As you all know, even as a USCG veteran, I have always believed that war is the worst possible way for our species to settle disputes, and that each war merely leads to the next one. That being said, I seem to have come from a long line of veterans who have fought in every war since we decided to no longer be a British colony. In my research I have identified 64 men and women who have served our country. I will list some of these for whom I have some knowledge of their combat service ( I am also including four whose hazardous War Work as civilians contributed to their early deaths, and some on the home front who ‘also served and suffered’).
Killed in Action
Pvt John Woodward – US Army – 8th Pa. Volunteers – Civil War – 1862 Killed at Antietem in the Corn Field – Fayette Co., Pa.
PFC Grover Johnson Jr. – US Army Air Forces – WW2 – 1943 killed at sea by German robot bomb. Fayette Co., Pa.
Grover Johnson Sr., and Edward (the father and the brother of above), exempted from war service due to critical need for coal – 1944 -Killed in collapse of Crucible Mine, Fayette Co., Pa.
PFC Earl Wakefield – WW2 -US Army – 6oth Rgt – 9th Division – October 1944 MIA then declared KIA July 1945 -Battle of Hurtgen Woods (My mother’s first husband). Beaver Co., Pa.
PFC Craig Maratta – US Army – Americal Division – 1968 KIA by IED Vietnam, Allegheny Co. , Pa.
Wounded in Action:
Private Phillip Heist – Civil War – 139th Pa. Infantry – 1864 – medical discharge with pension. Allegheny Co., Pa.
Musician/ Private Roman Fogel Dunn- Civil War -57th/84th Pa. Infanty – WIA and illness – 1962-1865 -discharged with pension, died at Dayton, Ohio National Military Hospital. Blair Co., Pa.
Major General Smedley Darlington Butler – multiple wounds – Boxer Rebellion, Filipino Insurrection, and several “Banana Wars”. Commander of USMC WW1. He decided after fighting 30 years of fighting these “Corporate/ Colonial Wars” that perhaps he had his gun pointed in the wrong direction. Lead the Veteran’s Bonus March on Washington D.C. that was violently suppressed. He was cleared of treason charges. Chester Co., Pa.
Pvt Lester Kelley – WW2 – US Army – 1943 North Africa – Fayette Co., Pa.
Sgt Ulysses Kelly – US Army – 1944 POW WW2 and 1952 WIA Korea – Fayette Co., Pa.
Allen Bascum Dunn – WW1 – 1918 YMCA front line aid worker – shrapnel and shell shock – Beaver Co., Pa. Died in 1942 of heart attack.
Cpl Harvey C. Jefferis, Jr. – WW2 – USMC – 1944 Guam – Fayette Co., Pa.
Life Shortening Illnesses – Service Incurred
PVT Freidrich Baumann – Civil War -US Army – Pension – Allegheny Co., Pa.
PVT Nathan Woodward – US Army – WW1 – 1918 died from Spanish Flu during training at Fort Riley, Kansas – Fayette Co., Pa.
Joseph Adams – Spangs Chalfant WW2 Armaments Plant – 1968 boiler man died of asbestosis – my step-grandfather, Beaver Co., Pa.
Captain Arthur A. Dunn, -9th US Army Air Forces – 21st Weather Sqdr., Weather Detachment “YI”, weakened by disease serving in front lines of ground combat – he was my father, he died at 36 in 1954, Beaver Co., Pa. In October 1944 he and his 2 sergeants were taking weather observations along the flooded Chiers River in Northern France. They saw a makeshift ferry boat capsize and dived into the water to save 3 French children. They were all awarded the Soldier’s Medal for life saving at personal risk.
Private Francis Joseph Horan – 680th Ammo Ordinance Company- US Army – WW2. “Joe” enlisted in July 1942 and after basic training was sent to cook’s school. His unit took part in “Riviera D-Day” in August 1944. This invasion of Southern France was meant to relieve pressure on Northern Allied forces, but was poorly planned and supported. His landing craft was stopped by heavy fire and shoal water, and they had to wade ashore under fire. Pvt Horan was among the few survivors of that incident. He later said that he had never been so scared in his life. He returned home, had a family, fathered my wife and her 7 siblings, and became a self-employed businessman. But his life was quite rocky, and today he might have been diagnosed with PTSD. Back then “hell shock” was not given proper treatment. My father-in-law died in 2003. He was a good man, and I have visited his hillside grave in the small upstate New York farm town he was born in.
I give mention to these men and women who survived their wars physically intact, but who served with special merit:
Captain “Fighting Joe Mendenhall” – Revolutionary War – He took up arms when the British invaded the Brandywine Valley in September 1777. He was a teamster, but in the awful fight at Paoli, he was promoted to Captain. He earned a Depreciation Certificate, left Chester Co., and went west to Fayette Co. Although he was a Quaker, he was a bull of a man.
PVT William Jefferis – Revolutionary War – Also entered the fight in Chester Co. when the Red Coats invaded the forks of the Brandywine. He was disowned by the Birmingham meeting. He got a Depreciation Certificate and joined with a wagon train of ex-Quakers relatives and friends, who by 1800, also “went west to Redstone” . His first wife Ann Woodward died, and he re-married to Martha, daughter of Joe Mendenhall. Fayette Co., Pa.
Pvt James Bradley Dunn – US Army – Civil War – 125th pa. Infantry – action at Dunkard Church, Antietem, and through to end of war. Note: He survived until in 1932 and was among the last surviving Civil War veterans from Blair Co., Pa.
Lt. Hazel Flickinger Teets – US Army Nurses Corps – WW2 – Combat Nurse in New Guinea; life-long Veteran’s Advocate and Air Force widow. Her husband Marshall Teets was a WW2 bomber pilot. Beaver Co., Pa.
Dorothy Cumashot/Johnson/Wakefield/Dunn/Marti – WW2 widow (twice)- Her first husband Earl Wakefield died in combat (listed above), and her second husband Art Dunn (listed above) died long before his time due to illness contracted in WW2. She also lost the son (my brother trie) she was carrying at the time. I believe she suffered from PTSD for nearly 60 years due to these losses. War wives at home “also serve”- Beaver Co., Pa.
PFC Tobin Marti – Mid-East Wars Era – Served in US Satellite Command and afterwards became a Defense Department PTSD therapist for war-damaged veterans. Adams Co., Pa. He is my son.
As for me – I was a Quartermaster First Class (enlisted navigator and meteorologist) in the USCG and Reserves. When asked if I was a hero, I have paraphrased the late Col. Dick Winter’s wonderful answer to that question: He said, “No, but I served with heroes.” My answer to that same question is “No, but I helped get the heroes to where they could do their jobs!”
Remember! And hope for an end to these seemingly endless wars we are currently involved in! Peace is Possible!
Thom Dunn Marti
Farmer, Historical Dabbler, and member of Veterans For Peace
- The Other Sergeants of Weather Detachment “YI” (May 3rd, 2015)
- The Officers and Non-coms of “YI” (May 1st, 2015)
- Introducing the Soldiers of Weather Detachment “YI”, ETO 1944 (April 28th, 2015)
- Long ago I long ago wrote about the USAAF WW2 9th Weather Squadron = the Red Roosters (April 23rd, 2015)
- My grand aunt Rose Chomesak Rock, and her irrascible husband Mickey (April 15th, 2015)