Colonel Norman G. Ewers Military Wall of Honor
Each year, the Hoag Classic selects individuals who have distinguished themselves within our country and community and honors those heroes during a special ceremony on Military Appreciation Day. These individuals are then added to the Colonel Norman G. Ewers Military Wall of Honor.
Named in honor of Colonel Norman G. Ewers, the Hoag Classic Military Wall of Honor pays special tribute to our Military Appreciation Day honorees. Colonel Ewers, USMC retired (1923-2019), served our country as a Marine Corps aviator from 1942 to 1969, including combat duty in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Norm’s most significant military honors are a Silver Star for gallantry in combat in Korea, a Gold Star in lieu of a second Silver Star for gallantry in combat in Vietnam, a Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial combat in the Pacific Theater during World War II and a second Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism in Korea. Hoag Charity Sports is proud to honor Colonel Ewers and the men and women who so gallantly served our country and our communities.
Please keep reading to learn more about these outstanding Americans from years past.
Charlie grew up in a Marine family and enlisted as a private in the Marine Corps Reserve at the age of 17. He valiantly served in the U.S. Marine Corps for a combined 43 years in active and reserve service. After studying in Japan, he graduated in East Asian History from UC Berkeley. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, and in 1965, received aviator wings and was deployed as an F-4B Phantom pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 531 to Puerto Rico near the end of the Dominican Civil War.
During his subsequent deployment to Vietnam, Charlie flew 252 combat missions with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323 and rose to flight commander. After returning to the Reserve, Charlie served for six years as Colonel, commanded all the Corps’ field historians, and led detachments during the Bosnian War and operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He was recalled from retirement for Operation Iraqi Freedom at the age of 61.
Charlie is the recipient of several military awards, including the Legion of Merit, 17 Air Medals, and two each of the Presidential Unit Citation and the Navy Presidential Unit Citation. He is a Life Member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars and served many years as the president of the annual Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade.
In the 1980s, he was a founding board member of what became the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation. He is working to return the Flying Leatherneck Museum to a large, historic hangar at the site of former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.
He received his Doctor of History from UC Irvine. As a historian, Charlie has written a number of books on Marine Corps history. Charlie resides in Laguna Beach with his wife Ann.
Walter was a U.S. Army Air Corp pilot with the 434th Fighter Squadron and flew cover for Allied troops in the P-51 Mustang fighter during the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion of Normandy along the English Channel coast of Northern France.
For his first 34 World War II combat missions, Walter flew Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter aircraft named the “fork-tailed devil” by the Luftwaffe. In aerial combat in his P-38, he shot down a Messerschmitt Bf 109 German fighter aircraft, the backbone of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force. He also destroyed 3 of the Bf 109 aircraft on the ground. By midsummer 1944 Walter’s squadron had switched to the P-51, an American-made long-range single-seat fighter aircraft that was able to reach Berlin from the French coast. In their P-51s, the 434th pilots did high altitude work escorting Allied bombers, and also engaged in dive bombing and strafing activity on the Rhine River in Germany. The pilots liked the P-51s, as “They were more maneuverable than the P-38s and had a longer range — eight hours,” Walter recalls. “Everything was smaller, closer at hand. When you got in one you felt like you were part of it.”
Danger was always lurking. During a mission on October 30, 1944, three of the four planes in Walter’s flight group went down in a storm. Walter was the only one who got back. One of the downed pilots survived and was taken prisoner of war by the Germans.
Walter returned home in December 1944 and left active duty with the rank of First Lieutenant but remained in the Air Force reserves for 25 years before retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. For his combat flight service Walter earned 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 6 Air Medals.
Walter had a 30-year career at Republic Federal Savings in Southern California and served as President for 10 years and on the Board of Directors.
Walter is 99 and resides in Newport Beach.
June wanted to enlist in the Army immediately after the United States entered World War II, but women were required to be 21 to enlist. As the eldest of seven children, she had plenty of leadership experience directing her six siblings on the chores on her parents’ small two-acre farm in rural, coal country, Norvelt, Pennsylvania. In 1940, June left home to find a job in Detroit. She rented a room from a local family and was hired as a milling machine operator at a manufacturing company making drill bits
In December 1943, she returned to Norvelt to celebrate Christmas with her family and tell them she was going to enlist in the Army. Her mother accompanied June to her enlistment ceremony in Detroit on December 31, 1943. Why did June want to serve her country? June was and is a patriot.
June reported to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia for basic training and then to Army Air base Ellington Field, Houston, Texas where she was assigned to the base motor pool. Upon arrival, a sergeant pointed to a three-quarter ton truck on the tarmac and asked June if she could drive. June responded “Yes” while crossing her fingers behind her back. The sergeant instructed her to teach another WAC to drive the truck, telling them to drive around the 23,000-acre base and return when they both could drive.
June completed the mission successfully, but when it was the other WAC’s turn behind the wheel of the stick shift truck, she drove into a ditch a mile from the motor pool, and had to walk back to the motor pool for assistance. But, by the end of the day, both WACs were competent drivers, and were assigned to deliver vehicles where needed. June was a “go-getter” and did not want to just sit around the motor pool waiting for a call to deliver a vehicle. Since all vehicles require service, mileage, and maintenance reports and more, June decided to learn all she could about those reporting and management responsibilities. When the sergeant in charge was assigned to foreign service, June stepped into his job. After a review, she was promoted to sergeant. June was the only female in the base motor pool to be promoted to sergeant during her tour of duty from May 1944 to December 1945.
For her service to our country during, June was awarded the WWII Victory Medal, the American Theater Medal, and a Good Conduct Medal.
June is 100 years young and resides in Santa Ana.
Frank was drafted into the U.S. Army in December 1965 and served with the 1st Air Calvary – Airmobile Division as a Radioman and long-range reconnaissance patrol Point Man for 6 months and then as Point Man for a line Company in charge of 129 soldiers for 3 months fighting the North Vietnamese Army in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The Company’s missions were mostly “Search & Destroy” patrols and ambushes from the South China Sea into Cambodia. Frank also participated in 125 air assaults in helicopters throughout the Central Highlands.
9 months into his tour, a fellow squad-leader stepped on a land mine which hit them both with very hot shrapnel and knocked them out. Frank’s suffered a serious leg injury, and he was medevaced by helicopter for surgery and was awarded a Purple Heart while hospitalized by the commanding General. Frank spent 6 months recovering in hospitals in Asia and stateside. His final assignment was as a M-72 Recoilless Instructor at Fort Ord in Monterey. He was honorably discharged after fulfilling his 2-year commitment.
Other medals received by Frank were the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, the Vietnam Gallantry Cross, and the National Defense Service, Vietnam Campaign, Vietnam Service, and Army Commendation medals. He is a Life Member of the Purple Heart Order.
U.S. Senator Harry Reid flew the American Flag on November 11, 2016, (Veterans Day) over the Capitol and presented the flag to Frank with a Certificate.
Frank has a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton and a master’s degree from Pepperdine University. He had a two-decade sales career with IBM and Chevron before going into business for himself. He also volunteers to assist with veteran needs.
Brian was born and raised in the Inland Empire. Upon graduating high school in June of 1998, Brian joined the Marine Corps at 17 years old. After basic training, he reported to the School of Infantry to train as an Infantry Assault-man and was assigned as a Gunner with the “Dragon Section” of Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. During his first tour of duty, he served twice with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit as the forward deployed military force in the Western Pacific. During his second deployment aboard the U.S.S. Essex, he re-enlisted for another four years of service to our country and was assigned to the Weapons and Field Training Battalion at Camp Pendleton. He served two tours from January 2002 through April 2004 as a Marksmanship Instructor, Range Coach, Primary Marksmanship Instructor, and Designated Marksman Instructor. He trained entry level recruits through experienced sustainment level shooters in rifle and pistol marksmanship.
Brian returned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines including one combat tour from Aug ’04 – Mar ’05, fighting in the streets of Ar Ramadi, Iraq under intense enemy contact as the Platoon Sergeant of a Mobile Assault Platoon and was awarded a Navy Commendation Medal with Combat Valor and a Purple Heart for being wounded when a roadside bomb detonated near his position. His final deployment was to the Western Pacific with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit before his final discharge in August ‘06. Oher awards were the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Iraq Campaign, Good Conduct (2), and Humanitarian Service Medals (2).
