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West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee

Serving the Veterans and Residents of West Seneca


    Tribute To Our Veterans

The Veterans Bricks in the Walkway of Freedom are not just mere formed pieces of clay; they represent the men and women who gallantly served in the United States military. These brave men and women gave their time, and some ultimately their lives, to preserve the freedoms we enjoy today.

We honor our veterans, no matter what branch they served or where they were stationed, with these bricks in our walkways. Behind every brick there is a story of commitment, honor, and bravery.

We are compiling a database that will contain the names and service information on our veterans that have a brick in the Walkway. This database will pay tribute to our men and women who served this great nation. If you would like to contribute information on your service or for the loved ones that you brought a brick, your input would be greatly appreciated. Specifically we are looking for the month & year entered service, month & year discharged, battalion-company-unit served, military occupation, battles & campaigns, decorations & citations, rank, and areas served. Any other information of interest can also be included. (do not include any personal data, such as date of birth or SSN).

If you would like to participate in this database, please send information to: wsvets1@gmail.com

The following is a tribute to the servicemen and servicewomen who served and those who are still protecting the American way of Life:


Tag # 35746254, John served in Company C, 83rd Battalion, Ordinance Chemical. John was killed in action on January 25, 1944 and awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.


Enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 1944 and served in the 28th HQ, 319 Infantry as a riflemen. Henry served in the Ardennes, Central Europe and the Rhineland. He received the EAME Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the World Was II Victory Medal before being discharged in June 1946.

BALL JR., Raymond B.

Entered the Army on 16 August, 1982 and sent to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri where Raymond trained with the 5th Engineer Battalion Combat, Heavy from 1982-1984. Transferred to the 54th Engineer Battalion Combat Mechanized in Wildflecken, Germany from 1984-1986 and the 130th Engineer V Corps, USAEUR. As a Combat Engineer, Raymond received the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal w/ Device, Good Conduct Medal, NCODP Ribbon w/ device, Overseas Service Ribbon, National Defense Ribbon, Federal Republic of Germany Schutzenschnur Silver Class. He was also an Expert with the .45 Caliber Pistol, Sharpshooter M16 A1, Anti Tank Weapons, Grenade/ Demolitions/ EOD and Air Assault qualified. Raymond was awarded the Soldier of the Month FLW August 1983, Soldier of the Year FLW 1984, Soldier of the Year FORSCOM 1984, and Recruiter Award 1986. Raymond Ball was honorably discharged from active service with the rank of Sergeant (E-5) at Fort Dix, New Jersey on 16 August 1986.


John enlisted in the U.S. Navy immediately after high school graduation and was assigned to the Sampson Naval Training Center in Sampson, New York for basic training. Upon completion of basic training, John was sent to the Miami University for additional training and completed the Naval Radioman course. John achieved the rank of Radioman 11. He shipped out to the Pacific Theater, assigned to the USS Brister, a destroyer escort. The Brister met with heavy resistance from Japanese installations in the Solomon Islands, Bougainville (Territory of New Guinea), Guadalcanal and the Philippine Islands. Needing a Radioman, the Marine Corps took John off his ship and issued him a Marine uniform and a gun. John served in that capacity for six months and experienced enemy fire near his station. After John was reunited with his ship in 1945, the USS Brister entered the Straits of Formosa (Taiwan) to accept the surrender of the Japanese forces. A minesweeper preceeded the USS Brister through the Straits to clear the heavily mined waters. The Captain of the Brister went ashore and accepted the ceremonial sword of surrender from the Japanese general. Heavily fortified Japanese troops were still dug in around the island of Formosa and were not aware that the war had ended, keeping the USS Brister at battle readiness, ready for any trouble. After the surrender, the Brister traveled to Hong Kong to deliver mail and John was able to secure a 24-hour pass and visit the city and sailed up the Yangtze River. After serving 3 years aboard the USS Brister, John Barnes received an Honorable Discharge in 1945. John was recalled to active duty in 1952 during the height of the Korean War and in 1958, he was Honorably Discharged for a second time. During his military career, John Barnes was awarded eleven World War II medals, including the American Campaign Medal, Japan Occupational Service Medal, China Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and Good Conduct Medal. John E.Barnes is a resident of West Seneca and is a life member of the Harvey D. Morin Post, VFW Post 2940.


