St. Nicholas Byzantine Alumni Reunion

One hundred years ago Sunday, September 14, St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church was dedicated. This past year has seen many different events, get-togethers, a picnic, a pysanky display and, back in July, an alumni reunion. While I posted these to Facebook after the event, I failed to remember that there are many more people that aren’t on FB that would like to see the pics from these events.

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Prayers From Maria Sunflowers

What would you do if one day you were told that your otherwise perfectly normal, healthy, 6-year-old little girl had a terminal brain tumor that would take her life within a year? This is exactly what happened to Ed and Megan McNamara whose daughter, Maria, was diagnosed with a diffused intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) on April 1, 2006. This was no April fool’s joke.

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“Art” Oehlke, Jr.

I first met Art when I was writing for the Word of Mouth blog. WoM started as a one-man show, with Scott Bakalar, with occasional posts from his wife, Michele, and eventually picked up Kelly Boyer Sagert, Loraine Ritchey, Paula Tobias, Brian Hazelett and myself. Before you could  say “Lorain”, the blog was calling people on the carpet, pointing out the city admin’s missteps, and questioning the direction the town was heading. Art Oehlke found us on his desktop in his Broadway store, The 530 Shop.

I believe I had recently done an article about the decaying downtown, and had compared Lorain’s to those of surrounding cities. Out-of-town downtowns were booming, and Lorain’s was gasping its last breath. Art had read it and, I believe, contacted Scott to send me over to the store. I stopped by and we talked (he talked and raised a stink about City Hall’s lack of involvement/concern/etc. for the area). Art vented and I nodded and shook my head and sympathized. Here was a guy who was doing all the right things to resurrect the area, beautifully kept storefront, open year-round, late hours, agreeable, willing to negotiate on prices, just an all-around nice guy, and the city didn’t give a flyin’ you-know-what. They were giving Art a ration of $#&^ and giving other shop owners a bye. I did a story on his shop shortly after, lots of pics and a nice little promo for him. Next time I stopped in, he told me it was the nicest thing anyone had done for him in a long time.

I visited every now and again to say “Hey!” and listen to Art on what was going on. Sometimes my daughter, Kristen accompanied me and shopped a bit while we talked. Art loved WoM so much, he bought a bunch of stickers and stuff to sell in his shop. WoM was now a force to be reckoned with in City Hall, and many were the hits on the blog from that tall building at the corner of Broadway and West Erie. Shortly after his little investment, WoM imploded and I really felt bad for the money Art was going to have to eat. I’d stop in and pick up a little something here and there, and a few years ago, I set up a “Cash Mob” to visit his store one night, and pump a little extra money into his coffers. He enjoyed it, and I was happy to do something for him.

Recently, if I had to stop by the library on the way home from work, I’d drive by The 530 Shop. I’d tell myself I needed to stop in and see how he was doing, but I always had something going on, or dinner was waiting on me, and I kept going. Last week, I drove by and noticed the shop was dark around 5:30pm and thought that was really odd. Figured something must be up, but I didn’t know whom I could contact to see what was going on. A few days ago, I saw an obit for a Henry Oehlke, so I glanced at it, but it didn’t say “Art”, so I breathed a sigh of relief. Today, as I was catching up on the papers for the last few days, I noticed the Oehlke obit now had “Art” in the name, and I was crushed. I didn’t see it until 5 minutes before the 6-8pm visitation hours were ending, and felt even worse.

So, Art, if you’re seeing this from up there, know that you will be missed. I thank you for the friendship we shared, and I’m sorry I didn’t get by again to visit. I’m very sorry you didn’t get to see Broadway come back to life like you and I dreamed it might. The city of Lorain lost someone who set an example for a lot of others to follow.

LORAIN – Henry A. “Art” Oehlke, Jr. 80, of Lorain, passed away Thursday, April 17, 2014, at his home surrounded by his family.
Mr. Oehlke was born in Lorain August 23, 1933, the son of the late Henry A. and Laura L. (nee Berlet) Oehlke, Sr.
He was a graduate of Lorain High School in the class of 1951. Mr. Oehlke, the owner of the 530 Shop, was the 4th generation of his family to own a shop downtown.
He worked at the former Thew Shovel Co. and the Fruehauf Trailer, Co. He also worked as an over the road truck driver for the Southern Express Company of Cicero, Ill.
Mr. Oehlke was the captain of the sand dredge- M.V. James B. Lyons and was a welder for the Erie Sand and Gravel Company in Sandusky before retiring and restoring the family building downtown and opening the 530 Shop. He was a Great Lakes historian and enjoyed woodworking and collecting antiques.
He is survived by daughter, Jani Oehlke of Lorain; sons, Lenny (Cindy) Oehlke of Elyria and Bill Oehlke of Lorain; their mother, Rosa (Curry) Oehlke; and grandchildren, James Maloy, Jason Maloy, Hannah Oehlke, Sam Oehlke and Ash Oehlke.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by sisters, Laura Englehart and Patricia Reed.
Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, April 21, 2014, at Schwartz, Spence, Boyer & Cool Home For Funerals, 1124 W. 5th Street, Lorain.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at the funeral home.
Burial will follow in Elmwood Cemetery.
Online condolences at http://www.boyercool.com.

