News Blog

PO3 John Charles Blake

On November 21, 2015, Brattleboro’s American Legion Post 5 honored local soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War.

A ceremony, at the post home on Linden Street, included students from Brattleboro Union High School reading the names and a brief biography of each of the 11 men, followed by a brief address by Dr. Robert Tortolani, a combat battalion surgeon during the Vietnam War.

Below visitors will find photos shared by the family, a brief biography and a student tribute by Aidan Paradis remembering the life and service of John Charles Blake.


John Charles Blake: American Legion Post 5 KIA Tribute 2015

March 24, 1945 – March 21, 1970

John Blake was born on in Brattleboro son of Stetson and Irene Blake and was raised with his brothers Stetson (Bob) and Andrew (Andy) and his sisters Patricia (Partlow) Manch and Mary Lou (Jarvis) Potvin.

John attended St. Michael Grammar and High School and graduated in the class of 1963. He was a class leader and basketball star.

John enlisted in the Navy and became a corpsman. He was deployed to Vietnam in the fall of 1969 and served with the 2nd Batalion of the Fifth Marines in Quang Nam Province, southwest of Da Nang.

John’s Aunt Ronnie served with the State Department. She was stationed in Saigon during the war. John was able to fly to Saigon and spend Christmas 1969 with his aunt.

John participated in many small unit actions against the enemy. John died on March 21, 1970 from a wound sustained from incoming rounds which wounded 26 other marines, and critically wounded John. John was medevac form An Hou to Da Nang. At the time of his passing John was comforted by the presence of his brother, Andy, also a Marine, who was also stationed in I Corps, and LCDR William J. Hultberg, a Catholic priest and very close friend of John’s. On April 13, 1970, Fr. Bill wrote John’s mother about John’s desire to pursue a career in medicine after the war and about Fr. Bill’s friendship with and admiration for John. He wrote “in closing…knowing both of your sons certainly tells me a lot about you. You must be a magnificent person. Please take pride in your son as he too was magnificent.”

1LT Jan Alan Ulmer

On November 21, 2015, Brattleboro’s American Legion Post 5 honored local soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War.

A ceremony, at the post home on Linden Street, included students from Brattleboro Union High School reading the names and a brief biography of each of the 11 men, followed by a brief address by Dr. Robert Tortolani, a combat battalion surgeon during the Vietnam War.

Below visitors will find photos shared by the family, a brief biography and a student tribute by Elizabeth Day remembering the life and service of Jan Alan Ulmer.

1LT Jan Alan Ulmer: American Legion Post 5 Tribute 2015
May 16, 1943 – April 18, 1968

Jan Ulmer was born in Brattleboro, son of Gordon and Margaret Ulmer. He was raised at 18 Forest Street (now 7 Thorn Lane) with his three siblings: Shirley Olivio, Gordon Ulmer, Jr., and Judy Valente.

Jan graduated from Brattleboro High School in 1961, where he “lettered” in football, tennis and skiing. Jan was a very skilled ski jumper and he represented the Brattleboro Outing Club in many ski jumping competitions.

He attended the University of Colorado and studied radio at Cambridge School in Boston before he joined the Army in 1965.

Jan enlisted in the Army in 1965 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Special Forces in 1966.While on leave before traveling to Vietnam, Jan married Suzanne Marois at Guardian Angel Church in Berlin, New Hampshire on July 8, 1967.

In Vietnam, Jan served as a forward observer. He died in combat during the “Tet Offensive” on April 18, 1968 in Tey Ninh Province. In addition to the usual medals, Jan was awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star.

On August 8, 1968 his widow was awarded his medals at a ceremony at the State Armory in New Hampshire.

SP4 Paul Richard Dartt

On November 21, 2015, Brattleboro’s American Legion Post 5 honored local soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War.

A ceremony, at the post home on Linden Street, included students from Brattleboro Union High School reading the names and a brief biography of each of the 11 men, followed by a brief address by Dr. Robert Tortolani, a combat battalion surgeon during the Vietnam War.

Below visitors will find photos shared by the family, a brief biography and a student tribute by Breanna Sheehan remembering the life and service of Paul Richard Dartt.

