Late World War II veteran honored in flag ceremony
MOUNT CARMEL - The Mount Carmel Area Joint Veterans Committee held its 441st "Changing of the Colors" flag ceremony April 21, in honor and memory of another veteran of World War II.
Walter V. Wanzie was born Jan. 24, 1924, in Mount Carmel, a son of Peter and Mary (Rompolski) Wanzie. He was a 1941 graduate of Mount Carmel High School.
Wanzie entered the U.S Army Air Corps March 26, 1943, in Harrisburg and was honorably discharged as a corporal on Oct. 4, 1945, at Unit B Separation Center 45, Indiantown Gap Military Reservation. With the 94th Troop Carrier Squadron, 439th Troop Carrier Group, he was qualified with the .45-caliber pistol, submachine gun and the carbine.
Wanzie received the following medals: Europe-Africa-Middle East Service Medal with seven bronze stars for the Rome-Arno, Normandy, Northern France, Southern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe campaigns; Distinguished Unit Badge; Good Conduct Medal; and World War II Honorable Discharge Lapel Pin. Total service to his country was two years, six months and nine days, of which foreign service was one year, six months and 26 days.
At St. Paul's Chapel, Atlas, Wanzie married the former Jacqueline Socoloski, who survives.
He was employed by Schmidt's Brewery, Mount Carmel Borough and both Feifer and Lazarski's Catering.
Wanzie was a member of Divine Redeemer Church, American Legion Post 91, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2110 and the West End Athletic Club and was a life member of Anthracite Steam Fire Company No. 1 and Knights of Columbus Lawrence F. Schott Council 628, all of Mount Carmel.
Wanzie died Feb. 20, 2013, and is buried in All Saints Cemetery, Bear Gap. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son and daughter, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
The flag that was flown for the past month was in honor and memory of Joseph M. Shamansky, who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. "Taps" was played on the bugle by Larry Latsko while the flag was lowered by Anthony Candelora. The flag was folded by William Begis, Ann Ray Begis and Candelora and was presented to Shamansky's daughter, Sharon Stankiewicz, by Walter Summers.
The Wanzie flag was escorted to the service at the Susquehanna Bank flag pole by Andrew Lukoskie. The flag was presented by Wanzie's wife, Jacqueline, to Summers. Candelora raised the flag while the national anthem was played. Following the playing of the nation anthem, the flag was lowered to half staff, where it will remain for the next 30 days in honor of the victims of the bombing at the Boston Marathon.
David Berezovske read the military records of both veterans. Summers thanked the families and friends in attendance for their participation in the ceremony.
Charles Noskoviak carried the American flag and the rifle escort was provided by Andrew Bubnis and Joseph Lutcavage. James Kealy provided traffic control. Also participating in the service was Robert Nahodil.
The next flag ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 26, at Second and Oak streets when the flag will be raised in honor and memory of George P. Parry, who served in the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. Area veterans and the public are invited.