Gary was a West Seneca West High School graduate and attended Weslyan College before entering the Navy in 1968. He was trained as an (AT-2) Aviation Electronics Techinician and on Flight Crew (Radio) HU-16d, as well as Sea-Air Rescue. Gary served on the aircraft carrier USS Independence as it patrolled the Mediterranean Sea, attached to the Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ-133). Attaining the rank of Petty Officer Second Class, Gary was stationed at the Naval Air Stations in Alameda, California and Agana, Guam. While serving in the Pacific, Gary flew rescue and good will missions to the Marianna and the Marshall Island chains. Honorably discharged in 1971, Gary went to work for Allied Chemical where he was a welder and chemical engineer. Gary Boerschig and his wife still reside in West Seneca.


Adrian served in the Korean War for 1 year and 29 days. He entered the service in October 1952 and received his Honorable Discharge in October 1954. As a Corporal, Borowicz served as a rifleman with Company 1, 15th Infantry regiment. For his honorable service in Korea, Adrain received the US Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal (with 2 bronze service stars) National Defense Service Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge.


Joseph enlisted in the Army in September 1958. A Communication General Specialist, Brozyna served in Korea and HQ Co Spec Troops in Fort Hood, Texas reaching the rank of Private (E-2). Brozyna was a excellent rifleman and received a Marksman Medal. He was honorably discharged in February 1962.

BUKOWSKI, Stanley L.

Served as a sergeant in the 1350th Army Air Force Base Unit. Discharged from the Army in November 1945.

BURNS, John Joseph

After enlisting in the Army in March of 1944, John served in the Philippines during World War II. He was honorably discharged in April 1946 with the rank of Private First Class.

BUTERA, Phillip J.

Drafted into the Army in September 1969, Phillip served in Vietnam as a Property Disposal Specialist and was honorably discharged in March 1972

Marine Corps

Entering the Marine Corps in September 1964, Arthur served stateside with F Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Divison as an Infantry Rifleman. Discharged in March 1967 with the rank of Corporal.

FOOTE, Ellsworth (Budd) F.

Budd was a Technical Sergeant serving in the Army-Air Force during World War II. As a member of the 11th Bomb Squadron, T/Sgt Foote participated in the India, Burma and China Campaigns. His decorations included the Good Conduct Medal, Air Medal, WWII Victory Medal, American Theater Campaign Ribbon, and the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon with 3 Bronze Stars. Budd settled in West Seneca in 1958 and resided here until his death in 2009 at the age of 86.


Vincent joined the Army during World War II, later transferring to the Army-Air Corps.


Enlisted in the Army to become a paratrooper. After his Army enlistment was completed, Nelson joined the Marine Corps to join his older brother who was serving in the Marine Corps.

KELLY, Donald E.

Entered the Army in December 1942, serving as as a Private in the 138th Ordance Maintenance Battalion. Donald was a Sharpshooter with the M-1 rifle and participated in the Battle of the Rhineland in Central Europe during World War II. He received the American Campaign medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign medal, the Good Conduct medal and the World War II Victory medal. Donald left the Army in December 1945 with an Honorable Discharge but renlisted in June 1948 and was assigned to the 22nd Ordinance Maintenance Company in Eschewege, Germany. Donald was awarded the Occupation medal (Germany) and the Drivers Badge before being Honorably Discharged in March 1952.

JEHLE, Earl G.

Enlisted in the Army in July 1942 as a Cryptographic Technician for the 4025 Signal Service Group. Earl saw action in the Asiatic-Pacific theatre during World War II, stationed in New Guinea, Australia, and Luzon, participating in the Liberation of the southern Philippines. For his action, Earl was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre medal W/3 Bronze Stars, the Philippines Liberation medal W/2 Bronze Stars, Good Conduct medal and theAmerican Theatre World War II Victory Army of Occupation medal. Earl completed his military service in January 1946, with the rank of Technician, Third Grade (T-3).

