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Veterans’ Day Commemoration Honors Military Service in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam

October 30, 2006 — Veterans of WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam will be honored on Friday, Nov. 10, 2006 in the Olpin Union Ballroom at the University of Utah. Special events and celebrations will be held around campus to commemorate their hard work and diligence in protecting our country. Beginning at 11:00 a.m., twelve Utah Veterans will receive honorary medallions in a full dress military ceremony, followed by a 21-cannon salute. The honorees were selected from nominations submitted by Utah citizens and represent all branches of military service.

Preceding this ceremony, a morning panel, Submarines in Battle, will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. in the Union Panorama East Room. Four panelists will discuss the history of our nation’s submarines, the pursuit of precision weapons delivery, and the courage required to execute the missions.

Panel moderator Lew Ross says this year’s panel is particularly poignant given the role submarines have played in the past century. “The role of the submarine in meeting and defeating our nation’s enemies has never been more important. Nothing in our inventory of weapons systems can match the secrecy, versatility and mobility of our submarine forces,” said Ross.

Following the ceremony, at 1:00 p.m. in the Union Ballroom, the public is invited to experience the bygone musical era of the “1940’s Big Band USO Tours” with a special performance featuring Joe Muscolino and his band. This throwback to the classic Hollywood-style “canteen” tours of World War II features singers and dancers in period dress performing many of the well-known hits of the time.

A vintage military display is planned just south of the Olpin Union Building. Courtesy of Karl Smith, these vehicles can be viewed from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. An historian in an authentic period uniform will be available to elaborate upon the roles the vehicles played in battle and to answer questions.

The Associated Students of the University of Utah Government Relations Board is sponsoring a service project in conjunction with the Veterans Day Program. Students of the university and attendees of the event will have the opportunity to write a note and assemble a care package. These packages will contain basic hygiene items, along with items such as prepaid phone cards and disposable cameras. The packages will be sent to members of Utah army units currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and will arrive in time for the holiday season. Donations have been collected from local businesses and members of the community and have been used to purchase the goods.

On the following day, Saturday, November 11, the 51st Annual Veterans Day Concert will take place at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Beginning at 7:00 p.m., the Utah National Guard 23rd Army band will perform an array of instrumental songs and melodies. A chorus of hundreds of students from nearby high schools will perform with the band. This performance is free and open to the public. It will be broadcast live on KUED, channel 7.

Other features of this year’s Veterans’ Day commemoration include military books available for review at the University Bookstore from November 1- November 12, the 2006 Veterans Day Honorees display in the Olpin Union main foyer display case, November 1-30, and KUED Channel 7’s landmark series Utah World War II Stories returns with three episodes-The Struggle, Europe, and The Pacific-encoring on Thursday nights, beginning November 16 at 8:00 p.m. The fourth and final installment, The Home Front premieres Thursday, December 7.


Friday, November 10, 2006
8:45 a.m.-10:15 a.m.
Panel: Submarines in Battle
Panorama East, Olpin Union Building

11:00 a.m.
Full Dress Military Ceremony
Main Ballroom, Olpin Union Building
Paying Tribute to 12 Utah veteran honorees

1:00 p.m.
Big Band USO Tour with Joe Muscolino and his band
Main Ballroom, Olpin Union Building
Throwback to the classic Hollywood-style “canteen” tours of World War II

Saturday, November 11, 2006
7:00 p.m.
Annual Veterans’ Day Concert
Huntsman Center
Presented by the National Guard 23rd Army Band

All events are free and open to the public.


Vintage Military Vehicles
Veterans Day, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
On the grounds just south of the Union Building, courtesy of Karl Smith.
A display of vintage World War II military vehicles

2006 Veterans’ Day Honorees
Olpin Union main foyer display case from November 1-30
Includes vintage photos and memoirs of this year’s honorees written by midshipmen from the Naval ROTC program.

University Bookstore
A collection of military books on display from November 1 – November 12


Ralph Tracy Clark (Smithfield)
U.S. Army and Navy: World War II, Korea
Clark, a member of an artillery battalion, distinguished himself while on a flight near Pyongyang, North Korea. Clark was an observer over enemy territory when his unarmed aircraft was hit by antiaircraft fire. With approximately six feet of one wing shot away, Clark helped the pilot maintain control of the aircraft as he flew it back to friendly lines. They guided the badly damaged plane over mountainous terrain to an emergency landing. Clark’s medals include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star, Air Medal, World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal.

Elbert L. Day (Bountiful)
U.S. Army: World War II
After being trained in North Africa, Day’s combat began with the invasion of Italy. He fought throughout the country and helped liberate the people from Axis rule. He was wounded three different times. Later, in southern France, Day was wounded again and missing in action for a short time. His unit eventually fought into Germany. On January 21, 1945 he was shot in the head – his fifth wound – and was left to die. He had three operations before surgeons could remove the bullet from his brain, and he had to learn to walk and talk again. He received a Purple Heart with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters.

