Korean War Memorial Committee of Central Massachusetts
P.O. Box 16568, Worcester, MA 01601
A VETERANS TRIBUTE TO OUR KOREAN WAR HEROES
MAIN SOUTH POST AMERICAN LEGION 1023 MAIN STREET WORCESTER, MA 3:00 P.M. APRIL 30, 2000
1. Master of Ceremonies
7. Thomas R. Hoover, Worcester City Manager
8. Brigadier General (Select) Edward L. Mahan, Jr., USAF Hanscom Air Force Base
9. Presentation and Salute to Women of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps
10. Presentation and Salute to the Heroism of Former Korean War POWs
11. Korean Society of New England
12. Tribute to Puerto Rican U.S. Army 65th Infantry Regiment Serving in Korea
13. KEYNOTE SPEAKERS:
SELECTED BIOGRAPHIES OF HONORED GUESTS
The Honorable Paul V. Mullaney, Esq., USMC
Paul V. Mullaney is an outstanding example of a life well lived: judge, former Mayor of the City of Worcester, former Worcester City Councillor, member of numerous veterans, civic, and community organizations, husband, father, grandfather, and decorated veteran. A Worcester native, Judge Mullaney joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1950 after graduating from Holy Cross and was wounded three times in combat. He was awarded the Silver Star Medal for gallantry, the Bronze Star for heroic achievement, and three Purple Hearts. A proud veteran, Judge Mullaney is a charter member of the Korean War Veterans Council of Central Massachusetts, Past Commander of the Worcester Marine Corps League, Past President of the Armed Forces Committee of Worcester County, a member of the Main South Post #341 American Legion and of South Works Post VFW.
Colonel Edward L. Mahan, Jr., USAF
Recently selected for the rank of Brigadier General, Colonel Edward L. Mahan, Jr. is director of the Integrated Command and Control Systems Program Office, Electronic Systems Center, Air Force Materiel Command at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA. His mission as director is to develop an integrated and interoperable Command and Control capability for the Expeditionary Air Force. At present, Colonel Mahan leads a modeling and simulation directorate, the C2 Unified Battlespace Lab, the Joint Expeditionary Forces Experiment, and chairs ESC's Senior Management Forum for Integrated Command and Control Systems.
Commissioned as a second lieutenant in May of 1975, he started his career as a Maintenance Officer, working on a variety of aircraft including KC 135 Tankers, E3A AWACS, and F-4, F-16, and F-111 Fighters as well as other training aircraft. Colonel Mahan has served in virtually every command in the Air Force; he commanded four squadrons and a logistics group and served on a Major Command Staff and a HQ USAF Staff. A personal note: Colonel Mahan and his wife Maureen, both natives of Worcester, have five children.
Colonel Mary C. Quinn, USA (Ret.)
Born in Quincy, Massachusetts and a graduate of the Carney Hospital School of Nursing in Boston, Col. Mary Quinn was an active duty U.S. Army nurse from 1950 through 1976, in a career that covered two wars. The Colonel's combat nursing assignments include serving at a station hospital in Pusan and a MASH unit at the 38th parallel in Korea, as well as at evacuation hospitals in Long Bien and Pleiku in Vietnam, during the Tet Offensive. Between the two wars, Col. Quinn completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing at the University of San Francisco. When not involved in wartime nursing, Col. Quinn's tours of duty included pediatric nursing in Japan, Germany, Texas, California, Virginia, and Washington D.C. Though retired, Col. Quinn notes that when you're a nurse, family and friends always need help, so Col. Quinn has continued giving.
Lieutenant Colonel Jean Houghton, USA (Ret.)
A native of Boston and a graduate of St. Margaret's Hospital School of Nursing in Dorchester, Jean Houghton is the daughter and sister of Navy veterans. However, Lt. Col. Jean Houghton broke with family tradition and opted to serve her country by enlisting in the Army. Though Lt. Col. Houghton served in Korea after the War, she saw plenty of action during the Korean Revolution in 1959 and 1960, which provided excellent preparation for front line nursing in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. During her 28 years of service, Lt. Col. Houghton did, indeed, "see the world," with tours of duty in Germany, France, and Japan, in addition to Korea, and Vietnam. Stateside, the Lt. Col. served in various locations west of the Mississippi, with a final assignment at Fort Devins in Massachusetts. A model of Yankee ingenuity, Lt. Col. Houghton enjoyed the challenge of adapting, improvising, and creating equipment in the difficult and restricted conditions of war. Home at last, she provides a family anchor for her 10 nieces and nephews and fifteen great nieces and nephews.
