaching job at the Oak Lane Country Day School. In 1942-1943 she learned map-making from aerial photographs in classes at Bryn Mawr College. She then started working for the U.S. Geological Survey Office in Washington, D.C. and spent every spare moment learning navigation and practiced flying at a nearby field before joining the service.
She is buried in the cemetery of Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge National Historical Park. John Corry, a friend of Mary’s from Radnor High remembers her as, “an outdoors type of girl with a daredevil spirit.”
Torpey White was born in March 1930 in Philadelphia and graduated in 1948 from West Catholic High School. He enlisted in the US Army in 1952. He served in Korea and the reserves and was honorable discharged with the rank of Sargent in 1960. He obtained a degree in industrial management from LaSalle College and also became a master plumber. He retired in 1993.
He married Mary Ellen (Rogers) then settled in Lansdowne and raised five children. He had an incredible sense of humor and loved making people laugh. He was active with his family, church and helping those in need of his skills. He passed away in January 2014.
A crowd of 600 — including several Delaware County notables — packed tonight’s (Nov. 12) 2nd Annual Freedom Medal Dinner at the Springfield Country Club.
Congressman Pat Meehan was there as was State Rep. Bill Adolph, State Sen. Tom McGarrigle, District Attorney Jack Whelan and most of County Council.
The event was sponsored by Delaware County Council and the Delaware County Veterans Memorial with proceeds benefiting the Memorial, 4599 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square.
Those honored were Charles “Bud” Burns, Russell L. “Rusty” Carter, John J. V. Cook, Rev. Dr Wylie W. Johnson, William R. Hilton, Margaret Lozinak Lawrence, Dr. Merle Horowitz, Anna H. Wright, and Mike Innocenzo.
Carter of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division was injured when his vehicle snapped a tie-rod while returning from a night mission in Afghanistan. It rolled off a bridge falling 50-foot into a ravine. He broke his neck and he was told he’d be paralyzed from the neck down and have to live strapped to a machine to let him breathe. He refused to allow them to give him a tracheotomy to attach him to the machine and went into therapy. He can now move his arms which he demonstrated in a video shown to those attending the dinner.
He said he is glad to be alive and in Delaware County. He says he lives his life for his friends who never made it back.
He said he plans to attend Temple University and pursue a career in journalism or broadcasting. He said he would like to broadcast sports.
He expressed extreme gratitude to Springfield Police Chief Joe Daly — a Vietnam veteran — for the support he has given him since his return.
Burns is a Navy veteran of World War II; Cook served in the Marines in Korea and Hilton served in an all-black division Army division in Korea. Hilton was wounded three times and survived hand-to-hand combat with the enemy.
Mrs. Lawrence served as an Army nurse in Korea. She described how she was trained in infantry tactics, experienced guerrilla attacks and how all pulled together to save the wounded. She praised the Memorial and said it was good for veterans.
Rev. Johnson, who is pastor of the Springfield Baptist Church, is a retired Army chaplain leaving with the rank of colonel. He served in five armed conflicts. Since his retirement he has been working to fight suicide among returning veterans.
Dr. Horowitz, a long-time teacher who just retired as Marple Newtown School superintendent, received her medal for her dedication to education. Innocenzo accepted his on behalf of PECO for dedication to community. Mrs. Wright, who was instrumental in funding the Memorial, received the President’s Award. She asked that the late Stan Short and the late Steve Neri, who were also among the prime movers, be remembered.
Father James Kelly, the retired pastor of St. Pius X Church in Marple, and Rabbi-emeritus Max Hausen of Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood gave blessings. Rabbi Hausen is a World War II veteran.
The master of ceremonies was Sue Serio of Fox 29.
The National Anthem was performed by Christopher and Yvette Pecoraro — Christopher also performed Bring Him Home — and God Bless America was sung by Carolyn P. Hilton-Finney, who is William Hilton’s daughter.
The Posting of the Colors was by Valley Forge Military Academy Regimental Band; the Marine Corps Bridge Company B, 6th ESB 4th MLG; and the General Smedley D. Butler Detachment of the Marine Corps League.
Taps was played by Dan Fitzpatrick and Lloyd Spangler.
Claude de Botton, who provided the land for the Memorial and who came to this country as an immigrant, spoke about how much he loved America and was grateful for those who fought and sacrificed to keep her free.
Kudos to Linda Houldin, Barbara Zippi, Guy Fizzano, Chief Daly and Nicole de Botton Robinson for the work they did for the event.
2nd Annual Freedom Medal Dinner
Here is the video courtesy of Margie Royal of Delco News Network of Margaret Lawrence describing her experiences that aired at the 2nd Annual Freedom Medal Dinner
Philadelphia held its first Veterans Day Parade, yesterday, Nov. 8, and among those on the Delaware County Veterans Memorial float were Margaret Lozinak Lawrence and noted actor and director Peter de Feo.
Mrs. Lawrence, a Korean War veteran, will be among the recipients of this year’s Freedom Medal bestowed by the Memorial and Delaware County Council.
The Delaware County Veterans Day Parade is 11 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 11 — the right date for it — on State Street in Media. It starts on Edgmont Street and ends on Veterans Square in front of the Courthouse.
The public is invited to attend the Delaware County Veterans Memorial Monthly Casket Flag Raising Ceremony, 5 p.m., Sunday Nov. 8, which will be done in honor of Marine Corps veteran and former Upper Darby police officer Edward F. Crawford Sr.
Mr. Crawford was a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He received five Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star and numerous other awards including a nomination for the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The ceremonies will become a regular feature at the Memorial to be held the second Sunday of the month starting in April.
The Memorial is at 4599 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, Pa. 19073.
Maybe the best artifacts in museums aren’t from ancient long-forgotten civilizations but from the ones in living memory.
Bob Small sent a link to a fascinating article in the Huffington Post concerning The Swamp Ghost, a B-17 bomber that crash-landing in the jungles of New Guinea after being damaged in a World War II bombing raid.
It has been salvaged and is now on display at the Pacific Aviation Museum in Pearl Harbor.
FYI, the crew of nine survived and made it back to safety after a six-week trek through the jungle. They were given a week’s rest and then a new plane.