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Solvay-Geddes Veterans Inc.

Founded October 1945
PO Box 144
Solvay, NY 13209

May 19, 2014 PRESS RELEASE

What: Memorial Day Ceremony
When: Monday, May 26
th
, 10 am
Where: Veterans Memorial Park, 1000 Woods Road, Solvay
In case of inclement weather, we will move indoors to the
Solvay-Geddes Community Youth Center, 1010 Woods Road

Hosted by: Solvay-Geddes Veterans and Stanley B. Pennock VFW Post

We will be remembering our town’s eighty-two sons who made the ultimate sacrifice for
our freedom by reading each of their names from our Memorial Monument, in addition,
we will also honor those who served during World War II.

Attached are the military biographies of the thirty-one living World War II veterans from the
Town of Geddes. They were ordinary teenagers who, when called upon, achieved
extraordinary success. Their stories include entering service with lifelong friends who
during their first combat engagement were killed, a hero who secured the Bridge at
Remagen before being taken P.O.W. by the Germans and his story of escape, recipients
of multiple Bronze Stars, a U.S. Marine bomb disposal specialist that cleared former
Japanese-held islands in the Pacific, an individual that landed at Normandy and has 4
battle stars on his European Campaign Medal, and numerous other examples of serving
with honor, courage, and valor.

All are invited and encouraged to attend this free community event.
Sally Zollo, President
Solvay-Geddes Veterans Inc.
solvaygeddesvets@yahoo.com
315-720-2541
Solvay-Geddes Veterans Inc. is one of the oldest Veterans organizations in Onondaga County, having been
established in 1945 as The Town of Geddes Veterans of World War II. The 150 current members have served in
every armed conflict from WWII through Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan as well as Cold War and Homeland
Defense Operations from the Berlin Airlift through Defense of Liberty and Operation Noble Eagle.

World War II Veterans from the Town of Geddes


Mark Antonetti Chester Malys
Les Ball Manuel M. Martinez
Charles Baracco Joseph Micheletti
Anthony Bennie Edward Musengo
Charles Calligaris Norman Nicolini
Modesto Chemotti Louis Nudo
Carmen Cimini Raymond Palladino
Lawrence Colelli John Panighetti
Daniel Dantuono Mario Panighetti
William Del Favero Henry Ponti
John J. Demperio Joseph Ranieri
Paul DiGiulio Dan Simiele
Frank Fernandez William Waters
Fred Frachetti John Zingaro
Albert Francescotti Nicholas Zingaro
Michael Gasapo

Because of them, liberty did not perish from this Earth. When the future hung in the
balance, they stood on the edge of tyranny and devastation and risked their lives for a
future and a hope bigger than themselves. Secretary of State John Kerry
Town of Geddes World War II Veterans
Military Biographies of the Heroes Among Us

Mark Antonetti Mark served in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1947 as a Seaman First
Class-Ships serving in the Mediterranean Sea, European Theater of Operations as a
Repairman on the Aircraft Carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42). Mark’s awards
include the World War II Victory Medal.

Les Ball Les served in the U.S. Army from October 1940 to October 1945, attaining
the rank of Sergeant – Chief of Section. Serving in the European Theater, Les was
assigned to the Big Red One (1
st
Infantry Division), Battery ‘A’, 5
th
Field Artillery and
received 4 Bronze Star Medals for his actions in combat. Prior to the Normandy Invasion,
Les was injured in Sicily as a result of being gunned down by a German Messerschmitt
that was strafing the American combat units. Due to the extent of his battle wounds, Les
was hospitalized for 1 year. The remainder of his gun crew did participate in the
Normandy Invasion and all 14 men of his gun crew were killed. Les’s company was
awarded by President Truman a Unit Citation for Heroism against an Armed Enemy for
capturing the most war prisoners. Les’s decorations include 4 Bronze Star Medals, Purple
Heart, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, American Campaign Medal,
American Defense Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and New York State
Conspicuous Service Cross.

Charles Baracco Charles served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946 as a Radar
Operator First Class assigned to U.S. Marine Patrol Bombing Squadron 215 (VPB-215).
Charles service locations included Naval Station Norfolk, Cape Canaveral, Columbia,
Panama Canal Zone, Bermuda, and Quantamano Bay. Charles’s awards include the
American Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal.