Major Genevieve M. Lukowski, USA (Ret.)
Major Genevieve Lukowski, USA retired, is one of 48 Korean War nurses that The Saturday Evening Post magazine called "Uncle Sam's Hard-Boiled Angels." When the Korean War broke out, Major Lukowski was a career nurse and teacher, who was engaged to be married, when a chance encounter changed her future. While waiting in a terminal, she saw a group of 12 nurses whose tongues had been cut off in the Philippines; a few days later, she volunteered for the Army.
Though Major Lukowski worked in an operating room in Korea, she was also exposed to at least six battles. For her service, the Major was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement during military operations; the Army Commendation Medal, for meritorious service in war; a United Nations Citation; a Korean Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters; and a Presidential Citation for an action in which she saved the lives of five Korean children.
Colonel Anna K. Frederico, USA (Ret.)
Col. Frederico, a native of Worcester, was always interested in military nursing. A graduate of Worcester City Hospital School of Nursing and Boston College, with a Master's degree in nursing from Boston University, Col. Frederico joined the Army in 1963. Her original intention was to stay for two years, but she became fascinated by the opportunity of worldwide experience and enjoyed all of her years of service until she retired in 1986. Col. Frederico says that the Army offered her opportunity -- the chance to grow in her profession and do the kind of nursing that can't be done in civilian life, the camaraderie of working with a terrific group of people, and the greater understanding that comes from working with other ethnic groups around the globe. One of her most interesting experiences was being stationed in Guam after the fall of Saigon in 1975, and helping 120,000 Vietnamese refugees to relocate to the United States.
Colonel Mary E. Mahar, USA (Ret.)
Col. Mary Mahar sums up her military experience as, "...a very, very good life. I enjoyed traveling around the world, the work, and the companionship." Immediately after graduating from St. Vincent's Hospital School of Nursing in 1948, this Worcester native enlisted as an Army nurse. Thanks to an aunt who was also an Army nurse, Col. Mahar had some idea of the adventures that she would have. During her year in Korea, she worked in an evacuation hospital, preparing wounded soldiers to go home. Ultimately, her twenty-seven year career took her around the globe to service in Europe, Asia, and all across the U.S. Since retiring, Col. Mahar has been involved in many good works, including her current commitment as a literacy volunteer.
Joseph Rovezzi, USA
Joseph Rovezzi was born July 28, 1926, one of ten children of Mary Pane (Rovezzi) and the late James Rovezzi. Joe attended Bloomingdale Grade School, Grafton Street Junior High School, and North and Commerce High Schools. His education completed, Joe was employed at the Graton & Knight Co. and his evenings were spent in his favorite pastime playing bass fiddle with musical outfits such as the Stardust Trio, The Solitudes, and others throughout Worcester County. Prior to his military duty, he was employed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, State Highway Traffic Division.
September 28, 1950 Uncle Sam beckoned Joe, and, once again, he was asked to show his talents, but in an entirely different field. Following his basic training at Fort Dix, Joe was assigned to the 25th Infantry.
Spring of 1951 saw Joe battling Communist aggression on the Central Korean Sector, just above the 38th Parallel. On this same Central Korean Sector, on April 25, 1951, the Chinese Reds attacked the United Nations lines sending thousands upon thousands of crazed communist soldiers into battle. As though under some strange influence, these Communists moved forward with little regard for their lives.
Bullets could not stem this oncoming tide of humanity and when it seemed certain that the United Nations regiment would be surrounded, orders were issued for withdrawal to a better position.
As fate would have it, Joe's company was assigned to rear guard action in an attempt to stem the Communist advance and enable effectual withdrawal of Allied soldiers.