After eight years of service and four deployments in 12 foreign countries, Brian found his civilian calling through Veteran’s organizations, including 13 years of active involvement with the American Legion, including as Commander of the Honor Guard (for funeral details) at Newport Beach, Post 291 and on its Executive Board as 1st Vice Commander, and on the District (Orange County) Board as Sergeant-at-Arms. He also led Peer Support groups for 3 years.
Brian was recognized in 2022 as Veteran of the Year for Newport Beach, as the City’s representative for the California Legislative 74th Assembly District, and also as the City of Westminster Veteran of Distinction representative for the 48th Congressional District of California.
Brian resides in Westminster.
Joe entered the United States Marine Corps in 1990, trained as an Infantry Rifleman, and was re-assigned to the Marine Corps Security Forces Regiment, a dedicated Marine security, anti-terrorism, and close-quarters battle unit. Joe was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and deployed twice to the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm. He also deployed to the Philippines to provide rescue and humanitarian aid after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. During Joe’s last deployment, his unit was diverted to Somalia to assist with Operation Restore Hope. Joe was meritoriously promoted to Corporal and maintained that rank until being honorably discharged in 1994.
Joe’s military honors include the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Navy Battle “E” Ribbon, and he was a 4-time Rifle Expert and 2-time Pistol Expert.
Joe is currently the Acting Chief of Police for the City of Newport Beach, having previously served since 2002 as a patrol officer, accident investigator, fraud detective, robbery-homicide detective, patrol sergeant, internal affairs officer, area commander, traffic commander, jail manager, executive officer to the chief of police, and Deputy Chief of Police, Detective Division Commander.
Joe is Chairman of the Board of the Newport Beach 1st Battalion, 1st Marines Foundation, which provides support and relief for U.S. Marines and their family members who are injured, ill, distressed, or otherwise in need of financial or other assistance, does barracks renovation and painting, provides super meals at Thanksgiving, supports the USMC scholarship event, and provides the Field of Honor project in Newport Beach with labor to install the flags and to provide distinguished personnel for the Memorial Day ceremonies. He is also a board member of Leadership Tomorrow, a non-profit organization of citizens and leaders who work together to make a positive impact in their communities.
Joe has a B.S. in Criminal Justice from CSU, Long Beach, a Masters in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix and is a graduate of several advanced law enforcement training courses, including the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute, the Force Science Institute Certification Course, the Executive Development Courses for both California POST and the California Police Chiefs Association, and the California Police Chiefs Executive Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker School of Management.
At 15 years old in August 1941, four months before Pearl Harbor, Billy enlisted in the Marine Corps. Days from his 96th birthday, Billy now claims “I didn’t lie about my age, but that recruiter sure did!” He deployed to Guadalcanal in August 1942 as a Radioman/Gunner in Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers engaging the enemy over the Solomon Islands in ship convoy cover, strafing in support of ground troops, and fire and dive bombing, and later in TBF Avenger torpedo bombers on anti-submarine patrols and glide bombing enemy ships, flying 100+/- combat missions at 16 and 17 years old. In 1943 he was assigned to California as a radioman/gunner instructor, but returned to action in 1945 at Peleliu, flying 50+/- TBF anti-submarine and enemy shipping patrol missions until the war ended. Billy was awarded the Air Medal with 3 clusters for
“extraordinary achievement and meritorious acts in aerial flight,” WWII Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal, and American Campaign Medal. He joined the CA National Guard in 1948 and was deployed to Korea in 1950 as an Army Infantry and Communications Officer where he devised methods to improve radio communication and keep communication lines from being cut at night by the enemy using a dummy round and bazooka to fire wire from the front line to the Command Post, for which he received the Bronze Star, Infantry Combat Badge and Korean Service Medal. Billy retrained and deployed to Vietnam as a helicopter pilot, flying 50+/- supply and medivac missions, and was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal. Billy resides in Orange. Having served our country from 1941 to 1967 in three wars, Billy is proof of why he and his American contemporaries are “The Greatest Generation” the world has ever known.
The day after John’s 19th birthday Pearl Harbor was attacked. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 to train as a pilot, but due to a shortage of candidates in basic training he transitioned to navigation and received his wings as an Army Air Corp Navigation officer. Stationed in Tezpur, India from 1944 to 1946, John navigated 35 missions in
B-24 Liberator bombers converted to fly gasoline “over the hump” to China and Burma, guiding his pilot using the stars, maps, a sexton, a compass, and Loran (Long range navigation, a hyperbolic radio navigation system developed during World War II) as their guide. The Army Air Corps separated from the Army in 1947 as the U.S. Air Force, John transitioned to the USAF reserves, and via the GI Bill earned a B.S. in Engineering at USC. In 1950 his reserve unit was called up for the Korean War. Stationed in Japan and Korea, John flew 73 missions in the Douglas B-26 Invader including on several hit by ground fire that sustained no major damage. Returning home, he served as a Radar Flight Instructor for the B-25 Mitchell bomber and re-entered the reserves to fly cargo transports on supply and training missions. John retired from the Air Force in 1975, remembers those who did not return from war as the “truest of heroes,” and meets regularly with veterans with whom he served who only ask that we “Always Remember” the sacrifices made. John’s medals include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Republic of Korea War Service Medal. John resides in Villa Park, at age 99 plays golf twice per week, frequently “shoots his age,” and is an exemplary member of the “The Greatest Generation.”
A young husband, father, and New York firefighter when he joined the Army in 1944, Bill deployed with the 4th Infantry Division to Utah Beach ten days after D-Day to start six months of fighting the German army on the frontlines in Normandy, through France, across Belgium, and into Germany to the Battle of Hurtgen Forest. The longest single battle the U.S. Army ever fought, Bill recalls Hurtgen Forest as “a terrible place, that when we left was not a forest anymore.” Next up, the Battle of the Bulge, the last major offensive by the Axis Powers on the Western Front, where Bill eventually found himself “inches from a rifle to his head.” A prisoner of war, after a few hours he escaped to successfully rejoin his platoon. Though extremely outmanned, they continued to battle until relieved on Christmas Eve. The six surviving and uncaptured members of his original 40-man platoon then deployed to hold the recently captured Remagen Bridge, crossed the Rhine, and continued through Germany and into Austria encountering only sporadic resistance. The war in Europe was essentially over. Despite fighting three major battles, his company was reassigned to invade Japan, so returned secretly to the U.S. While there, Japan was bombed, WWII ended, Bill was discharged and returned to the NYFD. Bill’s medals and badges include the Bronze Star with Oakleaf Cluster “for exemplary conduct in ground combat against the armed enemy” in Hurtgen Forest, the Order of Leopold II with Palm Degree of Chevalier from Belgium, and the Croix de Guerre with Palm Leaf from France. Bill resides in Huntington Beach, is a member of American Legion Huntington Beach Post 133, is 101 and a stellar example of The Greatest Generation.
Manny enlisted in the Army after one year of college and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1968 as a Tank Commander and Tank Section Leader. In 1969 he was awarded a Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart. While engaged with a large well-concealed enemy force, his tank fell into a tank trap and lost a track. Exposed to deadly Viet Cong fire, Manny dismounted to snap the track back on its sprocket and remobilize the tank. In disregard for his safety, he maneuvered the tank through the bullet swept area to assault an enemy bunker where it sustained a direct rocket propelled grenade hit, wounding him so seriously in both legs he could not walk for over a year and his mobility remained limited. Manny studied business and finance at the University of Denver and from 1976 to 1999 worked as a banking and Metlife Capital executive. With Veterans Administration assistance, in 2009 he formed EG Montanez Construction to focus on building federal and military installations, universities, and public works as a service-disabled veteran-owned general contractor. Manny’s success has allowed him to serve in volunteer leadership and financial supporting roles for the Disabled Veteran Business Alliance, CalVet Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise, Veteran Strong USA (founded by Manny and his sister Guadalupe), and Fruitful Futures Project (as CEO) dedicated to helping homeless veterans, and many OC charitable causes including Children’s Hospital of Orange County, CHOC
at Mission, Boy Scouts of America, Orangewood, and several Catholic charities. The SBA OC/Inland Empire District honored him as its 2020 Veteran Champion of the Year. Manny resides in Coto de Caza with his wife Lynn.
