4/03/2017 — 

WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to recognize and honor the men and women who valiantly served our country during World War II, U.S. Senator Jack Reed on Saturday welcomed 24 Rhode Island World War II veterans to our nation’s capital and thanked them for their service and sacrifice. 

The group traveled from Rhode Island to Washington, DC on a trip sponsored by the Honor Flight Network and the Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs, who seek to honor the sacrifices of our veterans by transporting them free of charge to our nation’s capital to tour the monument built in their honor and other historic landmarks.  

“Every one of these two dozen veterans answered the call to serve.  I am honored to salute them, hear their stories, and show them their memorial.  Words cannot express our gratitude for their service and sacrifice.  These World War II heroes will forever have our utmost admiration, respect, and appreciation,” said Reed, a West Point graduate whose father served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Each veteran was escorted by a volunteer “guardian,” who assisted them with any of their needs throughout the day.  The group departed T.F. Green Airport at 7:45 a.m. and after a full day in Washington, DC, returned to Rhode Island after 10 p.m.

The National World War II Memorial was completed in 2004, 59 years after the war ended.  The memorial consists of 56 granite pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a plaza and fountain, and is located on the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.  The 56 pillars represent national unity and are connected by a bronze sculpted rope that symbolizes the bonding of the nation. Each state and territory from that period and the District of Columbia is represented by a pillar adorned with oak and wheat bronze wreaths and inscribed with its name.  The pillars are arranged in the order of entry into the Union, alternating south to north across the plaza beginning adjacent to the Field of Gold Stars.

Rhode Island World War II veterans who wish to apply for a future Honor Flight may contact George S. Farrell at (401) 741-7999 or visit the Honor Flight Rhode Island website.

Below are the names, hometowns, and military branches of this weekend’s Honor Flight veterans:

Robert Blough (Pawcatuck, CT), Army                       

John Bradshaw III (North Kingstown), Army

Victor Butler (North Providence), Army Air Corps.  Mr. Butler is Rhode Island’s last living Tuskegee Airman.                          

Manuel Carvalho (Fall River, MA), Army                   

Robert Catalano (Norfolk, MA), Navy                   

Thomas Clements (North Kingstown), Army                  

Richard Comolli (Westerly), Seabees                     

Walter Connery (Bristol), Air Force                     

Joseph Crowell (East Providence), Navy                     

Anthony D’Abrosca (Coventry), Army              

Rocco DiMatteo (Bristol), Army                  

Earl Eddleston (North Smithfield), Navy                       

Dr. Irwin Kaplan (Wakefield), Army                    

Maurice Levesque (Bristol), Air Force                  

James MacGlaflin (Pawcatuck, CT), Navy                  

Rosalee Malaby (Warwick), Army Nurse Corps                     

Joseph Malloy (Beverly, MA), Army                        

David Mann (Hope Valley), Army                           

Robert Metayer (Scituate), Navy                      

George W. Mullins Jr. (Tiverton), Army            

Joseph Nigrelli (Westerly), Army Air Corps

Peter Onisto (Westerly), Navy                           

Orlando Ricci (Johnston), Army                         

Earl Sweeney (Cumberland), Navy