Tower 21 is dedicated to the University of MN Supply Chain Management Class of 2019 for our journey together to learn how we can be leaders of positive change by advocating for a socially responsible supply chain. Honorable mention and Thanks to all the amazing veterans in our class!
Served in the Special Services USO
Quartermaster Replacement Training Center
Fort Lee, Virginia 1951-1952
Eugene (Gene) Masi served in the US Army in Special Services as a Entertainer in the USO shows. He was a singer and performed with American Pop Singer Vic Damone entertaining the troops in the US & Europe. Gene loved to sing and share his gift of music. After his stint in the service he returned to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio (Little Italy) and married his sweetheart Dorothy Masi and they were blessed with three children – all of which continue his legacy of singing and entertaining. Throughout the years, the love of music continues to flourish in the grandchildren and great grandchildren as they sing and perform on musical instruments!
Tower #17 is dedicated to his service by his daughter, Debbie Masi Gifford
Walter Novak enlisted in Cleveland, OH in 1941. K.I.A. February 1943
First duty assignment was the SS West Portal, a merchant vessel in convoy to England from Halifax, Nova Scotia. As part of a Naval gunnery crew presence for the security within the convoy.
At 17 years old Walter P. Novak had to have written permission to join the military. He wanted to serve his country like his six brothers. He was the youngest of the Tobul/Novak tribe trying to do his part in the craziness of the world at that time.
The real conflict? Walter’s dad refused to sign the papers and left it up to his mother to determine if his military service would be or not. My grandmother gave into Walter’s request to let him do his part like his brothers. She signed the papers and Uncle Walter left for Cleveland, Ohio to enlist in the Navy. At 17 years old he finished his basic training in Cleveland and had orders to report to the USS West Portal in New York, bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia, then join Convoy SC-118, destination, the North Atlantic passage to England. Understanding at the time, Convoy speeds were set by the slowest ship in the group. Their designation as SC meant they were a slow convoy vs HX which was faster speed. What happened to Uncle Walter and his convoy was already in the workings of the Nazi U-boat wolf packs, before his convoy, SC-118, even left Halifax. The classic war cliché, " Loose lips sink ships" turned Uncle Walters fate into his destiny along with all hands on the SS West Portal and hundreds of his shipmates in the 61 ship convoy. The convoy HX-224 left Halifax a week before Uncle Walters convoy. HX-224 was attacked by a U-boat wolfpack. After a successful attack, a German U-boat picked up a sole survivor from a sunken merchant ship who told his German rescuers about Convoy SC-118 coming just behind them in a couple days as a SC designation. That slip of the lip gave the Germans time to assemble a huge wolfpack that would be lying in wait for Uncle Walter and SC-118. Eleven U-boats had time to gather with the seven that were already on station and involved in the attack of HX-224. The largest wolfpack gathering in the North Atlantic in 1943 was then assembled. The American survivor had no idea what he did when he gave up that vital information. I was not able to put a name or identity to this survivor, no log records indicate what became of that survivor. Back in Halifax, SC-118 was getting underway the first week of February 1943. Sixty one ships left on their mission to England. The enigma code had not been broken at that time, and the convoy had no idea what was already developing as they set course for their passage to their destination in England. A course, the Germans already knew, and were waiting to spring their ambush, confident they would be successful. February 4th 1943 the wolfpack managed to scatter the convoy in the first day of the 5 day battle. In the chaos they managed no damage on the first day but the battle had just begun and the scattering of the ships was the Germans goal. Now they turned their attention to the stragglers and the slow easy pickings. The most successful wolfpack attack in the North Atlantic had just started. February 5th 1943 the wolfpack made its first torpedo contact with SC-118. The SS West Portal, being one of the slower transports, at about 8 knots, was the first casualty of the ambush. An accidental firing of a flare lit the West Portal up right in the cross hairs of U-boat U-413. Captain Gustav Poel recorded in his log on February 5, 1943 witnessed the West Portal sinking after firing two torpedoes. He recorded seeing survivors launching life boats, but survivors were never found. SS West Portal's distress call did not reveal their new position after the convoy was initially encountered and scattered by the wolfpack. The West Portal was lost with all hands including my Uncle Walter. 