Forty-five Mt. Lebanon’s veterans have been recognized since last Memorial Day on patriotic banners that line Washington Road Uptown. The banners, most of which were purchased by the veterans’ families, will come down later this month. But on Veterans Day, November 11, they will fly in honor of all who served or are serving.
Unlike Memorial Day, which honors those who gave their lives in the service of our country, Veterans Day particularly honors the living. Celebrated on November 11, Veterans Day is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany.
“The veterans of Mt. Lebanon will be eternally remembered not just by banners hung on a pole and the memorials we build, but by our never fading memory of their valiant service,” says Commercial Districts Manager Eric Milliron, who coordinated the banner project.
Here are brief biographies and remarks from three of the veterans pictured on the banners.
Glenn Barton lives on Brafferton Drive with his wife, Betty. He graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School in 1957 and joined the U.S. Navy that November. “I didn’t know what else to do, and thought that the Navy was the best thing,” Barton says. He spent three years in Jacksonville, Florida as an aviation metalsmith (now called aviation structural mechanic).
Just 40 days before his discharge, Barton remembers watching the final game of the 1960 Pirates-Yankees World Series on a rented TV in the hangar where he worked. “If I paid an allotment with a couple other guys, we were promised we wouldn’t miss one pitch of the game,” Barton says, a good move since Bill Mazeroski’s winning walk-off home run is one of the most iconic events in Pittsburgh sports history. Barton has good memories of his time in the service: “They treated me well. I loved the service and met some neat people.”
Sgt. Kevin Brown grew up on Bridgewater Drive with his mother, Leslie, and father, Tim, and currently is on active duty. Brown graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School in 2010 and joined the Marine Corps a year later.
“I knew the Marine Corps was the toughest branch to join, and I love to be challenged,” Brown says. Brown is an interrogator stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. He served in Afghanistan in 2014 and will be going to Iraq in 2018.
Brown shares an unusual perspective on duty in the Middle East. “I will never forget how beautiful the night sky is in southern Afghanistan,” he says. “You can see the stars perfectly, because you’re in the middle of the desert, and there is hardly any light. It’s kind of ironic how peaceful it seems with all of the terrible things that are going on around you.”
Despite those “terrible things,” serving in the military is the best job in the world, he says: “You are paid to do things most people only see in the movies. Life is tough sometimes, and you work long hours, but it’s all worth it in the end. Enlisting was the best decision I ever made.”
Melvin Bickel lives on Gilkeson Road with his wife, Maxine. A resident of Mt. Lebanon since 1942, he is not a World War II combat veteran, but joined the Army right out of high school, less than a year after V-J Day on September 2, 1945, and served in occupied Japan. He and a group of his buddies from the Lebo Class of 1946 signed up because they liked the idea of the GI bill, which paid for most of their schooling when they returned.
Bickel was drawn to the paratroopers because of the $50-a-month jump pay. “I was afraid of heights and a little leery and surprised I was allowed to do it,” he says. A PFC, he served with the 11th Airborne Division. “Our job was to walk through the streets in our uniforms to let the Japanese people know we are here, and we are in charge, but we are here in peace,” Bickel says.
