"Reflections" by Lee Teter

“Reflections” by Lee Teter

Today is Memorial Day, the day in which our nation remembers its heroic warriors who died while in the service of our country. Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean thank those members of the United States Armed Forces who have laid down their lives in defense of freedom. Our hearts and gratitude go out to their grieving families.

U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918 for William A Brown

The World War I draft registration cards for William A Brown. Source: Ancestry.com. Click to enlarge

On Veteran’s Day 2011, Sheepshead Bites remembered the life of Sheepshead Bay resident William A. Brown, a World War I soldier who died on the battlefields of France. We will always remember his brave sacrifices. Today, we recall the heroism of two more area residents who perished in defense of freedom.

FIRST LIEUTENANT HOWARD SAMUEL PONTUCK

sb_howard_samuel_pontuck

First Lieutenant Howard Samuel Pontuck. Click to enlarge

Yesterday, Brooklyn resident Howard Paskowitz posted a photo in the “We Grew Up in Brighton Beach Brooklyn in the 60’s and 70’s” Facebook page of a soldier named Howard Samuel Pontuck. The photo of the handsome 24 year old man, who perished on March 8, 1968 in Kien Hoa, South Vietnam, is accompanied by a caption, which reads: “Howard Samuel Pontuck (1943-68). Abraham Lincoln High School, ’61. West Point, 1966. First Lieutenant; gave his life to save his men in Vietnam; posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.”

Further research reveals that, on May 24, 1968, First Lieutenant Pontuck, who lived at 3100 Ocean Parkway at the nexus of Brighton Beach Avenue, was posthumously awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross. He also received the Bronze Star for Valor. Reflecting on First Lieutenant Pontuck, a commenter shares: “He was quite a character in high school & his picture is in the yearbook. He was a wiz on the parallel bars & the pommel horse.”

A wealth of information on the life and distinguished military service of Pontuck can be found here [PDF].

CAPTAIN MICHAEL EDWARD BERDY

Captain Michael Edward Berdy. Click to enlarge

West Point graduate, army captain and fellow Lincoln High School student, Michael Edward Berdy, after whom Public School 188 at 3314 Neptune Avenue is named, made the ultimate sacrifice on December 26, 1967 — three days before he would have turned 24. Sporting a blond crewcut and bearing the slightest resemblance to Steve McQueen, Captain Berdy perished in South Vietnam’s Binh Dinh Province. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

An account of the circumstances that led to Captain Berdy’s death is shared on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website:

An eye witness stated that the aft rotor assemble left the aircraft while the aircraft was terminating an approach for landing, then the forward rotor system also left the aircraft. The aircraft came to rest upright and two small fires were extinguished. One crewman, flight engineer SP4 William H. Campbell III, and seven passengers suffered fatal injuries in the crash. Those passengers included CAPT Michael E. Berdy, SP4 Barry S. Kyle, SGT Stephen M Vuga, 1LT Thomas M. Van Zandt, 1LT Daryl L. Ligons, CPL James L. Russ Jr., and SSGT Allen D. Ford. Another 25 personnel aboard the aircraft were injured.

CASULATIES OF WAR

Today we also remember the brave sacrifices made by the 21 residents of Brooklyn who died during Operation Iraqi Freedom: Segun Akintade, Joseph Alomar, Joseph Behnke, Pablo Calderon, Dayne Dhanoolal, Michael Glover, Manny Hornedo, Linda Jiminez, Rayshawn Johnson, Angelo Lozada, John McKenna, Julian Melo, Bobby Mendez, Mario Nelson, Angel Ramirez, Michael Rivera, Yevgeniy Ryndych, Rasheed Sahib, Kimel Watt, William White, and Nicholas Whyte, as well as most of the members of the 14th Brooklyn (a.k.a. The 14th Regiment New York State Militia and “The Red Legged Devils”), many of whom perished during the Civil War’s First Battle of Bull Run. Those who lived went onto to participate in the Second Battle of Bull Run as well as battles in Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg, amongst others.

To those from Brooklyn and beyond who wore the uniform but did not make it home, you will never be forgotten.

Note: We will have a light schedule today.

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  • Sara Hassan

    Thank you for the history lesson and eloquent tributes to these dear soldiers, gone far too soon.

  • Anonymous

    Please, soldiers don’t fight “for our freedom” and haven’t since WW2.

