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November 10, 2019

Salute to Veterans

A Special Section Honoring America’s Military Veterans


The Herald-News / TheHerald-News.com • Sunday, November 10, 2019

| SALUTE TO VETERANS

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During his five years spent in the Air Force, Felix Pasteris of Joliet spent four of those years as the caretaker of this P-38 plane called “Shoot You’re Faded,” named by the pilot in reference to a dice game.

Joliet Veteran recalls time served during war later became the mechanic for a P-38 airplane for four years during Shaw Media Correspondent World War II. After San Antonio, he found Born to Italian immigrants in himself in west Texas and then 1921, Felix Pasteris knew after he asked for a transfer. He was regraduated from Joliet Township located to Selfridge Air National High School in 1940 that college Guard Base in Michigan. There was not in the cards. was one catch — Pasteris was The Great Depression had not granted transportation, and wreaked financial havoc, and his he was broke without money to was a family of seven. travel to his new appointment. Less than a month after gradu“I hitchhiked,” said Pasteris, ation, he left for the Air Force, on who is now 98 and again living in July 1, 1940, and headed to San An- Joliet. “I was with another fellow, tonio, Texas. He said he flunked and he didn’t have his uniform on, out of flying school because his so we would flag someone down, stomach couldn’t handle it, but he but as soon as he came out of the never regretted the attempt, as he

By Allison Selk

woods or where he was hiding, people drove off because he didn’t have his uniform.” The two found a salesman in St. Louis, Missouri, who offered them a lift. The next stop was southern Indiana, where Pasteris’ friend lived. Then, he finished the jaunt home to Joliet to see family on foot. He stayed home for a week and then hitchhiked to the base outside of Detroit, Michigan. “I had to get there on my own; the Air Force didn’t have any money,” Pasteris said. “When I got to Detroit, the sergeant said he was looking for me. I had a cold and spent time in the infirmary.”

There, Pasteris said his first job was to take care of and guard passenger planes, and six months later he was given the P-38 plane, which was dubbed “Shoot You’re Faded.” He lived with this plane for the next four years — whether it needed gas, bombs, ammunition or work done. Stateside, Pasteris did stints in Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, Michigan and California. From Los Angeles, he went to Maine, up through Canada and Greenland, where they lost four P-38 planes and a B-17 due to the rough fjord

See PASTERIS, page 3


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• PASTERIS

Felix Pasteris, 98, of Joliet, reflects on his Air Force service from 1940-1945 where he served overseas during World War II. “This was the most horrible place I went to,” Pasteris said. “The Germans said they were not letting people out of the town; the town stunk, and people were starving with large bellies and skinny legs. Our guys would put their food in a can to make a soup and let the kids eat. We gave people flour and they would make us bread.” Italian prisoners of war became cooks for the outfit, and Pasteris still had his airplane he would work on and stock with supplies. “I didn’t know how to drive a car when I went into the service, but learned how to work on planes,” Pasteris said. Being of Italian decent, Pasteris said his parents spoke to him and his brothers in Italian, but the

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children were instructed to only speak English, so he understood most of the language, but had very few words he could speak. He said children would frequently translate for the soldiers. From Italy, the outfit went on to invade southern France, where Pasteris stayed for four months. The war was over in 1945, and he returned to the United States. “It became an adventure, something where I had to learn to live by wits,” Pasteris said of his time served in WWII. “War is hell; I mean hell. I am proud I survived it, surviving was a big thing.” Pasteris said he had no regrets as he learned how to exist and be practical, but he would not go into war again. Four out of five of the Pasteris boys served. Andy served

in the Army in WWII, Marty was a B-17 gunner in the Air Force in WWII, and Joe was stationed in Korea in special services. Frank, the oldest brother, was 30 with two children at the time. He was advised to get “an important job” to keep from being drafted. After he returned to Joliet, Pasteris and his friends would hang out downtown, where they cruised the streets. He said he didn’t have much of a life plan until he met Helen, whom he would later marry. The couple raised a family and built two homes in Joliet. Pasteris currently resides in the second home the couple built on Campbell Street. Helen died this summer; the couple was married just over 70 years.

We take this opportunity to remember our Veterans who have died, thank the Veterans who have served and continue to pray for all women and men currently serving our country.

