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May 6, 2013 Contacts:

Gabrielle Rader, Otterbein sophomore (614) 906-0687 Alicia Colón, Otterbein sophomore (440) 840-7084

Media Advisory Monday, May 6, 2013 1 p.m. Ladies Gallery Room (1st floor) Ohio Statehouse 1 Capital Square Columbus, Ohio 43215 This week and month are the celebrations of V-E Day (May 8, 1945), Armed Forces Day (May 18) and Memorial Day (May 27). Join Ohio Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) as she introduces two local World War II veterans, both “last men standing” from their platoons, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. George Peto (served in the Pacific) and Army Capt. Robert Arn, (pilot who flew in Asia) as they reflect on the worst days of their lives, their battles in World War II. Rep. Gonzales will also discuss new legislation to direct state licensing agencies to consider a veteran’s skill set when they apply for a state license. More than 1,000 World War II veterans are dying each day. Capturing their stories has been a class project of Otterbein students this semester. ###


May 6, 2013

News Release Contacts:

Gabrielle Rader, Otterbein student (614)-906-0687 Alicia Colón, Otterbein student (440)-840-7084

Last men standing of platoons celebrate World War II service COLUMBUS, OHIO—Out of 16 million men that served in World War II, less than 10 percent are alive today. With a rate of 1,000 World War II veterans dying each day, soon all oral history of the battles of World War II will be gone. In May we celebrate V-E Day, Armed Services Day and Memorial Day, and pay tribute to those who have survived. Working in collaboration with their State Representative Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville), Otterbein students will pay tribute to two central Ohio World War II veterans in their 90s, Capt. Robert Arn (Army pilot) and Sgt. George Peto (Marine Corps infantry). Both men are the last surviving members of their platoons. “I was truly honored to have the opportunity to meet these two heroes and hear their stories of the warfront,” said Rep. Gonzales. “Their bravery and contributions to the war effort have made a lasting mark not only on our nation’s history, but on that of the world as well. I am so pleased that the Otterbein students and I were able to thank these two gentlemen for what they’ve done to protect democracy and defend our nation’s security.” While at the press conference, Rep. Gonzales also discussed recently introduced legislation that strives to assist Ohio’s veterans by helping them find employment upon returning home from deployment. House Bill 98 will allow state licensing agencies to consider a veteran’s skill set when they apply for a license, as well as grant special extensions to members of the Reserve and National Guard whose licenses expired while they were mobilized. (more)


Celebrating World War II Veterans Page 2

Peto served 32 months in combat, all in the Pacific Theatre. When U.S. forces stormed the island of Peleliu, of the 200+ men that began the campaign, 24 survived. “The biggest challenge while I was in the war was just staying alive. Most guys were not that lucky,” said Peto. “Once I started to see close buddies dying in front of me and men I did not even know, I realized that there was a good chance I would die too. It is hard to think about those men and the innocent women and children I would see just lying on the ground dead,” said Peto. Arn flew more than 106 missions, each way, “over the hump,” he says. Flying over the Himilayas and landing on narrow airstrips was difficult flying. He delivered fuel and other supplies to those fighting the Japanese. Otterbein communication students have spent the entire semester using World War II as a backdrop to learn skills and techniques, including interviewing, writing profiles, drafting newsletters, creating brochures and media kits. The median age of a World War II veteran is 92. As of the beginning of 2013, only 11 World War II Medal of Honor recipients were alive. World War II veterans are part of what is dubbed The Greatest Generation because of their courage and resilience during one of the most tumultuous periods in American history. Ohio has the sixth-largest veteran population in the United States. As of last year, there were an estimated 900,000 veterans living in the state of Ohio, and of that number, nearly 650,000 have served in or in support of a theater of combat. ###


May 6, 2013

Veterans News Conference Agenda 1.

Introduction by Nick Ganus (Otterbein sophomore, class representative)

2.

Opening Remarks by Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville)

3.

WWII Army Captain Bob Arn (pilot over the Himalayas)

4.

WWII U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. George Peto (served in the Pacific theatre)

5.

Questions, individual interviews


Facts about World War II Veterans Arn, Peto Robert Arn Assigned: Highest Rank: Entered Service: Exited Service: Location of Service: Basic Training: Military Position: Hometown: High School: Undergrad:

Air Transport Combat, 10th, 14th, 20th Air Force Captain 9/15/1942 12/1/1948 China - Burma - India (CBI) Memphis, Tennessee Pilot Westerville Westerville High School Otterbein University

George Peto Assigned: Highest Rank: Entered Service: Exited Service: Location of Service: Basic Training: Military Position: Hometown: High School: Undergrad:

M Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. Sergeant 1941 1945 Cape Gloucester, Samoa, Australia, New Guines, Peleliu, Okinawa Paris Island Marine Akron Kenmore High School Ohio State University (enrolled after the war)


Wwii mediakit