In 1984 Vic enlisted in the Army Reserve, in 1990 received his ROTC officer commission, in 1991 completed the Military Police Officer (MP) Basic Course, Airborne School, Ranger School, and went on active duty in the 101st MP Company, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) until transitioning to the reserves in 1994. In 2003 he activated for Operation Iraqi Freedom to provide daily convoy security for a 200-mile journey through hostile territory from Kuwait to Tallil Air Base and oversaw construction of three Iraqi police stations and the training of 256 new Iraqi police officers. Returning home, he served the USAR as an MP Operations Officer, a Command Inspector General to ensure the health and morale of 20,000+ soldiers, a Commander of an MP Division securing the “top 12” officials in the Defense Department, the author of a plan for response to man-made and natural disasters in the western U.S. including cyber, utility infrastructure, terrorism, and severe weather, and finally as the senior officer of a 127 soldier Ready Force X unit charged with providing communications support to the Army Pacific Command in potentially lethal combat situations on shorter notice than traditional reserve units. Vic’s medals and badges include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, Global War on Terror Service Medal, and Combat Action, Parachutist, and Air Assault Badges. Vic earned a B.S in Criminology from CSU Fresno, a Masters in Homeland Security from the American Military University, and is a Captain in the Costa Mesa Police Department where he has served for 25 years. He and his wife Corey reside in Newport Beach.
After graduating from Drew University in 1967, Bob was drafted in 1968 and served two years, including a year in Vietnam as a Reconnaissance Team Leader in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Bob was wounded in the Battle of Fire Support Base Ripcord, a 23-day battle between his division and two reinforced divisions of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) from July 1 to 23 1970, the last major confrontation between U.S. ground forces and the PAVN, where he took command when his platoon leader was killed, had to call artillery fire onto his unit because weather prohibited gunship and evacuation helicopter support, and under heavy enemy fire led his platoon to a secure location. Bob’s medals and awards include two Bronze Stars for heroism and valor in combat, two Purple Hearts for combat wounds, two Air Medals, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal. Bob’s post-military career was in the investment management business, primarily with The Dreyfus Corporation as a V.P. and Western Sales Manager. Since 1990, he has volunteered extensively in Orange County, including negotiating the use by the county of Tobacco Litigation Settlement revenue and with the American Cancer Society, the Irvine Senior Foundation, the City of Irvine’s Investment Committee, the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation, and Newport Harbor Post 291 of the American Legion. Bill’s American Legion leadership positions include National Legislative Council, State Legislative Commissioner, and District Finance Officer. He was California’s “Legionnaire of the Year” in 2018 and a City of Irvine Distinguished Citizen in 2019 for his community service work. Bob resides in Irvine with his wife Betsy.
Dick left the University of Colorado to serve as a Marine Corps aviator in the Korean War flying jet fighters on active duty from 1952-56 and in the reserves from 1956-61 when he was honorably discharged as a captain. Dick’s military awards include the Korean Defense Medal and the National Defense Ribbon. He holds a commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine, instrument, helicopter, jet, and glider ratings. In 1968, he took his company, Bertea Corporation, public as a leading aerospace supplier of hydraulic flight controls with major market penetration in commercial aircraft programs. Dick and his wife Hyla are long-time supporters of Hoag, numerous other Orange County charities, and several military charities including the Iwo Jima Monument West (goal – to build an Iwo Jima Flag Raising Memorial at Camp Pendleton) and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation from whom he received the 2008 Globe and Anchor Award. Dick is currently a member of the MCSF West Coast Gala Campaign Committee leadership, was the founding President of the Orange County Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the Orange County Sheriff’s Advisory Council, and has served on the board of the Los Angeles and Orange County Big Brothers. He has restored and flown two World War II “Warbirds,” a Chance-Vought F4U Corsair and a Douglas AD Skyraider. Dick is 90 and resides with Hyla in Corona del Mar.
Upon graduating from UCSB in 1966, Scott entered the Army as a private for combat infantry training before being assigned to Ordnance Officers Candidate School, graduated as a 2nd lieutenant in 1968, reported to Company D of the 709th Maintenance Battalion in Vietnam in support of the Ninth Infantry Division as an Ordnance Specialist providing major maintenance and recovery support for armored personnel carriers, trucks, and electronic communication equipment and small arms bunker and perimeter support for ground troops. He is President of the Freedom Committee of Orange County, a volunteer organization of veterans who bring living history to Orange County schools by sharing personal stories from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East, including Pearl Harbor, D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge, air battles in the South Pacific and over Fortress Europe, freeing inmates of German concentration camps, and watching an atom bomb drop on Japan. Scott is an invaluable resource to Military Appreciation Day by identifying veterans from Orange County to honor at the Hoag Classic. Scott’s military honors include a Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Ribbon, Vietnam Service Medal with 2 bronze stars, Vietnam Civil Action Ribbon, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Medal with palm, and Vietnam Campaign Medal. Scott resides in Costa Mesa with his wife Linda. He received the City of Costa Mesa Mayor’s Award for service to his community.
Gordon served in the Navy from 1942-1946. During WW II he was assigned to Navy Air Group 19, including from June to December 1944 aboard the USS Lexington that led the Fast Carrier Task Force in the Pacific where Group 19 consisted of 36 fighters, 36 bombers and 18 torpedo planes, and Gordon was a yeoman to the group commander. From the Lexington, the group fought in many of the Pacific’s major naval battles, including the Battle of the Philippine Sea where over 300 enemy aircraft were destroyed and a carrier, a tanker and a destroyer were sunk, as American aviators nearly knocked Japanese naval aviation out of the war. Lexington’s aircraft also flew sorties over Guam, the Palau, Bonin, and Caroline Islands, and Mindanao and the Manila area in the Philippines followed by Okinawa and Formosa, and finally at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. During Leyte, the climatic American naval victory over Japan, the Lexington was under constant attack, yet her aircraft helped assisted sink a Japanese battleship, 3 aircraft carriers and a cruiser. As a result of a kamikaze attack, Gordon suffered burns to his hands attempting to put out a fire burning a seaman and his clothing. Gordon’s military honors include the World War II Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon, American Theater Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Ribbon and a Purple Heart. Gordon is 96 and resides in Lake Forest.
Upon graduating from high school, following his brother’s lead, in October of 1944 Albert enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 18. He served in World War II from 1944 to 1946 as a Radioman handling ship to shore confidential communications in Morse code on the USS Noble, an attack transport ship whose primary mission was to transport to combat area beaches in the Pacific Theater, including Okinawa in 1945, up to 5,000 infantrymen and some of the material necessary for an assault on enemy forces and positions. After discharging troops and equipment, the Noble and her crew evacuated Allied casualties and prisoners of war. After the war, the Noble also participated in Operation Magic Carpet, returning servicemen home from the Pacific. The GI Bill assisted Albert in attaining an electrical engineering degree from Georgia Tech University which qualified him for a career with Sperry Rand designing military systems including radar, gyroscopes and inertial navigation systems and later systems used on Apollo 11’s lunar lander. Albert is 93 years old, resides in Hicksville, New York, but receives his medical care at Hoag, as he spends part of the year with his daughter June Vinci and her family here in Orange County. Dr. Anthony Caffarelli has been his cardiac surgeon and Dr. Robert Gorab replaced both his knees.
Tom joined the Army at age 19 in 1940 and served in the 101st Airborne Division’s “Screaming Eagles.” Shortly after midnight on D-Day, June 6, 1944, Tom parachuted into Normandy from a C-47 that had been hit by anti-aircraft “flak,” as part of the largest military campaign ever undertaken. Tom, armed with a submachine gun, landed near Utah Beach and heavily armed German forces, fought in Normandy for over a month while sheltering in hunting holes, helped capture hundreds of German soldiers, and was wounded by shrapnel and a sniper bullet in his left knee. Tom also parachuted into Holland during Operation Market Garden and fought in the Battle of the Bulge where he was seriously wounded when sniper bullets tore a leg and the radial below an elbow. After one month, he re-joined his regiment in Austria. Tom’s military honors include a Purple Heart with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, 2 Invasion Arrows, Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star with Cluster, Good Conduct Medal, French Fourragère, Belgium Fourragère and the Parachutist Badge (“Jump Wings”). In 2015, France honored Tom as a Knight in the National Order of the Legion of Honor, the highest award granted to foreign nationals for military service on French soil, in recognition of his heroic service during the Invasion of Normandy in the liberation of France. Tom is 98, lives in San Diego with his wife Brenda, and jumped in tandem last year during the 75th anniversary celebrations of D-Day and Market Garden.
