On Thursday, November 9, 2023, Green Island Union Free School District in partnership with the Legnard-Curtin Post #927 American Legion honored Green Island Veterans by co-sponsoring the annual “Green Island Salutes Its Veterans” event. Twenty-five veterans were honored, five of them receiving Honorary Diplomas under Operation Recognition guidelines.
Operation Recognition honors veterans who left high school before graduating in order to serve our country in the military. The experiences and skills learned in defense of freedom have given veterans unique knowledge and special insight most could never attain. This honorary diploma reflects our pride and gratitude for their sacrifice and bravery.
Superintendent Kim Ross presented honorary high school diplomas to the following veterans:
- Cpl. William F. Anderson, U.S. Army, Korean War (1951-1954)
- Lt. Commander John A. O’Brien, U.S. Coast Guard (1922-1953)
- Seaman 1st Class Paul W. Pownall, U.S. Navy (1977-1980)
- Sergeant Leo J. Raymond, U.S. Army, World War II (1939-1945)
- Lance Corporal Anthony T. Wilkinson, U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam War (1966-1968)
William F. “Gumpy” Anderson was a life-long Green Island resident who attended Heatly High School but left before graduating. He enlisted in the US Army and was deployed to the Korean War earning the rank of Corporal. For his service to his country, Corporal Anderson was awarded the Korea Service Medal. After receiving his Honorable Discharge in 1954, Mr. Anderson returned to Green Island and worked his entire career at the Bendix Corporation in Green Island. He was also a commander of the Legnard-Curtin Post #927 and a member of the Vagabond Club of Green Island where he participated in many civic causes.
John A. O’Brien was a former resident of Staten Island, NY who attend public schools in Staten Island but left before graduating. He enlisted in the US Coast Guard (Lighthouse Agency Service) from 1922-1940, served in WWII and continued his US COast Guard career until being Honorably Discharged in 1953 after 31 years of service with the final rank of Lieutenant Commander. He served in both the European and Pacific Theatres of Operation in WWII. For his service to his country, he was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the American Service Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Medal, the WWII Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the NYS Medal for Merit, and the NYS Cold War Certificate. A boilerman in the US Coast Guard, he moved to Liberty, NY where he worked as a boilerman for Grossinger’s Resort in the Catskills until his retirement.
Paul W. Pownall, a former resident of New Jersey, attended Asbury Park and Owen Township Public Schools but left before graduating. He enlisted in the US Navy and was assigned aboard the USS Ajax. For his service to his country, he was awarded the US Cold War Certificate and the NYS Cold War Certificate. He worked in the transportation industry, moving to New York State in 1989 where he worked until his retirement. He has resided in Cohoes for the last three years.
Leo J. Raymond attended Troy Public Schools but left before graduating working various jobs to support his family. He enlisted in the US Army in 1939 and was stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed on Dec 8, 1941. For his service to his country, he received the American Service medal and the Asiatic-Pacific Medal.
Anthony T. Wilkinson attended Green Island UFSD but left before graduating in 1965. He enlisted in the Marine Corps and was deployed to the Vietnam War. For his service to his country, he was awarded the Vietnam Service medal, the Vietnam Campaign medal, the NYS medal for Merit, and the NYS Conspicuous Service Star. Mr. Wilkinson worked for the Standard Furniture Company, General Electric, and the Shenendehowa School District before retiring.
At this event, the American Legion also gave medals to five World War II honorees, four Peacetime honorees, and eleven Vietnam honorees.
We thank all veterans for their service and sacrifice to our country.