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• Sunday, November 10, 2019

terrain. One plane was recovered and was named Glacier Girl. The next stop was Iceland and then into Europe, where the outfit landed in northern England. They traveled down to Bath, where they stayed for three months as they prepared for a trip to North Africa. “Nov. 8, 1942, we flew into North Africa. It was a bad flight, the lightning was hitting the wings,” Pasteris said. As he and another soldier were sick in the back of the plane, they were told the plane was not going to make it. The passengers had to get to the front of the plane, but he was too weak to move. Pasteris said he remembered being dragged to the front. When the outfit arrived in North Africa, they began to dig a fox hole. Pasteris used his helmet to dig 8 inches and then went to sleep. There, he lived on rations of wormy dates and hardtack. Looking back now, he pictures nights in the Sahara Desert in a fox hole, when Germans would bomb at dusk and the men would shoot back. During that time, 800 men took a Forty-and-eight World War I train, which got stuck in the Atlas Mountains. Pasteris said every man got out and pushed the train over the top of the mountain pass. Next, Pasteris and his group were sent to the invasion of Sicily, where the soldiers would sleep near Mount Etna. The outfit later headed back to North Africa and then took a boat to Sardinia, Italy.

SALUTE TO VETERANS | The Herald-News / TheHerald-News.com

Continued from page 2


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By Allison Selk

Shaw Media Correspondent

Jim Canup of Braidwood served in the Marines during the Vietnam War. Now, he gives back to his fellow veterans as the Braidwood American Legion Koca Post 39 Commander.

Military service was a family tradition for Jim Canup. At one time, his grandmother had six stars in her window to show how many men from her household were serving. “My father was in World War II and all of his brothers served in various branches of the Navy and Army,” Canup, a Braidwood resident, said. Canup, now the commander of the American Legion Koca Post 39 in Braidwood, enlisted in the Navy Reserves

See CANUP, page 5

Just two simple words… James I. Reeves 1918-1989 U.S. Army Air Force 1943-1945 Pacific Theater Operations

Thank you

On Veterans Day

Robert B. Baskerville 1923 - 1981 US Army 1942-1945 European Theater Operations

and always, we remember

Christopher J. Baskerville US Air Force 2013 - 2019

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Joseph L. Reeves U.S. Navy 2009 - Present

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James W. Reeves U.S. Navy 2003 - Present

your sacrifices and honor our freedom.

The Herald-News / TheHerald-News.com • Sunday, November 10, 2019

| SALUTE TO VETERANS

Braidwood veteran gives back

Gr und y C

o


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• CANUP

for three months and then into the Marines at the age of 17. He was born in southern Illinois, but his family moved to Joliet when he was 8. He lived in Joliet and Lockport until he left for Marine boot camp in 1964. To Canup, service to his country was just a part of life. He said he enlisted at a young age to “get my service done,” and decided on the Marines. Canup was assigned to artillery and supply and was sent to Okinawa in November 1964. He was part of the first group of ground troops in Vietnam in 1965. The group set up along the perimeter outside the city of Da Nang with a mission to protect the air base. “I was 18 years old and thrown into combat. It was basically, take care of your gun, shoot and fire, and artillery missions. Every once in awhile we would drive out somewhere and set up someplace besides our fire base,” Canup said. The first time Canup was fired on was during a mission to support a deep infantry sweep. “I got shot at by a sniper. He missed,” Canup said. “You just get down. We had a platoon of infantry as local security, so they took

Albert Koca of Braidwood was the first to die in World War I, so the town of Braidwood honored him by naming the American Legion Post 39 after him.

UPCOMING EVENTS Cantigny Post 367

826 Horseshoe Drive • Joliet, IL 60435

Veterans Day Remembrance Feast Honoring All Who Served

November 11, 2019 • 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM Upstairs Ballroom

12:00 PM – 6:00 PM, food will be served Frank Sinatra Impersonator 1:00-3:00 PM In the Pocket 60’s - 70’s - 80’s Rock: 3:30 PM - 6:30 PM We will be boxing care packages to send overseas to our deployed loved ones. We are looking to prepare 150 boxes this year. Monetary donations are needed to cover the cost of shipping ($18 per box). Sponsored by: Sp Cantigny Post 367 VFW & Auxiliary

Fundraiser to Replace Celebrate Cantigny’s Post 367 VFW Wheel Chair Lift For 100 Year Anniversary Saturday, March 28, 2020 Our Disabled Veterans In the Upstairs Ballroom (Times TBA) Saturday, November 16, 2019

LIVE MUSIC

Nobody’s Business 4:00 – 7:00 PM Righteous Hillbillies 8:00 PM – Midnight

Raffles • 50/50 • Silent Auction Admission: $15.00 Prepaid • $20.00 at Door includes dinner at 6:00 PM

BINGO - EVERY MONDAY 6:30 pm GREAT PAY OUTS!