However, the sheer bravery of a handful of men was no match for the overwhelming odds of the enemy and slowly Joe's company was wiped out. Cut off from their lines by the advancing Reds, and their mission of rear guard action being completed, Joe and a companion sought refuge from enemy capture by running for two whole days and nights.
Good fortune turned her eyes from Joe and his buddy on the 25th of April 1951 when they fell into enemy hands. After their capture, they were forced to march until June 16, to a prison camp called Camp 3, which was situated on the Yalu River. It was here that Joe remained, sustaining life on a handful of rice each day, and also on the faith of the right to think and act as a free man. On August 20, 1953, his faith in a free world was not betrayed, and he was freed from the prison camp. Once again he could take his place in a free world.
Edward W. Gregory, Jr., USA
Born in Worcester, Ed was barely 17 years of age when he enlisted in the Army. A year later he was fighting to survive, surrounded by Koreans, up to his hips in water in a rice paddy, and out of ammunition and grenades. He was wounded, captured, and forced to march shoeless for endless miles, carrying wounded buddies because those who weren't moving would be shot. His tales of beatings, terrorist tactics, cold, medical neglect, and starvation as a POW assure listeners that his Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart Medal, Prisoner-of-War Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Medal, National Defense Service Medal, US Presidential Unit Citation and Korean Presidential Unit Citation were all well deserved.
After almost 50 years of marriage and being the father of seven, grandfather of eight, and now a great grandfather, Ed has never forgotten his wartime experience and the buddies that helped him survive. He's active with veterans affairs, the Disabled Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign War, the Ex-POW Association, the Worcester Veterans Council, and with POW/MIAs.
Donald K. LeGay, USA (Ret.)
Now retired after 20 years of dedicated service to his country, Sgt. Donald LeGay, USA learned in his 29 months as a POW in Korea that "freedom doesn't come cheap." A native of Leominster, Sgt. LeGay was only 17 when he enlisted in the Army. Four months after completing his basic training at Ft. Dix, NJ, on November 4, 1950, a date he'll never forget, he was severely wounded and captured. And, his is a story of survival and will, living in a straw-covered mud hut in a village with many privations, constant intimidation, and the pain of an almost severed arm.
After a return transport to the U.S. that was covered by Life magazine, Sgt. LeGay continued his military career and also served in Vietnam before retiring. He then worked for a local business before finally retiring. Don still enjoys seeing his POW buddies at annual reunions, held at rotating locations around the U.S. His family of four children and seven grandchildren keep him busy along with gardening and woodworking.
Seung H. Choi
Seung H. Choi, president of Choice Investment, Inc. in Northborough, is living "a dream come true." Born in Seoul, Korea in 1948, Choi lost his father at a very early age. The Choi family lived near the famous 38th Parallel, and, when the Korean War started, Choi's mother, sister, and grandparents hid in the mountains for the next several years. Survival depended on quick wits and the ability to forage. Not happy living under military rule, Seung came to the United States to attend college and graduate school. He has pursued two distinctive careers, the first in nuclear power and the second in international trade and finance.
Giving back to the community is important to Seung. In 1994, he ran for State Representative of Worcester's 11th District. He is also the former president and a current member of the Korean American Society of New England and serves on Governor Cellucci's Asian American Commission.
Gumersindo Gomez, USA
Over the span of his twenty year U.S. Army career, Gumersindo Gomez served as Company First Sergeant, Senior Drill Instructor, Drill Instructor, Infantry Platoon Sergeant, Operation Sergeant of a Test Site, and as Senior Instructor of Combat Operations in Honduras, Central America. Sergeant Gomez' many medals and decorations include Cross of Gallantry Unit Citation, Vietnam Service Medal with two service stars, Meritorious Service Medal third award, Expert Infantry Badge, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Pathfinder Professional Arrowhead, Drill Sergeant Badge, Professional of the Bayonet Badge, the Overseas Ribbon, and six Good Conduct Medal Awards. After retiring from military service, Mr. Gomez moved to Springfield, Massachusetts and began working with civic organizations, including the Puerto Rican Veterans Association of Mass., Inc., the Spanish American Union, and the Federal Vet Center of Springfield, MA. His civic affiliations include: Executive Director and Founder of the Springfield Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center; member of Department Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans; member of Massachusetts Governor's Advisory Committee on Veterans Affairs; member, American Veterans for Puerto Rico Self-Determination; member, Executive Board of Pioneer Valley Council Boy Scouts of America; Scoutmaster, Troop 9; Chairperson, Impacto Latino Boy Scouts of America; and Executive Board Member, Salvation Army, Holyoke, MA.