KLAFFKA, Arthur W.

Enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served with the 15th Air Force, 451st Bomb Group and the 725th Squadron as a B-24 top turret gunner in the European Theater during World War II. Mr. Klaffka was the only survivor of his B-24,"The Calamity Jane", after a direct hit on the bomb bay over an oil refinery near Vienna, Austria. Mr. Klaffka was captured and held as a prisoner of war. He later received the Purple Heart and several other medals for his service.

KOBLER, Clarence O.

A World War II veteran, Clarence joined the Army in April 1940 and was stationed at Schofield Barracks in Pearl Harbor when it was attacked by aircraft launched from carriers of the Japanese Imperial Navy on 7 December 1941. Kobler saw duty in the Central Pacific theater as well as in the regions of Northern France and the Rhineland. He was stationed at various bases within the United States for over 16 months and served overseas for more than 45 months. Honorably Discharged in June 1945 with the rank of First-Sergeant, Clarence Kobler received the Purple Heart for wounds suffered during action, as well as the American Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, the European-African-Middle Eastern Service (EAME) Medal, and the Good Conduct medal.


Entered the Army and joined the newly formed Company D, 108th Infantry in 1940 where he earned a sharpshooter medal. John was stationed in Maui, Hawaii and Easter Island during World War II. Honorably discharged after the war.

LECH, John A.

Enlisted in August 1945 and served as a Light Truck Driver for for the 3574th Transportation Corps, Truckling Company Heavy. John participated in the occupation of Germany following the end of World War II. He received the World War II Victory medal and the Army Occupation medal. John attained the rank of Technician Fifth Grade before receiving an Honorable Discharge in February 1947.

LONGO, Dennis

Entered the U.S. Air Force in June 1964 and served in the 381st Missile Maintenance Squadron at McConnell AFB, Kansas. Dennis was discharged in June 1968.

LONGO, Philip J.

Served in Company "A", Fourth Battalion (Shop) A.S.F. U.T.C.

MANLEY, James E.

Joined the Air Force in April 1968 as a Computer Operator, stationed at MAC Headquarters, Wright-Patterson AFB. James then served as a Flight Supervisor, Seventh Air Force SEEK DATA II Communications, 1876th Communications Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam from August 1970 to August 1971. After his overseas tour, James was asigned to SAC Headquarters, Omaha, Nebraska until he was Honorably Discharged in April 1972. James received the Air Force Commendation medal.

MANLEY, Richard C.

Enlisted in the Army in July 1936 and joined the First Radio Intelligence Company with the rank of Private First Class. Richard was Honorably Discharged in September 1939, but re-enlisted in June 1943 becoming a Staff Sergeant in the 977th Signal Service Company during World War II. Richard received the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal, Good Conduct medal and the American Defense Service medal w/Bronze Star. His second Honorable Discharge was in September 1945.

McGrath, James J.

Born in January 1931, Private First Class McGrath joined the Army and was a member of the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. Deployed to South Korea, he was Killed in Action while fighting the enemy near Chipyong-ni, South Korea on February 12, 1951. Private First Class McGrath was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Good Conduct Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

MERRILL, Robert W.

Robert Merrill joined the Army in February 1968 and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in February 1969. Merrill completed the Area Signal Center Officer's Course and was assigned to the 352nd Signal Company, 459th Signal Battalion. Lt. Merrill served in the Republic of Vietnam and received the Vietnam Service Medal (VSM) and the Vietnam Campaign Medal (VCM). Merrill also received the National Defense Service medal (NDSM). He was honorably discharged from the Army in February 1970 after fulfilling his military obligation.