Dinner • Andrew Sisters • Legion Band Downstairs

Rock Band - Sundance

8:00 PM – Midnight Gifts for Post Members, Auxiliary Members and Veterans. Public Welcome Admission: $15.00 Prepaid $20.00 at Door Please Pre-Register by March 20, 2020

FRIDAY FISH FRY 4-7:30 Dine in or Carry out Fried Cod • Baked Cod • Walleye and More

• Sunday, November 10, 2019

See CANUP, page 6

SALUTE TO VETERANS | The Herald-News / TheHerald-News.com

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The Herald-News / TheHerald-News.com • Sunday, November 10, 2019

| SALUTE TO VETERANS

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• CANUP

Continued from page 5 care of firing back. I just happened at the time to be taking some empty canisters that our rounds came in, taking them down where we put them in baskets to lift them out so (the Viet Cong) couldn’t make bombs out of them.” Canup spent his days while in the area with a cot and his gun set between two headstones in the local graveyard. He draped a mosquito net over the cot and both shot at the enemy and slept there. Eight months were spent in Vietnam and a total of five months in Okinawa before Canup returned to the United States, first to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and then the Marine Corps Supply Center in Barstow, California, where he met his wife. After four years in the Marines, Canup returned to Illinois, but after his wife was homesick for California, the pair moved back and Canup took a job with the Santa Fe Railroad for three years. In 1971 after an earthquake, Canup said his wife decided Illinois was not so bad, and they returned and lived in Braidwood where he took a job with Caterpillar and worked there for 33 years. When Canup was in his 40s and life with kids’ activities slowed down, he decided to join the American Legion Koca Post 39 in Braidwood, named after Albert Koca, the first man from Braidwood to die in World War I. Now, Canup gives back to local veterans as commander of the post, a title he has held for 20 years. He said he feels a sense of duty to help advocate for veterans issues and was on the committee to get the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital site in Joliet. He has educated himself about veterans’ rights. Canup wants to add a social aspect to the legion and offer veterans and their families a place to be social as well as perform community service.

Jim Canup of Braidwood served in the Marines during the Vietnam War. Now, he gives back to his fellow veterans as the Braidwood American Legion Koca Post 39 Commander. “Basically, I want to keep us all together, support each other and help each other out with whatever is going on in our lives,” Canup said. The post was been in Braidwood for 100 years and was the 39th post founded out of 12,000 in the United States, according to the American Legion. The group hosts Memorial Day programs, organizes the Braidwood Summerfest parade, participates in Summerfest and throws a Christmas party for members and families.

Joliet Catholic Academy A Tradition of Service

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By Allison Selk

Shaw Media Correspondent In response to calls for a place for military veterans to seek support, camaraderie and brotherhood, groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion were created about 100 years ago. In 1919, the 13th American Legion Post in the country was formed in Plainfield off Renwick Road. The post, now named the Plainfield American Legion Marne Post 13 after the Battle of the Marne in World War I, has 300 members, 70 members of the Sons of the American Legion, as well as a motorcycle group, the American Legion Riders, with 50 to 60 riders at any given time.

See AMERICAN LEGION, page 8

SM-CL1717741

• Sunday, November 10, 2019

Gary Taylor, Plainfield American Legion Marne Post 13 Commander (left) and Jim Smith, post bar manager say the post celebrated 100 years of service to veterans in the Plainfield area. The post has remained in the same building all 100 years, but has undergone additions.

SALUTE TO VETERANS | The Herald-News / TheHerald-News.com

American Legions and VFW’s have more to offer

7


The Herald-News / TheHerald-News.com • Sunday, November 10, 2019

| SALUTE TO VETERANS

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Don Kraus (left), Lou Smith (center) and Jim Clausen of the Cantigy Post 367 VFW in Joliet stand under the sign for a fundraiser to replace the wheelchair lift for the disabled veterans and guests who visit the post. The current lift of Cheryl Kraus, VFW Post 367 Auxiliary Secretary stands next to a quilt which will 27 years needs to be replaced in the split level building which houses special be up raffle at the annual Creativity at Cantigny craft and vendor fair Nov. 9. events upstairs and a restaurant and bar on the bottom level.

