Two local WWII submarine veterans honored; All veterans to receive free park admission throughout LCS-9 visit
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Dec. 7, 2017 — The Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, together with the Erie County Veterans Service Office, honored two U.S. Navy veterans who served on submarines during World War II at today’s Pearl Harbor Day ceremony.
This annual event commemorates the Japanese surprise attack on the U.S. Navy fleet at the Hawaiian Naval Station of Pearl Harbor 76 years ago, an act that killed 2,403 American servicemen and drew the U.S. into World War II. The attack, which occurred without an official declaration of war from Japan, sank four U.S. battleships and damaged four others. The damaged also included three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer. Nearly 200 aircraft were destroyed as well, while close to 160 more were damaged, all of which led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to famously state that Dec. 7, 1941 is a date which would “live in infamy.”
“This has been a remarkable week for the armed forces in Buffalo, as we welcomed and are preparing for the commissioning of the new USS Little Rock LCS-9,” said Naval Park Executive Director Brian Roche, a retired Captain in the U.S. Coast Guard. “We are pleased to not only honor these two veterans today, but to also announce that all veterans are invited to visit the Naval Park for free until December 18 — throughout the visit of the new ship — to thank them for their service.”
The two veterans, members of the United States Submarine Veterans Inc. Buffalo Base, were joined by family, friends and base members. The parent organization formed in 1964 and has expanded across the nation to 165 “bases,” including Western New York’s, which comprises of over 100 members. The honorees were:
• Petty Offer 2nd Class Richard W. Bondi, a Radioman who served from 1943 to 1946. Bondi, qualified in 1943 on the USS O-2 SS 63 and then continued to serve on the USS Caiman SS 323, USS Raton SS 270, USS Boarfish SS 327 and USS Burrfish SS 312. He also severed on two submarine tenders, a ship that supplies and supports submarines, including the USS Griffin AS 13 and USS Anthedon AS 24.
• Chief Petty Officer Robert H. Stoll was an Engineman who served from 1943 to 1986. Stoll qualified on the USS Irex SS 482 as a Motor Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Petty Officer. He served on board the submarines, USS Clamagore SS 343, USS Tunny SS 282 and USS Tusk SS 426.
“It’s an honor to present Sub-Mariner veterans Richard W. Bondi RM2 (SS) and Robert H. Stoll ENC (SS) with certificates on behalf of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, thanking them for their service,” explained Erie County Director of Veteran Services David Shenk. “On Pearl Harbor Day and every day, Erie County treasures our veterans and thanks them for their service. The men and women who selflessly served our country and sacrificed for us deserve more thanks and gratitude than we can give, and today we pause to remember those who served 76 years ago today at Pearl Harbor.”
The ceremony began with the Presentation of Colors by the Western New York Maritime Charter School, a beautiful rendition of our national anthem by the City Honors Instrumental
Ensemble, led by Director Donna Kerr, and an Invocation and Benediction by Veterans of Foreign Wars, Erie County Chaplain David Willard. Additional comments were made by Park Board Chairman Don Alessi, and keynote remarks were given by Fire Control Chief Petty Officer Franco Montjoy on behalf of Commander Todd Peters, Commanding Officer of the USS Little Rock LCS-9, who served as honorary guest speaker.
“I am proud to say I have been a member of the Navy for the past 27 years, which is a short time considering its 242-year history,” said Commander Peters. “Saluting those who served before me is an honor, and I look forward, as does our crew, to carrying on the Navy’s mission to maintain, train and equip combat-ready forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining the freedom of the seas.”
The ceremony concluded with a memorial wreath placed by Petty Officers Dennis Staley and Larry Fuchs of the United States Submarine Veterans Inc. Buffalo Base; a gun salute from the American Legion Donovan Post 1626 Rifle Team; and the playing of Taps by Post 1626’s Laure Lombardo.
Due to overwhelming demand for tickets to the December 16, 2017 Commissioning Ceremony of the USS Little Rock LCS 9 at Canalside, the Commissioning Committee has been forced to end ticket registration.
“We have seen an overwhelming request for tickets and capacity for this event at Canalside has been reached.” commented Maurice L. Naylon III, chairman of the local Commissioning Committee. “With nearly 9,000 people requesting tickets, we have reached the limit for attendance given the layout of Canalside for the commissioning of the USS Little Rock LCS 9.”