Robert L. Epperson (Murray)
U.S. Marine Corps: World War II, Korea, Vietnam
In November 1950, Epperson was with the First Marine Division in North Korea when it launched an offensive toward the Yalu River that bordered China. When his unit, the 7th Marines, reached Yudam-ni west of the Chosin Reservoir on November 27, Chinese forces entered the Korean War unexpectedly and in overwhelming force. The Marines began an epic fighting withdrawal in bone-chilling weather – now a memorable chapter in American military history – to reach eventual safety at the port city of Hungnam. Epperson received the Silver Star, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Medal, World War II Victory Medal, China Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.

Reuben Joseph Farnsworth (St. George)
U.S. Army Air Corps: World War II
Farnsworth is a veteran of the Eighth Air Force, 384th Bomb Group, and 547th Squadron. At age 19, he piloted B-17 bombers out of Grafton Underwood, England. He was the youngest member of his crew as they flew bombing runs, hitting the marshaling yards of Hitler’s rail system, aircraft factories, ammunition factories and oil refineries. He received an Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters.

James A. Faulkner (Bountiful)
U.S. Army: World War II
James A. Faulkner served in World War II, Company B, 1st Battalion, 387th Infantry Regiment, 97th Division. Faulkner was a platoon sergeant who usually went on patrol by himself because he didn’t want his men out there. Once, he saw a German who shot at him and nearly killed him. He survived the war and was awarded the Soldier’s Legion of Merit, Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Blair Hale
U.S. Army Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force: World War II
Hale’s plane, a B-17 heavy bomber flying out of England in 1943, was shot down on his eighth mission while heading for the German submarine pens at Kiel. Hale bailed out and was plucked from the Baltic Sea by a German patrol boat. He was the only survivor from the 10-man crew. After escaping, he was imprisoned in the infamous Stalag Luft III, site of the ill-fated “great escape” by British prisoners. Hale endured two years as a POW in Germany until American forces reached his camp in April 1945. He was awarded a Purple Heart.

(On October 17, 2006, Blair Hale passed away. It is with great respect of Mr. Hale’s service to Utah and our country that the University of Utah is pleased to honor Blair Hale and his family on Veterans Day.)

Charles “Mont” Mahoney (Salt Lake City)
U.S. Army: World War II
Mahoney served in World War II and missed death on many occasions. In April 1945, he was in his tank driving down the Autobahn. The Germans had hidden anti-tank guns and started shooting. The tank next to Mahoney’s exploded and burned, killing the crew. Mont drove his tank down an embankment to safety. He received five Battle Stars and the Purple Heart.

Floren B. “Nails” Nelson (Layton)
U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Air Force: World War II, Korea, and Vietnam
Nelson is a three-war veteran who flew P-51 Mustangs in the European Theater at the end of World War II, B-26 Marauders in Korea where he logged more than 50 bombing missions, and the B-57 Canberra in Vietnam where he flew 113 missions and served as a squadron commander. His decorations include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and seven Air Medals.

William Pastore (Salt Lake City)
U.S. Marine Corps: World War II, Korea
Pastore joined the Marines in 1943 and was trained as a member of the elite Raiders. He went into combat against the Japanese on Guam in July-August 1944, and was wounded in the ferocious battle on Iwo Jima in March 1945. In December 1950, Pastore, by this time a sergeant, was in the First Marine Division and engaged in fighting Chinese Communist forces in bone-chilling weather at North Korea’s Chosin Reservoir. He survived a historic fighting withdrawal to the sea, and then was wounded a second time in combat in 1951. He received two Purple Hearts.

Gale H. Patterson (Salt Lake City)
U.S. Air Force: World War II
Patterson served as a member of the famed 463rd BMGP 773rd Squadron in Italy. As pilot of a B-17, he flew 16 missions over enemy territory in southern Europe. While flying over Vienna, his airplane was damaged and he bailed out. He was captured by Germans and sent to POW camps for over seven months. His decorations are the Air Medal with clusters and a POW Medal.

Charlie F. Pharr (Layton)
U.S. Army: Korea
In November 1950, Pharr was sent to Hagaru at North Korea’s Chosin Reservoir to help set up communications between the 1st Marine Division and the 10th Corps Headquarters in Hamhung. He was pressed into helping defend the Hagaru perimeter that was under heavy Chinese attack. Charlie was wounded in the leg and while surviving sub-zero temperatures, suffered frostbite on both feet and hands. He served in the Air Force from 1954 to1971. His medals include the Purple Heart and South Korea’s Syngman Ree Defense President’s Citation for Korean Service.

Donaldson B. Robbins (Midvale)
U.S. Army: World War II
Robbins distinguished himself by heroic achievement in Belgium during World War II. He observed an enemy tank column with supporting infantry. With coolness and deliberation, he called for artillery fire and completely broke up the attack, causing the enemy to retreat in confusion. His medals include the Silver Star, Bronze Star and a Meritorious Silver Medal.

For high resolution photos of the honorees and additional information on all Veterans Day events visit the following Web site