• AMERICAN LEGION Continued from page 7

Jim Smith, 90, of Plainfield has held the positions of commander, chaplain and now bar manager. This post has remained in the same location for 100 years but has been expanded and renovated. Members, as well as the public, can use the facilities for weddings, meetings and more, and the bar remains open to members and the public as well. In 1920, the Cantigny Post 367 VFW was chartered and events were held in an old farmhouse until it caught fire and burned to the ground. In 1946, the current building on Horseshoe Drive was built, said Cmdr. Lou Smith. “They built this monster, then there were thousands of people going to the VFW in 1946. It was and still is the best kept secret in Joliet,” Lou Smith said. There are currently 388 members of Cantigny, as well as 300 VFW 367 Auxiliary members who support all events and raise money to support the VFW. Space can be rented for events, quinceaneras being the most popular in the last few years. Both Lou Smith and Marne Post 13 Cmdr. Gary Taylor said mem-

bers have gotten older and the younger generations of veterans seem uninterested in the VFW or the American Legion. They said they would like to debunk the myth that all these places offer are a place for old men to sit around and drink at the bar. “We meet a lot of people, have a lot of fun and all of us in the Legion and auxiliary groups have become close to people we may not have otherwise known,” Taylor said. Taylor said he and Jim Smith became close friends. Jim Smith, now a widower, said Taylor and his wife will show up at his front door and tell him to get ready to go to breakfast or dinner. “We adopted Jim,” Taylor said. Cantigny and Marne Post 13 do offer places for a beer or cocktail, but community service and veteran support are the main focus. Jim Clausen of Cantigny Post 367 said the men at that post and other VFW posts have become advocates for veterans on a local and national level, even going to Congress. “The VFW and American Legion put everybody’s feet to the fire about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Congress now has the smallest number of veterans in 100 years, so we stand for the veterans

See AMERICAN LEGION, page 9


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• AMERICAN LEGION

The Plainfield American Legion Marne Post 13 offers a bar and banquet room space available to its members as well as the public.

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• Sunday, November 10, 2019

as VFW, American Legion and veterans organizations,” Clausen said. VFW and American Legion members also perform community service. Marne Post 13 collects items for Operation Care Package and donated $1,000 to ship the packages. Members visit the Manteno Veterans’ Home to play bingo and donate prizes, and have outfitted power wheelchairs for residents. Marne Post 13 has an annual Christmas party for veterans and families, and hosts an Easter event. Cantigny has fish fry Fridays, which Lou Smith boasts are the best in town. For more information about Cantigny Post 367 VFW, go to vfw367.org. Information about the Plainfield American Legion Marne Post 13 can be found at plainfieldlegion.com.

SALUTE TO VETERANS | The Herald-News / TheHerald-News.com

Continued from page 8


The Herald-News / TheHerald-News.com • Sunday, November 10, 2019

| SALUTE TO VETERANS

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Morris Veteran grateful despite setbacks By Allison Selk

Shaw Media Correspondent

Greg Gill of Morris had a goal to enlist and retire from the military, but that dream was cut short when Gill was seriously injured in an accident which left him disabled.

In the late 1970s, Greg Gill was freshly out of high school with a plan to go into the Army. In 1977, at the age of 20, he enlisted, but months later, his dream to retire from the Army came crashing down when the truck in which he was a passenger landed in a ditch in order to avoid a collision. “From the crash in September to the first week of December 1977, I have no memory. I had an 105 temperature for three weeks, spinal meningitis, broken jaw, all of my ribs were broken and double pneumonia,” Gill said of the time he was in a coma after the crash. He spent time at a hospital in Nuremberg, Germany and then was transferred to Landstuhl Hospital in Frankfort, Germany, where he woke from the coma. When he awoke, Gill was unable to speak due to a tracheostomy tube, so the nurse gave him a piece of paper. Gill chuckled as he talked about the first question he asked the nurse.