66 sailors and merchant seamen lost on one ship alone and isolated by U-413. The battle continued for three more days. On February 8th U-413 recorded six more ships sunk or damaged. Credited with almost half of the total of eleven ships that were sunk, out of SC-118 Captain Poel was part of the most successful wolfpack attack in the North Atlantic in 1943 and was made a hero to the German people. It is sad that Uncle Walter, the yougest of the Tobul/Novak clan to volunteer, was the only brother that did not return home. My grandfather never forgave my grandmother for signing those papers, and it was a decision she lived with for the rest of her life. I never got to meet my Uncle Walter but he is my hero. My grandmother became a gold star mother because she loved her son. She understood the word "Sacrifice" to give your all, for something you love. The ones who have given their all, are the heroes, my Uncle Walter, and my Grandmother, showed the courage and heart it takes to make that "Ultimate Sacrifice". No greater love can be given, than a life, for a life. My only wish is that their "Sacrifice" is not in vain.
As part of the North Atlantic effort to keep England in needed supplies and support for the war effort. The Nazi U-boat presence was an ever menacing real threat to those convoys. The North Atlantic convoys were a very dangerous but necessary passage to help the British and allies conquer the world insanity at that time. Uncle Walter never made it to England.
Tower #9 is dedicated to Walter's service and sacrifice by his nephew JG Tobul.
"Walter P. Novak was my Uncle and my Hero"
Edward served from May 13, 1942 to May 15 1947 then he relisted May 15, 1947 and spent a total of 20 years in the Army.
He was in the Armored Tank Division 7th Calvary. Battles and Campaigns: Bronze Star: Central Europe – Bronze Star Rhineland Decorations and citations: European African Middle Eastern Theatre Medal; Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal; Army of Occupation Medal; American Theatre Medal; he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal (first Oak Leaf Cluster) for meritorious service while assigned to Headquarters, 1st Cavalry division, Korea.
Areas stationed or served: Frankfort, Germany, Ft. Knox, Korea.
While in Korea for approximately 7 months, he was assigned Hq Co, lst BG, located Junae-Myon Paju-Koon Kyunggi Provincial, he built various recreational facilities such as seesaw, rounding board and swings for approximately 2,671 children at the Paju Primary School. After his service tour the people of Paju-Ri heard this news and they couldn’t hide their regrets, especially the kids of the school who were hanging on him to ask him to come back to Korea again.
My Uncle Eddie was a great guy. When he was on leave from Germany, he would come home with many gifts for his mother, sisters and even his nieces and nephews.
He has since passed away.
Tower 20 is dedicated to his life and service by his niece Wanda Chop
Served: September 1952 to September 1956 – Navy Missile Division
Korean War Medal, Good Conduct Medal.
David was stationed on the USS Norton Sound which was a Missile Ship. Formerly a C Plane Tender but it was modified to test missiles. Designated VM-1 – class of ship.
His duties on the ship : a missile man; then assigned to Telemeter Shack which recorded the flight of the missile. The missile would send back data of what was going on with the missile and they recorded missiles during its flight.
Missile Captain : Gave final permission to put the missile on the launch.
My brother got his education at Kent State University where he joined ROTC and then enlisted into the US Navy. He was never a good swimmer, so we couldn’t understand why he chose the Navy. But he did well, and with more college education had become a Chemist and with a partner started their own chemical company. He is now retired.
Tower 19 is dedicated to his service by his sister Wanda Chop
In the words of his grandson, Joe:
"George Strailey was a High School Teacher and High School Football Coach. After all these years, I still run into people that speak so highly of him, it’s incredible. They all have stories about the man he was, how he taught them on and off the field, and how the memories they have of him feel like yesterday. It’s inspiring."