James Metzger grew up on Bellwood Avenue and graduated in 1991 from West Seneca West Senior High School. Metzger enlisted in the Navy in November 2004 after a tour in the Army. As a Master-At-Arms, Second Class Petty Officer (MA2), James was the Class Leader in Navy Dive School in November 2005. James graduated from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) school in November 2006 and served sea duty for the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 6 from February 2007-September 2013. The U.S. Navy EOD is the world's premier combat force for countering explosive hazards and conducting expeditionary diving and salvage operations for the location, identification, rendering safe, recovery, field evaluation and disposal of all explosive ordnance, including chemical and nuclear weapons.While deployed in Iraq, James was one of the EOD technicians who received the Bronze Star for his service in support of Combined Joint Task Force Troy. The EODMU6 team responded to more than 40 improvised explosive devices (IED), weapons caches and unexploded ordnance during his tour in Iraq. James was then assigned Shore Duty for Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 Training & Evaluation Unit (EODTEU TWO) where he headed the Chemical/Biological instruction group. James Metzger was promoted to Chief Petty officer (CPO) on 16 September 2010. Among his many awards and certificates, James Metzger was also recognized as Sailor of the Year in 2009 and received a second Bronze Star with Valor while serving in Afghanistan. Metzger placed himself in direct line of fire to man a weapon to help successfully cover a medical evacuation. As of March 2015, James Metzger was still on active duty.


Army Specialist David Roustum (Age 22) was killed in action in November 2004 when his armored Humvee was attacked by enemy forces using rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire while serving in Baghdad, Iraq. Specialist Roustum was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment, Tonawanda, NY.


Lynn Schiltz entered the Army on 26 April 1966 and became a door gunner with the 155th Assault Helicopter Company. Assigned to Ban Me Thout, Vietnam, Lynn served as an aviator during his tour in Vietnam. Lynn was also stationed in Fort Dix, New Jersey; Fort Eutis, Virginia; and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During his duty in the Army, Lynn earned several medals and citations including the Air Medal, Good Conduct Ribbon, National Defense Ribbon, Viet Nam service Medal, Tet Campaign Commemorative Military Medal, Honorable Service Ribbon, and Army Service Ribbon. Lynn Schiltz was honorably discharged on 25 April 1969 with the rank of Specialist E5.

SHAW, Daniel J.

Daniel Shaw joined the Army in July 2004 and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, Colorado. Sergeant Shaw was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving in a combat area from January to August 2005 in Iraq and returned for a second deployment in October 2006. During his first deployment, Shaw earned a Purple Heart after an insurgent rocket attack left him with shrapnel in the back of his head. On his second tour of duty, Sergeant Daniel J. Shaw, age 23, was killed in action in Taji, Iraq on November 5, 2007. He had earned numerous awards, including the Army Commendation Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Iraqi Campaign Medal.

SMITH, John S.

John Smith from Olean, New York enlisted in the Union Army on 2 September 1862 joining Camp E, 48th Regular Infantry, New York State. Corporal Smith went Missing in Action on May 7, 1864 after being captured and held as a prisoner of war at the infamous Confederate Andersonville Prison in Georgia. Corporal Smith died in prison of dysentery on 3 September 1864 at the age of 27 years old. A returning soldier on foot stopped at the Smith home as Mrs. Smith, the wife of John Smith, was hanging out the laundry to tell her that her husband had died in prison. John Smith left behind 3 sons and 1 daughter.

SMITH, Chris M.

Chris was one of the last graduates of the Ebenezer High School on Mill Road. Mr. Smith worked at Bell Aircraft and worked part-time as a grave digger at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Chris moved to California and flew aircraft for the Howard Hughes Aircraft Company.

SPYCHAJ, Stanley

Died on battlefield from wounds suffered during action in Korea.

STEINER, Eugene E.

Eugene joined the Army, transferring to the Army-Air Corps as a member of SQ 0 3505 AAFBU.

WORLD, Frank

The first brick placed on the walkway is in honor of Sgt. Frank World. Sgt. World was assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion of the 2nd Marine Division. At the age of 25, Sgt. World lost his life to a roadside explosive device while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

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