Anthony Bennie Tony served in U.S. Army Air Corps 8
th
Army from 1945 to 1946 as a
Corporal in the 831
st
Engineering Aviation Battalion in Frankfurt, Germany and Amarillo,
Texas as a Dental Technician. Tony’s awards include the European-African-Middle
Eastern Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal.

Charles Calligaris Charles served in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1946 as a Staff
Sergeant, Battalion Clerk and Chief, Morning Report Section. Charles processed 5,000
soldiers returning home from Europe and his awards include the World War II Victory
Medal.

Modesto Chemotti Mike served in the U.S. Army’s 5
th
Army Quartermaster Corps from
1941 to 1945 in Northern Africa and Europe, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. Serving
three years in the European Theater, Mike participated in the invasion of Italy, the Rome-
Arno Campaign, Naples-Foggia Campaign and was assigned to the Headquarters group
stationed at the Naples port. Mike’s decorations include the European-African-Middle
Eastern Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal.

Carmen Cimini Carmen served in the U.S. Navy as a Seaman First Class on the aircraft
carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3). His service included participation in Operation Crossroads,
the testing of atomic bombs at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Carmen’s decorations
include the World War II Victory Medal.

Lawrence Colelli Larry served in U.S. Army’s 3
rd
Infantry Division, 41
st
Field Artillery
Brigade as a Technician 4
th
Grade Radio Operator serving in the European Theater of
Operations. Larry’s awards include the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign
Medal World War II Victory Medal. Larry is also a Past President of Solvay-Geddes
Veterans and former Post Commander of the Stanley B. Pennock VFW Post.

Daniel Dantuono At age 17, Dan enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 an Aviation
Cadet. While undergoing Pilot Training, Dan’s training was interrupted due to a surplus of
pilots. Dan’s awards include the World War II Victory Medal.

William A. Del Favero Bill served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1946 as an Aviation
Machinist, Crew Chief, and Tunnel Gunner with combat aircrew wings in the Pacific
Theater of Operations. As a Navy aircrew member Bill’s duties were to bomb and strafe
Japanese held islands and ships, preventing the resupply of the islands of Truk, Kaviang,
Satawan, Rabaul, and others. Working from airfields located on Munda, Funafuti, and
Espiritos Santos, Bill and his crew were flying low level missions which exposed them to a
great deal of ground fire but they were able to return with machine gun fire which resulted
in the sinking of many small wooden ships. On July 26, 1944 a five ship Japanese convoy
was sighted and attacked by Bill’s crew which resulted in three of the ships immediately
sinking. On a bombing raid of Satawan atoll, Bill’s crew shot down 2 Japanese fighters.
Bill’s decorations include the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 3 battle stars, American
Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Aircrew Insignia with 2 stars.


John J. Demperio Jay served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945 as a Military Police
Corporal assigned to the 1259
th
Military Police Company (Aviation) with service in
England, France, and Brazil. Jay provided air field security for airports in England and
France, was a motorcycle MP, and escorted convoys for the invasion of France on D-Day.
Jay is a combat veteran of the Normandy invasion, and the Northern France, Rhineland,
and Central Europe Campaigns. Jay’s decorations include the Good Conduct Medal,
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 Battle Stars, American
Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

Paul F. DiGiulio Paul served in the U.S. Army from July 1943 to November 1946
attaining the rank of Sergeant. Drafted out of high school, Paul was trained in anti-aircraft
and transferred into infantry and sent overseas for the Battle of the Bulge. When he
arrived, General Patton had broken through the German lines and it took him a week to
catch up with his outfit. Paul served with the 71
st
Division as a Radio Operator and Auto
Mechanic in Germany and Austria. Paul’s awards include the Army of Occupation Medal,
American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and
World War II Victory Medal.

Frank Fernandez Frank served in the U.S. Army Aircorps from 1942 to 1946 as a
Warrant Officer serving stateside as a Finance Officer at Fort Dix, Miami, and Fort
Benjamin Harrison. Frank was kept on active duty after the war to audit defense contracts.
Franks’ awards include the World War II Victory Medal.

Fred Frachetti Fred served in Army Air Corps and his awards include the World War II
Victory Medal.

Albert Francescotti Al served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946 as a Radio Operator
with the 55
th
Armored Engineer Battalion, 10
th
Armored Division, attaining the rank of
Sergeant. Assigned to the European Theater, Al is a combat veteran of the Battle of Metz,
Battle of Bastogne, Ardennes Campaign, Central Europe Campaign and the Rhineland
Campaign. Al’s decorations include the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign
Medal, American Campaign Medal, and World War II Victory Medal.