Although tickets for the Commissioning Ceremony on December 16th are SOLD OUT, the general public is able to see the USS Little Rock LCS 9 while the ship is docked at Canalside for Commissioning Week December 8–17. More information and a schedule of events for Commissioning Week are available at www.usslittlerocklcs9.org.
Canalside will be open during the Commissioning Week so the general public can view LCS 9 without a ticket. Canalside streets will be closed to vehicle traffic and visitors are encourage to use the NFTA Metro Rail to get to Canalside for Commissioning Week. Canalside will be a secured area and anyone visiting Canalside during Commissioning Week will be required to pass through TSA type security screening.
Check below for the updated winter hours
Closed Thanksgiving (November 23rd)
OPEN Friday November 24th–Sunday 26th
November 27th–December 7th
Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday–Sunday
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Mon. Nov. 27 – OPEN
Tues. Nov. 28 – Closed
Wed. Nov. 29 – OPEN
Thurs. Nov. 30 – Closed
Fri. Dec. 1 – OPEN
Sat. Dec. 2 – Closed
Sun. Dec. 3 – Closed
Mon. Dec. 4 – OPEN
Tues. Dec. 5 – Closed
Wed. Dec. 6 – OPEN
Thurs. Dec. 7 – OPEN
Special hours while the USS Little Rock is in Buffalo
OPEN EVERY DAY— all three ships, the museum building, and the outdoor exhibit yard.
Special Winter hours:
Open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Ship access may be limited due to weather and ongoing maintenance.
Tues. Dec. 19 – Closed
Wed. Dec. 20 – OPEN
Thurs. Dec. 21 – Closed
Fri. Dec. 22 – OPEN
Sat. Dec. 23 – Closed
Sun. Dec. 24 – Closed
Mon. Dec. 25 – Closed
Special Hours for IIHF World Junior Hockey Tournament
December 26th–January 5th
Open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Ship Tours will be limited depending on weather conditions and maintenance work; however, the museum building will be open normal hours (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.).
A reduced admission price will be in effect when ships are closed – $5.00/adult – $3.00/child
Tues. Dec. 26 – OPEN
Wed. Dec. 27 – OPEN
Thurs. Dec. 28 – OPEN
Fri. Dec. 29 – OPEN
Sat. Dec. 30 – OPEN
Sun. Dec. 31 – OPEN
Mon. Jan. 1 – OPEN
Tues. Jan. 2 – Closed
Wed. Jan. 3 – OPEN
Thurs. Jan. 4 – Closed
Fri. Jan. 5 – OPEN
Regular Winter Hours:
Remainder of January 2018 thru March 2018
Ships will be closed for maintenance & repairs. On certain occasions, one or more ships may be open.
Check our Facebook page for daily updates.
Last weekend, the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park hosted several events including Friday’s Veterans Day “Wall of Honor Ceremony” that included a tribute to the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the USS Juneau. The Naval Park’s Hall of Honor was packed with family, friends and the media.
On Saturday, the Naval Park announced the first African American Military Veterans Monument that will be built in the Garden of Monuments. Once again, the Hall was a full crowd that included political dignitaries such as the Lt. Governor, Mayor, various State Senators, and members of the Assembly and County government. Also in attendance were Assemblywomen Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who is chair of the committee, and Board member Laura Zaepfel.
Capt. Roche spoke, on behalf of the Park, about this ambitious project which plans to raise $800,000 to complete the project. The committee is selling bricks that will be placed at the site for $250 each.
Here are some videos from last weekend:
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Nov. 10, 2017 – The Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park added six new Western New Yorkers to its Wall of Honor this morning during its annual Veterans Day (observed) ceremony held in the park’s Hangar Building. In addition, park officials announced that all veterans who wish to come tour the ships and museum on Saturday, Nov. 11, will receive free admission from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with proper military I.D.
“Veterans Day, unlike Memorial Day, is a day to celebrate all of our veterans, past and present, throughout our communities,” said Naval Park Executive Director Brian Roche, a retired Captain in the U.S. Coast Guard. “What better way for a park dedicated to honoring their service than to invite them to join us on a day that’s dedicated to thanking them for their sacrifices.”
The honorees added to the Wall of Honor include:
- Dolores Kwiatkowski was one the Naval Park’s first employees when its doors opened in 1979. Upon the death of the park’s first superintendent, Kwiatkowski became the subject matter expert and unofficial park historian. She was frequently relied upon by all staff members for her extensive knowledge. Sadly, in 2016 Dolores passed away after a long series of illnesses.
