*** Wall of Honor ***

Here you will meet men and women who have served with honor and those who paid the ultimate price for our great nation. Below you will learn a little bit about each of the people who gave their lives in protecting our great nation from those who would see it destroyed.

" All gave some..... Some gave all...."

Let us as a nation never forget their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of their families.

If you have information on our brave fallen heroes, please forward it to Sandi Gilligan.


Staff Sgt William "Wild Bill" Guarnere
Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Kantor
MSG. Roy Benavidez, U.S. Army (ret.)
Keith "Matt" Maupin
Sgt Christina E. Loehrke Smith
Flight Lt. Paul Royle
General Frank Petersen
PFC Eric W. Hario
Master Sgt. Aaron C. Torian
WWI Pilot Eugene Bullard


William "Wild Bill" Guarnere

April 28, 1923 – March 8, 2014

  On March 8, 2014,
Staff Sgt William "Wild Bill" Guarnere died at the age of 90 at the Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa. Guarnere was honored by the state of Pennsylvania with a half-staff flag order by Governor Tom Corbett to celebrate his life and service to his country.

  He was a member of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division during some of WWII's fiercest European battles from 1942 until 1945. Guarnere, whose combat exploits earned him the nickname of "Wild Bill", lost a leg while trying to help a wounded soldier during the Battle of the Bulge.

  His commendations included the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.

  He helped write a nationally best selling memoir called, "Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends," with veteran Edward J. "Babe" Heffron and journalist Robyn Post. Later, the book of his and his comrades exploits were dramatized in the TV miniseries "Band of Brothers".

"Wild Bill" during WWII and "Wild Bill" at the age of 82 during a Veterans Day Parade.


Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Kantor

  Matthew Kantor, 22, a Navy SEAL, died in Afghanistan, bravely, serving our country on November 1, 2012.

  Petty Officer 2nd Class Kantor completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School in Coronado, California in May 2010. He served in an East Coast based Special Warfare Unit from May 2010 to November 2012.

  Matt deployed to Afghanistan with SEAL Team Four shortly after checking in. This was his first deployment as a Frogman. Not long after being deployed, and following official notification by Navy Officials at the home of his parents, Kenneth and Mary Jane Kantor, they received a letter from Seal Team Four.

  "While on patrol, several insurgents mounted a complex machine gun attack on Matt and his team," it read in part. "Without hesitation, Matt moved to protect his teammates and was mortally wounded by the heavy machine gun fire. He was the first line of defense for his team and his actions were directly responsible for saving the lives of his element and protecting the main body of the patrol," the letter continued. "Matt was true to form in his last moments, a gallant and noble warrior who put his team above himself."

MSG. Roy Benavidez, U.S. Army (ret.)

  MSG. Roy Benavidez served numerous tours in Viet Nam. He was awarded The Congressional Medal of Honor by President Ronald Reagan in February of 1981.

  While in Viet Nam his injuries were listed as seven individual bullet wounds in his legs, stomach, butt, and back. When the shrapnel was added, it came out to about 27 or 28 holes in his body. Half of one lung had been removed, his jaw was broken, and he lost most of his teeth. There were also a couple of pieces of shrapnel lodged near his heart. He went through four individual operations to save his left arm and make it even half useful. All of this from one battle where he saved several lives and, after running out of ammunition, fought hand to hand with the enemy to do so.

  While being air lifted from the battle field, he was mistaken for the enemy until one of his comrades shouted out his identity. His injuries were so severe that the medics thought they had lost him. They started to put him in a body bag until he spit at them to make them stop. He was then placed on a stretcher and sent to Saigon for medical care.

   While recovering in the hospital he was awarded four Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest award presented by the U.S. military, second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor.

  Before becoming a Green Beret, Roy had broken his back in a training accident. He worked tirelessly to walk again with the full intention that he would enter the training and become a Green Beret. He did so in record time.

  This is a man who truly believed in Duty, Honor, Country.

  Godspeed, MSG. Roy Benavidez, U.S. Army (ret.)

Staff Sergent Keith Maupin

July 13, 1983 – Unknown

  Keith "Matt" Maupin was born on in Batavia, Ohio. He graduated from Glen Este High School with a 3.5 gpa. Always the athlete, Matt played football and was a member of the Clermont High School Rowers Crew.

  After graduation, he entered the University of Cincinnati's Aerospace Engineering Program using a scholarship he received from winning a writing competition.

In 2002, he enlisted in the United States Army Reserves to help pay for his education. He was deployed to Iraq in February, 2004.

