Inspired by a guest editorial written by Jim Garnsey and an article on Jacob Cooper’s book on the 493rd Fighter Squadron, World War II veteran Herbert Mead visited The Telegram and Times office Tuesday afternoon to share the medals he received for meritorious service to his country.
“I saw all these names in print, names of people I know, so I decided to stop by the office so the newspaper could see my medals,” the 90-year-old Ilion resident said. “I saw those names, men who served in World War II, and thought I should share about my time in the service too.”
Garnsey’s “When the boys of Ilion’s English Street went to war” related the story of “Bud” Weeks, who served in the Army; Bill Prior, who was a military police officer at Morrison Field in West Palm Beach, Fla., and later in Libya, North Africa; Jack Boot, who served with the 87th Infantry in England in Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s Headquarters; Si Garnsey, who made 28 North Atlantic crossings as a crewman aboard the destroyer escort USS Blair; Charlie Anderson, who participated in special training for basic engineering at Pennsylvania Military College; Fred Goldner, who was sent to Hamilton College to become a meteorologist in the Army Air Corps and later was a navigator on a B29; Helmy Hoerner, who served as a dive bomber in the Atlantic and Pacific, winning the Navy Cross and Air Medals for sinking a Japanese ship and two German submarines; Frank Marsden, who was an engineer in the 505th AAA Battalion; Jimmy Chase, who stared in the Air Corps with the 379th Fighter Squadron and was later transferred to the 45th Infantry Division; and Dick Griffith, who served in the Army.
Cooper, an Ilion native who resides in the Buffalo area, wrote “The 493rd Fighter Squadron in World War II,” which tells the history of the 493rd during World War II as well as some of his own first-hand experiences and those of other members of the squadron. In the article, Cooper said he has many fond memories about growing up in Ilion, memories that include Bob Murphy, Ron Unsinn, Bob Lewis, Harold MacNeill, Dick Morris, Jim and Gord Bowman, Ed Plunkett, John Mullen, Jack Winslow and Mead.
“It was great to read about Jake Cooper. He was a good friend,” said Mead.
Mead served as a pharmacist’s mate third class in the Navy during World War II.
As a pharmacist’s mate, he said he served under the direction of medical officers and was responsible for administering medical assistance, treatment and services to naval personnel.
Mead also served as a member of the Seabees and helped build an airstrip in the Pacific.
“I served at home and overseas during the war,” said Mead. “I served in the Navy for three years.”
Page 2 of 2 - Mead was presented with the New York State Medal for Merit in 2010.
The Medal for Merit is awarded to New York state residents, or those who were New York state citizens at the time of their service, who served honorably in one of the branches of the U.S. armed forces and whose service was in direct support of combat operations.
“I am proud of my service,” said Mead. “It was great to see so many people I know are proud of their service too. Serving in the Army, Air Corps, Navy, it’s what we did for our country.”