Thomas E. Kuba, son of Thomas and Lois Kuba of Hauto Valley Estates, has succeeded in achieving Scouting's highest honor, that of the rank of Eagle Scout. He has been a member of Boy Scout Troop 744 in Nesquehoning and is an officer for Junior ROTC at the Panther Valley High School as well as completing training for a pilot's license.
Kuba's Eagle Scout Project was to redo the WWII Lt. Fred Knauf crash site on the Broad Mountain for the Nesquehoning VFW Post 8008. A new vinyl fence was installed where the existing wooden fence had been, the flag pole base and the memorial grave for Lt. Knauf was totally restored to a new looking condition by pressure washing them, the flag pole was sanded down and repainted metallic silver, and a new bench was installed so that visitors would have a place to sit. A new flag was donated by Speaker of the House Keith McCall.
Since Kuba holds his pilot's license, he found the project dear to his heart.
The WWII 22-year-old Army flyer, Lt. Fred Knauf of Michigan, met his death one Saturday morning when a pursuit plane he was piloting crashed on the summit of the Broad Mountain about a mile from Hudsondale.
Army investigators who came to the scene were unable to definitely state a cause of the accident. They said Lt. Knauf had gone on a routine solo flight and was probably headed back to Stewart Field, West Point, N.Y. when he became momentarily confused, made a circle in the air and struck the peak. Visibility at the time was fair and considered the possibility that the pilot misjudged the height of the mountain. Witnesses said the Curtiss P-36 glided earthward and disappeared into the forest. A terrific explosion occurred and when the police reached the scene they found plane wreckage strewn over the mountain top for a distance of more that 500 yards. The body, which was found 400 yards from the point of the crash,was mutilated and burned beyond recognition. Shreds of the parachute which the pilot never had a chance to use, were hanging from the trees.
During the program, Rev. Dr. Wayne Benack, church pastor of the First Congregational Church, Coaldale offered the Invocation and Benediction.
Also taking part were assistant scout masters Steve Homcha, Gerry Marouchoc and Matthew Ockenhouse. Joe Trimmel, scout master read the Eagle Scout Charge and Donna Trimmel read "The Boy Scout's Mother Asked". Organist was Ed Gogal. Members of Troop 744 took part in the program.
Kuba becomes the seventh Eagle Scout in Nesquehoning. Special presentations and thanks were made by Nesquehoning VFW member Don DeMarco; a resolution was given by Mayor Tony Walck from borough council; Rose Walck presented a citation from Speaker of the House Rep. Keith McCall and the House of Representatives, and the Carbon County Commissioners sent their congratulations in the form of a resolution.
A party followed afterwards at the Nesquehoning Recreation Center.