The Times photo by Betsy Reason
World War II U.S. Army veteran Howard Kenley Jr. died Oct. 30, 2018, at age 99.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason World War II U.S. Army veteran Howard Kenley Jr. died Oct. 30, 2018, at age 99.
This Memorial Day will be the first time in 50 years that we will not have Noblesville veterans Bob Arbuckle, Howard Kenley Jr. and Stanley Robinson in attendance for services.
“Three members of the Greatest Generation (were) called home to serve the Supreme Commander of us all. Their presence will be missed,” said Lynn Epperson, Hamilton County Veterans Services officer, who brings their passing to light in remembrance.
Arbuckle died on Jan. 28, 2019, at age 96. He served in the military during World War II, enlisting in the U.S. Navy in Chicago in 1942, serving in Cuba, operating against the submarines, in the submarine detection corps. The Navy then sent him to officer training school, and he rose to lieutenant. He served on the U.S.S. South Dakota “a big battleship with 2,000 men on board.”
“I’ve been in the Navy, active and reserve, every since then,” Arbuckle would say, still wearing his Navy uniform and showing off his Navy sword at the 2018 Memorial Day ceremony.
Kenley died Oct. 30, 2018, at age 99. Howard, in 1941, enlisted in the U.S. Army, later went to Officer Candidate School in the Army in El Paso, Texas, and served as a Lieutenant. In 1943, Howard transferred to the Air Corps and was trained as a navigator on a B-17 in San Antonio, Texas and then flew with the 15th Air Force out of Foggia, Italy, logging 35 missions in 1944 and 1945, all with the same crew he had trained with. Howard was awarded many combat medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, and accumulated 175 points at a time when 75 points was sufficient for a discharge. He was transferred back to the states and was awaiting reassignment to Japan in San Diego, Calif. when the war ended with Harry Truman dropping the bomb.
Robinson died March 14, 2019, at age 97. The Noblesville resident and World War II U.S. Navy veteran served 1932-45, including 1941-45 on the U.S.S. Moffett destroyer.
These World War II veterans and many more will be remembered on Monday, when American Legion Post No. 45, Hamilton County Navy Club Ship No. 29 and Ralph Lehr Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 6246 play host to the annual Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Hamilton County War Memorial on the Courthouse Square in Noblesville.
Following the ceremony, they go to Riverside Cemetery at Fifth and Maple streets at about 11:30 a.m., for the reading of the names of veterans buried there, and then to Crownland Cemetery, at Monument and 16th streets, at about noon, for honoring of more veterans. All locations are in Noblesville.
Moffett Craig (daughter of Stanley Robinson) and Stephen Craig, husband-and-wife owners of Adriene’s Flowers & Gifts in Noblesville, will again greet visitors to Crownland Cemetery before 11 a.m. Memorial Day, with free roses, one for the person visiting the gravesite and one for each grave they are visiting.
The veteran grave markers located in the veterans’ section of Crownland Cemetery were recently cleaned, as well as the Unknown Soldier Memorial, Civil War Monument and Civil War Cannon during volunteer work days, said Ron Wilson of Hamilton County Navy Club Ship No. 29, a U.S. Navy veteran who served in Vietnam from 1965-71, and a member of the Noblesville American Legion.
Wilson encourages folks to bring veterans and kids to the ceremonies.
Other veterans that are among those missed include: Joe Burgess, who died Nov. 10, 2018, at age 98; Frank Stevenson, who died Jan. 21, 2018, at age 94; Eddie Mode, who died Feb. 23, 2018, at age 90; Everett Latham, who died March 26, 2018, at age 93; and Don Roberts, who died Feb . 11, 2017, at age 79.
Burgess proudly served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Stevenson served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, aboard the USS South Carolina and was in the South China sea and part of the fighting in Buckner Bay.
Mode entered the U.S. Navy at age 17 and served honorably in two wars. He served as a Navy Seabee attached to Marine Air Group 31, 1st Division aboard the USS Florence Nightingale in World War II. Eddie went to Okinawa where he received the Presidential Citation Award for services performed on that island. He also served aboard the USS Missouri as a fireman involved in firing one of the huge guns in the Korean War. He served in the Navy from 1960 to 1962, stationed at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. He was an aircraft maintenance technician aboard Aircraft Carrier USS Essex CV-9 when the ship set sail on March 6, 1961.
Latham was a veteran of World War II, serving in Europe and earning two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and an Infantry Combat Badge. He was thrilled and grateful to have been able to travel to Washington, D.C. in 2015 on an Honor Flight.
Roberts, who always attended the Memorial Day and Veterans Day services at the county War Memorial, served in the U.S. Navy from 1960 to 1962, stationed at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. He was an aircraft maintenance technician aboard Aircraft Carrier USS Essex CV-9 when the ship set sail on March 6, 1961. Roberts kept a diary of happenings aboard the ship. His recollections of Cuba's Bay of Pigs Invasion were captured in a Noblesville Daily Times article in April 2008. Roberts’ memories were also published in a 2011 book, "The Brilliant Disaster" by Jim Rasenberger. His Navy ship was also in European waters during the Berlin Crisis. The Berlin Wall was only a month or two old when he visited the Wall in the fall of 1961. He later acquired a piece of the Wall, which he received as a gift, and was very proud.
In and around Hamilton County, other Memorial Day services are open to the community:
*Cicero American Legion and VFW will play host to their annual Memorial Parade, with lineup at the American Legion then march across the bridge and then on to the cemetery. The parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday.
*Fishers will honor fallen heroes during a Memorial Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday at Liberty Plaza on the Central Green in front of City Hall. The ceremony will feature speakers from the community.
*Carmel’s Memorial Ceremony, at 10 a.m. today at Veterans Memorial Plaza at Third Avenue Southwest, remembers the sacrifices that many soldiers made for us to gain the freedom that we enjoy today.
All of these ceremonies are free and open to the public.
World War II veterans are dying quickly, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, with only 496,777 of the 16 million still alive in 2018, with that number dwindling to less than 400,000 this year, and to fewer than 100,000 WWII veterans expected to live through 2024. To find 2019 Memorial Day ceremonies throughout the United States, visit https://www.cem.va.gov/. Disabled veterans can receive a free National Park Service Lifetime Access Pass in person at any participating federal recreation site.
-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.