  The entire community, the State of Ohio, and the nation watched in stunned disbelief when a video of Matt in captivity was played around the world. Candles were lit and placed in windows, yellow ribbons were tied to trees, fence posts, and mailboxes to show support and love for Matt.

  Matt was promoted three times while he was declared missing in action. His final promotion was to Staff Sergeant. Operation Trojan Honor, named after his high school mascot, recovered his remains following a tip from an Iraqi Citizen in March 2008.

  From the airport to his home, people stood at the edge of the road to welcome this young hero, Keith "Matt" Maupin, home.

Sgt Christina E. Loehrke Smith

February 20, 1979 – September 30, 2008

  Sgt. Smith was a Graphic Artist in the U. S. Army 4th Psychological Operations Group in Ft. Bragg , North Carolina . She entered the U. S. Army in September 2005 earning awards that include the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Korea Defense Service Medal. SGT Christina Smith February 20, 1979 – September 30, 2008 Sergeant (SGT) Christina Elizabeth Smith was born Christina Loehrke on February 20, 1979 in Ravenna, Ohio. After graduating high school she received a Bachelors degree in Communication Arts from Xavier University.

  Before SGT Smith enlisted in the U.S. Army, she worked at a Publishing House editing books. She joined the U.S. Army on September 15, 2005 and attended Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. She attended Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Meade, Maryland, successfully obtaining her Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of 25M Multimedia Illustrator. Upon completion of her training, SGT Smith was assigned to Alpha Company, 5th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in April 2006.

  While assigned to Alpha Company, SGT Smith applied the skills from her civilian education and work experience, as well as her military training, to improve the unit and accomplish its many missions. She served with distinction in multiple exercises, to include three deployments to the Republic of Korea in support of Exercise Ulchi Focus Lens 06 and 07, and Exercise RSO&I 07. SGT Smith also served as an Operations NCO in the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force in support of Exercise Terminal Fury 08. Most recently, SGT Smith served as the Product Development Team Leader in Psychological Operations Detachment A520, and was tirelessly preparing her soldiers for an upcoming deployment to Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

  SGT Smith’s awards and decorations include: Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NCO Professional Development Ribbon, and the Army Service Ribbon.

  SGT Christina Smith was a very diverse young woman and enjoyed many things in life. The activities she enjoyed revolved around her family, and friends. Christina looked forward to quiet nights of relaxation and attending rock concerts. She liked being outdoors and riding her bike. When Christina was not at work, she and her girlfriends would spend hours chatting about life and enjoying each other’s company. Christina could light up a room with her smile. Her sharp wit and humor could cheer anyone up. She always found the silver lining. She gave selflessly to the unit, spending countless hours volunteering for the Family Readiness Group and was always available to her Soldiers. She was and remains held in the highest regards personally and professionally by her subordinates, peers, and leaders. SGT Smith is survived by her parents, Steven and Katherine Loehrke of Mount Orab, Ohio, and her brother Steven R. Loehrke. SGT Smith will be remembered by her family, friends, Soldiers, fellow Noncommissioned Officers, and Officers of 5th PSYOP BN (A) for her selfless service and untiring dedication to the unit and the U.S. Army.

Here is a link to her memorial

Paul Royle - WWII Veteran Who Took Part In 'The Great Escape'