Frank was drafted on his 21st birthday in 1942 and served in the U.S. Army 28th Infantry Division’s 110th Regimental Combat Team as first gunner of a light artillery crew during the fourth wave of the Normandy landings in July of 1944, just a few weeks after D-Day. From Normandy, the 28th Division engaged in difficult hedgerow to hedgerow fighting as they pushed across western France to join in the liberation of Paris and moved on the day following the liberation parade to fight some of the most important battles of World War II, including the Battle of the Bulge the last major German offensive campaign on the Western front and the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by American troops in the war. The fury of the 28th division’s assaults led the German Army to bestow its soldiers with the title “Bloody Bucket” Division. During the Battle of the Bulge, Frank was captured and spent from December 1944 to April 1945 as a prisoner of war in German prison camp Stalag IV B. He was honorably discharged in October of 1945. Frank revisited the battlefields of Normandy in 2018, and in 2019 was recognized by France as a Knight in the National Order of the French Legion of Honor, the highest award granted to foreign nationals for military service on French soil, for his actions during the Invasion of Normandy in liberating France. Frank is 98, and is the father of Frank Martell’s wife Donna.
Bob graduated with Honors from Miami of Ohio (’81), joined the Marine Corps, graduated with Honors from Marine Amphibious Warfare School, earned a Master’s from Marine Command and Staff College (’96), was Commandant of the Marine Fellows to Penn State’s School of Business (’01-’02), was the only Marine other than General Randolph McCall Pate, the 21st Commandant of the Marine Corps, to serve as the Joint Staff Director of Logistics, served as Director of Logistics and Engineering for U.S. Central Command, commanded at the company, detachment, battalion, regiment, and group levels including on 6 deployments in Operation Desert Storm, the Adriatic Sea, Rwanda, East Timor, and as Commanding General, 1st Marine Logistics Group during combat in Iraq. In his final military assignment as Military Director to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Bob oversaw a staff of 32,000 civilians, contractors, and military personnel. After 36 years of service, he retired in 2017. Bob is now President and CEO of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to military children, having awarded $120 million to 40,000 children of Marines and Navy Corpsmen. Bob has received many decorations, including the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, our nation’s highest non-combat military award and highest joint service decoration, awarded only while assigned to a joint activity, and the Legion of Merit, 1 of only 2 U.S. military decorations issued as a neck order (the other – the Medal of Honor), for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.”
Bill flew 75 combat missions in Korea in the C-46 and C-47 after various assignments in Europe, the Pacific, and North Africa during World War
II, served as Chief of the Air Force Reserve, board chairman of the American Air Museum in Britain, United States Air Force Academy Research & Development Institution and USAF Falcon Foundation (chairman emeritus), and a director of the Air Force Academy Foundation, and received the United States Air Force Academy Distinguished Service Award. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal (with three oak clusters), and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Distinguished Public Service Medal. In business, Bill built homes for returning veterans and others in California which evolved into William Lyon Homes in Newport Beach, owned AirCal which merged with American Airlines, acquired Martin Aviation and established Lyon Air Museum at John Wayne Airport (home to 7 military warbirds including C-47 Willa Dean), and received numerous entrepreneurship and leadership awards. Philanthropically, he served as board chairman of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts (30-year director), Orangewood Children’s Foundation, Boy Scouts of America Orange County Council, and Alexis de Tocqueville Society of the United Way, on the President’s Cabinet of Chapman University, and at USC as a Lifetime University Trustee and on the board of the Marshall School of Business. Bill resides in Coto de Caza and turned 96 today.
Dan is a graduate of the California Maritime Academy (BS & Third Mate’s License ’88) and the Naval War College (’04), and holds a Master’s
in Foreign Affairs and Strategic Studies and a Master’s in Computer Information Science. He earned his Naval Aviator Wings of Gold (’92) with orders to fly the F/A-18C Hornet supersonic carrier-capable fighter and attack combat aircraft, commanded the F-18 E Super Hornet Strike Fighter Squadron 27 aboard USS Kittyhawk, had 2 tours aboard USS Constellation with Strike Fighter Squadron 151, completed the Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program known as TOPGUN (‘97), commanded the “Royal Maces” when named the Navy’s best attack squadron, has over 3,500 F-18 flight hours and over 1,100 carrier landings, and commanded a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. As a flag officer he
was the assistant chief of staff and chief of staff for Strategy, Resources and Plans for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa and for Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. He now commands the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group consisting of 7,000 sailors on 9 ships, including USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Bunker Hill, USS Zumwalt, 6 guided missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 23, and 80 aircraft of Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN. Dan was the 1997 Commander Strike Fighter Wing Pacific Adm. Wesley McDonald Junior Officer of the Year. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal Strike/Flight (3), Combat Action Ribbon, and Battle E (3).
Ted enlisted in the Air Force after the attack on Pearl Harbor, serving as an aviator in the Pacific, including Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines. One-third of his fellow pilots were lost due to accidents, weather and enemy fire. Ted preferred single pilot P-40 fighters to bombers, but also flew A-20 Havoc light bombers in New Guinea against Japanese military assets in the region. In six P-40 missions, he never saw the enemy, describing it as “duck hunting without the ducks.” His 72 missions in the A-20 included photography flights using a camera mount he invented to capture combat events to show to the American public. Ted’s photo of a plane getting shot down over water was featured in several books on WWII aerial warfare. His photos were also used to sell war bonds. He served in the USAF Reserve until 1972. Ted’s decorations include a Distinguished Flying Cross, 2 Air Medals, a Bronze Star (for photography), and American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific, World War II Victory, Philippine Liberation and National Defense Medals. Ted is 98 and resides in Newport Beach.
Brian is a graduate of Villanova University (B.S. ’98), earned graduate degrees from the USAF Air Command and Staff College and Princeton University (Master’s Public Policy ’15), received his commission through NROTC (’98), and completed SEAL Training in Coronado (’99). As a Naval Special Warfare Officer, he completed 10 combat deployments to the U. S. Pacific Command, U. S. European Command, U.S. African Command, and U.S. Central Command on various combined, joint, and inter-agency task forces including Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan as Director of Current Operations and Deputy Director for Operations in Kabul, Afghanistan, and served in staff officer capacities as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans, Strategy at Naval Special Warfare Group ONE, as Commander of Special Operations Task Force-West in Anbar, Iraq, and as Commanding Officer of SEAL Team ONE. Brian is currently the Chief of Staff for the Naval Special Warfare Center responsible for recruiting, selecting, training, and qualifying candidates to become SEALs or Combat Crewmen, maintaining schoolhouses that provide advanced individual skills qualification to the NSW force, and operation of 135 ranges/training facilities in the NSW training enterprise. Brian has received many individual combat and commendation medals and ribbons in recognition of his military accomplishments.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his
life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Thacker, Field Artillery, Battery A, distinguished himself while serving as the team leader of an Integrated Observation System collocated with elements of two Army of the Republic of Vietnam units at Fire Base 6. A numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force launched a well-planned dawn attack on the small, isolated, hilltop fire base. Employing rockets, grenades, flamethrowers, and automatic weapons, the enemy forces penetrated the perimeter defenses and engaged the defenders in hand-to-hand combat. Throughout the morning and early afternoon, 1st Lt. Thacker rallied and encouraged the U.S. and Republic of Vietnam soldiers in heroic efforts to repulse the enemy. He occupied a dangerously exposed observation position for a period of four hours while directing friendly air strikes and artillery fire against the assaulting enemy forces. His personal bravery and inspired leadership enabled the outnumbered friendly forces to inflict a maximum of casualties on the attacking enemy forces and prevented the base from being overrun. By late afternoon, the situation had become untenable. 1st Lt. Thacker organized and directed the withdrawal of the remaining friendly forces. With complete disregard for his personal safety, he remained inside the perimeter alone to provide covering fire with his M-16 rifle until all other friendly forces had escaped from the besieged fire base. Then, in an act of supreme courage, he called for friendly artillery fire on his own position to allow his comrades more time to withdraw safely from the area and, at the same time, inflict even greater casualties on the enemy forces. Although wounded and unable to escape from the area himself, he successfully eluded the enemy forces for eight days until friendly forces regained control of the fire base. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by 1st Lt. Thacker were an inspiration to his comrades and are in the highest traditions of the military service.
