Nov 18, 2010 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
There’s no doubt war is hell. Just ask Bob Albro. He was there in 1945 when the U.S. Army liberated the Dachau concentration camp in Southern Germany.
“That was pretty gruesome,” remembers Albro, who lives in Liverpool. Bob is a member of the village’s American Legion Post 188, whose veterans are the subject of a new Liverpool Legends video produced by Liverpool Public Library.
The war crimes could be hard to stomach and harder yet to understand, but so could human error. John Grom was an Army mailman north of Saigon during the Viet Cong’s Tet Offensive in 1968, but what he remembers most vividly is the friendly fire that accidentally took the lives of American soldiers at Camp Red Ball.
Too busy to worry
While death and destruction characterize the “art” of war, lighter moments also flicker in the memories of the men who fought them.
In the new DVD, “The Veterans of Post 188,” Navy vet Dino Paschetto recalls proposing to his future wife, Ida Cairus, via V-mail. It took him some 30 days to receive her response.
“Weren’t you anxious to hear from her?” asked interviewer Linda Loomis.
“Yeah, but we were pretty busy,” Paschetto said. Busy is right. Paschetto was working feverishly repairing vessels on the Admiralty Islands in preparation for the invasion of the Philippines in the Pacific Theater.
Bill McGee, an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War, recalls a happy accident, landing a single-prop plane sideways during a windstorm. Marines helicopter mechanic Roy Johnson remembers the way monsoon season simply washed the weeks away.
“There was no such thing as weekends,” Johnson said. “Every day was the same – months of rain, 24 hours a day.”
Johnson returned to active duty more than 30 years later as a commander of a tank platoon in the Persian Gulf War. Besides liberating Kuwait, he accomplished his personal goal.
“I brought all my Marines home,” Johnson told Loomis.
Scouts view vets’ video
More than 100 viewers turned out as “The Veterans of Post 188” was screened on Veterans’ Day, Nov. 11, at the library. While most of the baker’s dozen interviews focused on war stories, members also recount a brief history of Post 188 and its annual Memorial Day ceremony. Fred Wyker recalls taking over Memorial Day responsibilities from its founder Fred Kies. Ken Hurst tells a funny story about a saxophone band playing at one of the late-May parades, and Bob Albro recalls a certain one-armed bandit that did business upstairs at the Gleason Mansion, Post 188’s home until 1972 when it built the hall now standing on Cypress Street.
Last Thursday’s screening was attended by members of Boy Scout Troop 139, Girl Scout Troop 706, pianist Barbara Harshberger, vocalist Mary Dean Landers and library Director Jean Armour Polly. Producers Rick Fensterer and Cindy Hibbert were joined by videographer Dan Moore.
“It was a privilege,” Moore said, “to be with these great men.”
Brass players wanted
Speaking of Post 188, the Liverpool American Legion Concert Band could use a couple extra trumpet and tuba players. The band has rehearsed every played Monday nights since 1955. If interested, please call leader Kathy Stickler at 492-3421.
Music Friday at Caf at 407
The pop-rock duo Micaroni & Vulcano, who’ve been entertaining Upstate since the 1960s, will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at Caf at 407, at Ophelia’s Place, 407 Tulip St., in the village. Admision is free, but donations are encouraged.
“We’ve played at pretty much every type of venue you can imagine,” said Sam Vulcano who plays guitar in tandem with Tony Micaroni. “We played at the War Memorial for a USA/USSR wrestling match, at a prison, at campgrounds, weddings, christenings and even a birthday party for a 100-year-old, and we’ve played in about every bar, tavern and roadhouse in CNY.”