CHRISTENING OF SHERIFF’S PATROL BOATS TO HONOR FOUR LOCAL WAR HEROES

Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith, Chairman Art Hanley of the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council, and Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell jointly announce that four Sheriff’s Office patrol boats will be christened with the names of four local war heroes at a ceremony to be held next week.

The naming ceremony will take place at the Putnam County Veterans’ Memorial Park at 7:00 P.M. on Thursday, May 14, 2015.  The park is located off Gypsy Trail Road in the Town of Kent.  The public is invited to attend the event and refreshments will be served starting at 5:30 P.M.

The four heroes for whom boats will be named were all Putnam County residents.  They represent four different branches of the military services and several different wars and military actions.

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander John C. McCloy was the recipient of two Medals of Honor—being one of only 19 individuals ever to receive the Medal twice—and The Navy Cross.  He is listed among the Top Fifty Highest Decorated Members of the Armed Forces of the United States of America.  His campaigns and actions included the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900, the Mexican Campaign at Vera Cruz in 1914, and Hazardous Duty in the North Sea clearing mine-fields at the end of World War I.  He hailed from Brewster.

U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Albert L. Ireland was awarded the Purple Heart Medal nine times for wounds received in action, the most Purple Hearts ever awarded to a single member of the Armed Forces of the United States.  He was wounded five times while fighting in the Pacific Theater during World War II and four times while in action in Korea.  He was a resident of Nelsonville.

U.S. Army Major General Gouverneur K. Warren is best known as “The Hero of Little Round Top” for his organizing of a hasty last-minute defense of that tactically important hilltop at the Civil War battle of Gettysburg.   His action in fortifying and holding the hill against the opposing forces is credited with preventing a Confederate victory at Gettysburg and stopping the Confederate advance on Washington, D.C. Wounded twice during the Civil War, he refused to leave the field of battle and to relinquish his command. He was a graduate of West Point and lived in Cold Spring.

U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant William A. Todd was just 22 years old on March 29, 1972, when his plane went missing over Vietnam. Listed as missing in action for some 14 years, he was confirmed as being killed in action in 1986.  He resided in the Hamlet of Mahopac in the Town of Carmel.

Sheriff Smith, who is a retired U.S. Army Brigadier General, said he was proud to be part of the naming of the patrol boats.  “The four honorees all served their country with great devotion, bravely, and heroically; it is most fitting that that we honor these outstanding sons of Putnam County in this way,” he said.

Joint Veterans Council Chairman Art Hanley, a veteran, agreed. “The four veterans being honored in this way really represent all their fellow soldiers, airmen, sailors, coastguardsmen and marines, and seeing their names on the patrol boats will be a reminder to all of us of the sacrifices of all our veterans and the debt of gratitude we owe to them as a nation.”

County Executive MaryEllen Odell said she was very pleased that the County was helping to keep alive the memories of the honorees.  “Putnam County has been blessed to have many native sons and daughters, exemplified by these four fine men, who have answered the call to serve our country and who have done so with honor and distinction.”