   Paul Royle, an Australian pilot who took part in a mass breakout from a German prisoner of war camp during World War II that is remembered as The Great Escape, has died in his hometown of Perth, his son said Friday. He was 101. The escape was the subject of a 1963 Hollywood movie, "The Great Escape," starring Steve McQueen, a work of artistic license that Royle loathed.
   Royle died Sunday at a Perth hospital following surgery on a hip fracture that he suffered in a fall in a nursing home three weeks ago, his son Gordon Royle said.
   Royle's death leaves only one survivor of the 76 men who escaped from Stalag Luft III, near Sagan 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Berlin: 94-year-old British man Dick Churchill, a former squadron leader, the son said.
   The survivors had formed a sort of club and had kept in contract through a newsletter called the "Sagan Select Subway Society" which listed the passing of each member. The latest newsletter among Paul Royle's belongings showed that he and Churchill, of Devon, were the last survivors.
   "I called Dick Churchill yesterday and said 'I'm bringing you the news that you're the last one,'" Gordon Royle said. "He was sad but stoic."
   Paul Royle revealed last year on the 70th anniversary of the tunnel escape in March 1944 that he was no fan of the Hollywood interpretation of the story.
   "The movie I disliked intensely because there were no motorbikes ... and the Americans weren't there," he told Australian Broadcasting Corp., referring to McQueen's dramatic bid to outrun the Germans on a motorbike.
   Gordon Royle said his father was angry that Hollywood would create an adventure out of soldiers doing their often tedious and dangerous duty of attempting to escape. "He felt the movie was a glamorization of the tedium and the drabness of the actuality," Gordon Royle said.
   "The idea that they got on a motorbike and soared over a barbed wire fence is far from the reality which was darkness and cold and terror," he said.
   Only three of the escapees - two Norwegians and a Dane - made it home. Fifty others, from 12 nations, were shot dead when caught. A further 23 were sent back to the Stalag or to other camps but survived the war.
   Royle said his contribution to the escape operation was to distribute dirt excavated from the 110-meter (360 foot) tunnel around the camp grounds. This was done by surreptitiously releasing the soil down his trouser legs in areas where the ground color vaguely matched. He spent two days hiding in a snow covered forest before he was recaptured.
   Flight Lt. Royle was a pilot in the Royal Air Force when he was shot down over France on May 17, 1940, and was captured. His two days in the freezing forest in 1944 were his only taste of freedom until he was liberated by British troops from the Marlag und Milag Nord prison camp in Germany on May 2, 1945.
   Born in Perth, Western Australia state, on Jan. 17, 1914, after he left school at 14 he worked with his engineer father surveying airfields in Australia's sparsely populated and remote northwest Outback, and in 1936 enrolled in the Western Australian School of Mines to become a mine surveyor.
   He was recruited by the Royal Air Force and relocated to England in February 1939 to train as a pilot officer.
   Gordon Royle said he had no idea his father had been involved in The Great Escape until he read his name in a book about the famous breakout in the mid-1970s.
   "He was always looking forward. He never looked back. He wanted to focus on what was coming, not what had been," Gordon Royle said.
   The son said he found newspaper clipping and obituaries related to the escape among his father's belongings.
   "He maintained an interest but hadn't let it define him as a person," Gordon Royle said. After the war he worked in mining and engineering until he retired to Perth in 1980. He is survived by his second wife, their two children and a sister. All four live in Perth. He is also survived by three British children from his first marriage. He had eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Frank E. Petersen - First Black General in Marines, Dies at 83

   Frank E. Petersen Jr., who suffered bruising racial indignities as a military enlistee in the 1950s and was even arrested at an officers’ club on suspicion of impersonating a lieutenant, but who endured to become the first black aviator and the first black general in the Marine Corps, died on Tuesday at his home in Stevensville, Md., near Annapolis. He was 83. The cause was lung cancer, his wife, Alicia, said.
   The son of a former sugar-cane plantation worker from St. Croix, the Virgin Islands, General Petersen grew up in Topeka, Kan., when schools were still segregated. He was told to retake a Navy entrance exam by a recruiter who suspected he had cheated the first time; steered to naval training as a mess steward because of his race; and ejected from a public bus while training in Florida for refusing to sit with the other black passengers in the back.
   In 1950, only two years after President Harry S. Truman desegregated the armed forces, he enlisted in the Navy. The Marines had begun admitting blacks during World War II, but mostly as longshoremen, laborers and stewards. By 1951, he recalled, the Marine Corps had only three black officers.
   But in 1952, Mr. Petersen, by then a Marine, was commissioned as a second lieutenant and the Marines’ first black aviator. He would go on to fly 350 combat missions during two tours, in Korea and Vietnam (he safely bailed out after his F-4 Phantom was shot down in 1968), and to become the first of his race in the corps to command a fighter squadron (the famous Black Knights), an air group and a major base. Less confident men might not have persevered.
   An instructor flunked him in training and predicted he would never fly. On his first day at the Marine Corps Air Station in El Toro, Calif., a captain claimed he was masquerading as a lieutenant and had him arrested. In Hawaii, a landlord refused to rent a house to him and his wife, and admitted to a subsequent prospect that he did so because they were black.
   Racial discrimination was not all that General Petersen had to overcome. He discovered while training that he was afflicted with acrophobia — fear of heights. And while he longed to be a general, he was happier wielding a joystick than working as a desk jockey.
   After 38 years, he retired from the corps in 1988 as a three-star lieutenant general. He was the senior ranking aviator in the Marine Corps and the Navy, commander of the Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., and special assistant to the chief of staff. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
   Much had changed in America since 1950, he recalled in his autobiography (written with J. Alfred Phelps), “Into the Tiger’s Jaw” (1998) — and the military, originally recalcitrant, had led the charge.
   Promotions, job assignments and disproportionate punishments “were the three areas where racism was most likely to rear its ugly head for blacks then and, to some extent, still does today,” he wrote.
   Appointed a special assistant to the commandant for minority affairs in 1969, he recalled, he sought to eradicate barriers among recruits from different backgrounds, with palpable improvement.
   “The signs of it are subtle,” he wrote. “As you go off a base, look around. If you see a white kid and a black kid going off together to drink a beer, you know that you’ve achieved a degree of success.”
   Obviously there has been progress, he said, and the military has been a model for integration. Had there been enough progress?
   Frank Emmanuel Petersen Jr. was born in Topeka on March 2, 1932. His father, who was born in the American Virgin Islands, was a radio repairman and a General Electric salesman. His mother, the former Edythe Southard, was a teacher.
   Young Frank experienced the world beyond Kansas largely through radio, and his perspective was frequently refracted through race.
   Naturally, the family rooted for Joe Louis, he said, because “where else but in the ring could a black man kick a white man’s ass with impunity and walk away smiling with a pocket full of money?”
   He was 9 when Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, and while he was unsure what war was, he knew the Japanese had done America wrong. “I was scared,” he recalled, “but happy that it hadn’t been black people who’d done it.”
   He enrolled in Washburn University in Topeka, but when he turned 18 and no longer needed his parents’ permission (his mother had opposed him joining the military), he enlisted in the Navy.
   He began as a seaman apprentice and electronics technician and in 1951 entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program. He graduated in 1967 from George Washington University and later received his master’s degree, both while in the Marines.
   General Petersen’s marriage to the former Eleanor Burton ended in divorce. Survivors include their children, Gayle, Dana, Lindsey and Frank III; his second wife, the former Alicia Downes, and their daughter, Monique; a grandson; and three great-grandchildren.
   After leaving the military, General Petersen became a vice president for corporate aviation at Dupont de Nemours. He retired in 1997.
   In a video interview for the National Visionary Leadership Project, he reflected on becoming the first black Marine Corps general and the only one for nearly a decade until he retired.
   “Just to be able to say you kicked down another door was such a great satisfaction,” he said, but it was also a challenge. “Whereas you thought you could perform before, now you must perform.”

