Saint Mary’s College High School Dedicates Flagpole Memorial to Alumni Veterans

November 11, 2010

BERKELEY, Calif. (MetroCatholic) — On Wednesday, November 10, 2010, the school community and invited guests at Saint Mary’s College High School in Berkeley marked Veterans Day with the dedication of a new campus flagpole and bronze memorial plaque honoring Saint Mary’s alumni who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

The family of decorated Korean War veteran Jack Macy ‘48 donated the monument and flagpole. Macy passed away in 2009, and his family was in attendance at the mid-morning ceremony, including a grandson currently attending the high school and another who is a 2010 graduate. A Marine Corps Color Guard presented the special flag raised on the new flagpole that day. It was the flag that school alumnus Tom Paich ‘49 and his family received in February 1945 upon the death of his older brother, Frank, who died in the battle of Iwo Jima. The flag had never been unfolded. Mr. Paich, himself a Korean War vet, raised that flag on Wednesday joined by school alumna and Iraq War veteran, Blackhawk Medivac helicopter pilot Mary Rone ‘00.

In anticipation of the event, poster-size dedications to a number of alumni veterans from World War II and the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq Wars were posted around the school campus. Students stopped to read the stories of these men and women, some of whom gave their lives in the service of their country only a few years after graduation from Saint Mary’s. Among the stories is that of Auggie Gaspar, Class of 1936, who left his college studies to join the Army Air Corps a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Gaspar was shot down over Germany in 1943 and spent nineteen months as a prisoner of war, spending captivity writing a diary of the months preceding his capture, including poignant thoughts and hand-sketched illustrations of the moments just before jumping from his burning aircraft. Liberated by General Patton’s troops in May 1945, Gaspar remained in the Air Corps until retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. Until his death at age 90 in 2007, Gaspar continued to join the remaining members of Saint Mary’s Class of 1936 for an annual reunion still held on campus every spring. The men have met every year since graduation except for two years during World War II.

Other alumni veterans specially honored along with Macy, Paich, Rone, and Gaspar were Corp. Francisco Leo Samson, USMC ‘64, killed in Vietnam June 15, 1967; Army Specialist Five John Bussey Waller ‘66, killed in Vietnam March 27, 1969; First Lt. Robert John Stork, Jr. ‘60, killed in Vietnam April 2, 1969; Lance Corp. Thomas P. Mahoney III ‘66, killed in Vietnam July 6, 1968; Pvt. James Fred Brown ‘48, killed in action in Korea July 8, 1953; and Vincent P. O’Hare, USMC ‘62, who, after a long and harrowing night with his platoon on the USS Alamo off the coast of South Vietnam, arrived at their designated location to deliver vehicles and equipment to a small village schoolyard where he was gratefully surprised to be greeted by three Vietnamese Christian Brothers, men from the same religious order who had taught him back home at Saint Mary’s High.

The entire Saint Mary’s community; Brother Edmond Larouche, FSC ‘66, school President; Mr. Peter Boero ‘64, Director of Advancement; and the school faculty, staff, and student body of 600 young men and women attended the moving ceremony.

As the school prepared for the event, Principal Peter Imperial shared, “Service takes all forms. Military service is one. Political leaders decide what soldiers do; soldiers pay the price. Then, if they are lucky, they come home, whole. While we work for a world with no need for soldiers and borders, we must consider, and honor, what they have done for us.” The new bronze memorial plaque below the impressive new flagpole flying the 1945 Paich flag reads, “Thank you Saint Mary’s alumni who have honorably served our country to make the world a better place. Dedicated Veterans Day 2010.”

Saint Mary’s College High School, located in Berkeley, California, is a coeducational Lasallian Catholic high school founded in San Francisco in 1863 and located in Berkeley since 1927. It is conducted by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, the world’s largest order of lay religious men devoted exclusively to education, especially of those most in need. The Brothers were founded in 1680 in Rheims, France by Saint John Baptist de La Salle, canonized in 1900 and named Patron of All Teachers of Youth in 1950. Worldwide, nearly one million students are educated in Brothers’ schools in more than eighty countries. Saint Mary’s High is the oldest of the Brothers’ schools on the West Coast. Saint Mary’s students pursue a life of virtue and scholarship that extends beyond the completion of a college preparatory curriculum to assuming societal roles of responsibility, leadership, and service.


2 Responses to “Saint Mary’s College High School Dedicates Flagpole Memorial to Alumni Veterans”

  1. Tom Brady on November 11th, 2010 4:16 pm

    I am very proud that my school St. Mary’s College High School honored the alumni veterans this week. Take a moment and read about these heroes.

  2. Ron Genini on November 18th, 2010 6:38 pm

    Like Peter Boero I am part of the Class of 1964. It is gratifying after all these years to know something of these earlier - and later - fellow alumni. Unfortunately when I went to St Mary’s, as I recall, nothing much was made of these people or most of the proud history of the school outside of a few facts tied together by a few fill-in sentences. To know this history even now, over 45 years later, makes me proud of this fine school and its traditions.

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