George Strailey served 1941-45 in the Pacific Theatre Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Quadacanal, & Bougainville.
Tower #2 is dedicated to his service.
Tower #3 is dedicated to the Red Knights, by Gaylon McAlpine.
Specialist Corll served in Iraq in 2004 and 2005 in the 1484th Transportation Company with the Ohio Army National Guard. He provided convoy security as a .50 caliber machine gunner on missions throughout the country.
Tower #4 is dedicated to his service with love from his sister Amy
"Freedom-5" is dedicated to all service members - past, present, and future, and for the sacrifices made by these individuals for ALL Americans.
Tower #5 is dedicated by Kirsten Pirc
Clarence W. Baxter was a wonderful, honorable man, who truly lived his life setting the best examples. He spent his time in the military like he lived his entire life, in hard-working selfless service to God, Country, and Family.
Tower #7 is dedicated to his life and service by his granddaughter Dr. Amy Baxter.
Born: July 15, 1913, Oliphant Furnace, Pa.
In the words of his son JG Tobul: ‘Dad’ was a dedicated father of 4 boys and husband to my mother. He walked softly and carried a pretty big stick. I remember a couple, First– “Don't ever tell your mother to do her own dishes”. He was also known as granpa and great-granpa. I called him pops one time. His work mates called him Fuchee. Mom called him Hon, and his CB handle was Daddy-O-4. A sixth grade education from a hard working Polish family, 13 brothers and sisters -his youngest brother, Uncle Walter (above), gave the ultimate sacrifice when he was lost with all hands at sea in February of1943.
Between about 1940 and 1982 my dad faithfully took his lunch box with him to work in a chemical plant in Painesville, Ohio -The Diamond Alkali, later called Diamond Shamrock. He was a millwright. That meant he traveled throughout the plant fixing old broken down equipment. I remember seeing him with a huge cast on his arm when I was 8 or 9 maybe. He got caught in a conveyor belt he was working on and almost lost his left arm. The moving conveyor belt grabbed his wedding ring and mangled his arm. He had nuts and bolts bubble gum and duct tape holdin’ his arm together. He was never able to straighten that arm again. Daddy-O-4 was forced by the Diamond Shamrock to hire a lawyer in order to sort out his medical retirement after 42 years of service. Daddy-O-4 almost gave his life for a company that denied their responsibility.
He had the courage to continue for his family, 4 boys, growing and eating everything that did not move. His rule, “You will finish high school. Choices after graduation? College, job or military obligation? Let’s go visit the recruiter”. Daddy-O-4 was definitely a patriot. He did not teach us Polish, we learned American. We had an obligation to take care of… Uncle Sam needed us, so it goes. After all Daddy-O-4 already new about WWII and he was in the Ground Observer Corps. during Korea. His mother was a gold star mother. Daddy-O-4 was a worrier, but his heart was full. Once he fully understood the situation in Viet Nam, and that the Corporation that he worked for, was one of several chemical corporations producing Agent Orange. He was beside himself. 42 years for a company that was producing and poisoning his own children.
In his youth, he came up through the depression, borrowed coal from the railroad to help warm the company house. In the winter he read Buck Rogers comic books and actually saw space travel come out of the comics. From radio to the miracle of television these accomplishments meant nothing to him. Weighing heavy on his mind was the poisoning of his children, 3000 miles away, in a country that was having its own civil war. Daddy-O-4's patriotism changed, his politics changed, and our conversations changed. A political quagmire of lies, deceit, and greed. American sons and daughters dying for no reason, and the company he worked 42 years for, producing chemical agents and carcinogens to spray on our cheese sandwiches, was a lot for Daddy-O-4 to keep on his conscience and he knew Uncle Sam didn't really care. We drank a couple beers over the years talking about that issue. I don't think he really ever came to grips or resolve on that issue. It was a dead horse he and I kicked around a good bit.
