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PFC Fred Vannoy USA, World War II Veteran
PFC Fred Vannoy

PFC Fred Vannoy

USA, World War II Veteran

* Fred Vannoy, a former U.S. Army private first class, was recently honored by the New River Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) for his WWII military service.

* An infantryman, tank and jeep driver with the 401st Infantry and 1st Armor Division, Vannoy spent his time in the European Theater. He recalled one night in particular spent in a sleeping bag in Germany and it was the coldest he’d ever been.

* Born just a few miles from his current home on the Watauga County side of the New River, Vannoy grew up in both Watauga and Ashe Counties. After his Army service, Fred married Nancy Hicks Vannoy of Cove Creek. Together they reared 4 children.

* Although Fred’s primary career after the Army was farming, he also worked in the construction business, did a lot of sawmilling and raised cattle. He became one of the first area farmers to get into the chicken-raising business and for 30 years contracted with Holly Farms until they were bought out by Tyson Chicken.

* During the ceremony, Vannoy received a certificate, a set of personalized “dog tags” and a service-specific lapel pin. His family also made a special presentation recognizing his service in the famed 1st Armor Division with a beautiful plaque.

* Fred Vannoy (pictured center second row) is flanked by USAF Major (Ret.) Lou Burge (left) and USN Captain (Ret.) Doug Ehrhardt (right). First row (left to right), Vannoy’s wife Nancy Vannoy, daughter Debbie Williams and daughter Sandra Vannoy. Ehrhardt is president of the New River Chapter, MOAA and Burge serves as the chapter’s veterans outreach officer.

^top   Contact   Veterans   Permalink   Posted: 04/29/15


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PO4 William G. Scarpino USN, World War II Veteran
PO4 William G. Scarpino

PO4 William G. Scarpino

USN, World War II Veteran

* U.S. Navy PO4 William G. Scarpino is pictured with Maj Louis Burge, USAF-Ret, Chapter Veterans Outreach Officer (L) and CAPT Doug Ehrhardt, USN-Ret., New River Chapter President (R). Scarpino was recognized on March 24, 2015 as an awardee of the New River Chapter's veteran recognition program and received a certificate recounting his military contributions (right), a set of personalized “dog tags” and a service-specific lapel pin.

* Bill Scarpino initially served as a mess cook at Torpedo Testing Facility, Montauk Point, NY after attending boot camp in 1944. A few months later, the petty officer was assigned to guard the 7th Fleet’s Petroleum Fuel Farm on Samar Island from 1944 – 1946.

* Born in New Jersey, Scarpino attended New York’s Pratt Institute after the war, earning an architectural engineering degree. He then worked and lived in Florida for 54 years where one of his areas of expertise was in pre-stressed concrete structures used to build highways.

* Bill was married to Peggy, the “love of his life,” for 40 years...the Scarpino’s had a blended family of seven children. In 1971, he and Peggy began regularly visiting Ashe County and permanently relocated here in 1985. Peggy has since passed and Bill now resides at Forest Ridge Assisted Living Facility.

* The New River Chapter normally tries to work with family members to honor the veterans, but in Bill's case the award ceremony was held at the Tuesday morning breakfast club - ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out) - in Jefferson, NC. A long time member of ROMEOs, after moving to Forest Ridge, between 15 and 35 other breakfast participants have a schedule of volunteer drivers who pick him up each week in order to enable him to stay socially active with his new, local "family."

* Congratulations PO4 Scarpino and thank you for your service at Montauk Point, NY and later on Samar Island during WWII.

Scroll over the thumbnail photographs to see more pictures from the 24 March award presentation to PO4 Scarpino:

- Pictured with Bill are Barbara Sears, New River Chapter Personal Affairs Chairperson and Chapter President, Doug Ehrhardt.

- A group photograph of 15 of the regular members of ROMEOs are pictured with Bill.

^top   Contact   Veterans   Permalink   Posted: 03/24/15


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EM2 John R. Beard USN, World War II Veteran
EM2 John R. Beard

EM2 John R. Beard

USN, World War II Veteran

* U.S. Navy Electricians Mate 2nd John R. Beard is pictured with Maj Louis Burge, USAF-Ret, Chapter Veterans Outreach Officer and CAPT Doug Ehrhardt, USN-Ret., New River Chapter President. Beard was recognized on November 18, 2014 as the second awardee of the New River Chapter's veteran recognition program and received a certificate recounting his military contributions (right), a set of personalized “dog tags” and a service-specific lapel pin.