- Monsignor Dino Lorenzetti served as a Staff Sargent in the Army from Nov. 1942 to Dec. 1945. He was ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in 1954 and still today — 63 years later — celebrates mass for Protestant, Catholic and Jewish service members and their families.
- Edmund Mozgawa served as petty officer second class in the U.S. Navy. Mozgawa was killed on Nov. 13, 1942 when the USS Juneau was sunk by a Japanese submarine, killing the majority of the 700 crewmembers aboard, including the five Sullivan Brothers, for whom the Buffalo Naval Park’s Destroyer is named.
- Jeremiah Reilly served as a Gunner’s Mate, Third Class, originally assigned to the USS Brooklyn but reassigned to the USS Juneau. Reilly was also among the casualties on Nov. 13, 1942.
- Gerald Sansone enlisted in the Navy in 1961 at just 17 years old with his father’s written consent. He served in active duty on the USS Independence from Jan. 1961 to Dec. 1965. He was honorably discharged on March 12, 1968.
- Harry Uhl was drafted into the U.S. Army in Sept. 1965. He was sent to Vietnam in Feb. 1966 and was part of the Mortar Platoon of Company B, 1st Infantry Division. Uhl, earned a Bronze Star in Oct. 1966 and earned the rank of Sergeant E5 in Jan. 1967. His service of Vietnam ended in Feb. 1967.
- The ceremony included speeches and stories from family members as well as personal accounts from surviving Wall of Honor Inductees.
”This is a moment to reflect upon the dedication, courage, and willing sacrifice of all those who wear the nation’s uniform,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Regardless of where they are stationed or the nature of their service, in peace and in war, these men and women have answered the call of duty. Today’s ceremony at the Buffalo and Erie Naval Park honors their service and reminds us all of the price of freedom.”
In addition to comments from the Lt. Governor, New York State Senator Tim Kennedy (63rd District) reflected on the generations of men and women that served for the great country we live.
“I am humbled to participate in today’s ceremony honoring the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “On this Veterans Day, we should take stock of how lucky we are to live in a nation where generations of service members have selflessly given so much of themselves to protect our freedom.”
State Assemblyman Mickey Kearns (142nd District) spoke to the level of pride we should have for our veterans.
“The commitment, bravery and devotion embodied by this country’s veterans is something, as a citizen, to be deeply proud of,” said Assemblyman Mickey Kearns. “Their great sense of selflessness and courage represents the best of the best in our community. We know that our veterans didn’t join the service, that their families didn’t make sacrifices, for the awards and recognition, but we as a society owe these men and women a debt of gratitude for putting us before themselves. For dedicating their lives to ensuring that this country can continue to strive to reach its greatest ideals. I am humbled and honored to stand beside these great men and women, and say thank you to all those who have served.”
A proclamation was read by Erie County Legislator Joseph Lorigo and the ceremony was emceed by Naval Park Board Chairman Don Alessi.
“Veterans Day is celebrated each year on Nov. 11, commemorating the end of World War I — at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 — when the peace treaty with Germany went into effect,” Mr. Alessi added. “Like this day, our Wall of Honor provides an everlasting tribute to all who have served in our armed forces.”
Whether honoring those who are still with us or remembering those who have gone before us, an inscription on the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park Wall of Honor not only serves as a lasting memorial for all to see, but it also celebrates that veteran’s life for generations to come. To submit a veteran’s name to be inscribed on the Wall of Honor, please visit: buffalonavalpark.org/support-us/wall-of-honor/.
The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park will convert hangar building into ‘Hall of Honor’ to make room for historic items and memorabilia.
Buffalo, NY– On Friday, October 27th 2017, Assemblyman Kearns announced $250,000 in state funding for the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park. Kearns was joined in the Hangar Building at the Naval & Military Park by the park’s chairman of the Board of Directors Donald A. Alessi, and Executive Director Captain Brian Roche. The money awarded to the Naval & Military Park will be used for renovating, updating and expanding Buffalo’s exceptional Naval and Military Park’s Hall of Honor, formerly The Hangar Building.