PFC. ERIC WILLIAM HARIO Died on Aug. 29, 2009, in Operation Enduring Freedom

   Pfc. Eric W. Hario, 19, was an infantryman assigned to 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. He was born Dec. 9, 1989, in Monroe, Mich.
   Hario was wounded by enemy fire while conducting combat operations in the vicinity of Paktika Province, Afghanistan, on Aug. 29, 2009. He was medically evacuated to a combat support hospital where he died.
   He was on his first deployment in support of the War on Terror. After graduating from Monroe High School where he lettered in football and wrestling, Hario enlisted in the U.S. Army in June 2008.
   He completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning Ga., as an infantryman. After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course there, he was assigned to the Ranger Indoctrination Program also at Fort Benning.
   Upon graduation from the Ranger Indoctrination Program, he was assigned to Company A, 1st Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment in January 2009 where he served as a grenadier.
   His military education includes the Basic Airborne Course and the Ranger Indoctrination Program.
   His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and the Parachutist Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.
   Hario is survived by his parents Rebecca and James Hario, brother Mark of Monroe, Mich., and brother U.S. Army Spc. Robert Hario.

Master Sgt. Aaron C. Torian - Brave Fallen

Let us honor Master Sgt. Aaron C. Torian, 36, of Paducah, Ky., died February 15 of wounds sustained while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. God Bless him for his selfless sacrifice.



Eugene Bullard - WWI Fighter Pilot

   Do you know who this is a photo of? Chances are you don’t, but don’t feel bad because probably not one American in one million does, and that is a National tragedy. His name is Eugene Jacques Bullard, and he is the first African-American fighter pilot in history. But he is also much more then that: He’s also a national hero, and his story is so incredible that I bet if you wrote a movie script based on it Hollywood would reject it as being too far-fetched.
   Bullard was an expat living in France, and when World War 1 broke out he joined the French Infantry. He was seriously wounded, and France awarded him the Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire. In 1916 he joined the French air service and he first trained as a gunner but later he trained as a pilot. When American pilots volunteered to help France and formed the famous Lafayette Escadrille, he asked to join but by the time he became a qualified pilot they were no longer accepting new recruits, so he joined the Lafayette Flying Corps instead. He served with French flying units and he completed 20 combat missions.
   When the United States finally joined the war, Bullard was the only member of the Escadrille or the French Flying Corps who was NOT invited to join the US Air Service. The reason? At that time the Air Service only accepted white men.
   Now here is the part that almost sounds like a sequel to ‘Casablanca’: After WWI Bullard became a jazz musician in Paris and he eventually owned a nightclub called ‘L’Escadrille’. When the Germans invaded France and conquered it in WW2, his Club, and Bullard, became hugely popular with German officers, but what they DIDN’T know was that Bullard, who spoke fluent German, was actually working for the Free French as a spy. He eventually joined a French infantry unit, but he was badly wounded and had to leave the service.
   By the end of the war, Bullard had become a national hero in France, but he later moved back to the U.S. where he was of course completely unknown. Practically no one in the United States was aware of it when, in 1959, the French government named him a national Chevalier, or Knight.
   In 1960, the President of France, Charles DeGaulle, paid a state visit to the United States and when he arrived he said that one of the first things he wanted to do was to meet Bullard. That sent the White House staff scrambling because most of them, of course, had never even heard of him. They finally located him in New York City, and DeGaulle traveled there to meet him personally. At the time, Eugene Bullard was working as … An elevator operator.
   Not long after Eugene Bullard met with the President of France, he passed away, and today very, very few Americans, and especially African-Americans, even know who he is. But, now YOU do, don’t you? And I hope you’ll be able to find opportunities to tell other people about this great American hero that probably only 1 American in 1 Million has ever heard of.