Dr. William Wayne Montgomery, USMC
World War II veteran, Vermont country doctor, Korean War Marine Corps' combat surgeon, Harvard Medical School faculty member, clinical researcher, inventor, pioneer in major surgical techniques, and author of the non-fiction memoir, The Mustache That Walks Like a Man--Dr. William Wayne Montgomery's many and varied life experiences have taught him, in his words, Athat the greatest satisfaction in life is what you can accomplish and what you can do for others. The survival training of Vermont winters proved to be ideal conditioning for the deadening cold of the 38th parallel. But, nothing prepared this dedicated doctor for the sights, sounds, and smells of real-life war where, Ait only [takes] a fraction of a second to change your life.
Proud of his service as a Marine, though he came into the Corps through the Navy, Dr. Montgomery was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star with combat "V," and the combat "V" (valor), among others.
Capt. Thomas J. Hudner, Jr., USN (Ret.)
Thomas J. Hudner, Jr., born in Fall River, Massachusetts is one of three living Congressional Medal of Honor recipients in the state. A U.S. Navy pilot in Fighter Squadron 32, attached to U.S.S. Leyte, Lieutenant (j.g.) Hudner's citation in receiving the Medal of Honor reads as follows:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a pilot in Fighter Squadron 32, while attempting to rescue a squadron mate whose plane struck by antiaircraft fire and trailing smoke, was forced down behind enemy lines. Quickly maneuvering to circle the downed pilot and protect him from enemy troops infesting the area, Lieutenant (j.g.) Hudner risked his life to save the injured flier who was trapped alive in the burning wreckage. Fully aware of the extreme danger in landing on the rough mountainous terrain and the scant hope of escape or survival in subzero temperature, he put his plane down skillfully in a deliberate wheels-up landing in the presence of enemy troops. With his bare hands, he packed the fuselage with snow to keep the flames away from the pilot and struggled to pull him free. Unsuccessful in this, he returned to his crashed aircraft and radioed other airborne planes, requesting that a helicopter be dispatched with an ax and fire extinguisher. He then remained on the spot despite the continuing danger from enemy action and, with the assistance of the rescue pilot renewed a desperate but unavailing battle against time, cold, and flames. Lieutenant (j.g.) Hudner's exceptionally valiant action and selfless devotion to a shipmate sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
INTRODUCTION VETERANS TRIBUTE
The purpose of our gathering today is to remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice of life for country, to honor those who served in the Korean War, America's "Forgotten War" and, indeed, to salute all veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States.
This Veterans Tribute is the first of several events being sponsored by the Korean War Memorial Committee of Central Mass. We are an official "commemorative committee" approved by the U.S. Department of Defense. Others include:
A reenactment of the original Korean War A call-up on June 25, a march of troops down Main Street to the train station;
A 50th Anniversary Public Tribute on September 17, 2000, the date of the Inchon landing, to which we have invited representatives from the 20 United Nations Allied countries, national military leaders, U.S., state, and local political leaders, veterans groups, etc. Our entertainment for the evening will be Canadian Irish tenor John McCormick;
On that same day at WPI will be a forum of high-ranking national military leaders.
Ultimately, of course, we all look forward to the building of a permanent remembrance, the Korean War Memorial that will be built in Washington Square.
As we get closer to those dates, we'll be giving you more information about these events
The diversity of our Committee is honored by the participation of Caucasians, African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics, notably members of the U.S. Army 65th Infantry Regiment. Because of the participation of all of these groups, we are very pleased that Central Massachusetts has been able to manage events of this size and scope. As a matter of fact, check the Department of Defense 50th Anniversary Website of www.korea50.army.mil, and you'll see that Central Massachusetts has planned commemorations that parallel those in Washington, DC, San Diego, Norfolk, and Seoul. We can be proud that our area has so many people so dedicated to remembrance.
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