Michael Gasapo Mike served in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1947, attaining the rank of
Corporal. Given his language proficiency in Spanish, Mike was assigned as Duty NCO for
566 Puerto Rican troops training for the war effort at Camp Joseph Robinson, Arkansas.
Mike had received orders to go overseas but those orders were rescinded in August 1945
after the atomic bombing of Japan. Mike’s awards include the World War II Victory Medal.

Chester Malys Chet served in the U.S. Army’s 3
rd
Calvary Reconnaissance Squadron
from March 1943 to October 1945, attaining the rank of Corporal. Chet left Solvay along
with many others for Fort Niagara and Augusta GA for training. In 1944 his outfit left for
Europe and he faced combat in France, Luxembourg, Germany, and Austria. Chet’s
decorations include the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and World War
II Victory Medal.

Manuel M. Martinez Manny served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945. Upon
completion of Army Specialized Training in Foreign Area and Languages, Manny was
assigned to US Army’s 76
th
Infantry Division, 304
th
Infantry Regiment, Company ‘E’,
serving in the European Theater of Operations. As a rifleman, Manny volunteered for the
Regimental Combat Patrol Team, a 30 man squad assigned Tiger Patrol missions. While
on a Tiger Patrol during the Battle of Ardennes, Manny was wounded by machine gun fire.
Hospitalized in France and England, Manny returned to the U.S. on the first convoy after
Victory in Europe Day and was sent to Mason General Hospital on Long Island. Manny is
a combat veteran of the Battle of Rhineland and the Battle of Ardennes. Manny’s awards
include 2 Bronze Star Medals, Purple Heart, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign
Medal with 2 Battle Stars, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, New
York State Conspicuous Service Cross, and Combat Infantry Badge. A Founding Member
of Solvay-Geddes Veterans, Manny has also served as President of the organization.

Joseph T. Micheletti Joe served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946 (WWII) and 1953
to 1954 (Korea) as a Commissary Man First Class (Ship’s Cook). During WWII Joe was
assigned to the repair ship USS Tutila (ARG-4) and destroyer USS Picking (DD-685) in the
Pacific Theater of Operations serving in the area of the Solomon Islands, San Pedro Bay
Philippine Islands, and China. During Korea Joe was assigned to the destroyer USS
Wedderburn (DD-684) which was providing plane guard for the fast carriers of Task Force
77 off the coast of Korea. Joe’s decorations include the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal,
American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal, Navy
Occupation Service Medal, China Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, and Republic of
Korea Presidential Unit Citation.

Edward Musengo Ed served in the U.S. Army’s 3
rd
Calvary Reconnaissance Squadron
as part of General Patton’s 3
rd
Army push from England through France into Nazi
Germany. Ed was in the lead reconnaissance team, on a jeep armed with a .50 caliber
machine gun when they encountered a German Tiger heavy tank. Ed’s awards include the
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal.

Norman E. Nicolini Norm served as an Infantry Medic in the U.S. Army from 1944 to
1946 with the 8
th
Army, 98
th
Infantry Division in Osaka Japan and the 128
th
Station
Hospital, the first Army Hospital established in Japan. Norm’s decorations include the
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Army of Occupation
Medal.

Louis Nudo Lou served in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1947 stateside as a Troop Escort
in the Transportation Corps. Lou’s awards include the World War II Victory Medal.

Raymond D. Palladino Ray was drafted into the U.S. Army in February 1943, and sent
to Mississippi for training to fight under enemy fire. Ray was then assigned to the 230
th

Station Hospital at Fort A.P. Hill as a clerk in the office. In July 1944 Ray’s Hospital unit
was shipped overseas to the Pacific Theater of Operations based in Hawaii where
seriously wounded GIs were treated after being flown in from the battlefronts in the Pacific.
Ray’s awards include the World War II Victory Medal.