On December 7, 1941 Lauren was a 21-year old fire controlman aboard the USS Arizona when Japanese warplanes attacked Pearl Harbor. He scrambled to the crow’s nest of Gun Turret No. 2 and began shooting back. The Arizona took a direct hit from a bomb killing most of its crew, the fire trapping Lauren and 5 gunnery mates. A sailor on the USS Vestal, also bombed and sinking, heaved a line that Lauren and mates secured. Dangling above the rising flames, all 6 crossed hand by hand to the Vestal, escaping death as the Arizona sank to her watery grave. After 7 months recovering from burns, Lauren was assigned to the destroyer USS Coghlan seeing action from the Aleutian Islands to the Philippines, including observing the return of General MacArthur to the Philippines. Lauren’s decorations include a Purple Heart, American Defense Service, China Service, Navy Occupation Service – Asia, World War II Victory, Navy Good Conduct, Asia Pacific Campaign and American Campaign Medals, and Combat Action and Philippine Liberation Ribbons. Of the Arizona’s 1,511 crewmen, 1,177 died in the explosion and fires. Of the 334 survivors of the attack, Lauren is 1 of 5 alive today and forever grateful he survived Pearl Harbor to live a full life. Lauren is 98 and resides in La Mirada.
Jack was a Gunner’s Mate from 1942-46 in the Naval Armed Guard in World War II, a special Naval branch that defended merchant ships against enemy attack, on the troop transport ships USS Cape Meares in the Battle of the North Atlantic (’42-’43) and USAT Etolin in the South Pacific (’43-’45). Armed Guard service was fraught with danger, suffering, and staggering casualty rates, yet one veteran wrote “The Armed Guard hasn’t had as much publicity as the average two-headed calf.” Jack also served as a Gun Captain on the Edsall-class destroyer escort USS Finch as part of a Convoy Support Group of anti-submarine warships actively deployed to attack submarines while protecting convoys crossing the Atlantic between the East Coast and England, Ireland and France and back, helping end the war in Europe (’45) and the Pacific (’45-‘46) as the Finch patrolled from Hawaii through the Marshall Islands and the Mariana Islands (Aug. ’45). Allied prisoners captured on Corregidor from “hell-camps” on Formosa (now Taiwan) where they had been held under brutal conditions (’46). Jack is 94 and resides in Newport Beach.
Upon graduating from high school, Fred enlisted in the U.S. Army in June 1943. He served in World War II as an infantryman in the 87th Division in Europe. The 87th’s first campaign was the Saar where the untested American troops held their ground against a German night attack. Moving eastward in a convoy, Fred was wounded in the head by a shrapnel fragment. He returned to the front for the Ardennes Campaign, fought hand-to-hand combat in snow 4 feet deep at -30° to -40° defending tank, artillery and infantry attacks, helping stop the Germans from reaching Antwerp in the Battle of the Bulge – the greatest land battle in American history led by General George Patton and a key to victory in Europe. The 87th’s third campaign was Rhineland, the crossing of the Rhyne and Mosel Rivers, where the “Butcher’s Bill” was terribly high, as many Americans gallantly paid with their lives as the horrific price of victory. His final campaign was Central Europe, taking the former German capitol of Weimar and the Buchenwald Death Camp, the site of the murder of millions of innocent victims. Fred’s decorations include a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Combat Infantry, Good Conduct, European Theater w/4 battle stars, and WWII Victory Medals. Fred is 98 and resides in Villa Park.
Private First Class James McCloughan distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty from May 13th through 15th, 1969, while serving as a combat medic with Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. On May 13th, with complete disregard for his life, McCloughan ran 100 meters in an open field through heavy fire to rescue a comrade too injured to move and carried him to safety. That same day, 2d Platoon was ordered to search the area near Nui Yon Hill when the platoon was ambushed by a large North Vietnamese Army force and sustained heavy casualties. Again, with complete disregard for his life and personal safety, Private First Class McCloughan led two Americans into safety of a trench while being wounded by shrapnel from a rocket propelled grenade. On May 14th, the platoon was once again ordered to move out towards Nui Yon Hill. McCloughan was wounded a second time by small arms fire and shrapnel from a rocket propelled grenade while rendering aid to two Soldiers in an open rice paddy. During the morning darkness of May 15th, Private First Class McCloughan knocked out a rocket-propelled grenade position with a grenade, fought and eliminated enemy soldiers, treated numerous casualties, kept two critically-wounded soldiers alive through the night, and organized the dead and wounded for evacuation at daylight. His timely and courageous actions were instrumental in saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. Private First Class McCloughan’s personal heroism, professional competence, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Americal Division, and the United States Army.
Ed is a 1966 graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma University and holds masters degrees from Pepperdine University and the University of Minnesota. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in 1967. He has served as the Commanding General of Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, the Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia, and the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. From
2004-2006 Ed served as the U.S. Military Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee at NATO headquarters in Brussels, representing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in deliberations and actions on the Military Committee, the highest military authority of NATO. He also worked closely with military representatives of NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations to develop policy recommendations for the political authorities of the Alliance. He retired as a Lieutenant General in 2007. His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf, Legion of Merit with two gold stars, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V” and gold star, and
the Combat Action Ribbon.
Tom is a 1964 graduate with distinction of the United States Naval Academy, receiving the NAAA Sword and the Cooke Memorial Fund Award. Tom was a 3-year football letterman as a center and inside linebacker and the captain of the 1963 Navy Cotton Bowl team quarterbacked by Roger Staubach, that season’s Heisman Trophy winner, which finished the season ranked No. 2 in the nation. As an Ensign, Lieutenant and Admiral, Tom completed three active duty tours and several billets at the Academy. At sea, his leadership positions included commanding officer of the USS Truet, commander Destroyer Squadron Twenty-six, commander Cruise Destroyer Group Twelve, including commander of the Eisenhower Battle Group during Operation Desert Shield. His naval service also included Chief, Navy Legislative Affairs, Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy from 1991 to 1994 and Director of the Navy Staff at the Pentagon from 1994 to 1995. After a 31-year career, Tom retired in 1995 as a Rear Admiral. In 2010, he received the USNA Distinguished Graduate Award. He also serves as a director of the Naval Academy Foundation and as a trustee of its Athletic and Scholarship Program.
Frank is a 1981 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a 1986 graduate of the Defense Information School. In his final active duty assignment, Frank was the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Information, serving as principal spokesman for the Department of the Navy and providing strategic communication counsel to the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations He previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense responsible for overseeing Department of Defense efforts to shape department-wide communication doctrine, organization, and training for the joint forces. As director of the strategic communication integration group secretariat, Frank also led efforts for strategic communication auspices of the Deputy Secretary of Defense. He served as the special assistant for public affairs to the Chief of Naval Operations., and then as special assistant for public affairs officer for the Bureau of Naval Personnel; Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet; Joint Task Force Middle East; Cruiser Destroyer Group 12; and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. He has also served as director of public affairs and congressional notification at the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs. His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (2), Legion of Merit (2), Meritorious Service Medal (3), Joint Service Commendation Medal (2), and the Navy Commendation Medal (3).
Commissioned a lieutenant in 1988, Greg’s Navy Reserve tours included the USS Bristol County, Naval Hospital San Diego, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 17 and Assistant Fleet Chaplain, Commander, Submarine Forces Pacific. Greg’s Reserve Marine Corps assignments as Command Chaplain included the 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment and Marine Aircraft Group 46. Greg was recalled to active duty in February 2003 for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom as Command Chaplain, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing RBE, and as the acting Wing Chaplain. After mobilization, Greg was selected as Deputy Force Chaplain, Reserve Matters, Marine Forces Pacific, in 2009 as Deputy Chaplain of the Marine Corps for Reserve Matters at the Pentagon, and in 2010 as the 17th Deputy Chief of Chaplains for Reserve Matters and Director of Religious Programs on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, Marine Forces Reserves. Greg retired from the Navy in 2013. His decorations include the Legion of Merit (2 awards), Meritorious Service Medal (3 awards), and the Navy Achievement Medal (3 awards). Greg is the Pastor and Head of Staff at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Bakersfield.