* EM2 Beard, Jr. is one of the spryest 95 year olds you’ll ever meet. He served aboard the USS Mayrant in the Atlantic theater conducting U-Boat patrols. Later, he was assigned to the USS Charles J. Badger seeing duty in the Pacific theater during Battle of Leyte Gulf and the Okinawa campaign.

* Originally from Mecklenburg County, Beard joined the Navy in 1938 and was discharged after the war in 1946. In the immediate post-war years, he served as a N.C. Game Warden. Eventually he went to work for the city of Charlotte where he spent the rest of his career in the Water Utilities Department. He and his wife Anne reared two children, a son and a daughter.

* Beard says the Navy had a big impact on his life. “I still have vivid memories of the combat operations I was involved in and the people I served with,” he related. One wall in his office serves as a tribute to his wartime service and is adorned with period photographs, certificates, memorabilia and military decorations. There’s even a world map that meticulously pinpoints all his ports of call.

* EM2 Beard and his wife of 66 years moved to Ashe County six years ago to be closer to their daughter, Ellen Gaddy in Creston.

* Congratulations EM2 Beard and thank you for your service aboard the U.S. Navy's USS Mayrant and USS Badger during WWII.

Scroll over the thumbnail photographs to see more pictures from the 18 November award presentation to EM2 Beard:

- Maj Burge is pictured presenting the award tokens - a set of personalized dog tags with a P-38 can opener and a lapel pin - to EM2 Beard as CAPT Ehrhardt looks on.

- A wall mounted map of the world on which EM2 Beard has chronicled his travel locations while in the Navy.

- A picture of EM2 Beard with the United States and Navy flags after the awarding of his certificate.

- LCDR Jim Gee, USN-Ret., chapter member and model ship builder is pictured with John with a scale model of the USS Mayrant, DD402, which was one of the destroyers that EM2 Beard served aboard during WWII.

^top   Contact   Veterans   Permalink   Posted: 11/18/14


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Cpl. Ernest J. O'Banion USMC, Korean War Veteran
Cpl. Ernest J. O'Banion

Cpl. Ernest J. O'Banion

USMC, Korean War Veteran

* Former U.S. Marine Corps Corporal and Korean War veteran Ernest J. O’Banion was recently recognized for his military service by the New River Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.

* Cpl. O'Banion is pictured (right) with CAPT Doug Ehrhardt, USN-Ret., Chapter President and Maj. Lou Burge, USAF-Ret., Veterans Outreach Officer and member of the Board of Directors.

* The new initiative launched by the MOAA chapter is intended to not only recognize, but to also thank local veterans for their service. As the chapter's first award recipient, O’Banion was presented a certificate recounting his military contributions to the country (also at right), a set of personalized “dog tags,” and a service-specific lapel pin.

* Serving as a cook during the Korean War, O’Banion credits the Marine Corps with changing the direction of his life. “Joining the Corps was one of the best things I ever did,” he explained. Following his discharge, O’Banion realized he might have a future in the food industry and built on his military experience by attending Mississippi State University and later Oklahoma State University. After graduating with a degree in hotel administration, he began a career in the hotel, tourism and food service industries that eventually brought him and his wife Francis to Ashe County in the early 1970s. With other associates, he formed JEB Management, Inc. in 1988, serving as president and managing several lodging establishments. Retiring just last year, O’Banion managed the local Nation’s Inn for a number of years.

* During his 13 months in Korea, O’Banion was a member of Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron HMR 161, 1st Marine Air Wing. A highlight during that tour was his participation in feeding 226 Korean orphans on Christmas Day in 1952.

* Congratulations Cpl. O'Banion and thank you for your service as a Marine with HMR 161, 1st MAW, USMC.

Scroll over the thumbnail photographs to see more pictures from the 30 October award presentation to Cpl. O'Banion:

- CAPT Ehrhardt, Col. Ken Lynn, USAF-Ret., New River Secretary/Treasurer, Cpl. O'Banion and Maj. Burge.

- CAPT Ehrhardt, Cpl. O'Banion, his wife Francis and Maj. Burge.

^top   Contact   Veterans   Permalink   Posted: 10/30/14