North Versailles Township veteran honored for service
The holidays were extra special for 92-year-old World War II veteran Francis M. McDonald.
The North Versailles Township resident served in the Marine Corps, Third Division, from March 2, 1942, through March 12, 1946, and fought in the Pacific Theater of Operations including Iwo Jima.
On Christmas Eve, members of White Oak American Legion Post 701 presented McDonald with the medals he never received for his service to his country. Surrounding a photo of him in uniform are his medals, which include the American Defense Service Medal, Marine Corps Service Commemorative Medal, Honorable Service Commemorative Medal, American Campaign Medal, Combat Service Commemorative Medal, Asian Pacific Campaign Medal, Asian Pacific Victory Commemorative Medal, World War II Victory Commemorative Medal and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.
Presenting the veteran with the medals were White Oak American Legion Post 701 members Dominick Kasony, senior vice commander; Tom Terza, service officer; and Steve Slinski, board of directors member; and Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Marcello Graziani, who took part in the presentation before going home to be with his family while on leave.
McDonald received more than medals for his tour of duty. He received a Presidential Testimonial Citation signed by President Harry S. Truman for his service in the Pacific Theater Nov. 9, 1944 through Dec. 25, 1945. During that time he was in the battles of Iwo Jima and Volcano Island.
Granddaughter Germaine Boulet was in charge of researching and acquiring the medals he never received. “He only received one or two because it was during wartime and they didn't give out medals.”
After extensive research and determining his eligibility, she found many medals her grandfather should have received. She contacted Medals of America and grunt.com and ordered the medals. Once they all arrived, they were placed in a display case and presented to the dedicated former Marine.
“He cried,” she said of his reaction to the gift. “He was speechless and he cried. The whole family came in for it and he thought everyone was there for a family photo. When he saw the Marine and the American Legion people he lost it. I will never forget the look on his face. It was wonderful.”
Boulet said the family is “very proud of him and that's why we wanted to do this. We are proud of all the men and women in the military and we thank them.”
She said the American Legion is looking into the possibility that her grandfather may be eligible for the Bronze Star, which is awarded for heroic or meritorious service.
Among those witnessing the ceremony were McDonald's three daughters and son, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and about 45 other family members. His wife of 66 years passed away in September 2009. All three of his sons served in the Marines; two have passed away.
“It was a perfect day except my grandmother was not there,” Boulet said.
“This was something we discussed collectively and wanted to do for him because he talks about his time in the service often and with great pride,” grandson Joseph Adams said. “It's become an expectation to hear a war story recounted when spending any significant amount of time with him. He remembers his time in the Marine Corps fondly and it seems to be one of the highlights of his life.”
Praising his grandfather, Adams said, “He is a really, really good man in just about every sense. He's admired by his family for his integrity, toughness and generosity. He is a role model of high moral character and the kind of person anyone should aspire to emulate. He is truly one of my heroes. The Marine Corps should be proud to claim him.”
Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, 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.
- McKeesport woman headed to trial on arson charge
- Fast-moving storms strand Mon Valley motorists
- Replacement fire chief, safety issues to top McKeesport agenda
- Steel Valley looks for replacements for 2 principals
- Experts offer Fourth of July safety tips
- Former Kennywood worker held for court on child porn charges
- Brewster picked for Smith’s seat on Senate Appropriations Committee
- Projects to impact McKeesport motorists
- Community gardens in McKeesport, Steel Valley area give options to local growers
- Jerome Bridge traffic signals removed in McKeesport
- Motorists, municipalities brace for Mifflin Road closing