American Legion Post 5 KIA Tribute 2015 - Paul Dartt

SP4 Paul Richard Dartt
March 20, 1946 – October 24, 1968

Paul was born in Brattleboro, the son of Donald and Doralys Dartt on March 20, 1946. He grew up with his brother Roger and his four sisters: Donna Cole, Ruth Blunt, Kathleen Macie and Janet Curran. Paul attended St. Michael School.

His sister, Ruth has fond memories to share. “From a very early age Paul was incredibly active. He was always a risk taker and quite the prankster. If there was a tree to climb, or a race to run, Paul was up for it!”

She recalls that even though Paul was a year and a half younger, they used to pass themselves off as twins. She called him “Pee Wee” when he was a kid, which is ironic because he grew to be 6’4″ and weighed 144 lbs. Paul was big on dares. One time, he dared his sister to eat pebbles saying they were supposed to be good for you. She declined, but watched in awe as he downed a handful of little stones. Another time walking from his home to Memorial Park to go swimming on a particularly hot day Paul came up with a great idea to get a ride. He suggested that his little sister Janet, lie down by the road and pretend that she had fainted due to the horrible heat, and that he would flag down the next car coming.

Well the next car that came by did stop, and it was Frank Dearborn (Brattleboro’s Recreation Director.) Paul started telling him his not too convincing story about his poor sister. Frank saw right through Paul’s scheme but gave them a ride anyways, along with the advise of not ever doing that again or he would tell our parents.

In his middle teen years he was a little bit of a rebel, cigarette behind his ear, he was carefree and doing what made him happy. All of that was fun, but not a very productive path to continue on. His older brother Roger was in the service at the time and suggested to Paul that it might not be a bad idea for him to follow suit. There were possibilities for new adventures and experiences that would be available to him. So Paul, at age 17, enlisted in the Army and served a tour in Vietnam and returned to Brattleboro on leave after successfully completing his 13 months in-country.

In 1963, Paul returned to Vietnam for a second tour. He fought bravely in the “Tet Offensive” in I Corps and lost his life on October 24, 1963 in Quang Tri Province. In addition to the usual medals, Paul was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery. It is with great pride that we, his family, realize what he did for our country, and equally proud of the medals he earned. A younger cousin Steve, who was very fond of Paul, honored him years later by naming his first-born son after Paul. Because our brother was not married nor had any children, that also was quite an honor.

1LT Howard Walker Kaiser

On November 21, 2015, Brattleboro’s American Legion Post 5 honored local soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War.

A ceremony, at the post home on Linden Street, included students from Brattleboro Union High School reading the names and a brief biography of each of the 11 men, followed by a brief address by Dr. Robert Tortolani, a combat battalion surgeon during the Vietnam War.

Below visitors will find photos shared by the family, a brief biography and a student tribute by Dante Amadeus Fernandez, remembering the life and service of Howard Walker Kaiser.

American Legion Post 5 KIA Tribute 2015 - 1LT Howard Walker Kaiser
1LT Howard Walker Kaiser
March 25, 1941 – September 13, 1966

Walker, as he was affectionately known, was born on March 25, 1941 to J. Howard and Alice Kaiser. His siblings included an older sister, Kathleen and a younger brother, Peter and sister, Beverly. He attended Chesterfield Central Elementary school, Keene High School and the University of New Hampshire.

While attending UNH, he enrolled in ROTC the Air Force which led to his entrance into the military.

He had many, many friends as he was very sociable and likable person! Loved to party and never took life too seriously.

Walker was an avid hunter and fisherman. We used to compete to get to the best fishing hole on opening day in April. He usually won! He always wrote from where ever he was stationed and wanted to know if I or anyone else had got their deer yet.

Walker was stationed in Song Be, South Vietnam in 1966. He was a forward air control which meant he was responsible for reporting enemy concentrations and movements so ground troops could engage. An extremely dangerous task considering he was flying a small, unarmed aircraft that was a favorite target for the enemy. It was not uncommon to have several missions a day for weeks on end without any break.