Daddy-O-4 would certainly be impressed with the new grow technology and the hydroponic system of growing without dirt. I think he would wonder, “How would you bury your moonshine in the corn field without dirt to dig a hole in?” RIP Daddy-O-4, I love you man. I will never forget the night in WPB at the Best little Oar House in Town. Eating oysters on the half shell and drinking imported beers. Daddy-O-4 shared these immortal words with me, his number 2, "Wet birds don't fly at night" I remembered those words, and I have passed that message on to family, in hopes the words inspire them as much as they have driven me. Thanks Dad, make this tower full of Polish power!
Tower # 10 is dedicated to the life and legacy of Frank John Tobul
Born: March 12, 1920, Oldest of 9 children. 2 brothers, ( both served in WWII) 6 sisters, (3 youngest, which were handicapped) Her mother, Emma Jane, ( a strict disciplinarian) Her father, Charles, a coal-miner and farmer, (worked hard to grow what was needed for his family).
1938 She was the first in her family to receive a diploma for graduating high school. She went on to also graduate from business college. After which she worked for Uncle Sam, in Washington DC, as a proof reader, to do her part, like her brothers who volunteered for the Army during WWII.
Home on a weekend leave, staying at her cousin’s in Shady Grove Park, near Mt. Braddock, Pa. Virginia Marie Lerch had no idea how her life was going to change, as she flirted with a dapper guy on the sidewalk, in front of her cousins front porch. That dapper guy, with a moustache and a full head of hair, would win her heart and she would forever be his "buttercup." In the early 40's they would marry and move to Painesville, Ohio, mostly for work. Work being a chemical plant that was hiring from the local communities . After the war, steady work was in need everywhere in America at that time. She set up camp in an apartment on Avery Terrace. 1944 the first, #1, recruit was born. The apartment suddenly got smaller. Mommy-O-1 and Daddy-O-1 realized a bigger camp was needed. They invested in a fish camp in Township Park to set up their command center.
Now, Mommy-O-2, wasn't really keen on being so close to Lake Erie. She never learned to swim and her anguish of being so close to that lake never went away. She made sure all four of her favorite recruits enrolled at the YMCA and learned how to swim. She had to devote her training to the recruits, even with her diploma from business college, her primary objective, was her full time command on the home front, and it was growing.
Now 1946, #3 reported to boot camp, and then just before Korea, out pops #4 recruit? She was surrounded, but never gave up the training. During the Korean conflict, she joined the G.O.C. (Ground Observer Corps.).
Sometimes the more coordinated of the recruits would accompany her to the top of the [observation] tower (no elevator). She would climb the ladder rung by rung. On duty, ever watchful of the skies with her binoculars, calling in coordinates of spotted aircraft in the area, (around the Painesville golf course). Friend or foe, she documented her watch hour by hour. She taught her recruits the meaning of heart, sacrifice, dedication, obligation and patriotism. She was there when her family came home, and, when they didn't. She cried for Uncle Walter as if he were her own brother. She knew, like her own mother knew, the real meaning of WWII, Korea, and now, Viet Nam.
That time in any mother’s worst nightmare, the one word no mother wants hear. That, "moment in time" that changes everything in a mother’s life forever. "War" (like the song: "What is it good for?"), ask any mother. Like any great commander she watched her recruits fall in for muster. First the Marine Corps got her favorite #1, then, The Navy took her favorite #2. Not to be out done, The Air Force snatched up #3 and last but not least The Army grabbed her favorite #4. Our obligation to Uncle Sam. Her obligation to Uncle Sam. Mommy-O-4's obligation to Uncle Sam. That, “moment in time” to change someone’s life forever. She welcomed 3 of her recruits safely back home which she now knew could no longer be supported by her. No, unjust sacrifice! Now it was her devoted patriotism to her own, honorably. She got 3 back from that terrible word that mothers do not ever want to hear. She would not let #4 be the one. Armed with the truth she stood up for what she believed and it would not have been a noble sacrifice. She convinced her congressman at the time (I wish I knew his name), and with that swipe of a pen, he saved the life of her favorite #4. She would be so proud to know where that life has grown.
