5 inducted into the Berks County Military Hall of Fame


Five other military heroes were inducted into the Berks County Military Hall of Fame.

County commissioners agreed to the appointment of the new inductees, bringing the total to 68, at their weekly meeting on Thursday.

The Hall of Fame was founded in 2009 to recognize the county’s men and women who have shown bravery in combat or earned notable honors for their military service. Berks is one of the few counties in Pennsylvania to honor its veterans with a Hall of Fame.

Each year, the county brings together a volunteer representative from each of the service branches to review the nominations and present the names to Ken Lebron, director of the county’s veterans affairs office, who presents them to the commissioners for approval.

The heroes of the hometown are then honored at the annual Berks County Veterans Appreciation Dinner and Dance in the Wilson High School Gymnasium. This year’s event will take place on November 6.

The inductees of the year and their accomplishments, by county, are:

Army Staff Sgt. Kenneth lee baus was the recipient of the Army’s Commendation Medal for Heroism in Military Operations Against a Hostile Force. He distinguished himself with heroic actions in September 1968 while serving in Vietnam when his unit was attacked.

With complete disregard for his own safety, Baus exposed himself to intense hostile fire and ensured continued communication between the gun section and those working to provide the section with the ammunition it desperately needed. His valiant actions contributed to the defeat of the enemy force.

The late Marine Corps Sgt. Raymond Effinger Schmieder was the recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal with Valor in military operations against the enemy while serving in Vietnam. He behaves in an exemplary manner and takes part in several major combat operations from January 1967 to January 1968.

Demonstrating exceptional initiative and technical ability, Schmieder was instrumental in preparing maps, graphics and briefing aids that greatly improved operational planning and the overall efficiency of his unit.

He showed great ingenuity in the planning of Operation Hickory by skillfully preparing several large maps with colored outlines for the use of the commanding general and his staff, and he assisted the officer of the intelligence to inform the staff. During Operation Buffalo, Schmieder helped move enemy documents and equipment seized during the fighting for immediate exploitation, resulting in heavy casualties inflicted on the North Vietnamese Army regiment.

The end of the Pfc army. Max R. Weller received a Silver Star for bravery in combat against the enemy in Germany on March 2, 1945, when his company was subjected to heavy mortar and automatic weapons.

Weller, in complete defiance of himself, continued to carry messages and maintain radio communication within the unit. His courageous action caused the enemy to concentrate fire in his direction, resulting in his death.

The late Army Tech Sgt. Mary Jane Painter Thompson was a recipient of the Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal with Bronze Star for his service in 1944 and 1945 as a Cryptographic Analyst in the Office of Strategic Services. The OSS was the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Thompson’s overseas assignments included deployments to Morocco, Algiers, France and Italy. In her position, she commanded 15 people and was responsible for maintaining communication with soldiers sent behind enemy lines on clandestine missions. She knew that if her communication ceased, they were either captured or killed in action.

After her military service, she dedicated her life to helping veterans in her community through the Mount Penn VFW Post 8993.

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Philippe domenico ciofalo was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor Device in operations against insurgent Communist forces in Vietnam in August 1966.

During a reconnaissance operation in the Cam Lo river valley in Quan Tri province, Ciofalo’s company was attacked by the enemy. A platoon was deployed to the flank of the company to cover them, but enemy machine gun fire prevented the unit from advancing or evacuating its wounded soldiers.

Ciofalo maneuvered through the fire swept area, placed two Marines in position, and remained in the open to direct their fire at the machine gun until the weapon was destroyed. Although he suffered an injury and was continuously exposed to heavy enemy fire, he organized a team and led them to a range of 200 meters on three occasions to recover the wounded and supervise their evacuation.

For more information on Veterans Appreciation Dinner Dance tickets, visit any Boscov store or send checks for $ 15 per ticket to Wilson High School, Attention JROTC, 2601 Grandview Blvd., West Lawn, PA 19609; or call 610-378-5601.


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