Winston E. “Pat” Flynn

“Pat” Flynn joined the Army in 1943, wanting to join the 10th Mountain Division as a skier. Instead, he was trained for combat infantry. He served with the 157th Infantry Regiment, and saw action in Italy and France. After the war, he stayed a civilian for about a year before rejoining the Army for another 20 years. Flynn would see action in Korea with the 9th Infantry Regiment, and in Vietnam as part of the Special Forces.

Interview conducted by James Ramsey

Pat Flynn and his medals
Pat Flynn at his home in Lexington, 2019
Pat Flynn recuperating after a Special Forces mission.
Pat Flynn receiving a field commission to second lieutenant.

Margie Labedz

Margie Labedz MP3

Margie Labedz was the daughter of a World War I veteran who did her part in WWII as a member of the Victory Troubadours, a group of singers and dancers who entertained at local veterans’ hospitals. She also remembered other activities on the homefront such as rationing and air raid wardens. Her future husband, as well as her brothers and her two sons, have served in the military. Labedz is a lifetime member of the VFW Auxiliary.

Kevin Strel

Kevin Strel left a halfway house in New York City at the age of 17 to join the Army. Trained as a medic, Strel would be sent to Korea as part of the 9th Infantry Regiment. For the next year, he would rotate between patrolling the DMZ and being on base treating personnel and Korean civilians. He would finish his three-year enlistment at Fort Dix and Fort Devens.

Kevin Strel’s medals

Andre Proulx

Andre Proulx joined the Navy shortly after the start of WWII. He was first assigned to a cruiser, the USS Flint, then transferred to the USS Douglas H. Fox, a destroyer. Proulx was assigned to one of the vessel’s 5-inch gun mounts; he survived a kamikaze attack during the Battle of Okinawa. In 2013, he was among several veterans who received overdue medals.

Arthur Robert

Arthur Robert was a second lieutenant with the 403rd Civil Affairs Company when his unit was deployed to the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Storm. Robert would end up in Kuwait City organizing the transport of supplies. Robert would later serve with the Mass. National Guard, retiring in 2005 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Art Robert writes a letter.
Arthur Robert
An oil fire during Operation Desert Storm

Arthur Kovacs

Arthur Kovacs, audio interview

Arthur Kovacs had finished two years’ study in civics engineering at the University of Buffalo, as well as some time in Haiti as a medical missionary, when he was drafted into the Army in 1970. He started out being trained to handle mortars, but soon transferred to clerk school. After basic, he was sent to West Germany, where he worked as a legal clerk in Frankfort. He was discharged in 1972.

Raffael deGruttola

Raffael deGruttola – audio

Raffael deGruttola enlisted in the Army in 1953, shortly after graduating from Somerville High School. Because of his talents as a musician, he earned a spot in the 18th U.S. Army Band in Fort Devens. He would also earn a spot in the 1st U.S. Army Band in New York City, as well as attending the Naval School of Music Conservatory in Washington, D.C.

Mario Aiello

Mario Aiello grew up in Readville (part of the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston) and was drafted into the Army in 1942. He became a Technician 5th Grade, and was part of the 5th Army’s 75th Field Artillery Battalion. Aiello saw action in North Africa and Italy, and would earn a Bronze Star.

This interview was conducted with Aiello’s son, Stephen Duggan, at the Bedford VA Medical Center.

Mario Aiello in later life
Mario Aiello’s discharge paper
Mario Aiello and his mother in Readville

George T. Palmer III

George T. Palmer III – audio

George Palmer joined the Navy in 1967 to “see the world” and because he “didn’t like walking in the jungle.” He served as a Fireman E-3 at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida, Vietnam and Seattle, Wash. While in Vietnam, he repaired small boats, including PVR, or “swift” boats.

This interview was recorded at the Bedford VA Medical Center.