Presented by Embassy Bank
November 11, 2017
The Greatest Generation: Untold Stories of World War II
Featuring a screening of “The USS Indianapolis”
Free Event – Tickets must be reserved by calling or showing up in person at the ArtsQuest Box Office | 610-332-3378
From the Devil’s Brigade – considered to be the first special forces unit in U.S. military history – to a unique fuse that helped win the Battle of the Bulge, the community is invited to come together to honor our region’s veterans and discover the untold stories of World War II as SteelStacks hosts “The Greatest Generation.” The event is free to attend, but tickets should reserve tickets in advance by calling the ArtsQuest Center Box Office at 610-332-3378 or visiting the Box Office in person.
“The Greatest Generation: Untold Stories of World War II” features first-hand accounts of veterans’ experiences while protecting and serving our nation. This year’s special guests are Frank Lordan, who as a U.S. Army Ammunition Corporal operated a piece of artillery equipment called a proximity fuse that Patton credited with helping to win the Battle of the Bulge; First Sergeant Paul Kunkel, who as a member of the Amy’s 22nd Special Services Company was among those tasked with converting Shinto shrines in occupied Japan into movie houses for U.S. troops; Bert Winzer, who was part of the U.S. Army 1st Special Service Force, the grandfather of the special forces; and Hank Kudzik, who was part of numerous submarine missions in the Pacific Ocean including the sinking of the Japanese carrier Söryü at the Battle of Midway. Moderator for the Greatest Generation event is Frank Gunter, retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel and head of Lehigh University’s Veterans Association.
The Greatest Generation also includes a Presentation of the Colors by the Steel Battalion ROTC unit and a screening of “The USS Indianapolis: The Legacy,” the 2015 documentary that recounts the Japanese bombing of the USS Indianapolis and the battle for survival of the men who were adrift in the Pacific Ocean for five days before being rescued. During the screening, ArtsQuest will be collecting donations for the Lehigh Valley Veterans History Project Honor Bus, which has taken hundreds of veterans to Washington D.C. in recent years to visit the National World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and other monuments.
World War II Veterans and World War II Re-enactors
World War II Gear and Weaponry Display
Representatives of Lehigh Valley Veterans History Project, which has recorded oral/video histories of 350 veterans in the region
Girl Scout Troop 6030 – promoting their activities supporting the military overseas
11:30 a.m. Peas & Qs family performance with Swingtime Dolls
12:30 p.m.: Light refreshments in the Creativity Commons
1 p.m.: The Greatest Generation & “The USS Indianapolis” Film
Presented by Embassy Bank and Phoebe Ministries
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Hank Kudzik of Allen Township served with the U.S. Navy’s submarine combat division. At the age of 17, Kudzik volunteered for the submarine service and found himself on the USS Nautilus, one of the fleet’s largest submarines. In June 1942 during the sub’s very first patrol, Kudzik was one of many on the Nautilus to report to the site of an unexpected Japanese attack and offer additional assistance. During his time with the Navy, Kudzik completed 14 successful missions on the Nautilus and later served as a chief gunner for the USS Gar. He is currently a member of the Lehigh Valley chapter of the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II.
First Sergeant, U.S. Army
Paul Kunkel of Kutztown, now a resident of Phoebe Allentown Health Care Center, served in the 22nd Special Services Company in Occupied Japan and was tasked with converting Shinto shrines into movie houses for U.S. troops. The job entailed a great deal of improvisation in order to overcome voltage drops at night, which affected the sound, and the echoing caused by hundreds of mirrors in each of the shrines. He was promoted to First Sergeant at age 20 and was dubbed “The Kid” by those in his unit. He is also fluent in Pennsylvania German and well-known in the area for his efforts to promote and preserve the heritage of this unique culture.
Corporal, U.S. Army
Assigned to the 50th Artillery in the European Theater near the end of World War II, Frank Lordan of Philadelphia was an ammunition corporal who operated a new piece of artillery equipment called a proximity fuse that in General Patton’s opinion, won the war. The technology was so secretive that he was not allowed to tell friends or family members what he was doing during the war, in fear that the information might get in the hands of the enemy. After the war he went on to become one of only about six journalists who reported on and was honored for a series of stories on the Fort Monmouth Probe and the McCarthy Hearings. Lordan is now a resident of the Meadow Glen Personal Care Community at Phoebe Richland.
1st Special Service Force, U.S. Army
Bert Winzer of Macungie served in the Special Service Force, also known as The Devil’s Brigade, and later in the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. A 1940 graduate of Emmaus High School, Winzer volunteered to serve in an Army commando unit at age 21, with low expectations of being chosen out of the large pool of applicants. However, he stood out in selection process and was enlisted into the 1st Special Service Force, which took part in many crucial missions, such as the liberation of Rome, Monte la Difensa in Italy and the invasion of Southern France. The legendary Monte la Difensa mission against the Germans was later featured in the 1968 film “The Devil’s Brigade.” Winzer received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Award, along with many others.