Norm enlisted in the Navy in 1942 at 18, graduated from Naval flight school, was assigned to the Marine Corps, and served until 1969, flying 393 combat missions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Norm’s decorations include a Silver Star (Korea) and a Gold Star in lieu of a 2nd Silver Star (Vietnam) and 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses (PBJ bombers WWII/helicopters Korea). The Korean War Silver Star was awarded for rescuing a downed airman in enemy-held territory. Despite grave hazards, Norm volunteered to fly an unarmed helicopter into an area infested with enemy troops to attempt the rescue. Despite a radio damaged by intense automatic weapons fire, he continued the search until locating the downed pilot. With the enemy 100 yards from the doomed airman, Norm flew directly into continuous ground fire to effect his rescue. His Vietnam War Silver Star was for leading 17 helicopters in 3 successive assaults transporting a Vietnamese battalion into an unsecured landing zone under intense automatic weapons fire from 2 Viet Cong companies. Despite damage to his aircraft and many others from enemy fire during the 1st landing, Norm continued the assault to prevent the annihilation of the Vietnamese troops. Disregarding his own safety leading the 2nd landing, Norm kept his aircraft exposed broadside to the heaviest enemy fire, giving his gunner full opportunity to deliver suppressive fire as wounded troops were evacuated. Although the volume of enemy fire increased, causing numerous casualties, Norm returned a third time with the remnants of his squadron to successfully complete the landing of the assault troops, again taking the most exposed position in the landing zone for his helicopter. Norm’s son Dick Ewers and his grandson Gary Ewers were also career Marine Corps aviators. Norm is 94 years old and resides in Irvine.
Bing enlisted as an airman in the United States Air Force in 1953. After completing basic training, he was stationed in Alabama. Starting November, 1953, Bing spent 15 months training as a pilot in Texas, Missouri, and Arizona. In February, 1955, he received his commission as an officer and his pilot wings. During the next 11 years, Bing was stationed in Nevada, the Philippines, Okinawa, Texas, Arizona, and England, followed by 1 year in Vietnam where he flew 255 combat missions. Bing’s last flying assignment was a 3-year tour in Louisiana. His primary flying assignments included the F-86, F100, and A-7. When not actively flying, Bing attended various professional military schools and was with the inspector general’s office. In 1979, after 3 years at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, Bing retired from the Air Force with the rank of Colonel. Bing’s combat decorations include the Legion of Merit, 2 Silver Stars, 12 Air Medals, a Bronze Star and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star. Bing has been married for over 60 years to the former Vickie Matthews from Pasadena, California. Bing and Vickie have lived on Balboa Island since 1979.
After graduating from the Naval Academy, Charlie completed Navy Flight Training and reported to Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego. Charlie’s squadron, the Aardvarks, launched the F-4 Phantom Jet. Charlie flew 74 successful combat missions over North Vietnam and made over 100 carrier landings. On his 75th mission, just five days before the end of his tour, Charlie was shot down over Hanoi, taken prisoner, tortured, and spent the next 2,103 days in an 8-by-8 foot cell as a Prisoner of War. During his nearly six years of captivity, Charlie distinguished himself as a pro in underground communications. He was a great inspiration to all the other POW’s and served as chaplain for two years. Following his repatriation Charlie continued his Navy flying career in Reserve Squadrons. He retired from the U.S Navy after 28 years of service. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars, 2 Purple Hearts, Air Medals, P.O.W. Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960 Device, and a combat action Ribbon. His combat unit received a Presidential Unit Citation. Charlie now speaks for audiences in almost every industry with stories that parallel his POW experience with the challenges of everyday life.
John received a four-year Naval ROTC Scholarship from Villanova University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration- Finance. Upon graduation, John was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy to join the Pacific Fleet in San Diego. With tours as a Communication Officer and Damage Control Assistant on board the USS David R. Ray, as a Lieutenant John served in the Persian Gulf during the early stages of Operation Desert Shield. After serving another 16 years of duty in the Naval Reserve, John retired in 2010. His decorations include the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (3 ), National Defense Medal (2), Southwest Asian Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. John is the Director of Regional Operations, Central Region for Generations Healthcare, and also the Director of Operations for Generations Healthcare’s newest facility in Henderson, Nevada.
Harry was a B-17 pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force 457th Bomb Group during World War II from November 1942 to December 1945, and on reserve duty until 1963. On Sept 12, 1944, eight hundred and fifty bombers flew in formation to hit at targets deep in Germany, including the 457th Bomb Group with Harry piloting his 7th bombing mission in a B-17 named “American Eagle.” Northeast of Berlin the bombers turned south towards the aluminum works at Lauta and encountered heavy anti-aircraft flak. The congested skies caused Harry’s Group Commander to take evasive action, which shuffled the deck with another bomb group, causing the 457th to break formation and scatter. The Luftwaffe used that opportunity to strike with 50 to 60 planes at the out-of-formation bombers. “American Eagle” was attacked by FW-190 fighters, whose cannon shells hit the B-17’s bomb bay, riddled the cockpit causing it to catch fire, and shot its tail off causing it to spiral down, shake violently and then explode in mid-air. Harry was knocked unconscious by the blast. When he regained consciousness, Harry found himself in the v of the windshield. He tried to climb through a window, but realized he was floating to the ground in the wreckage of the cockpit. He climbed out at about 800 feet and opened his parachute as pieces of wreckage fell around him. On the ground, he never saw any of his crew. Harry was captured 3 hours later and spent nine months as a prisoner of war in Stalag #1 at Barth on the Baltic. He was the only survivor of the 9-man crew. Harry’s decorations include the Air Medal, Purple Heart, ETO Theater medal. American Defense medal, American Theater medal, and a World War II Victory Medal. Harry is 97 years old, resides in Corona del Mar, and is a docent at the Lyon Air Museum.
After graduating from Princeton in 1969, Jay served 7 years in the Navy, flying A-6 Intruder carrier based jet bombers and as a staff officer with NATO in Naples, Italy. He flew almost 200 combat missions in Vietnam during the Linebacker air campaigns in 1972 over North and South Vietnam. While working for NATO, Jay was in charge of the Southern Region of Europe’s nuclear strike plan and also obtained a Master’s in Business Administration through the Boston University overseas program. His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, 11 Strike/Flight Air Medals, 2 Individual Flight Medals, 2 Navy Commendation Medals with Combat “V”, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star. After leaving the Navy, Jay earned a law degree from the UC Hastings and practiced estate planning law in Orange County for over 30 years. He has volunteered for many years as a member of the Hoag Planned Giving Advisory Committee. Jay and his wife Penny reside in Newport Beach.
Betty, a fifth-generation Californian, graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in English literature. Immediately after graduating from Cal Betty joined the Waves, the Navy’s branch for women, to serve in Word War II. Having a college degree, she was eligible to attend officers’ school, but chose to enlist and was sent for Wave basic training in New York. When her training was completed, Betty was designated a postal clerk and assigned to the Navy’s West Coast postal facility in San Francisco. An integral part of her assignment was access to the Navy’s code sheet, which revealed the top-secret locations of all ships in the U.S. Pacific Fleet. After two years of active duty in San Francisco, in October 1945, a month after the Japanese surrendered and World War II ended, Betty was honorably discharged with the rank of Petty Officer, Second Class. Betty’s deceased husband Lieutenant Colonel John A. Storch flew combat missions, 18 of which he led as the commanding officer of the 364th Fighter Squadron, in a P-51 “Mustang” long-range fighter bomber. John became a “double-ace” by downing 11 German airplanes in aerial combat over Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin. John’s decorations included 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Silver Star, an Air Medal, and the French Croix de Guerre. Betty’s son Dr. John C. Storch is a Newport Beach internist and is a former Chief of Staff at Hoag. Betty has resided in the Bayshores community in Newport Beach for 67 years.
Steve was the founding sponsor of Military Appreciation Day in 2015. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1967 to 1970 and is a combat decorated, disabled Veteran of the Vietnam War. Steve’s decorations include the Purple Heart Medal with Silver Star, Vietnam Wound Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Marine Corps Combat Action Medal. His combat unit received the Navy Meritorious Unit Citation Medal for Actions Consistent with the Awarding of the Bronze Star. Mr. Wilburn is a senior, internationally recognized energy executive with over thirty-five years of experience in the development and implementation of innovative, industry changing and highly successful, alternative energy projects and wastewater treatment technologies. He was the former VP of Business Development of the Allied Signal Corporation. At this stage in his career he has successfully developed dozens of energy and water projects worldwide totaling over $2 billion.
