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Oswego County Veterans Named To Senate ‘Hall Of Fame’

From left are BOB veterans Sfc. Charles Phallen, Cpl. Bill Hogan, Pfc. Bob Ochsenbein, SSgt. John M. Canale, Pvt. Harold Blake and W.O.J.G Len Lambert.
From left are BOB veterans Sfc. Charles Phallen, Cpl. Bill Hogan, Pfc. Bob Ochsenbein, SSgt. John M. Canale, Pvt. Harold Blake and W.O.J.G Len Lambert.

OSWEGO, NY – Senator Patty Ritchie visited with the Oswego County “Battle of the Bulge” veterans on Saturday afternoon to announce a special honor for the group. The group meets at Bridie Manor.

The organization, started several years ago by veteran and former Oswego Common Councilor John Canale, has been named to the New York State Senate’s Veterans Hall of Fame.

“I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated it when you invited me to your luncheon several months ago,” the senator told the group, which was joined by other veterans as well as OHS students.

When the Senate asked who she’d like to nominate to be in the hall of fame, “the only thing that I could think of was to honor this group. It was a pleasure to be able to do that,” she said. “As soon as I mentioned the Battle of the Bulge, everyone down there was in support of it, everyone jumped on the bandwagon.”

The senator admitted she “broke the rules.”

“I was supposed to be limited to just one person. But they said, ‘Wow, let’s do the whole group.’ They thought it was that important,” she explained.

It’s the first time a group of veterans has been named collectively to the hall of fame, which was created to honor and recognize outstanding veterans from the Empire State who have distinguished themselves both in military and civilian life.

“On this weekend especially, thank you for what you’ve done for our country. The Oswego County ‘Battle of the Bulge’ veterans served their nation when they were needed most and continued that legacy throughout decades of service to their communities,” Ritchie said. “Brothers in combat, they still band together to perform educational service for their neighbors and friends, sharing their stories and military traditions with new generations. Their sacrifice, patriotism, service and dedication to community and country have earned them a place in the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.”

“You didn’t go there for glory. You didn’t go there because you wanted to conquer a nation. You went there because it was the right thing to do,” said Rev. George Reed who delivered the blessings at Saturday’s meeting. “You went there to free other people.”

The Oswego County Battle of the Bulge veterans helped beat back Hitler’s Ardennes Offensive during the winter of 1944-45, a campaign that Winston Churchill called “undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war.”

It was also the bloodiest – with 89,500 casualties.

“It was one of those things where they needed a stopping force to slow down the German advances,” said Paul Santore, whose father was a veteran of the battle. “When they threw together this plan, you weren’t supposed to win – but you were never told that! So you went ahead and won that battle. God bless you all for that.”

“I would like to thank Sen. Patty Ritchie for selecting my group to be recognized as one of our outstanding group of veterans in the State of New York,” said Canale, chair of the Oswego County Battle of the Bulge veterans.

Canale will represent the group at a ceremony to be held in Albany on June 14, Flag Day.

The Oswego County “Battle of the Bulge” Veterans is among the largest gathering of soldiers from a single engagement in the nation.

Today, the group also includes veterans from Afghanistan, Korea and Vietnam.

Members include:

SSgt. John M. Canale, chairman

Pvt. Harold Blake

Don Buske

PO2 Fred Crisafulli

Cpl. Bill Hogan

W.O.J.G Len Lambert

Pfc. Bill Leighton

Sgt. Fred Lockwood

Pfc. Len Maniccia

Tec5 Alfred Myhill

Pfc. Bob Ochsenbein

SSgt. Phil Pecora

Sfc. Charles Phallen

Justin Baum (Afghanistan)

QM2 Alex Beattle (Korea)

Sgt. Miles Becker (Vietnam)

Tom Halpin (Korea)

SSgt. Matt Bush*

Don Cronan*

Carl Dickinson*

Don Kitts*

Carmen Santore*

Charles Scaglione*

*deceased

“This is the best part of my job, being able to meet great people like these veterans. Our nation owes them a tremendous debt of gratitude. It’s an honor for me to meet each and every one of them,” the senator told Oswego County Today.

The New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame, created in 2005, contains biographies of veterans across our state who have been nominated by their senators.

It can be viewed online by visiting http://www.nysenate.gov/veterans-hall-of-fame

4 Comments

  1. Liked This Story and thought you might like to remind your readers about Curtis Shoip:
    Medal of Honor citation

    Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company I, 346th Infantry, 87th Infantry Division. Entered service at: Buffalo, NY Birth: Napenoch, N.Y. Place and date: Near Tillet, Belgium, January 7, 1945. G.O. No.: 60, July 25, 1945.
    Citation:
    On January 7, 1945, near Tillet, Belgium, his company attacked German troops on rising ground. Intense hostile machinegun fire pinned down and threatened to annihilate the American unit in an exposed position where frozen ground made it impossible to dig in for protection. Heavy mortar and artillery fire from enemy batteries was added to the storm of destruction falling on the Americans. Realizing that the machinegun must be silenced at all costs, S/Sgt. Shoup, armed with an automatic rifle, crawled to within 75 yards of the enemy emplacement. He found that his fire was ineffective from this position, and completely disregarding his own safety, stood up and grimly strode ahead into the murderous stream of bullets, firing his low-held weapon as he went. He was hit several times and finally was knocked to the ground. But he struggled to his feet and staggered forward until close enough to hurl a grenade, wiping out the enemy machinegun nest with his dying action. By his heroism, fearless determination, and supreme sacrifice, S/Sgt. Shoup eliminated a hostile weapon which threatened to destroy his company and turned a desperate situation into victory.

  2. Too bad the photo is so small. I know a few of these guys, and would have appreciated it. Why so small..lotta white space around it so it seems the space was available.

  3. Co. A 46 infantry Batlion 5 th armoured division..23 april 1943 – 19 dec 1945..spearheaded into hergeons forest germany ..carried the bazoka

    also like to add other groups i contacted & no one seems interested in hearing an old man tell of ww2…do these un interested people just sit in an air conditioned office not realizing why there is freedom.it was just a few yrs ago my father did recieve some papers of recognition..he does have a purple heart.. .i wish personally john canale would please contact my father.. i’d pay f or his transpertation.. how can i contact john canale…. please emaill happytrails47a @yahoo.com…facebook angie grma w/ picture of a chihuahua … thanks u

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