On September 13, 1966 Walker went out on a mission to locate a downed helicopter and never returned. His body was
later recovered and he now rests beside his father in Morningside Cemetery in Brattleboro, VT. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Silver Star, 17 Oak Leaf Clusters and several other related medals. These medals are on display at the American Legion hall in Chesterfield, NH.

SP4 William Wayne O’Neil

On Saturday, November 21, Brattleboro’s American Legion Post 5 will honor local soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War.

A ceremony, at the post home on Linden Street, will include students from Brattleboro Union High School reading the names and a brief biography of each of the 11 men, followed by a brief address by Dr. Robert Tortolani, a combat battalion surgeon during the Vietnam War.

The soldier biographies, along with family photos, will be posted on the Brattleboro Historical Society website, in succession, in the days leading up to the November 21 event.

Today we remember SP4 William Wayne O’Neil.

SP4 William Wayne O’Neil: American Legion Post 5 Tribute 2015

October 11, 1949 – January 21, 1970

Bill O’Neil was the son of State Representative James E. and Dorothy P. O’Neil. He grew up in Chesterfield, NH with his brother James Jr. and his sisters Judith and Kathleen.

Bill graduated from Keene High School in 1967, He enlisted in the Army and was deployed to Vietnam with the First Air Cavalry Division. Bill was assigned to Company D in the 2nd Battalion (Airborne). Bill served with his unit in Phuoc Long.

On January 5, 1970 Bill’s company engaged the enemy. “Specialist Four O’Neill pursued the enemy with aggressive military tactics, neutralizing and defecting him. His heroic and valiant actions were often characterized by unselfishly exposing himself to hostile fire under adverse conditions inherent in a combat environment.” For his actions in this battle, Bill was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Heroism. Bill was wounded on January 21, 1970 and he died from his wounds.

PFC Joseph Rhuben LaRose

On Saturday, November 21, Brattleboro’s American Legion Post 5 will honor local soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War.

A ceremony, at the post home on Linden Street, will include students from Brattleboro Union High School reading the names and a brief biography of each of the 11 men, followed by a brief address by Dr. Robert Tortolani, a combat battalion surgeon during the Vietnam War.

The soldier biographies, along with family photos, will be posted on the Brattleboro Historical Society website, in succession, in the days leading up to the November 21 event.

Today we remember PFC Joseph Rhuben LaRose.


PFC Joseph Rhuben LaRose

Oct. 4, 1947 – May 3, 1967

Pfc. Joseph Rhuben LaRose is one of the six names that are inscribed on the Vietnam panel of the war memorial on the Brattleboro common.

LaRose was born in Rutland on Oct. 4, 1947, and grew up in Chippenhook, a village in Clarendon. He later moved to West Brattleboro to live with his aunt and uncle. He worked at the Royal Diner in Brattleboro for a time before enlisting in the Marines.

LaRose was one of fourteen Marines that died that night in 1967 during an ambush in the Que Son Valley.

Although LaRose is credited to the state of New York in the official database of Vietnam War dead, it was his time growing up in Brattleboro that got his name on the monument.

PVT Fred CH Frappiea Jr.

On Saturday, November 21, Brattleboro’s American Legion Post 5 will honor local soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War.

A ceremony, at the post home on Linden Street, will include students from Brattleboro Union High School reading the names and a brief biography of each of the 11 men, followed by a brief address by Dr. Robert Tortolani, a combat battalion surgeon during the Vietnam War.

The soldier biographies, along with family photos, will be posted on the Brattleboro Historical Society website, in succession, in the days leading up to the November 21 event.

Today we remember Fred CH Frappiea Jr.

PVT Fred CH Frappiea Jr.: American Legion Post 5 Tribute 2015

December 5, 1947 – March 22, 1968

Fred C.H. Frappiea, Jr. was born in Bellows Falls, to Fred Frappiea, Sr. and Lana Frappiea. His siblings were his brothers James Seymour and Joseph Frappiea and his sister Connie Frappiea. Fred’s aunt Barbara Ann Frappiea resides in Bellows Falls.

Fred attended Bellow Falls Union High School and lived in Saxtons River. He worked hard, loved cars and was very popular in the community . He had a kind word for everyone and a ready hand to help one in need.