She always had a green thumb, she could grow anything. She loved her African Violets. The 4 recruits used to look at them every day, while they did the dishes (we thought it was PT). For her to see what vets helping vets is all about, Mommy-O-4 would truly know her training was kick ass.
Tower #11 is dedicated to Virginia Marie Tobul (Lerch) by her son JG Tobul (Her Favorite #2)
We would like to dedicate this tower to the veterans in the Tobul, Davis, Novak, Lerch, Wootan and Vanlangendonck families who served in the various branches of service and were honorably and proudly discharged from service. Sadly, our Uncle Walter did not return during WWII. All of our family veterans will forever be remembered in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you all for your dedication to America's freedom. Thank you to the parents, wives and others who gave support to their loved ones while they were so far away protecting us on foreign soil.
I am proud of Robert and Rachel, my son and daughter-in-law. Robert retired from the 82nd A/B after 20 years of dedicated service including deployment to Iraq. Rachel was in the National Guard when they met. She attended college, worked and raised quadruplets with Robert.
I am proud of Diane and Jason Davis, my daughter and son-in-law. Diane worked while attending college to become a teacher and earn her Masters, while raising three children with Jason. Heather is a registered dietician in North Carolina. Jeremy was deployed to Afghanistan while in the Marines. Jared works for his Dad. Jason worked hard to get his own business going and is doing very well.
I am proud of my step-daughter, Suzanne, who has been running the household and raising 4 children with the help of Grandma Judy and Grandma Rella, while working the last twenty years for Continental and United Airlines as a flight attendant.
Tower #12 is dedicated to the family, with love by Ross and Judy Tobul.
United States Navy, keel laid 1941. Launched 1942 Distinguished service WWII, and Viet Nam. Crew: 80 officers, 1650 enlisted men. Home port: Boston, Massachusetts, Charlestown, Massachusetts, home of Old Ironsides. (American history 101)
JG Tobul, USS Boston was my assigned duty station, my 2nd tour to Viet Nam. 1967-1968. (as Mommy-O-4 wonders)
1967, USS Boston CAG-1 (Carrier Attack Guided) proudly sailed from that historical American town, into more, American history.
1966, Coming home from my first tour of duty in Viet Nam. What an adventure! Left Danang Air Force Base aboard a commercial airliner landing? Naha, Okinawa for a re-grounding and transition training. The first American sign I saw in about 14 months was an A&W Root Beer stand just off the base, and, an anti-American protest in full bloom, cab driver refused to stop. Never got our root beer float. After 2 weeks of transitioning, we left Naha, Okinawa on a commercial jet bound for California. Landing at Travis Airbase, and an unbelievable welcome home from hundreds of anti-war protestors, bigger than the A&W Root Beer crowd. The bus driver, took us out the back gate so we could get to Frisco Int'l Airport, finally back on American soil headed for home. Excitement building as we were ushered in the back door of Frisco Int'l Airport, to avoid contact with all the protestors and Hari Krishna wanting to welcome us back to America. Racing to the ticket counter, dragging sea bags and suitcases, we were informed that no commercial airlines were flying out. There was an airline strike. I had 9 days before I had to report to the USS Boston, my next duty station on the East Coast. I started hitchhiking, somewhere in Nevada, and had 7 days left to report. Mommy-O-4 wired me money to buy a train ticket to Cleveland, Ohio, in the dark of the night, Mommy and Daddy-O-4 picked me up at the Terminal tower, for the last leg of my journey, home sweet home, 4 days to enjoy. Reporting for duty, the USS Boston was in dry dock in Boston Naval Shipyard. I wrote home to tell Mommy-O and Daddy-O not to worry, #3 got home, USS Boston wasn't going anywhere for a while. I would probably finish my tour in Boston. Had papers filled out to ship for 6 years, they filled the drydock with a lotta water, if it floated. Our shakedown cruise? Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Tested our guns and our missiles shooting at Puerto Rico. USS Boston got its battle efficiency "E" for doing such a great job. Left Gitmo headed South to the Panama Canal. Waiting in Panama City to cross to the Pacific. Taking on fuel and provisions, I along with some shipmates climbed over the fence and went into a restricted Panama City. Captain Gordon didn't like that. We steamed into Pearl Harbor, WOW, passing the Arizona, the salutes, the whistles, paying tribute to some of the real heroes in a "moment" in time. Next stop? Highline at sea with our sister ship CAG-2 USS Canberra, CAG-1 was her relief. The highline, went well until a line parted, that just happened to have Captain Gordon strapped into the boatswain chair on it. He was picked up pretty wet but alive. USS Boston usually traveled with destroyer escorts, All our training paid off that day. He lost his hat with the scrambled eggs on it. Helluva send off! With fuel topped off and bullets loaded, USS Boston on the firing line, Operation Market Time. Unbelievable amounts of energy everywhere. Boston's mission? Run parallel to the beach, (the mountains of North Viet Nam are in the back ground of the pic. At 5000 yards, enticing the big guns to give it shot. Giving away their emplacements, The 8th Air Force, in Danang, was called in to do their part. A military strategist plan. Coordinated multiple military units working together for a same resolve. What a plan. That "moment" in time was incredible! Someone forgot to turn on the IFF. Destroyer escort HMS Hobart DDG-39, Australian, (amigos en la guerra) The one that missed the USS Boston in the pic? HMS Hobart was not that lucky. I remember that day that "moment" in time. The great military plan worked. They were shooting at us from their caves. Call the 8th Air Force. The man who took that picture, was the first casualty, that "moment" in time stopped for him. (they shared their beer with us) Doing their job in that "moment" ? HMS Hobart took a hit from that same salvo in the picture. The 8th Air Force was already here! That "moment" in time, captured the 8th Airforce doing their part. Off the firing line, Captain Gordon got a change of command order, USS Boston, good will tour to Hong Kong for a change command ceremony. USS Boston left Cow Chung China with her display missiles falling off launchers. Crowd really loved that. USS Boston, dropped anchor in Hong Kong Harbor. Traded all our expended 5in brass casings from the firing line, to Mary Sue, a boat painter, from the water line up. USS Boston sparkled. Captain Gordon left for the Pentagon, Captain Smith took charge, back through the Panama Canal, going home. 1700 shipmates made it back. Mommy-O-4 had one more battle in her basket, and I was done. USS Boston, that "moment" in time. USS Boston got a dragon painted on her bridge. I am sure when that picture was taken, just not sure when it was developed. Should be in the books somewhere. Twenty feet. New life for the veterans. Absolutely a brotherhood. Direction for veterans now. The USS Boston had new life to bring home, as does the new life being created here. New life here, one tower at a time.
Tower #13 is dedicated to the Officers and Crew of the USS Boston.
Operation Iraqi Freedom I & II. Stationed in Camp Pendleton, California
LCpl Hubbard served with Golf Co. 2nd Battalion 5th Marines during OIF I and during OIF II he was a scout sniper with Weapons Co. 2nd Battalion 5th Marines but was attached with Golf Co. On November 4th, 2004, while patrolling with his sniper team to a nearby hide, a roadside bomb took the life of LCpl Hubbard and LCpl Jeremiah Baro.
Both Marines were fine examples of dedication to one’s craft and dedication to the mission and its purpose. Both were childhood friends before the Marine Corps.
Tower 14 its dedicated to the memory of LCpl Hubbard by Joseph Zoleta who served with him and Golf Co. 2nd Battalion 5th Marines
"She always had a huge garden and would be so thrilled about OD Greens"
Tower 16 is dedicated to her memory by her great granddaughter Jean Bossom.