Ocean City Today

Veterans honored with banner presentation

Six active duty, 14 Korean War and 20 WWII soldiers given Boardwalk placards
By Katie Tabeling | Oct 26, 2017
Photo by: Katie Tabeling Navy Master-at-arms Louise Michels was the sole woman honored with the Hometown Heroes Banners last summer. Michels and her husband Bernard Michels both served during the Korean War. They were honored among 40 veterans and active duty service members during the banner presentation ceremony on Oct. 21 at the Elks Lodge on Sinepuxent Road.

(Oct. 27, 2017) Veterans and their family members shared stories of valor and thankful words during the 2017 Ocean City Elks Hometown Heroes Military Banner Presentation ceremony last Saturday afternoon.

The celebration at Elks Lodge #2645 on Sinepuxent Road honored 20 World War II veterans, 14 Korean War veterans and six active duty service members for whom personalized banners were hung on the Boardwalk this summer.

The program, which is spearheaded by Pat Riordan of the Elks’ Veterans Committee, expanded in 2016 to include WWII vets living in Worcester County. Eight honorees passed away between the time their banners were hung in May and October.

“Without you, we wouldn’t be here today,” Riordan said during the ceremony. “Everyone is honoring you, so I hope you take that to heart. We mean every bit of it.”

Some honorees, like Cpl. William Briddell, who served in the army during WWII, could not attend the ceremony so their family members spoke for them.

“My dad would have loved this occasion. He was very proud of his military service,” said Mike Briddell. “He told us stories of walking to Berlin to catch a train to go off to boot camp. He went to London and endured bombardment, and he was really proud of being there. It was different back then for African Americans, but he still lifted his military service above all accomplishments.”

Those WWII veterans who did speak, including Jerome Krause and Joseph Palmisano, both of whom served in the Navy, said they were doing their part for their country.

“Our generation doesn’t think of themselves as heroes, we just had a job to do and we did it,” Palmisano said. “I’m grateful. Because when I came out, I went to the University of Maryland on the G.I. Bill and became a doctor in Baltimore.”

“We’re humbled and proud to have the opportunity to serve,” Krause added. “We thank you for remembering.”

Other honorees, such as Bernard and Louise Michels, who both served during the Korean War, brought a little humor to the event. The couple met in 1948, when Bernard Michels was in the army and his wife was in the navy.

“My mother told me to find a good German girl or a Polish woman or even an Italian, because they are good cooks, but never to bring a French woman in the house,” Bernard Michels said. “During the war, the French women were as happy to go with the Germans as they are to go with the English! But for a 17-year-old, that sounds pretty good.”

Louise Michels, who is of French descent, said her parents told her to hang onto Bernard because his family owned businesses.

“I was told, ‘Don’t let him go; you’ll always have money,’” she said with a laugh. “The best thing I did was joining the military right out of high school. If I had to do two things over again, it would be that and marrying Bernie.”

Because active duty honorees were serving, their family members spoke on their behalf. Del. Mary Beth Carozza spoke on behalf of a family friend, navy Lt. Matthew Molloy.

“All of us locals are so proud that one of our own made that decision to serve his country,” she said. “When you do take groups walking down the Boardwalk, and they see those banners, it really does move people that our community stand behind those who served before and those that served after. We’ll continue to tell your stories.”

Mike McDermott accepted a banner on behalf of his son, Nate McDermott, and relayed his words. The Army captain had recently served in Afghanistan.

“He told me, ‘I’m not a hero, Dad. The ride there was one thing, but there were a lot of empty seats on the plane ride back,’” McDermott said. “They were rocketed every night, and we don’t really hear about this side of what goes on in Afghanistan. At a time when memorials and Gold Star families are questioned, [the Elks] have driven a stake down to honor people that make that stand.”

Complete list of 2017 Hometown Heroes honorees:

WWII Vets: Army Pfc. Carmine Amedori, Army Cpl. Leo J. Bateman, Army Cpl. William Briddell, Navy Motorman 3rd Class Frank Culler, Army Pfc. Arthur Eckert,  Air Corps Master Sgt. Melvin Hoover, Army Pfc. Robert P. Kannengieser, Navy Fireman 1st Class Jerome Krause, Air Corps 1st. Lt. Robert Mead, Army Sgt. Earle Moore, Army Pfc. Warren Mumford, Army Sgt. Harry Nolan, Navy Gunnersmate 1st Class Joseph Palmisano, Army Cpl. Nate Pearson, Army Pfc. Bert Raymond, Marine Corps Pfc John Richardson, Army Pvt. William Schmuff, Navy Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class William Simpson, Navy Torpedo Mate 3rd Class Andrew Tragerser.

Korean War Vets: Navy Staff Sgt. Joseph Casey, Marine Corps Sgt. Robert Deckman, Navy Reserves Yeoman 3rd Class John Garfield, Army Sgt. James F. Lodato, Coast Guard Seaman 1st Class Carmen Meo, Army Sgt. Bernard Michels, Navy Master-at-arms Louise Michels, Army Spc. Eric Milsson, Navy Chief Petty Officer 3rd Class Thomas Pizza, Army Sgt. Hershel Rose, Army Lt. Col. Jim Salzman, Marine Corps Cpl. Ronald Smith, Army Sgt. Howard Stephens, Navy Seaman First Class Edward Wirkman.

Active Duty: Marine Corps Pfc. Kyle Ailstock, Air Force Airman Troy Bollinger, Navy Hospitalman Dylan Deshong, Army Capt. Nate McDermott, Navy Lt. Matthew Molloy, Navy Pfc. Richard Stevens Jr.

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