Fred enlisted in the army in 1967 and trained at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He celebrated Thanksgiving 1967 with his family in Saxton’s River. Shortly thereafter he was deployed to Vietnam.

Fred served as a rifleman in the Tua Thien Province and was fully engaged with the enemy during the “Tet Offensive” in 1968.

Fred died of wounds received in battle on March 22, 1968.

SP4 Darwin James “Tim” Delano

On Saturday, November 21, Brattleboro’s American Legion Post 5 will honor local soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War.

A ceremony, at the post home on Linden Street, will include students from Brattleboro Union High School reading the names and a brief biography of each of the 11 men, followed by a brief address by Dr. Robert Tortolani, a combat battalion surgeon during the Vietnam War.

The soldier biographies, along with family photos, will be posted on the Brattleboro Historical Society website, in succession, in the days leading up to the November 21 event.

Today we remember Darwin James “Tim” Delano.

SP4 Darwin James "Tim" Delano: American Legion Post 5 KIA Tribute 2015

May 23, 1947 – November 26, 1968
Darwin James Delano was known affectionately by one and all as “Tim”.

Tim was the son of Robert (Bob) and Phyliss Delano of Hinsdale, NH. His dad, Bob, served as the Town Treasurer of Hinsdale for 19 years and represented Hinsdale in the New Hampshire Legislature.

Tim grew up in the happy and robust Delano family in Hinsdale with his six siblings: Bob, Becky, Jackie, Ken, Duff and Randy.

Tim graduated from Hinsdale High School where he was an excellent soccer and baseball player. He also enjoyed candlepin bowling and square dancing.

Tim graduated from Burdett College with a business degree. He married Cynthia Gomarlo (who has now passed away). In 1968 Tim was drafted and he served in the Army earning the rank of SP4.

During his deployment, Tim and his family were able to send and receive many cards,and packages and Tim was even able to call home a couple of times. The Delano family followed closely Tim’s participation in the U.S. operations during the “Tet Offensive”.

Tim died on November 26, 1968 from wounds he sustained when the truck he was riding in was hit by a land mine.

1LT William John Bassignani

On Saturday, November 21, Brattleboro’s American Legion Post 5 will honor local soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War.

A ceremony, at the post home on Linden Street, will include students from Brattleboro Union High School reading the names and a brief biography of each of the 11 men, followed by a brief address by Dr. Robert Tortolani, a combat battalion surgeon during the Vietnam War.

The soldier biographies, along with family photos, will be posted on the Brattleboro Historical Society website, in succession, in the days leading up to the November 21 event.

Today we remember 1LT William John Bassignani.

American Legion Post 5 KIA Tribute 2015 - William John Bassignani

January 21, 1943 – August 18, 1969

Bill Bassignani grew up in Newfane and Brattleboro VT. He graduated from St. Michael High School where he was an excellent student and basketball and baseball player. During his time, St. Mike’s basketball teams won 21 games in the 1960 season and 40 straight wins over a two year period. He then went to UVM.

Bill enlisted in the Army and was deployed to Korea. When on leave in Brattleboro, he started to date Anna Friel, the love of his life.

Bill was transferred to Ft. Collins and then to Ft. Devens to be near Anna. Bill and Anna were married on June 26, 1965.

Sgt. Bassignani was stationed at Ft. Bragg and then selected to attend OCS at Ft. Benning.

Bill was commissioned a 2nd Lt. and trained as a helicopter pilot in Mineral Wells TX and received advanced helicopter training at Savannah GA. On December 11, 1968, Lt. Bassignani was deployed to Vietnam. Bill served in I Corps in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He spent his R&R with Anna in Hawaii.

Bill was stationed at Landing Zone English. Pilots were re- quired to fly 85 missions – Bill did many more. His chopper was blown out of the sky by a rocket propelled grenade on August 18, 1969. Bill was killed. In addition to the usual medals, Bill was awarded the Bronze Star and a multitude of oak leaf clusters for his heroism.

Bill is survived by his wife who now resides in West Brookfield, MA; his sons Peter and Derek; and grandchildren: William, Gabriella and Joshua.