Flying Tigers Line Flight 739: 50 Year Anniversary

Flying Tigers Line Flight 739, a Lockheed L-1049H, was chartered by the United States military. Originating at Travis Air Force Base, California, the Military Transport was scheduled for fueling stops at Honolulu, Wake Island, Guam, Clark AFB and was to terminate in Saigon.

The flight arrived at Guam at 11:14 GMT with the only irregularities on the way being minor maintenance on the ignition systems of engines #1 and #3 at Honolulu, a 30 minute delay at Honolulu because of stewardess complaints of inadequate rest facilities aboard, and minor maintenace at Wake Island (discrepancies in the #’s 1 and 3 engine ignition systems). The flight departed Guam at 12:57 GMT for an IFR flight to Clark AFB, Philippine Islands with an ETA of 19:16 GMT.

This plane, a Lockheed Super Constellation, had a flight crew of 11, and 96 U.S. soldiers, including 3 South Vietnam enlisted men.

According to the Civil Aeronautics Board’s (CAB) Accident Report, “The plane disappeared 1 1/2 hours after takeoff from Guam enroute to Saigon.” And “the largest air/sea search” of that time “was initiated 5 hours after the plane’s fuel exhaustion time.” “The S/S T.L. Lenzen, a supertanker owned by Standard Oil, was in the vacinity and witnessed a vapor trail go behind a cloud,” and then, (what they thought was according to the depositions of the crew) “a covert operation due to the low flying plane.” The Accident Report continues, that the crew of the S/S T.L. Lenzen had also witnessed “a mid-air explosion at the approximate time & location of N6921C.” The Accident Report concludes, “Due to the lack of any substantiating evidence the Board is unable to state with any degree of certainty the exact fate of N6921C.”

The Department of Defense has “excluded this flight,” from it’s own criteria, which would enable these 107 names being included on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial (The WALL) in Washington, D.C.

