JOHNSTOWN – Five people will be inducted into the Cambria County Military Hall of Fame this month.
Organizers are planning a 1 p.m. ceremony on July 14 at the 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial. Members of the Veterans Committee are anxiously awaiting the ceremony after previously postponing it due to COVID-19.
“We had originally planned to hold the event last year, but we were forced to delay due to the situation”, said committee chairman Marty Kuhar. “We really wanted to make sure we could do this in person, with the audience, especially since two of our inductees can be in attendance.”
Three of those will be posthumously inducted: Michael Capelli, Paul Clawson and Harry Raab Jr.
The other two, former US Ambassador to Slovakia Vincent Obsitnik and former Command Sgt. Major Chad Pysher will attend in person.
As required, this year’s inductees include service members who have demonstrated remarkable bravery and fearlessness, or brought national recognition to Cambria County through their participation in an event or project of a historic nature in the United States. United States.
Pysher, who has lived in Lilly since 1972, credits his induction to the people he had the honor to lead throughout his years of military service.
“It’s quite an honor, but I take it as a reflection on the hard work of a lot of other people,” Pysher said. “And it is not only an honor for me, but also for my family.”
Pysher served as a command sergeant major at the battalion, brigade, division and state levels, including combat tours in Bosnia and Iraq.
Obsitnik, who was born in Moravany, Slovakia, and raised in Nanty Glo, graduated in 1959 from the US Naval Academy.
After obtaining an engineering degree, he then served in the US Submarine Force.
After leaving the US Navy, he worked with IBM’s Federal Systems Division on the development of a new digital electronic sonar system, BBQ-5, for the Navy’s submarine fleet.
In 2007, he was chosen to serve as Ambassador, and he said it was an honor to be included with the many people in Cambria County who have continued to serve the nation.
“I am very touched when I look at all of the other past inductees and what a great service they have rendered,” said Obsitnik. “It makes me really proud of Cambria County to see the wonderful people it has fathered in the service of this great country.”
Now, as an avid runner at 83, Obsitnik has been named “Fitness Ambassador” by the National Senior Games Association.
The army sergeant major. Capelli de Nanty Glo fought in numerous engagements during World War II.
His actions in Sicily, Anzio, Salerno and France earned him two Silver Stars, one Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, before being shot down while fighting in Wildenguth, France on January 8, 1945.
Capelli’s family submitted his name for review after discovering information about his military service. His nephew, Charlie Merlo, requested Capelli’s military records from the National Archives. He was told that most of his uncle’s original files were destroyed in a fire in 1973.
The archives were only able to provide a copy of Capelli’s quote attributing him a bunch of oak leaves for his second Silver Star.
However, Merlo was able to verify the other awards thanks to a book titled, “The history of the 180th infantry regiment”, who documented the actions of the Capelli unit.
Marlin Plymette, a Vietnamese-era Air Force veteran and resident of Nanty Glo, will induct Capelli.
“It was an honor to be able to sit at the table with your nephew and to read this book”, said Plymette. “They’re incredibly proud of him, but insist that he would probably be upset by all of this. They remember him as a very humble and discreet individual who would not want to draw attention to him.
Clawson, from Johnstown, received the Distinguished Service Cross for his extraordinary heroism as he led his platoon to assault a entrenched enemy near Seoul, Korea.
Advancing under intense enemy fire to transport a wounded soldier to safety, he was killed in action on May 21, 1951.
A World War II veteran, Raab pursued a distinguished 44-year career in nuclear reactor physics. He designed the reactor controls for the USS Nautilus, the Navy’s first nuclear-powered submarine, as well as the Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise.
From 1972 to 1995, he was chief physicist for the Navy’s nuclear propulsion program.