PAWTUCKET â€“ When the Pawtucket East Class of 1951 graduated from high school 60 years ago, many of the young men in the class were impacted by the Korea War that had begun at the end of their junior year.
It was a perilous time for the seniors that year. They had grown up during World War II and now their own war was looming in their lives.
As the principal of Pawtucket East, Mr. James P. McGeough, stated in the 1951 Redjacket:
â€śI do not have to tell you that these are very uncertain and very dangerous days. You know that from the newspaper headlines and your class discussions. Then, too, four of your classmates, who should be graduating with you, are already in the armed services of the country.
â€śBefore another school year begins more of your classmates will be in some branch of service doing their bit to carry on the freedoms and ideals for which this country stands. â€ť
Who were the four? Edwin Carbery, Ranger US Army â€™51-54; Gerald Carney, US Marine Corps 3/50-3/52; John Gartner, US Marine Corp 3/50-3/52; Walter Martley, US Army '50-53.
The class was fortunate, in that, no classmates died in the war. That is not to say that they were not changed or affected. A member of the class of '50, for instance, who served as a Fireman on an LST during the Korean Conflict is currently suffering from Mesothelioma.
Those we identified who had served in the Military are: John Asermley, US Navy '52-56; Robert Bolton, US Army '53-56; Robert Bouchar, US Navy '51-55; Kenneth Brown, US Air Force '51-55; Jerry Carney, US Marine Corp 3/50-53; James Chelo, US Navy '52-56; Albert daCosta, Career US Army Officer; Nicholas Demetropoulos, US Army Medical Corp '58-64; John Gartner, US Marine Corp 3/50-53.
Ralph Gauthier, US Air Force '51-55; George Girouard, U S Navy '51-55; Peter Kanarian, US Army '24th ID '53-55; Edwin Losiewicz, US Air Force 8/51-55; Thomas Lutz, US Navy '52-56; Robert Marculewicz, US Army 24th ID '53-55; Robert Melucci, US Navy Officer '55-59, Reserves '59-92; George Metfooney, US Army '53-55.
Robert Morris, US Marine Corp SSgt '53-55; William F. Nurnberg, US Air Force '51-55; Everett Pearson, US Navy Officer, '55-59; Matthew Piatek,Jr, US Air Force '51-55; Barbara Riley, Captain, US Army Nurse Corp Vietnam '69 and Germany US Army Hospital; James Roy, US Navy '51-55; Theodore Rudolph, US Air Force '52-56; John Smith, Career US Navy '53-72; Robert Sullivan, US Navy Reserve 3/50-53, Active 3/53-55; Anthony Swiech, US Army 10/53-55; Richard Tougas, Capt USMC Aviator '55-59; Philip Westcott, US Air Force '51-55, Reserve '55-92; Norman Westgate, US Air Force, '53-55.