Independent Newspaper

Adams Homer D. Private Ukon Wv; Armes James R. Sargent 1/C L.C. Mondsee Austria; Atkins Billy J. Private Black Mountain Nc; Baggett Robert H. Spec. 4/C Burlington Nc; Baks Or Bako Robert J. Sargent Elbridge Ny; Barnes Donald A. Master Sargent Granite City Il; Baxley Thomas W. Private 1/C Thomasville Ga; Bayse Richard S. Special 5/C Prince George Va; Biernacke Henry F. Master Sargent Colorado Springs Co; Bliss George W. Sargent 1/C L.c. Fort Jay Ny; Bowen James D. Private Indianapolis In; Breema Joseph F. Private Danville Va; Burns John J. Sargent 1/C San Luis Obispo Ca; Callahan John H. Sargent Hazelton Pa; Canon Larry D. Private Chino Ca; Caseldine William F. Master Sargent Dover Tn; Cox Edward Donald P. Spec. 5/C Amarillo Tx; Croft Lucius D. Sargent Augusta Ga; Curry Harold L. Master Sargent Mangum Ok; Dickey Douglas P. Spec. 5/C Alexandria La; Dixon Ernest T. Sargent Jesup Ga; Edwards James A., Private Hanceville Al; Fox Lawrence A. Spec. 4/C Canestoga Ny; Gallipeau Howard R. Jr. Master Sargent Alderwood Manor Wa; Gananca Clarence F. Jr. Sargent Renasalner Ny; Geiser John L. Sargent 1/C Granite Md; Glassman Robert R. M/ Sargent 1/C San Jose Ca; Glynn Walter Sargent Tacoma Wa; Greenleaf Roy E. Spec. 5/C Bloomfield Nm; Griffith Charles W. Private 1/C Cincinnati Oh; Grissom Sidney Lee Sargent 1/C Newburgh Mo; Haaf Douglas A. Spec. 4/C N. Syracuse Ny; Hatt Melvin L. Sargent 1/C Ft. Huachuca City Az; Henderson Donald W. Private Mt. Auburn Il; Henderson Robert N. Private Sfo Ca; Hester Lindsay K. Sargant 1/C Ft. Monroe Va; Hopkins Timothy F. Special 5/C Spokane Wa; Hoy Clinton M. Sargent Sierra Vista Az; Hunter Samuel L. Private 1/C Claflin Ks; Jarvis William R. Master Sargent Glendale Ky; Jennings John Charles Private Newell Wv; Johnston James W. Sargent Clarksville Tn; Jones John H.h. Private Columbus Ga; Jones John J. Sargent Ogden Ut, Kanisky John Sargent Haren Holland; Karibo John Altman Sargent Bellefontaine Oh; Kinnison Guy W. Spec. 5/C Kaneohe,Oahu Hi; Kissee Charles E. Spec. 4/C Stockton Ca; Lattie Jack E. Sargent Grovetown Ga; Leddy Adams S. Spec. 6/C Guam; Lehmkuhl Warren M. Sargent Columbus Ga; Mcclure Franklin D. M/ Spec. 4/C Dallas Ga; Mcentee Stanley W. Private Detroit Mi; Medwid Steven Sargent Alexandria Va; Mick Billy W. Sargent Sierra Vista Az; Morrison Tom B. Sargent Plattsmouth Ne; Myers Raymond E. Sargent 1/C Warren Az; Nichols Nicholas Jr. Sargent Seaside Ca; Oliver Roger L. Spec. 4/C Victory Wi ; Packard Jack C. Private Lodi Wi; Pardonnet Charles W. Spec. 4/C Colorado Springs Co; Pelkey Frank E. Sargent Farmington Me; Perkins Lawrence R. Private Chicago Il; Powell James A. Sargent 1/C Ft. Worth Tx ; Reinhardt Walter A. Sargent 1/C Hammond In; Rice Hubert L. Sargent 1/C Waynesville Mo ; Riggins Delbert L. Master Sargent Boise Id; Roberts Edison L. Warrant Officer Tacoma Wa ; Robinson Eddie F. Spec. 5/C Benton Ak; Roderick Leslie R. Jr. Spec. 6/C Houston Mo; Rogers Samuel Jr. Spec. 4/C Pine Bluff Ak; Saade/Salada Leslie M. Staff Sargent Erie Pa ; Saenz Edmond Sargent 1/C Lakeview Terrace Ca; Sager George E. Spec. 4/C Bergton Va ; Sargent Donald A. M/ Spec. 4/C Ossipee Nh; Sheard Andrew A. Iii Private Radner Pa ; Simola Efisio Jr. Sargent San Antonio Tx; Slocum George M. Spec. Westfield Ny ; Smith Elmer L. Spec. 5/C Louisiana Mo; Sorenson James C. Sargent Spanaway Wa ; Talbot Fred W. Spec. 4/C Salamanca Ny; Taylor James H. Spec. 4/C Olive Branch Mi; Thamy Peter Master Sargent Vallejo Ca; Thomas John A. Master Sargent Ridgeway Oh ; Thompson Clarence E. Spec. 4/C Big Spring Tx; Tranum Jack E. Master Sargent Augusta Ga ; Twitty James E. Staff Sargent Brooklyn Ny; Walcott Wallace L. Spec. 1/C Tacoma Wa ; *Walker Ross C. Sargent 1/C Pickens Sc; Wedge Leonard J. Spec. 4/C Millnocket Me ; Wendell John C. Sargent 1/C San Antonio Tx; Williams Albert F. Sargent 1/C Tacoma Wa ; Wong James Spec. 5/C Lahaina, Maui Hi

Above are the names of the troops that were on the plane, with the soldiers from Ohio in boldface. These men have been denied their rightful place of honor on the wall.

This website was set up by the daughter of George Michael Nau, a US Navy and Civilian Flight Engineer, who was one of the 107 that disappeared.

There are two men whose names are not in the list above.

Two soldiers who weren’t able to make that flight.

One of those soldiers was Lorainite Dan Asensio.

Due to problems with their passports, he and another soldier were held up and were unable to accompany their fellow soldiers when they departed Travis Air Force Base.

All aboard this plane are not officially listed as Killed In Action, Missing In Action or Prisoners Of War by the Department of Defense.

Letter from Sherrod Brown

I won’t claim to know why the government is denying these men their rightful place on the Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., but I do want to point out two facts:  The plane disappeared on March 16, 1962. According to another website, the first U.S. troops entered Vietnam in March 1965.

Three years difference, between when the Lockheed was supposed to land, and the ‘official’ entrance of U.S. troops into this conflict.

