Mon-Yough's last Pearl Harbor heroes die
The last Mon-Yough survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor have died.
Art Nagy, 90, of McKeesport, died Sunday, while Bernard S. Ordos, 93, of West Mifflin, passed away on Oct. 20.
They served in the Army on the Hawaiian island of Oahu on Dec. 7, 1941, when the empire of Japan plunged the United States into World War II.
Nagy recalled that the Japanese bombers were so close, “I could have shot one down if I had a .45 (caliber pistol).”
At that same time, Ordos was waiting to be relieved of guard duty on the Navy base near the Schofield Barracks.
“He was right in the middle of that fight,” said state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Dravosburg, who cited Ordos for his service in 2008. “He armed himself and started firing back.”
“I could see it plain as day,” Ordos recalled in 2011. “I don't know why he didn't come down and machine-gun me.”
His family back home, including his bride of a year, the former Betty Kasnik, did not know that Ordos survived unhurt; they could not reach him for more than a week.
Betty Ordos said she spent more than $50 to call Hawaii for news of her husband.
Nagy said he and fellow troops dodged a hail of gunfire, and many didn't make it. Bullets were fired by front and rear gunners flying in a formation of warplanes.
“We had an old-timer who was sitting up in the barracks,” Nagy said in 2010. “He was an infantryman in World War I. He was standing, looking out the window, and said, ‘The rising sun attacked us.'”
Japan, “the land of the rising sun” had a flag with a red sun on a white background.
The air reeked of anxiety, but American servicemen and women stood against their attackers, Nagy said. They were alert, but still nervous.
“People were so shook up that they were shooting at anything. Shoot a cow. Shoot a spotlight,” Nagy said. “One man shot at his own reflection in a search light.”
Nagy “was a heck of a guy,” said Clifford W. Flegal Sr., 92, a leading organizer of Flag Day and Pearl Harbor Day observances at the Palisades. “He was a pretty nice fellow.”
“Art Nagy was a tremendous representative of the city of McKeesport during wartime,” said state Sen. and former Mayor James R. Brewster, D-McKeesport. “After his distinguished military service he was a pillar of our community. Art will truly be missed by all who knew him.”
Ordos “was a great man,” Kortz said, noting he was part of what was called “that greatest generation” by newsman and author Tom Brokaw.
“We've lost so many of those men,” Kortz went on. “We're losing too many of them. It is important we remember that history and what they did.”
“(Ordos) was a very quiet man,” recalled Chuck Krebs, past West Mifflin VFW Post 914 Intrepid commander. “He shared his time in the service with his fellow comrades, with his fellow veterans, he wasn't a braggart. He would have a nice conversation with them.”
Krebs said Ordos, a lifetime member of Post 914, “was just an upright guy, an upright American citizen.”
“I've had the privilege of knowing both Art Nagy and Bernard Ordos through the Veterans of Foreign Wars,” said Mike Mauer, quartermaster of VFW Post 914. “Each of these gentlemen showed me that many of those who are called to defend our nation's freedoms return after their military service and give back to their communities by being solid citizens.”
Ordos was laid to rest with honors after two services last month. One was a military send-off attended by 15 Post 914 members at Munhall's Savolskis-Wasik-Glenn Funeral Home. The other was held at New Covenant Community Church in Homestead.
William H. Craig Funeral Home in McKeesport is handling arrangements for Nagy's funeral. Friends will be received there Wednesday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m., with a service scheduled there Thursday at 11 a.m.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Crosby, Malkin didn’t sign on for this
- DeVry shift to online classes prompts closing of Pittsburgh campus
- Penguins’ Malkin: ‘We’re not a championship team’
- Cole shuts down Diamondbacks as Pirates open road trip with victory
- Penguins eliminated with Game 5 overtime loss to Rangers
- Connellsville to host job fair
- Fleury valiant in defeat
- Couple hope Connellsville shop will attract trail users
- Trail preparation commences in Connellsville
- Pitt introduces Barnes as athletic director
- Rangers’ defensive plan against Penguins was unwavering