Below is a list of all 45 of the Mt. Lebanon veterans who were pictured on banners this year:
AN Glenn Barton- Naval Air Station – Jacksonville Florida – U.S. Navy
Sgt. Ronald L. Bathurst- 704th Military Intelligence Detachment – Camp Zama Japan – U.S. Army
Cpl. Daniel R. Bickel- 3rd Marine Division – WWII – Guam – Iwo Jima –
Pfc. Melvin P. Bickel- 187th Paraglider Inf. Regt – 11th Airborne Div. – WWII – U.S. Army
Sgt. Jason T. Brown- Chemical Biological Incident Response Force – Global War on Terrorism – U.S. Marine Corps
Sgt. Kevin T. Brown- 1st Intelligence Battalion – Operation Enduring Freedom – U.S. Marine Corps
Pfc. Robert B. Bumer- Signal Corps – Army Security Agency 1954-1957 – U.S. Army
LCpl. Sean Capozoli- Operation Desert Storm – U.S. Marine Corps
SMSgt Frederick M. Carpenter, Jr.- Strategic Air Command – Vietnam War – U.S. Air Force
Captain Roy C. Dear, Jr.- Armor – Korean War – U.S. Army
Pfc. Bill DiSanti- 12th General Hospital – WWII – North Africa – Italy – U.S. Army
1Lt. C.J. Donoghue- MAG-25 SCAT – WWII – U.S. Marine Corps
RM2 Rick Erisman- LST-1156, LST-1175, LPD-11 – Vietnam Era – U.S. Navy
S/Sgt. Albert D. Furedy- 6091st Recon Squadron – Korean War – U.S. Air Force
Pfc. A. P. Good, Jr.- 84th Infantry Division – WWII – U.S. Army
Cpl. H. Ray Harkins- WWII – 1942-1946 – U.S. Army Air Force
Cpl. Donald C. Hasley – U.S. Marine Corps
Sgt. Gregory Hough- 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment – Operation Iraqi Freedom – U.S. Marine Corps
Cpl. Patrick Hurley- Lebanon Civil War – 3rd Marine Division. 9th Marine Regt. – U.S. Marine Corps
EN2 Francis C. Hynds- Merchant Marine – Korean War – U.S. Coast Guard
PO2 Joseph M. Jacobs- USS Saipan (CVL-48) – WWII – 1946-1948 – U.S. Navy
A1C James R. Jamieson – U.S. Air Force
SPC Joshua Keller- 332nd Engineering Company – Operation Iraqi Freedom – U.S. Army (Army Reserve)
SSGT Milton R. Lutes- 69th Infantry Combat Division – WWII– Germany – U.S. Army
CMoMM Peter J. Maurin- European Theatre – WWII – U.S. Navy
Sgt. Robert McElhone- 100th BN 42nd INF USARHAW – Vietnam War – U.S. Army
ENS George W. “Bud” McGlaughlin- WWII – U.S. Navy
S/Sgt. Charles H. McMillan- Tail Gunner – Bomber – WWII – Pacific – U.S. Army
Cpl. William D. Morgan- KIA 25 February 1969 – Vietnam – Quang Tri – Medal of Honor – U.S. Marine Corps
Sgt. Jim Ike Mosley- WWII – 1942-1945 – U.S. Army (Army Air Corps)
Cpl. Leonard J. Murgi- 58th Signal Construction Co. – Korean War – 8th U.S. Army
Col. Richard Norwood- 171st Air Refueling Wing – Vietnam War – U.S. Air Force
SSgt William F. Oxenreiter, Jr.- WWII – 1942-1945 – U.S. Army (Army Air Force)
Sgt. Steve Peterson- 305th Military Police Co. – U.S. Army
Lt. Col. Robert Pietsch- KIA 30 April 1968 – Vietnam – Savannakhet Province – U.S. Air Force
Cpl. Margaret Reardon-Vucich- Women Marines – WWII – U.S. Marine Corps
1Lt David Reese- 32nd AADCOM – 1/67th ADA – Vietnam Era – Germany 1965-1969 – U.S. Army
Major Melissa R. Smith- 494FS/335FS/334FS O.E.F. – O.I.F. – U.S. Army (Army Air Force)
Pfc. Paul E. Steitz- Infantry – WWII – U.S. Army
SMSN Richard Stoeckle- Signalman – USS Chilton (APA-38) – U.S. Navy
SO1 Thomas S. Taylor- Destroyer – Sonarman – WWII – Korean War – U.S. Navy
Sgt. Joseph A. Teta- 207 Squadron – Infantry – WWII – 1943-1945 – U.S. Army (Army Air Force)
Sgt. Harold John Walker- 381st Bomb Group – WWII – U.S. Army (Army Air Corps)
Cpt. George F. Weidl- 29th Artillery Division – WWII – D-Day – Normandy – U.S. Army