What was the proposed mission of these men? Had they actually completed their journey, could there have been a difference in the outcome of the war?

We’ll never know, but I do think that the government should rethink their position on recognizing these soldiers.

On this Memorial Day, 2008, please take a moment to say a prayer of ‘Thanks’ for all the soldiers who have fought for our Country.

Say a prayer for all of our soldiers deployed throughout the world, to keep them out of harm’s way, so that we can continue to enjoy the freedoms that we have.

And if you’re lucky enough to come face-to-face with one of our Country’s finest, take a second and thank them personally, for their dedication and effort.

We ALL truly appreciate it.

(A huge ‘Thank You’ to Mr. Asensio for the information above, and for his commitment to our country. )

March 15, 2012 Update: The above post was copied in its entirety and posted on another blog. While there has been a lot of discussion there, I’d like to reprint some of the info that has been shared:

…the ‘rules’ governing Additions to the VN Memorial Wall. While somewhat complex, they are broken down into three (3) general scenarios:

1. Anyone who dies – regardless of cause – on foreign soil within South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. This also includes boundaries that stretch a few miles out into the South China Sea that are designated war-zone. Note the word ‘few’.

2. Deaths that occur outside of the war-zone area, but are attributable to events that occurred there. These are usually individuals evacuted out due to wounds, illnesses, accidents, etc – and subsequently died shortly thereafter.

3. Individuals that died while “going to, or returning from” a specific war-related MISSION. This change was made primarily for Pilots/Crew who crashed after a NVN bombing raid in Thailand…which is outside of the war-zone boundaries established.

Based on various documents, no argument can be made that this crash occurred within the few miles of SVN…no flotsam was ever found.

However, a theoretical argument could be made that these soldiers were ‘going to’ SVN on a specific war-related mission (as opposed to being new replacements). The CAB report done does reference that they were Communications Specialists – a group being sent there for a critical purpose of the war.

The problem is that of all of the Personnel Files obtained (about 35 so far) – ALL have been excised of any training received prior to this crash. Without those records, I cannot determine in what communications genre they were trained in, what Army or MACV Unit they were to be assigned to once there, or the specific reason/mission they were to perform.

Also, this:

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund receives numerous requests each year from individuals who desire to have particular names placed on the Memorial. While the Memorial Fund finances the name additions to The Wall, we do not determine whose names are to be inscribed. It is the Department of Defense that makes these difficult and often very technical decisions. Our organization does not have the authority to overrule those who adjudicate these matters.
Neither victims of Agent Orange nor PTSD-induced suicides fit the parameters for inclusion on The Wall. (Click here for a brief summary of the criteria and sources for names inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial).
We are often asked to add a name that DOD has not approved. Much emotion has surrounded the question of names not included on the list. Many families whose sons were taken from them in service during the Vietnam era but in other areas, as well as those whose loved ones died consequent to their return from the war (casualties of Agent Orange or PTSD-induced suicide), have expressed great disappointment that their loves ones’ name was not on the Memorial. Such cases have our deepest sympathy and respect, yet as they do not fit the parameters as described above, these names cannot be added to the Memorial.
However, The Memorial Fund honors those who have died as a result of the Vietnam War, but do not meet the requirements for inclusion on The Wall with its In Memory program. There is a plaque by the wall to honor these individuals as well as a ceremony to remember them. Honor Roll books listing all of the names honored by the plaque are available to those who participate in the program. Call us at 202-393-0090 to learn about the In Memory program.
For further explanation of the parameters for inclusion and to submit a request, please contact the relevant service branch below:

ARMY AIR FORCE
Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Center1600 Spearhead Division Avenue, Dept. 450ATTN: PDC-PFort Knox, Kentucky 40121VOX: 502-613-8225 Headquarters Air Force Personnel Center
Missing Persons Branch
550 C. Street West, Suite 14
Randolph AFB, Texas 78150-4716
Fax: 210-565-3805

MARINE NAVY
Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps
Manpower and Reserve Affairs, MRC
3280 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-5103
Fax: 703-784-9823 or 703-784-4134 Navy Personnel Command
Casualty Assistance Branch (PERS-621P
5720 Integrity Drive
Millington, TN 38055-6210
Fax: 901-874-6654

Hope this has been helpful, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

Lastly, this piece of news: Did you know, March 16, 1962 fell on a Friday. March 16, 2012 also falls on a Friday. 1:30 AM Friday the 16th will mark 50 years since a merchant ship witnessed a bright flash in the sky where the missing aircraft was on course between Guam and Clark AF Base in the Philippines.