2006 Honor a Veteran Archives

HAV - 2006

Joseph J. Kucskar, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran Joseph J. Kucskar at a ceremony on Monday, January 2, 2006, in the Cahill Room of the County Office Building at 112 State St. in Albany.

Kucskar was born on March 13, 1915 to John and Anna Kucskar in South Norwalk, CT.  When he was 16 his family moved to Watervliet.  He was later employed with Cluett and Peabody in Troy as a shirt ironer. 

In March of 1941, he enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Philippine Islands during World War II with the 803rd Army Engineering Corps.  He died in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp on November 9, 1942.  Kucskar, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country, will always be remembered for bravely answering the call to duty and proudly serving our country. 

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Edward M. Lane, US Marine Corps

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated Korean War veteran Edward M. Lane at a ceremony on Monday, February 6, 2006, in the Cahill Room of the County Office Building at 112 State St. in Albany.

Lane, a lifelong resident of Albany, graduated from Phillip Schuyler High School in 1950.  He joined the United States Marine Corps in July, 1950, barely a month after the Korean War began, and served his country for four years during that war and later, enlisted in the United States Army in 1959.

Lane was employed at the Stratton Veterans Administration Hospital, the United States Post Office and the Watervliet Arsenal.  He was a very active member of the Union Missionary Baptist Church and taught boxing, karate and weightlifting.  Lane was very close to his family and was a favorite uncle to his many nieces and nephews.

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Michael B. Murray, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated Vietnam War veteran Michael B. Murray at a ceremony on Monday, March 6, 2006, in the Cahill Room of the County Office Building at 112 State St. in Albany.

Murray was born in Plattsburgh, N.Y. on June 11, 1936 and moved to Albany while still a young child where he attended Vincentian Institute and Christian Brothers Academy.  He completed his secondary education at Cranwell Prep School in Lenox, MA and then graduated from Georgetown University in 1958 before entering the United States Army.  After his discharge he pursed a career in finance on Wall Street until 1967 when he again answered the nation's call for duty, serving two years in the Quartermaster Corps in Vietnam.

After his tour of duty, Murray returned to Albany and worked for the Office of the NYS Comptroller, Department of Audit and Control, retiring in 2002.  He was a staunch supporter of veterans' causes, volunteering at the Stratton Veterans Administration Hospital after his retirement and maintaining an active membership in the Tri-County Council of Vietnam Era Veterans.  He was also president of the Point of Woods Homeowners Association and was an ardent sports fan with a passion for Army football and the New York Yankees.

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Albert E. Gellman, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran Albert E. Gellman at a ceremony on Monday, April 3, 2006, in the Cahill Room of the County Office Building at 112 State St. in Albany.

Gellman, a lifelong resident of Albany, attended Philip Schuyler High School.  He was called to duty in April of 1943 and served in the United States Army.  During his tour of duty in Italy, he showed much courage and valor, helping to capture German soldiers.  He received the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest award for combat heroism, as well as the Bronze Star with three battle stars and the NYS Conspicuous Service Cross.  He is currently one of 157 World War II Jewish War Veterans being considered for an upgrade to the Congressional Medal of Honor.

After his discharge, Gellman opened Al's Market on New Scotland Avenue until its closing in 1953.  In 1960 he became a distributor for Archway Cookies, retiring in 1980.  He was a member of the Albany Jewish War Veterans, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and the Albany City Lodge of Knights of Pythias.  Gellman was married for 60 years to his childhood sweetheart, Marion, and they had three children, Stephen, Toby and David.

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Robert R. Craner, US Air Force

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated Vietnam veteran Colonel Robert R. Craner at a ceremony on Saturday, May 20, 2006, at Craner Park in the City of Cohoes.

Craner was born in the City of Cohoes in 1933.  After graduating from Catholic Central High School, he enlisted in the United States Air Force.  A career Air Force pilot, Robert served two tours of duty as a fighter pilot with the 37th Tactical Flight Wing Pacific Air Forces in Vietnam.  While on his second tour piloting an F-100 on a top secret mission with the Mistys, he was shot down in December 1967 and was captured and imprisoned in Hanoi for nearly five and a half years.

He was released on March 14, 1973 and returned home to Cohoes to a heroes welcome.  March 23, 1973 was declared "Lieutenant Colonel Robert R. Craner Day" in Cohoes and the former Devlin Street Park was renamed in his honor.  He earned numerous medals and awards including the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.  Robert attended the College of the Holy Cross, where he majored in Russian Studies and then continued his service to his country as a military attaché with the American Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria.  He died suddenly of a heart attack on October 8, 1980.  

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Howard F. Brady, Jr., US Army; John B. Brady, US Army; Philip E. Brady, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veterans Howard F. Brady and John B. Brady and World War II and Korean War veteran Philip E. Brady at a ceremony on Monday, June 5, 2006, at the North Albany American Legion Post.  The three veterans are brothers. 

Howard F. Brady, Jr. was born in Rensselaer, NY on November 28, 1921.  He served in the United States Army during World War II and was stationed in Central Europe and Rhineland.  After the war he was employed as an office manager for White Trucks in Albany and Dallas and Controller Hunt Trucks in Tampa, FL.  He was a member of the Knights of Columbus. 