Pat was born on March 16, 1946 in Seattle. He was drafted after high school graduation, was sent to Vietnam with the US Army 9th Infantry Division, and served as a radio operator assisting his company commander with troop directions. After ten months of combat duty, Pat was wounded and lost his right foot. He was awarded the Silver Star for service above the call of duty. When Pat returned home, he earned a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management and enjoyed 35 years in the Food Brokerage business as a salesman. Pat now plays golf three times a week, and his favorite course is Pebble Beach.
Bill served in the US Army, 70th Division Infantry, 276th Regiment, during World War II. In January 1945, he and 180 platoon mates were captured by German troops during the battle of Wingen-sur-Moder and were held in a church in Wingen, France where Bill was hit with a piece of shrapnel from a shell that came through a stained glass window and exploded near the alter of the church. After four days in captivity, his platoon was liberated by American forces as they re-took the town. His decorations are a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. His army unit received a Presidential Unit Citation for its collective valor. Bill received undergraduate and law degrees from USC and practiced law in Southern California for over thirty years. Bill is 94 and lives on Balboa Island.
Shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Kyle enlisted as a Ground Medic and in March 2003 participated in the initial invasion of Iraq where he spent 6 months bandaging, stitching, casting, and caring for wounded soldiers. Kyle was then deployed to Afghanistan and promoted to Flight Medic participating in dangerous missions to recover the critically wounded by descending from helicopters into bullet-ridden battlefields. In 2005, Kyle assisted a group of Marines ambushed by Improvised Explosive Devises and ground fire, including 4 trapped underneath an overturned vehicle and others who were critically injured. At the request of MEDEVAC, Kyle prepared his aircraft, obtained additional medical help and flew to the ambush site where the battle still raged as his aircraft arrived under heavy enemy fire. Upon landing, Kyle treated 2 Marines awaiting evacuation and then moved to the ambush site 500 meters up the road to render aid to the Marines pinned under the vehicle, made 2 trips into direct fire carrying a large gas-operated extrication saw to assist in extricating the wounded, loaded 2 onto a nearby vehicle for evacuation, and with insufficient room for a 3rd litter “buddy carried” a third Marine behind the vehicle to the waiting aircraft. Kyle’s dedication to duty under fire resulted in the evacuation of 6 critically injured Marines. For his “heroism, selflessness, and calm under pressure” Kyle received the Bronze Star with Valor. After volunteering for an extended Afghanistan deployment, an incoming mortar exploded near him in camp, and the percussion threw him across a tent resulting in whiplash and oxygen depletion to the brain. Despite experiencing difficulties with processing information and memory, Kyle completed his deployment. Upon returning home, Kyle was deemed a 100% Disabled Veteran.
The Captain Jack Callahan Hoag Classic Veteran Volunteer Award
Hoag Hospital is appreciative of all those who serve or served our country, and who now serve our community through volunteerism at the Hoag Classic. Each year, a Hoag Classic volunteer who has served our country in the armed forces will be recognized as one of our Military Appreciation Day honorees. We are proud to name this particular recognition in honor of Captain John F. “Jack” Callahan, U.S. Marine Corps (1917-2012), for his service to our country and community.
Shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Jack enlisted in the Navy, was assigned to the Marine Corps for pre-flight training and earned his Naval Aviator Wings of Gold at Pensacola Naval Air Station in April 1943. In early 1945 Jack was assigned to combat duty in the Pacific Theatre in the Philippine Islands. He flew 40+ combat missions in Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers as a member of Marine Air Group 32’s Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 142, engaging the enemy in ship convoy cover, fire bombing, dive bombing, and strafing in support of ground troops. For his combat service, Jack earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses “for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight … in action against enemy Japanese forces,” three Air Medals “for extraordinary achievement and meritorious acts in aerial flight against the enemy in the Philippine Islands,” an Asiatic-Pacific Theatre of Operations Ribbon, and a Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one bronze star. As a resident of Costa Mesa from 1960 to 2012, Jack contributed to the betterment of his community through organizations that included the Boys and Girls Club of the Harbor Area and Hoag Hospital’s 552 Club.
T.R. joined the U. S. Army in 1965 and served in combat in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967 in the 173rd Airborne Brigade as an infantryman and the 197th Armed Helicopter Company as a door gunner where he participated in 624 combat missions
T.R.’s military honors include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal for Valor, and Air Medal with 16 Oak Leaf Clusters.
T.R.’s Distinguished Flying Cross citation:
“For heroism, while participating in aerial flight … Pierce distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on the night of 11 December 1966 while serving as door gunner of a helicopter on a “Firefly” team near Can Giouc. Alerted to enemy river traffic …, the team set out to put a stop to it. They quickly discovered and attacked a group of Viet Cong sampans, but were met with intense antiaircraft fire. Undaunted by the … danger, Pierce leaned out of his aircraft, pouring machine gun fire into the enemy emplacements, and nullifying their threat. He then turned his attention to the river, destroying boat after boat with incredible accuracy. His courageous and skillful actions resulted in the destruction of 69 supply laden sampans, a great loss to the enemy transportation network. Pierce’s personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.”
T.R’s Air Medal (Sixteenth Oak Leaf Cluster) with “V” Devise citation:
“For heroism while engaged in aerial flight … against a hostile force Pierce distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 13 December 1966 … as a door gunner on a firefly mission at Duc Hoa. Duc Hoa was subjected to a heavy mortar attack, with the division airfield as the primary target. Pierce, without regard for his own personal safety, immediately secured his ship for takeoff. Seconds after his ship had become airborne the airfield was hit. His ship was the first in the air and the first to spot the mortar flashes. With all of the aircraft’s armament inoperative, he marked the area with tracers from his M-14 rifle enabling … two aircraft to locate and neutralize the enemy positions. Through his actions, he insured a quick takeoff, thus avoiding certain destruction from the incoming rounds, as well as placing fire on the enemy positions enabling the other aircraft to silence them. Because of his professionalism and quick action with his M-14, a devasting attack was averted and the enemy was routed. Pierce’s ability and performance were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.”
After Vietnam, T. R. completed the Special Forces Qualification Course, earned the Special Forces Tab and Green Beret, and served with the Third Special Forces Group until honorably discharged in 1968. He has served as the Vice-Commander of Wyoming American Legion Post 43, Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4274, and is a member of Special Forces Association Chapter 28.
T.R. resides in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He is a Past-President of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club, Past Vice-Chairman of the Community Entry Service, Past Executive Chairman of Boy Scout Troop 268 and was honored with the Order of the Arrow by the Boy Scouts. T.R. has been a Hoag Classic volunteer on the driving range since 2018 and lives part time in Corona del Mar.
Upon graduation from Elmhurst College in Illinois, Ed enlisted in the Navy in 1965, reported to Officers Candidate School, received his commission as an Ensign, began flight training in 1966, and received his Wings of Gold in 1967. Over the next 20 years he accumulated 3,400 flight hours, 450 carrier landings, 220 combat missions over Vietnam, and one ejection over the Gulf of Tonkin. He also served as a flight instructor at Naval Air Station Kingsville, TX, and went through the Navy Fighter Weapons School known as TOPGUN twice, once as a fleet pilot and once as an adversary instructor pilot, where the Navy trained fleet fighter crews at the graduate level in aerial dogfight and airstrike tactics, techniques, procedures, and doctrine and all aspects of fighter weapons systems at the former Naval Air Station Miramar, nicknamed “Fightertown USA.” Ed’s duty stations included the USS Constellation and the USS Juneau as a Surface Warfare Officer. Ed was awarded 11 Air Medals “for extraordinary achievement and meritorious acts in aerial flight against the enemy,” the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V – 2, Naval and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, National Defense and Vietnam Service Medals, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. Upon retiring from the Navy in 1987, Ed earned an MBA in Computer Management at National University in San Diego as his class of 1987 Valedictorian and ever since has worked at Hendrickson Appraisal Company in San Diego as a real estate appraiser. Ed has volunteered at PGA and PGA Champions Tour Golf Tournaments since 1995, including 23 years at the Hoag Classic as a walking scorer through 2020. Ed resides in San Diego with his wife of 50 years, Julie.
Steve Underwood, Sergeant USA
Sergeant Steve Underwood is the first recipient of the Captain Jack Callahan, Hoag Classic Volunteer Veteran Award, beginning in 2020.