As popularity of the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park continues to grow, so has the desire from the public to donate historic items and personal memorabilia to the park. The limited amount of exhibition space for such items has led to the development of a plan to convert the hangar building, currently used mainly for storage and events, into a ‘Hall of Honor” with exhibit space. As of now, the only space readily available to display artifacts and other historical items is on the second floor of the museum’s main building. This expansion and renovation of the hangar building into a ‘Hall of Honor’ would provide the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park the opportunity to take in and showcase a variety of historic exhibits, items and personal memorabilia donated to the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park and space to expand its educational programs.
“As the son of a Korean War veteran, the dedication of the Buffalo Naval & Military Park to capturing Buffalo’s rich military history is admirable,” said Kearns. “I am grateful to New York State for contributing this funding to a worthy project, aimed at continuing the renaissance in Buffalo. Walking through the Naval Park offers a calm and soothing environment of remembrance for our veterans. I am honored to help in any way to ensure the continued success of the Naval Park and the vital role it serves in our community.”
“The Naval Park’s Board of Directors and staff is grateful to Assemblyman Mickey Kearns for recognizing the importance of the Park as one of the top tourist attractions in Western New York and its mission to honor Veterans,” added Naval Park Board Chairman Don Alessi. “The grant will greatly help foster that recognition as we reconstruct our Hangar Building into a “Hall of Honor.”
“Assemblyman Mickey Kearns is a devoted supporter for veterans and his most gracious grant is a true example of his deep commitment to the Park,” said Captain Brian Roche, executive director of the Naval Park. “The Assemblyman’s grant will further enhance momentum to the building of the Naval Park’s Hall of Honor.”
Support for the project has also come in from the City of Buffalo, which dedicated bond funds of $240,750 in 2016 to develop design plans and construction documents for the ‘Hall of Honor’ expansion. The design process is currently underway, with completed plans expected in 2018. Erie County has also dedicated bond funds of $960,000 in 2016 to implement Phase 1 of construction.
Throughout November – Veterans Appreciation Month – the Buffalo Naval & Military Park is partnering with several WNY craft breweries and bars — together with 7 Eyewitness News WKBW and Country 106.5 WYRK— in a fundraiser to honor our veterans and support the Naval Park.
Simply stop into any of the establishments listed below, donate whatever amount you like, and sign a “Toast to the Troops” card which they’ll post proudly at that location. Then — raise your glass with those around you to salute and give thanks to our veterans for all they’ve done for our country!
Flying Bison Brewing Company
Big Ditch Brewing Company
Hamburg Brewing Company
Liberty Hound restaurant
Ebenezer Ale House
Caputi’s Sheridan Pub
Lafayette Brewing Company Buffalo
Wing City Grille
12 Gates Brewing Co.
Public House on the Lake
Would you like to see your establishment on this list? There’s no cost to participate!
Just call the Naval Park at (716) 847-1773 and ask for Paul.
See invite letter below.
Dear Friend of the Naval Park:
In honor of Veterans Month – November – and in support of the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, we are partnering with area microbreweries, locals pubs, and restaurants throughout the region on a campaign we’re calling “Toast to the Troops.”
The concept is simple: whenever patrons stop in, we just ask that your servers/bartenders ask them if they’d like to make a Toast to the Troops. And for whatever monetary donation they’d like to give ($1 minimum suggested), they’ll get the attached card, which they can sign and give back to the server, who will then display it on a wall in your bar/restaurant throughout the month. All proceeds benefit the Naval & Military Park.
There’s no cost to you to participate, and we only ask that you hang on to the money for us in between our weekly pick-ups. Our support package includes a stack of cards, a sharpie marker, a roll of masking tape and a collection envelope, so hopefully, this will be virtually effortless on your part. In return, we’ll include your establishment’s name on our Naval Park website and in social media posts as a participant with the intention to drive some traffic your way as well. Please share your photos with us on our Facebook page.
By the way, Veterans Day is Saturday, November 11, so this could be a nice way for you to gain some extra patrons that day by promoting this on your own web/social media!
Thank you for your support.
The future USS Little Rock LCS 9, one of the newest US Navy littoral combat ships (LCS), will make her way to Buffalo for an official Commissioning Ceremony on Saturday, December 16, 2017. A ship commissioning is an event that marks the time when a new ship officially enters the US Navy fleet. LCS 9 and her crew are expected to arrive in Buffalo on Friday, December 8, 2017 for a week-long commissioning celebration. A schedule of events for Commissioning Week (December 8 – December 17) is being finalized and will be released next week.
Connect With Us
One Naval Park Cove
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 847-1773
Visit Us on Facebook