Sgt. Edward Younger, U.S. Army - Tomb of the Unknown Selector

Let us remember U.S. Army Sgt. Edward Younger who died on this day in 1942. Younger received the Distinguished Service Cross, two Purple Hearts and in October 1921, was the person responsible for selecting the WWI Unknown who rests in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He is buried in Section 18.


Fritz Payne Hero of Quadacanal

   On August 6th, the burden of freedom became a little heavier with the passing of Frederick R. “Fritz” Payne at the age 104. Payne was a humble, quite man, but he was also one of the First World War II fighter aces and he left his mark on aviation and wartime history by shooting down six Japanese warplanes during the Battle of Guadalcanal. The bloody, battle was the real start of the United States kicking the Japanese out of the South Pacific.
   Mr. Payne was a retired Marine Corps brigadier general, and he was believed to be the oldest surviving U.S. fighter ace. Just this last Memorial Day, hundreds turned out to honor him at the Palm Springs Air Museum at a special ceremony where he received the final honor the warrior was to receive from a grateful nation.
   Earlier this year, Congress decided to honor all of the nation’s fighter aces with a Gold Medal, its highest civilian honor. Payne was too frail at the time to attend the ceremony in Washington, D.C. so Rep. Raul Ruiz, brought it to him at the Air Museum. All General Payne had to say of the award was, “Terrific.” Payne was as always a very humble man.
   Between September and October 1942 Payne took to the skies in an F4F Wildcat and shot down four Japanese bombers and two fighter planes during a crucial period of, time that saw the eventual outcome of the war hang in the balance. “Fritz came along at a time when we were essentially losing the war,” said Bell, adding Payne and others who “stood their ground at Guadalcanal” and kept the Japanese from gaining total control of the Pacific Ocean from the east coast of Australia to the coast of the United States. The air, land and sea battles for that, small foothold of liberty, was the first turning point in the war against Japan. For his efforts, Payne eventually would be honored with the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and other medals during his long military career.
   Frederick Rounsville Payne, Jr., was born July 31, 1911, in Elmira, N.Y., the son of a Spanish-American War veteran. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy for two years before completing his college education at the University of Arizona in 1935. Upon graduation he had hoped to join the Navy’s cadet program but learned it was full. “My father said, ‘You’re a college graduate, go to the recruiting office and tell them you’d like to join the Marine Corps,'” he told the Palm Springs Desert Sun in 2010.
   He did and the Marines made him a second lieutenant and as they say the rest is history. When he retired in 1958 he had risen to the rank of brigadier general. –R.L. Grimes

Horace Greasley POW Master Escape Artist

This man's name was Horace Greasley. He was a British POW famous for escaping over 200 times to visit his girlfriend, a local Jewish girl. Why did he keep going back? Loyalty. He returned every time with extra food or other contraband to share with his fellow captives. Greasley spent 5 years as a prisoner of war, during which time he served as camp barber and worked in the marble quarries.
   Following capture, the men were forced to march for ten weeks from France to Poland. The men suffered deplorable conditions and spent a winter, in temperatures as low as -40C, lodged in an old horse stable. Those who survived the march and train transfer were beaten, tortured, and starved. Greasley was once beaten so badly he lay unconscious for 2 days. In 2008, his biography, "Do the Birds Still Sing in Hell?" was published. Two years after its release, he died at age 91.
   When I see this photo, I always admire the defiance in his face. He refused to be broken. Be that guy. Oh and by the way, the German officer he's staring down is Heinrich Himmler.

This page last updated on 06/18/18.
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