    • sadeyes

      I came back to post this very sentiment. Vietnam was not a war for my freedom, nor were any wars since then. I don’t mean to diss any individual soldier when I say this. For how long should we swallow this babble? Our freedom has not been at risk during any of these actions.

      • SheepsheadFish!!!

        Same applies to you dumbass. I guess according to your logic we should standby and allow communism to control all of Asia, this way you can bitch and complain about how America did absolutely nothing but sit on their fat ass as countless third world nations fell victim to a brutal superpower.

        And I guess according to your logic we should stand by and allow the world to think we have an open door policy for terrorists to come and fuck up whatever they want whenever they want without any fear of retribution. Obscure political reasons? How about you blame corrupt politicians and a shitty Democratic system who elected an abomination twice rather than taking it out on the guys who are simply doing their job as loyal members of the nation?

        You are not unique for consciously choosing not to support the troops. We don’t want or need your support. You are retard. Go fuck yourself with a cactus, sadeyes.

        • sadeyes

          Typical. How else can you explain your own stupidity? By attack, which is all you know.

        • Brightonresident

          The twice elected(well actually one stolen election) “abomination” was George Bush who lied to us and took us into a VERY illegal war in Iraq, then played games to not pay for it, hile cutting taxes on the rich and corporations! His actions(Bush) almost sent us into a major financial crisis!
          Why is it that people like you have to resort to name calling to say something? It says something about your apparent lack of intelligence!

        • levp

          You are retard. Go fuck yourself with a cactus

          And you want your IP unblocked?

          Speaking of supporting the troops, may I refer you to Military Families Speak Out:
          http://www.militaryfamiliesspeakout.com/
          whose motto is “Support Our Troops – Bring Them Home Now and Take Care of Them When They Get Here“.

          • disGRUNTtled Sheepshead Fish!

            Sadeyes

            Typical. How else can you defend your weak argument than by diverting the attention elsewhere?

            By the way, fuck you, I’d be glad to punch a punk ass bitch like you in the face.

            Levp

            1) Have the balls to post your own beliefs rather than redirecting me to some website I can find off google.
            2) My beef is not with them but ungrateful citizens with no respect for the uniform. I highly doubt any of the organizations you so thoroughly researched have the audacity to say the things the members of your community have thus far.
            3)The majority of the US Military is either stateside or within a non hostile area… They join knowing they will go off to war. In fact most will never see combat or be within range of the enemy. You do not know the culture. So don’t act as if you do.
            4) Freedom of speech mother fucker.

          • levp

            1) Those are my beliefs as well. The reason I know those organizations is that they are all our partners, and a lot of their members are our members (by our I mean Peace Action).

            2) As I said, its not just research – we work together with them every day. Please read at least the “About” section on their respective web sites to see the positions they advocate.

            3) I know what I know – no more, no less. When there is something I don’t know, I ask people who do. I did in this case as well. Please see 1 and 2 above.

            4) Absolutely. However, threats of physical violence are not covered by freedom of speech (read your second paragraph, for instance).

      • REALLY disGRUNTled sheepFISH!!

        I noticed my post got deleted. It’s okay. I know it was just an accident, but luckily I have the original right here:

        PS. Thanks for deleting my comment and banning me but not the users who blatently spit on our armed forces.
        _____________

        Sadeyes,

        Listen here genius. You and all your damn liberal hippie friends that were too afraid to pick up a gun and fight a war yet feel the need to shit on our uniformed services.

        There’s a reason we’re not getting attacked right now by some god forsaken nation like North Korea, or infatuated with radical extremists from who knows where. You may not see it from the comfort of your living room, but there are men and women out there stationed in far off lands that stand post and keep surveillance on hostile areas and dangerous targets. There are still men out there who are risking their lives so pricks like you can voice your worthless opinion.

        Do we have to be under attack in order to defend ourselves? Do we need another Pearl Harbor to show the general public the need for international involvement? Prevention is key in saving lives. The enemy is kept at bay so far away from home that you’ll never get a chance to know who he is. The men and women on the front lines have done more to protect this country than your bitch ass ever has.

        And don’t bother saying thanks for our service. We don’t need your support. Fuck you. And all you uneducated self righteousness useless military bashing bastards.

        -Former Marine OEF 2010

        ____________________________

        Ned unblock my IP so I can continue posting on these boards without having to switch proxies. -Sheepsheadfish

        Same applies to you dumbass. I guess according to your logic we should standby and allow communism to control all of Asia, this way you can bitch and complain about how America did absolutely nothing but sit on their fat ass as countless third world nations fell victim to a brutal superpower.

