Veterans discuss their wars, bring military history to life


November 08, 1995|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MANCHESTER VETERANS brought history to life at the Manchester Historical Center Sunday, when several related highlights of their military careers to an audience of about 30 citizens.

The program, "Acknowledging Military Veterans Sunday," was one of a series of monthly programs for the public developed by the Manchester Historical Center Committee.

Six Civil War re-enactors provided the honor guard of Union and Confederate flags, arriving from their encampment on York Street.

Arthur Twigg of Sykesville, who bears a striking resemblance to Gen. Robert E. Lee, portrayed the Confederate leader.

Included in the Confederate re-enactors were Mary Custis Lee, played by Carole Twigg of Sykesville; Col. John B. Gordon, played by Joseph Dewald of Dundalk, whose wife, Tony, portrayed a Confederate wife. Jimmy Rink and his wife, Martha, of Boring played a Confederate couple.

On the Union side were Seth Young of Westminster, who played a corporal; General Trimble and his wife, Ann, played by Larry BTC and Donna Gribble of Sparks; Capt. Ulrich Blockinger, played by his great-great-grandson, Walt Bosman of Westminster; and a Union colonel, played by Roy Smith of Gettysburg.

Among the veterans who were honored was Everett Reed, who served in World War II. A graduate of Manchester High in 1931, he enlisted in the Navy in 1939.

He was assigned to a mine sweeper off the coast of Italy. On one occasion, he and his shipmates had secured the landing area for ships carrying fresh troops and ammunition. "At 4 a.m., the Germans struck by air," Mr. Reed said.

One bomb landed about four feet from Mr. Reed, blowing a hole through the hull. Since Mr. Reed's uncle and grandfather were builders, and he was familiar with concrete foundations, Mr. Reed was able to patch the ship's hull with lumber, sand and cement.

Later, as the ship neared the North African coast, a heavy storm hit. Mr. Reed recalled that his captain asked whether the patch would hold. "And I said, 'Yes, sir!' I had no idea whether it would."

The ship was saved, but greater trouble was in store.

"A torpedo hit, split the ship right in two, and the fore end sank in 10 minutes, the aft end in 12," said Mr. Reed. "Out of 106 men, 32 survived. I was the only one not a stretcher case."

Another honored veteran, Vince DePalmer, joined the Air Force in 1956 and qualified for pilot training. He didn't want to wait more than a year for the training school, so he signed on as a navigator. In 1962, he spent four months spreading Agent Orange over Vietnam, followed by four years on the crew of a plane carrying a Titan missile.

"I kept thinking, if this were dropped in Greenmount, it would vaporize everything from Black & Decker to north of Manchester," he said.

"I wanted my children to be in Manchester with a nice stable life," Mr. DePalmer said, so in 1967 he left the Air Force and moved home. From 1985 to 1995 he served as a disaster preparation specialist as a member of the Maryland Air National Guard.

Also honored was Steve DePalmer, son of Vince DePalmer, who graduated from North Carroll High in 1981 and followed his father's love of aviation with a scholarship to the Air Force Academy and pilot training.

"You can't imagine the excitement being given the keys to such an expensive piece of equipment as the F-15," he said.

Wrestling spectacular

The Pro Wrestling Spectacular IV, the annual match sponsored by the Business Club at North Carroll High, takes place Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15 ringside, $12 general admission and are available at Ledo Pizza at Cranberry Square, Ron's Automotive in Manchester and at the high school.

Information: 751-3450, Ext. 256 or 385-3307.

Budget shopping

Are your children on a tight budget for Christmas? Take them to Elfnick's Cave, a kids-only shop for children 9 and younger at North Carroll Middle School, 2401 Hanover Pike, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Middle school students will help the younger children purchase and wrap gifts.

Information: North Carroll Middle, 751-3440.

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