John Panighetti John served in the U.S. Army’s 78
th
Division, 310
th
Infantry Regiment,
3
rd
Battalion, Company ‘L’ in the European Theater of Operations. He is a combat veteran
of the Battle of the Bulge, Battle of Hurtgen Forest, Battle of Remagen, Central Europe
Campaign, and was in the first platoon the cross and secure the Bridge at Remagen
(Ludendorff Bridge). Capture of this bridge was an important event in WWII Europe as it
was the only significant bridge still standing over the Rhine River from the West into the
heartland of Nazi Germany. Receiving fierce artillery fire from Germans, John was one of
a handful of soldiers who went on a Reconnaissance mission to the top of a nearby hill to
ascertain where the fire was coming from when they were overtaken by German soldiers.
Taken as a Prisoner of War to Stalag 11, when American Forces were approaching the
P.O.W. camp, John was transferred to a train for transport deeper into Germany. When
the train was spotted by and fired upon by 3 American fighter planes, the German soldiers
opened the train cars and the prisoners still alive spilled out, quickly signaled the pilots by
lining up to spell POW, and the planes tipped their wings in a sign of recognition and flew
off. Before the German soldiers had a chance to form up the prisoners for a forced march,
John escaped into the woods. Although he became lost in the woods and sick with fever,
John was eventually found, unconscious by the side of the road, by an American soldier.
John’s decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern
Campaign Medal with 4 Battle Stars, World War II Victory Medal, Prisoner of War Medal,
and Presidential Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster.

Mario Panighetti Mario served in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1947 in the 8
th
Army, 24
th

Infantry Division attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. Following basic training at Fort Sill,
OK, Mario was sent to the 24
th
Division in Mindanao Philippines, assigned to the 11
th
Field
Artillery Battalion, HQ Fire Direction, a 155mm howitzer unit. After the official end of
Campaigns, Mario’s unit continued to mop up Japanese resistance in the Philippines. In
October 1945 Mario was sent to the island of Shikoku Japan and began occupation duties,
engaging in patrolling and policing. Mario’s awards include the Army of Occupation Medal,
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal.

Henry Ponti A United States Marine, Henry served in the 3
rd
Marine Division from 1942
to 1946 in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Henry is a combat veteran of the Marshall
Island Campaign and the Battle of Guam. While serving on Guam, still a teenager and the
youngest member of his platoon, Henry was transferred to Admiral Nimitz’s Security Staff
one evening. The next morning the rest of his platoon set off on a mission, none of whom
were to return. Henry’s decorations include the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and World
War II Victory Medal.

Joseph Ranieri Joe served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946 in the Pacific Theater
and is a veteran of the Battle of Okinawa. Joe’s awards include the Asiatic-Pacific
Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal.

Dan Simiele Dan served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946 as a Seaman First Class
aboard the liberty ship USS Arkab (AK-130) and destroyer USS Lindsay (DM-32) in the
Pacific Theater of Operations. Dan’s awards include the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
and World War II Victory Medal.

William Waters A United States Marine, Bill enlisted in August 1942. After Boot Camp
and Demolition School at Parris Island and Camp Lejeune, Bill attended Bomb Disposal
School at American University, Washington DC. Serving in the Pacific Theater as a Bomb
Disposal Specialist, Bill removed Japanese bomb shells and disposed of booby traps on
Randova Island and rendered safe a United States bomb by removing the fuse and
manned a 50 caliber anti-air gun on Munda Airfield. After attending a second bomb
disposal school in Australia, Bill was deployed to Guam. While on Guam, Bill used his
explosives expertise to blow trees down to allow for US anti-air guns to be used, safely
disposed of Japanese ammunition that had been stored in a cave (and in the process was
bitten by a scorpion), diffused numerous Japanese bombs which allowed for the air strip to
be made longer for use by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, disposed of a booby trap at the
airbase and while removing the fuse from the explosive it blew his hand apart. Bill also
contracted malaria and dingee fever while on Guam. In 1945, Bill returned to the US for
another bomb disposal school during which time the war ended. Having left high school
early to join the Marine Corps, Bill graduated from Solvay High School in 1949. Bill’s
awards include the Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic-
Pacific Campaign Medal, and World War II Victory Medal.

John Zingaro John served in the U.S. Army and his awards include the World War II
Victory Medal. John is also a Past President of Solvay-Geddes Veterans.

Nicholas Zingaro A United States Marine, Nick enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in
1944 and served in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Nick is a combat veteran of the
Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and his decorations include the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
Medal and World War II Victory Medal. Sergeant Major Nick Zingaro retired from service
in 1980 and is a Past President of Solvay-Geddes Veterans and former Post Commander
for the Stanley B. Pennock VFW Post.