3 veterans share stories with Palmerton students
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Area veterans who spoke to Palmerton Area High School students at a recent Veterans Day assembly were (l-r) Marion Jones, Earl Henning, and Stephen Vlossak.
They're battle-tested from their time spent on the battlefields.
That they're able to vividly describe their experiences only adds to their mystique.
Three area veterans, Stephen Vlossak, U.S. Army; Marion Jones, former Army nurse during World War II; and Earl Henning, aviation machinist, 2nd class tail gunner, B24, U.S. Navy, World War II veteran of the Pacific Theatre, shared their stories with Palmerton Area High School students during a Veterans Day assembly held recently in the auditorium.
The veterans were welcomed history teacher Michael Gombert, who thanked them for taking the time to share their stories with the students.
Vlossak began the program by telling students of his responsibilities while serving in Vietnam.
"That was my main duty, taking care of the prisoners," Vlossak said. "If they were hurt, we would go with them to the hospital to protect them."
Once he was finally able to return home, Vlossak said he had a difficult time watching the television show M.A.S.H., which was a big hit at the time.
"When I came home from Korea, I couldn't watch the show at all," he said. "As the years went on, I came to see M.A.S.H. had good points to it."
Vlossak said it was important to always be prepared for combat.
"Anywhere you went in Vietnam, you always carried a weapon," he said. "You never knew at anytime if something would happen."
Vlossak then showed the students a video from his time overseas.
Gombert expressed his thanks to Vlossak for not only sharing his experiences, but for the video as well.
"I know all the students are very thankful," Gombert said. "The video gave a good visual."
Jones explained her role as an Army nurse, and what exactly her duties entailed.
"There were times we felt like soldiers; we were sometimes too close for comfort," Jones said. "We were often mistaken for soldiers, until they saw our lipstick."
It was after Jones said she heard President Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech after Pearl Harbor that she knew what her calling was.
Jones noted they took care of almost 50,000 people, one of whom was Frank Horvath of Palmerton, a classmate of hers.
"How can you describe it," she said. "You can't; you had to live it to believe it."
Jones said those experiences shaped her into the person she is today.
"Pray for peace for all people and in all nations," she said. "It hasn't happened in my lifetime; pray it does in yours."
Gombert told Jones "we really appreciate you coming and giving a female perspective."
Before sharing his experiences, Henning chatted with several students.
For their part, the students listened intently as Henning offered responses to their questions.
Samples of war memorabilia were set up for students to view throughout the assembly as well.