John B. Brady was born in Albany, NY on June 12, 1923.  He served in the United States Army during World War II and was stationed in Italy.  After the war he was employed with Foster Refrigerators in Hudson and then later was general manager of L&B Products in Columbia County.  He was a member of the Hudson Lions Club and Elks Club.

Philip E. Brady was born in Albany on October 23, 1925 and was a graduate of Christian Brothers Academy.  He served in the United States Army for ten years from 1946 to 1955, serving in both World War II and Korea and retiring as a Sergeant First Class.  He was longtime member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 106 and worked for the NYS Assembly for seven years.  He was a member of the North Albany American Legion Post.

The Honor-A-Veteran ceremony is held every first Monday of the month to honor a deceased veteran of the community. 

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John E. Coleman, Sr., US Marine Corps

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated Marine Corps veteran John E. Coleman, Sr. at a ceremony on Monday, July 3, 2006, in the Cahill Room of the County Office Building at 112 State St. in Albany.

Coleman was a lifelong resident of Albany.  He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1955 to 1958.  He was a firefighter with the Albany Fire Department for 25 years, retiring as a Lieutenant in 1985.  He spent many years fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association with the Fire Department, raising over $100,000. 

Coleman was active in the community as a member of the Capt. William Dale O'Brien Detachment Marine Corps League, the Joseph E. Zaloga American Legion Post, the Polish Citizens Club and the Albany Fire Department Retirees Association.  He was a loving husband to his wife Margaret and a dedicated father to his children John, Jr. and Richard.

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George E. Decker, Sr., NY National Guard

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran George E. Decker, Sr. at a ceremony on Monday, August 7, 2006, at the Bethlehem Memorial VFW Post on Delaware Avenue.

Decker was a graduate of Christian Brothers Academy in Albany and attended Manhattan College.  He entered the New York National Guard in 1935 and served in the European Theater during World War II as the Company Commander of the 801st Tank Destroyer Battalion.  He served with distinction during the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, receiving the Bronze Star medal.  Decker retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the National Guard after a 34-year career.

Decker was also a longtime employee of the United States Postal Service.  He retired as a Regional Hearing Officer for the New York District in 1974 after 35 years of service.  An active member of the community, Decker served as a longtime member of the Nathanial Adams Blanchard American Legion Post and the Bethlehem Memorial VFW Post and as a volunteer with the American Red Cross and the Albany Association of the Blind.  He was married to his wife, Peggy, for 54 years and they had seven children. 

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Thomas D. Robbins, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated Iraq War veteran Thomas D. Robbins at a ceremony on Monday, October 2, 2006, in the Cahill Room of the County Office Building at 112 State St. in Albany.

Robbins was born on February 18, 1976 to Reverend Charlene Robbins and Douglas B. Robbins.  He was a graduate of Bethlehem Central High School, Morrisville State College and the State University of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill.  He was a life scout in Boy Scout Troop 89 and while at Bethlehem High School, played soccer, ran track and played the trumpet. 

In October of 1998, Robbins joined the United States Army and was trained in Special Forces, receiving the highest score on record at that time. He served in Korea and in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  While serving in Iraq as a cavalry scout with the Stryker Brigade's 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, Robbins was killed in action on February 9, 2004. 

Robbins is the first Iraq War veteran honored by the Honor-A-Veteran program.

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John J. Kelly, Jr., US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin, Congressman Michael McNulty and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran and Distinguished Service Cross recipient John J. Kelly, Jr. at a ceremony on Saturday, November 4, 2006, at the Zaloga American Legion Post on Everett Road.  The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest honor awarded by the United States Army.

Kelly was a graduate of Christian Brothers Academy and Cornell Law School.  Entering the Army in 1942, he became a highly decorated war hero, being awarded the Silver Star for gallantry during the North African campaign and the Distinguished Service Cross for heroic action during the Battle of Sicily.  He was wounded in the landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day.  Kelly was a partner with the law firm DeGraff, Foy, Conway & Holt-Harris and served as counsel to the Civil Service Employees Association for 11 years.  He died at the age of 39 in 1960 due to complications related to his war injuries.

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Richard C. Jones, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin, Congressman Michael McNulty and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran Richard C. Jones at a ceremony on Monday, December 4, 2006, in the Cahill Room of the County Office Building at 112 State St. in Albany.

Jones was born in Albany on March 28, 1917 and was a graduate of Siena College.  He enlisted in the United States Army in 1940 and served with the 101st Anti-tank Battalion in the Mediterranean Theater, Tunisia, Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno and the Appenines Campaigns.  He was wounded in action while serving in the Mediterranean Theater and was awarded the Purple Heart.  In 1945, Jones was separated from service and entered the Army Reserve, in which he served until 1952 when he was honorably discharged.     

After his service, Jones was employed with the Federal Housing Authority and Pioneer Savings Bank.  He was later self-employed as a real estate broker and insurance executive until he became a regional real estate manager with the United States Postal Service.  He was an active member of the community, serving as president of the North Colonie School Board and a member of the North Colonie Elks. 

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