Toms River, New Jersey Honors WWII Hero

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by ToughOmbre, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

    Mar 18, 2007
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    Toms River, New Jersey dedicates space to memorabilia of WWII hero

    TOMS RIVER — As time passes, memories fade. But a local man, described by many people as an American hero, is trying his best to make certain World War II is not forgotten.

    Leonard G. "Bud" Lomell, 88, served as a U.S. Army Ranger during World War II. Former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw helped Lomell tell his wartime story when the noted journalist included a chapter about Lomell in his book, "The Greatest Generation."

    Now, Lomell's hometown is doing its part to help keep that story alive.

    On Friday, township officials will host a formal ceremony dedicating a room in Toms River's town hall as the "Leonard G. Lomell Meeting Room." The space will showcase a sample of the many awards, proclamations, plaques, resolutions and photographs Lomell has collected over his lifetime.

    Lomell donated the items to the township, which Mark Mutter, the township clerk and historian, said took about a month to hang up and prepare for the dedication ceremony.

    Friday's ceremony also falls on the 64th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces in 1944 unleashed a massive invasion along the northern coast of France, igniting the final push in the war against the Nazis.

    The Lomell dedication is open to the public.

    Over the years, Lomell has spent much time in classrooms, giving talks to students about his experience at war.

    "So little is known about World War II by teenagers today," Lomell said during an interview in the room adorned by his memories. "This is my last opportunity to keep them connected to the Second World War."

    The room, formerly known as the Gallery Room, is on the first floor of the municipal complex on Washin
    gton Street in downtown Toms River. It is used for community meetings and as a polling place during elections.

    Now, it also will serve as a stop on the tour of town hall that every fourth-grader in the township school district participates in, Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher said.

    The children will learn about the role that hometown hero Lomell played on D-Day, Kelaher said. On the morning of June 6, 1944, Lomell and fellow members of the U.S. Army's 2nd Ranger Battalion landed on the beaches of France's Normandy region below Pointe du Hoc, a high promontory from which German artillery could fire on American landing zones.

    The Rangers used grappling hooks and rope to scale the 100-foot cliff as German troops fired down on them. The mission: knock out a battery of German cannons on top of the cliff. When they reached the top, the cannons were not there. The Rangers moved inland to find the hidden German guns.

    It was Lomell and Sgt. Jack Kuhn who found the artillery and destroyed the guns with grenades and by smashing their sites, before enemy soldiers could use them. They destroyed the guns just minutes before the Allied landings were set to begin.

    Lomell earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest military honor, for his actions on D-Day. He also earned the U.S. Army's Silver Star for gallantry in action, for leading 130 Army Rangers to seize a German fortified observation post called Castle Hill 400, just days before the Battle of the Bulge.

    Copies of the awards, as well as others he has earned, are displayed in town hall now.

    "There is a reason for everything here," Lomell said, as he sat amid the memorabilia.

    When asked why he did not leave the donated pieces to his children, Lomell said: "I got all girls, and girls are not interested in combat."

    But his wife Charlotte, 86, said some of his awards will be left to their children. The Toms River home that they share still has two rooms filled with collectibles, they said.

    "Everybody that comes from Normandy seems to be obliged to bring him something," Charlotte said.

    Lomell said places like the room in town hall named in his honor are important because they will be appreciated by not only students, but by other servicemen as well.

    "I thought it was my opportunity to keep the memory of World War II alive," he said.

    Mayor Kelaher told Lomell that his donation to the town would allow him to do just that.

    "This will prevent memories from fading," he said, calling it an honor for Toms River to be able to display the memorabilia.

    Asbury Park Press

  2. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Feb 19, 2007
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    :salute: Right in our backyard! :salute:
  3. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

    Apr 27, 2008
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    Holy crap, "Castle Hill 400" is right in the middle of the Huertgen Forest! Man oh man, what this guy went through to get that hill.....


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