        And I guess according to your logic we should stand by and allow the world to think we have an open door policy for terrorists to come and fuck up whatever they want whenever they want without any fear of retribution. Obscure political reasons? How about you blame corrupt politicians and a shitty Democratic system who elected an abomination twice rather than taking it out on the guys who are simply doing their job as loyal members of the nation?

        You are not unique for consciously choosing not to support the troops. We don’t want or need your support. You are retard. Go fuck yourself with a cactus, sadeyes.

        ____________________

        Typical. How else can you defend your weak argument than by diverting the attention elsewhere?

        By the way, fuck you, I’d be glad to punch a punk ass bitch like you in the face.

        Levp

        Another highly intellectual indvidual here in Sheepshead.

        1) Have the balls to post your own beleifs rather than redirecting me to some website I can find off google.
        2) My beef is not with them but ungrateful citizens with no respect for the uniform.
        3) Freedom of speech mother fucker.

        • sadeyes

          Thanks for all your kind attention. Perhaps we will be lucky enough to meet one day!

    • SheepsheadFish

      Listen here genius. You and all your damn liberal hippie friends that were too afraid to pick up a gun and fight a war yet feel the need to shit on our uniformed services.

      There’s a reason we’re not getting attacked right now by some god forsaken nation like North Korea, or infatuated with radical extremists from who knows where. You may not see it from the comfort of your living room, but there are men and women out there stationed in far off lands that stand post and keep surveillance on hostile areas and dangerous targets. There are still men out there who are risking their lives so pricks like you can voice your worthless opinion.

      Do we have to be under attack in order to defend ourselves? Do we need another Pearl Harbor to show the general public the need for international involvement? Prevention is key in saving lives. The enemy is kept at bay so far away from home that you’ll never get a chance to know who he is. The men and women on the front lines have done more to protect this country than your bitch ass ever has.

      And don’t bother saying thanks for our service. We don’t need your support. Fuck you. And all you uneducated self righteousness useless military bashing bastards.

      -Former Marine OEF 2010

      Ned unblock my IP so I can continue posting on these boards without having to switch proxies. -Sheepsheadfish

      • levp

        You don’t have to talk to the “damn liberal hippie friends that were too afraid to pick up a gun and fight a war”. Talk to these people instead:

        Veterans For Peace
        http://www.veteransforpeace.org/

        Vietnam Veterans Against the War
        http://www.vvaw.org/

        Iraq Veterans Against the War (open to Active Duty, National Guard and Reservists who have served since 09/11/2001)
        http://www.ivaw.org/

        All have chapters in New York City.

  • Subway Stinker

    Many of the military mis-adventures we have endured sacrificing both blood and national treasure would have been avoided if our Congress took its Constituutional power to Declare War seriously, instead of letting both Democratc and Reprublican presidents sends off troops on flimsy explainations (Gulf of Tonkin) or whim (Iraq). By the way to my fellow poster, the well known Anonymus, wars do not only have to be fought for self defense, but sometimes it is in a nation’s best national interest to engage in combat before such dire circumstances reach our shores. But mainly, that has not been the case with our use of military force.

  • sheepsheadfish@google.com

    sff

  • stalinlives

    The greatest threat to American Freedom are not from foreign military threats, but from “Our” own politicians, the Enviro-Fascists, PC Police, and the Union Machinery that smashes all competition and dictates every aspect of our lives in exchange for large voting blocks to politicians who do their bidding.

    The real war is at home and is why the politicians are terrified of an armed citizenry.

    60 years ago when my father was drafted for Korea, my grandfather forbade him to go. “Our family did enough for this country”, sending three brothers to fight in WWII, two having seen heavy combat and one coming home in closed coffin. My grandfather went right to the head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party and local chapter of the Draft Board to rescind the draft notice and it was.

    My grandfather was right to have done that and is being proven more right every day.

    When I see what has become of the nation my forefathers fought and sacrificed their lives for, I am in disbelief. Our enemies are rewarded with our freedoms and we are punished for being Americans. The truth is becoming more glaring by the hour – All of the servicemen who lost their lives fighting the Nazis would have been better served staying home and going on the dole, rather than squandering their lives so that their children and grandchildren could embrace the very ideologies that they fought against and our solemn enemies can enjoy social welfare while they displace and punish us.