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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mullen says veterans need not suffer alone

BEDFORD, Va. – In a stirring tribute to the D-Day sacrifices of American soldiers and their allies, the U.S. military’s top officer said Sunday that World War II’s defining moment should remind all that returning warriors need not “suffer in quiet desperation.” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke in the peaceful setting of this small town, which bore the heaviest share of American losses in the June 6, 1944, landings on the beaches of Normandy. The National D-Day Memorial was established here in 2001 as a tribute to those who died in the invasion of German-occupied Europe.

Scout centennial event planned

Current and former members of the Boy Scouts of America will celebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary with a Centennial Camporee, Friday through Sunday at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center.

Polka partners for life

The Pennsylvania Polka brought John and Christine Jasley together in Jacksonville, Fla., on Oct. 24, 1942. Christine was dancing with a soldier when the first strains of the tune filtered out into the dance hall. “I don’t dance the polka, do you?” her partner asked. “Why, yes, I do,” she replied. The G.I. pondered the situation as they sat out the dance. Finally, he said, “I’ve got a buddy who can dance the polka; will you be here next week?” “Sure,” she said, and promptly forgot the conversation.

War, religion can’t keep Spokane polka partners apart

The Pennsylvania Polka brought John and Christine Jasley together in Jacksonville, Fla., on Oct. 24, 1942. Christine was dancing with a soldier when the first strains of the tune filtered out into the dance hall. “I don’t dance the polka, do you?” her partner asked. “Why, yes, I do,” she replied. The G.I. pondered the situation as they sat out the dance. Finally, he said, “I’ve got a buddy who can dance the polka; will you be here next week?”

Polka partners for life

The Pennsylvania Polka brought John and Christine Jasley together in Jacksonville, Fla., on Oct. 24, 1942. Christine was dancing with a soldier when the first strains of the tune filtered out into the dance hall. “I don’t dance the polka, do you?” her partner asked. “Why, yes, I do,” she replied. The G.I. pondered the situation as they sat out the dance. Finally, he said, “I’ve got a buddy who can dance the polka; will you be here next week?” “Sure,” she said, and promptly forgot the conversation.

Inland Northwest World War II vets to take D.C. tour

The Inland Northwest Honor Flight chapter will fly 37 World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., on Friday for a tour of memorials. The vets mostly are from Eastern Washington and North Idaho and are in their mid-’80s to mid-’90s. They represent “quite the cross-section” of military service, said chapter President Tony Lamanna.

WWII bomber pilot held ex-POW group together

Jerry Gleesing, a World War II bomber pilot who survived German prison camps and returned to his childhood sweetheart, died Sunday at age 85. Gleesing was commander of the Spokane Inland Empire Chapter of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, a group that has remained prominent at local veterans’ events despite its diminished membership in recent years.

WWII pilots honored

WASHINGTON – They flew planes during World War II but weren’t considered real military pilots. No flags were draped over their coffins when they died on duty. And when their service ended, they had to pay their own bus fare home. These aviators – all women – got long-overdue recognition on Wednesday. They received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor given by Congress, in a ceremony on Capitol Hill.

Pilot’s service lauded

For Jean Landa, even the sky wasn’t the limit. The Spokane Valley woman learned to fly at Felts Field and became a flight instructor in the early 1940s, when women aviators were rare. She then used those skills during World War II, joining the Women Airforce Service Pilots. This unit of women aviators flew military missions in the United States, freeing up male pilots for overseas duty.

Lawmakers OK internee degrees

The Washington state Legislature has passed a measure that allows honorary degrees to be granted to students who were ordered into internment camps during World War II.

Trip to Netherlands honors local war hero

A group of Inland Northwest residents, including family members of a local war hero, gathered in Best, Netherlands, earlier this fall to mark the 65th anniversary of the Allied liberation of the Low Countries in World War II. Pfc. Joe E. Mann, who was born in Reardan, was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his valor along a Dutch canal during the operation in September 1944.

Trip to Netherlands honors well-known local war hero

A group of Inland Northwest residents, including family members of a local war hero, gathered in Best, Netherlands, earlier this fall to mark the 65th anniversary of the Allied liberation of the Low Countries in World War II. Pfc. Joe E. Mann, who was born in Reardan, was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his valor along a Dutch canal during the operation in September 1944.

They’re still some lineup

It has been 68 years since Jack Erlandson, Jack Latta, Wayne “Moose” MacGregor and Dale Johnson suited up and played football for Spokane’s North Central High School. It was fall 1941, when NC played rival Lewis and Clark. And for many members of the “greatest generation,” it was the last time they remember being young and carefree.

Dog tag returns home after 66 years

More than 66 years after Cpl. Walter Raymond Hahn of Spokane died in the battle for Guadalcanal, his dog tag made it back to his sister in Washington state.

Spokane vets tour World War II memorial

Spokane-area World War II veterans were among those honored in Washington, D.C. this weekend by a group that pays the way for vets to see the memorials built in their honor.

One soldier’s story

Two things Ray Batten remembers about D-Day: It was postponed a day, and when he finally did get to France, he spent his initial time up in a tree. “I remember the anticipation, the waiting, waiting, waiting,” said Batten, a Spokane resident who was a member of the 101st Airborne that parachuted into France 65 years ago, in the early-morning hours of June 6, 1944.

Group seeks D.C. trips for WWII vets

A pair of Spokane police officers are starting a local chapter of an organization that honors World War II veterans by sponsoring trips for them to the nation’s capital. Officer Tony Lamanna, who describes himself as “passionate if not obsessed with World War II history and veterans,” said he and partner Tim Moses have received approval for the Inland Northwest chapter of Honor Flight, a national organization based in Springfield, Ohio. He’d heard about the organization sometime after it started in 2005 and was wondering early this year how it was doing.

Rescued from tyranny

Although their own lives were at stake, several German families defied the Nazis to help save Miriam Abramowitz-Ferszt. People in a rural area near Munich took her in with her mother and little sister during World War II. They knew her family was Jewish and had false papers but did not turn them in to the Nazis. They helped them by sharing food and supplies.

In Patton’s path

Very few World War II veterans alive today can say they followed Gen. George Patton onto the beaches of Normandy before joining his soldiers for the fierce fight against Nazis through France and Germany. Even fewer can say they saved lives of U.S. soldiers, French freedom fighters and even German SS troops in the days after the bloody and deadly D-Day Invasion of June 6, 1944.