 

PO3 Ernest Eugene Sanville

On Saturday, November 21, Brattleboro’s American Legion Post 5 will honor local soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War.

A ceremony, at the post home on Linden Street, will include students from Brattleboro Union High School reading the names and a brief biography of each of the 11 men, followed by a brief address by Dr. Robert Tortolani, a combat battalion surgeon during the Vietnam War.

The soldier biographies, along with family photos, will be posted on the Brattleboro Historical Society website, in succession, in the days leading up to the November 21 event.

Today we remember PO3 Ernest Eugene Sanville

Ernie.Sanville

PO3 Ernest Eugene Sanville

November 14,1943 – August 31, 1968

Ernest “Ernie” Eugene Sanville was born November 14, 1943, in Westfield, Massachusetts, the sixth of fifteen children, to Almon and Marie (Frechette) Sanville. There were his thirteen sisters—Helen, Shirley, Dodie, Marie, Irene, Linda, Margie, GG, Darleen, Nancy, Marcia, Carol, and Teresa—and one brother, Gerald.

The family moved to Hardwick, Vermont and then to Spofford, New Hampshire. Ernie attended St Michael High School.

Ernie had two nicknames—”Bug”, due to his small stature, and, not surprisingly, “Sunshine”, for his ever-present smile and sunny disposition. Later, among his fellow soldiers to whom he provided primary medical care as a hospital corpsman, he was known as “Doc”. In his youth, he had told his little sisters that the phoebes called his name, and he taught them to hear, “Ernie! Ernie!” rather than “Phoebe! Phoebe!”

Ernie had many friends, and his closest were Frank Neveau, Bob Davis, Jack Willette, and Louie Perham.They spent many nights at the local sock hops, bowling alley, and rollerdrome. Ernie also en- joyed hunting, fishing, horseshoes, golf, baseball, and his family, and he loved purple violets and yellow roses.

Humble, private, and well liked, he was shy all his life and held a deep religious conviction. He was especially known as a hard worker, and he possessed an uncanny ability to appear at times when a helping hand was needed. He’d considered entering the priesthood, but he later joked with his wife that he’d dismissed the idea because he could never have mastered Latin.

On July 18, 1964, he married the former Shirley Bruce, having met her at American Optical, where they were both employed. He also worked at country clubs in both Brattleboro and Spofford. Soon after their marriage, the infamous draft lottery took place, and Ernie’s birthday was one of the first to be drawn. He received a draft notice, and since he couldn’t envision himself carrying a firearm with the intent to kill another human, he enlisted in the navy in the hopes of avoiding combat. Because of the results of his aptitude test, he was sent to the Great Lakes to be trained as a hospital corpsman, though he passed out whenever blood was spilled. From there, he was transferred to a naval base Charleston, South Carolina. There, his first daughter, Deanne, was born.

From Charleston, Ernie came home for his final visit before his tour in Vietnam. It was a desperately short month for his parents and siblings as they tried to make the most of their time together. He then went to Camp Pendleton in California for six weeks of training and left for Vietnam in May 1968 with the Marines.

He and his siblings corresponded with letters, and he managed to call his wife, who was pregnant with their second child, a few times. For the most part, he shielded his family from the horrors he lived with daily, his letters light and vague and always closing with “God bless you.” In Vietnam, he served with Marine Infantry Rifle Platoons and later with a combined Action Platoon (CAP). As a member of a CAP unit Ernie cared for ill and wounded Vietnamese civilians, as well as wounded Marines.

On July 19, 1968, his second daughter, Danielle, was born. He never got to hold this child, because he was killed just forty three days later in Quang Nam, South Vietnam, on August 31, 1968, at the age of twenty-four. When another soldier was ill that night, Ernie took his place on patrol. The soldier in front of him stepped on a land mine, and in a split second, he was gone.

Time marches on, and Ernie’s family had to move forward without him. His daughters grew up and gave him ten grandchildren: Daniel Sanville was born to Ernie’s daughter, Deanne, who trained as a teacher. His daughter, Danielle, a registered nurse, has nine children: Like their father, his daughters have deep faith and have raised their children to have the same. Ernie would have been so very proud of them. Semper Fi.