James R. Hickey Post 120 honored Allyn Cator on the birthday of the United States Coast Guard, August 4, by hosting a birthday party, complete with a cake, here at the post. Allyn Cator served in WW II aboard the USS Gulfport PF-20 through-out itsʼconvoy duty deployments in the Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. Later diverted to the Paciﬁc TO where the ship was assigned weather duties prior to the possible invasion of Japan. The Gulfport survived a Paciﬁc typhoon that tore away gun-shields and ammunition mountings with what were described as sixty (60) foot waves that damaged and ﬂooded sections of the ship from the forecastle area to the aft gun mountings.
Allyn was surprised at the Post by Commander Ann Guest where he was welcomed as the focus of our “thanks for serving” honor of the USCGʼs birthday celebration. Allyn Cator provided the Post with a copy of the story entitled “Untold Rescue” by Gary Turbak. Turbak tells the “rest of the story” regarding the sinking of the Dorchester. Noted in the story are the sacraﬁces of the four chaplains who gave their life vests to save persons on the vessel sinking from a German torpedo strike. The story tells the previously unreported part where three ships of the U.S. Coast Guard intentionally put themselves in harms way in order to rescue the hundreds of men in the cold water 150 miles from Greenland. The Coast Guard illuminated themselves with star shells to be able to see the men in the water. This action made them sitting ducks for the sub that had ﬁred the torpedo that had sunk the Dorchester. The “rest of the story” came out in 1997 when a nephew of one of the chaplains visited Germany and interviewed a surviving submariner who had been lying on the bottom of the ocean listening to the Coast Guard sonar. Little did the German realize that if the Coast Guard had used depth charges, the men in the water would have been the victims.
Read the rest of the story at the Post.
Allyn, 91, currently resides in East Palmyra where he is still active in serving his community. Thank you Allyn!
From June 23rd to June 29, Boys State met at Morrisville College in Central New York. At Boys State, participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of citizens. The training centers on the structure of city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various ofﬁces, Boys State activities include legislative sessions,court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs.
The objectives of Boys State are to develop civic leadership and pride in American citizenship, and stimulate a keen interest in the detailed study of our government, to incite in these citizens a determination to maintain our form of government, and to develop in these young men a full understanding of our American traditions and a belief in the United States of America. Working with these young men are American Legion volunteers from around our State who assist them in developing these skills.
Each year James R. Hickey Post #120 sponsors Pal-Mac High School students entering their Senior Year to both Boys and Girls State to help them develop leadership skills and conﬁdence. Your support of Post programs and activities helps pay for these young men and women to go to Boys State and Girls State. This year, Ray Freyn, Past Commander and current 7th District Chaplin, spent the week working with this most worthwhile program as a counselor at Boys State. Everyone with whom I spoke at the graduation ceremony mentioned the outstanding job he did. Stop by the Post and ask Ray about the weekʼs experiences and why it is such a worthwhile program for the Post to support.
At the June meeting of the James R. Hickey, Post #120, Department of New York the Port Gibson Vol. Fire Dept. represented by Chief Scott DeCook, and Assistant Chiefs Doug Wilcox and John Wood offered their sincere thanks and presented a Certificate of Appreciation to the Post for their assistance during the devastating block fire in Palmyra in May of 2013. Gary (Barney) Klaeysen, Post Commander; Jim Arthurton, Post member; and Amber Jenkins, Director of Operations, were recognized for their quick response to the needs of the firemen and fire-women who were battling that hot smokey blaze that had engulfed a block of the village. Acting instinctively, the Post mobilized its resources by providing ice, water and other supplies to the ambulance rehab area to help treat fire personnel who were being checked for heat and dehydration issues. Additionally, Post 120 had organized a relief effort for the displaced persons who had been living in the devastated block.
Copy of letter from the Port Gibson Fire Dept.
May 20, 2013
Palmyra American Legion Post #120
Palmyra, New York, 14522
On behalf of the Port Gibson Volunteer Fire Department, Fire, Rescue and EMS, I would like to thank you for the generosity demonstrated by members of your post during the recent ﬁre that engulfed the block of Main Street earlier this month. I donʼt have the names of each of the many persons who helped so please convey my thanks to each and every one.
Without your quick action and immediate generosity, ﬁghting the ﬁre at the rear of the Main Street Block of buildings, as well as maintaining a “ﬁreﬁghter rehab” area would not have been as successful as it was. Fighting the ﬁre in the heat, smoke and stress could have caused major dehydration problems with the ﬁremen with whom we worked in your “area of operation”.
Your quick and gracious supply of water, ice, and other things to our ﬁremen and EMS workers in the rehab area, was an important part to sending all our personnel home safely at the end of the incident. By working together, we were able to serve the community of which we are all a part.
Yours is an organization comprised of personnel who have already stood tall and served the nation. We thank you again for helping us serve as we can!
Scott DeCook, Chief
Port Gibson Volunteer Fire Department