Steve served in Vietnam in 1967-68 in the 25th Infantry Division, the 199th Light Infantry Division, the 5th Infantry Division, the 44th Medical Brigade, and the 5th Special Forces. Trained as a Rifleman and Radio Transmitter Operator, Steve’s primary duty was as a Combat Medic treating traumatic wounds in combat situations and assisting with medevac operations of wounded soldiers including as lead medic for the Reactionary Force providing the first line of defense if base camp was attacked, as a squad leader, and received a combat promotion to sergeant from his commanding general. He served at Bien Hoa, Cu Chi, Phu Loi, Xuan Loc, Di An, and Bear Cat during the Tet Offensive, in Operation Uniontown and in Operation Manchester. Steve’s military honors include the Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal with 3 Battle Stars, Army Good Conduct Medal, Tet Offensive Commemorative Medal and 2 Presidential Unit Citations. Steve has been a Hoag Classic volunteer since 2008 and currently serves as a committee chairman. He has also volunteered at the U.S. Open, Senior U.S. Open, the LPGA’s Kia Classic and for 41 years at the PGA Tour stop in Los Angeles now known as the Genesis Invitational. Steve resides in Chino Hills with his wife Denise.
Hoag Medical Staff
Through our partnership with Hoag Hospital, we are honored to select individuals who both serve our country and our community at Hoag Hospital. Beginning in 2020, each year, the Hoag Classic will honor a veteran staff member at Hoag Hospital who works to support the health and vitality of the community.
Richard served from 1970 to 1973 as a Lieutenant in the Dental Corp of the United States Navy, which consists of naval officers with a doctorate in dental surgery to provide dental care for Sailors and Marines to ensure optimal oral health. The Corps’ primary mission is to prevent or remedy oral health conditions that may interfere with the duties of active member of the naval forces. In remote areas, state side, or in overseas locations, the Dental Corp may also treat dependent family members.
Richard’s first deployment was to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina to perform surgical, restorative and emergency service to prepare Marine recruits for combat within the Vietnam arena, and to provide dependent oral health services as Parris Island was designated as a remote area.
His second assignment was aboard the U.S.S. Grand Canyon, a Shenandoah-class destroyer tender reclassified as a repair ship, including a tour in the North Sea servicing the Atlantic Fleet and 6th Fleet, followed by duty at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay providing surgical, prosthetic, restorative and emergency oral health care procedures for the personnel of destroyers and other ships returning from various overseas military locations.
Richard is currently on the medical staff at Hoag (Department of HEENT) and Children’s Hospital of Orange County (Section Chairman), is a Faculty member of the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California.
He is also the co-founder of Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County, a non-profit organization providing oral health care for underserved and underprivileged medically challenged children in Orange County. Richard resides in Newport Beach with his wife Kris.
LIEUTENANT COMMANDER JANIE C. LIAO USN
Janie is an internal medicine hospitalist at Hoag. A first-generation American, she immigrated to America from Taiwan with her family as a young girl. Education has always been important to Janie’s family. Her father wanted to come to America to earn a Ph.D., and her older brother David is also a physician. Even as a young girl, Janie knew she wanted to become a physician. David set a stellar path of education and service to her adopted country that inspired her, and which she ultimately followed. Janie received a Navy scholarship to New York Medical College and earned her Doctor of Medicine degree. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, received the Aequanimitas Award during her 3rd year of residency for humility, compassion, and excellent care of patients, and was assigned as Attending Staff, Internal Medicine, at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan where she was one of just four Internists providing comprehensive outpatient and inpatient care to 43,000 military personnel, Defense Department civilians, and their family members. Janie has received numerous honors and distinctions for her service, including the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Janie is a full partner at Pacific Hospitalist Associates. Averaging up to 20 patient encounters daily, she provides care for hospitalized adult patients in ICU and in-house 24-hour Intensivist support. Janie resides in Newport Beach with her husband Dr. Coury Staadecker and daughter Hannah.
LIEUTENANT COMMANDER DAVID C. LIAO USN
David is an internal medicine hospitalist at Hoag. Born in Taiwan, he immigrated with his family to America as a young boy. At an early age, he developed an admiration for the men and women of our nation’s military and the determination to someday serve his adopted country. After receiving his bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley, David received a Navy scholarship to New York Medical College, where he earned his Doctor of Medicine degree. He completed his internship at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego and was assigned as a Battalion Surgeon for the Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan, providing general and acute care to more than 800 Marines and serving as Medical Advisor to the base Commanding Officer. He later served as Senior Medical Officer for the 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, overseeing clinics providing medical care to 6,000 Marines. For his service, David was awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal. At Hoag, he has had many leadership roles, including as a member of the Medical Executive Committee and as vice-chairman of the Department of Hospital Medicine providing expert leadership and operational management for 15 full-time hospitalists at Hoag Irvine and Hoag Orthopedic Institute helping guide most activities of the hospitalist team, from recruiting new physicians, providing mentorship, and collaborating with nursing staff to seeking new ways to enhance the transition of care for patients. David resides in Irvine with his wife Amy and daughters Caitlyn and Cara.
Burt is a Hoag physician who received his surgical training in the Air Force, at age 32 served as Chief of Surgical Oncology at the largest military hospital in the world at Lackland AFB, performed hyperbaric oxygen therapy medical services at Kelly AFB, attended to the advanced aircraft flight-line pilots at Edwards AFB test pilot school, and flew in jets to assist with a variety of medical duties that included responsibilities beyond surgery. During Operation Desert Storm, Burt served as a military consultant to the Surgeon General of the United States and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal. He served 21 years in the Air Force and retired as a colonel, a rank attained by very few physicians. Burt is currently the Executive Medical Director of the Hoag Family Cancer Institute, holds the Grace E. Hoag Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair, and is a Professor of Clinical Surgery in the Keck School of Medicine of USC. He is responsible for the strategic planning and partnership between Hoag and USC developing a world-class cancer program for the Orange County community and provides oversight over the operation of the Hoag Family Cancer Institute, Hoag’s site-specific cancer programs, and the establishment of future cancer treatment sites for Hoag. Burt resides in San Juan Capistrano with his wife Vicki.
Dore graduated from UCSB (’71) and USC Keck School of Medicine (‘75), completed his Surgery Internship at LAC-USC Medical Center and residency at LAC-Harbor UCLA Medical Center, is an Associate Professor at UCI, served 12 years as Chief of Dermatology at Hoag, and since 1979 has practiced in Newport Beach including currently as Medical Director of Newport Dermatology & Laser Associates. He served 29 years on the Saddleback Unified School District board. In 2009 Dore enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 60 and requested a battlefield assignment in Afghanistan. In 2011 he put his practice on hold and his life at risk when deployed to a combat theater outside Kabul as a Brigade Surgeon responsible administratively at Camp Phoenix and 10 more-forward bases for the health of 10,000 troops, all health-care personnel, physician assignments, and setting up walk-in blood banks and clinically for training combat medics in the latest battlefield first-aid, particularly the use of tourniquets, as the most common cause of death in combat is bleed-out from wounds that might be stanched with better tourniquets or better instruction in their use. His decorations include the Afghan Campaign Medal with Campaign Bronze Star Device, and Joint Service Commendation, National Defense Service, Army Achievement (2), Army Service, Armed Forces Reserve, ISAF NATO, and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medals, and an Army Overseas Ribbon.
Tony grew up in a military family on the East Coast. He joined the United States Marine Corps directly out of high school, completing infantry school at Camp Lejeune. He was stationed with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, serving as squad leader. After military service, Tony returned to school, enrolling at Skyline Junior College in San Bruno, California then transferring to the University of California, Davis where he earned a degree in Biochemistry. He went on to medical school at the University of California, Irvine, earning his degree in medicine in 2000. He then returned to Northern California to complete his internship and residencies in general and thoracic surgery at Stanford, including Chief Residencies in Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery and Chief Resident in Thoracic Transplant. Throughout his tenure at Stanford, he received numerous awards including the Jon Henry Smith, lll, M.D., “Outstanding Surgical Resident of the Year” Award in 2007 and the Western Thoracic Surgical Association, Norman E. Shumway Award in 2009. Tony is a Hoag Cardiothoracic Surgeon and holds several leadership positions at Hoag’s Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute including Co-Director, Hoag Cardiovascular Surgery; Director, Hoag Aortic Center; and Newkirk Family Endowed Chair in Aortic Care. Tony and his wife Jennifer reside in Newport Beach with their children Tyler and Kate.