“My first question was ‘who won the World Series,’ and it was the Yankees. I’m not a Yankees fan; I’m a White Sox fan,” Gill said. A week before Christmas in 1977, Gill was flown back to the United States to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he underwent physical therapy twice a day for four months. He was discharged to his parents’ care in March 1978. Gill could never work as a soldier or a civilian again. While in his coma, he went from 225 pounds to 90 pounds, his muscle tone deteriorated, and, to this day, he does not have muscle or nerve function in the left side of his face. The crash caused brain and vision trauma, and doctors told Gill he would never work or drive a vehicle again. He was 20 when he was given this news. After he returned to his family’s farm south of Morris, Gill said he wondered, “What am I going to do for the rest of my life?” He said he cried only one time over this event, at Walter Reed Hospital when the eye doctor told him he would never

See GILL, page 11

Lewis University Salutes our Veterans Lewis University is grateful for the dedication and service of our armed forces and we are committed to supporting you in reaching your academic and career goals. Whether you are active duty, or a veteran, we can assist you and eligible dependents as you begin or continue your education. With more than 80 undergraduate programs and 35 graduate programs, you and your family can take full advantage of the military benefits. Lewis accepts all VA programs and Military Tuition Assistance. Get your entire degree paid for using your Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. (Limitations apply)

We are proud to be a Yellow Ribbon School and

Ranked #1 among private colleges by Best for Vets.

One University Parkway Romeoville, IL 60446-2200

Contact: Roman Ortega, Jr. (815) 836-5339 lewisu.edu/veterans ortegaro@lewisu.edu


Continued from page 10

Honoring All Veterans on Veterans Day NOVEMBER 11, 2019, 11 AM - 4 PM Stop by for some beef sandwiches, hot soup, and sweets and maybe meet some new people and talk with some veterans. All Veterans will receive an honorary drink.

Wreaths Across America Ceremony will be held on December 14, 2019 at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery at 11am.

A luncheon will be served after the ceremony at Stone City VFW Post 2199 Anyone can sponsor a wreath for $15 to be placed on any Veterans grave, specific or non specific, Wreaths Across America will donate back $5 for every wreath that comes through them to Operation Care Package.

L E T N O H E R O B E FO R G OT T E N

Forms can be picked up at:

Sponsor a Wreath for a Veterans Grave at Abraham Lincoln National, Cemetery Elwood, Illinois Contact: proudarmysis4@sbcgobal.net

Stone City VFW or

**GRAVE SPECIFIC REQUESTS CAN NOT BE MADE ONLINE **

Will County Farm Bureau, 100 Manhattan Rd., Joliet

Stone City VFW Post 2199, 124 Stone City Dr., Joliet Open to the Public • Food and Drinks (815) 722-7122 SM-CL1717763

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• Sunday, November 10, 2019

drive a vehicle. He said doctors warned him he might have problems in the outside world, and, to that, Gill said, “No I won’t; I will be fine. I said I’m very strong willed.” Gill said he wanted a military career mostly due a long lineage of men in his family who served their country. But job security was also a factor because he could not attend college. Even after the accident, Gill said he was happy he enlisted. “It’s the best thing that happened to me. In basic training, I learned how to respect people and take orders. At 20 years old, I thought I knew everything. After, I realized that I didn’t know everything,” Gill said. In 1978, his new reality was to live with his parents, which he said may have been by design. Over the years, he was able to take care of his stepfather and mother until six years ago, when Gill’s mother died. He said he has tried to remain grateful to be alive. He said he felt he received top notch care during his recovery. He said doctors warned his mother that others in this type of situation have left the hospital and become bitter, but Gill said it didn’t affect him mentally, at least not for

11

SALUTE TO VETERANS | The Herald-News / TheHerald-News.com

• GILL

long. “It affected me some at first, and I felt sorry for myself, but I told myself ‘I’m not going to feel sorry for myself, because I’m still living’ and I was going to do things,” Gill said. In addition to family support, he attributed his recovery and continued care to Veterans Affairs, Social Security, the great people of Morris and great landlords. Gill has had multiple surgeries since the 1970s and sees multiple doctors weekly, but keeps Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was where Greg Gill of Morris a positive outlook and recovered from an accident while he served in the Army in Germany in 1977 embraces his commuauctioned off in December to raise funds for nity and hobbies. the Christmas program. Gill loves sports and collects autographed Gill said he enjoys life in his apartment sports memorabilia. His favorite piece is a downtown Morris and has become a member Chicago Bulls basketball jersey with all 23 of the Morris community. team players’ autographs on it, including “Everybody is so good to me; I feel blessed Michael Jordan. to live to 63 years old. I am still here,” Gill He also works with Joe Schmitz with said. Operation St. Nick and donates items to be


The Herald-News / TheHerald-News.com • Sunday, November 10, 2019

| SALUTE TO VETERANS

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