Scouts Meet with Sister of an Honored Veteran

BSA Troop 53
Jan 02 2006
Posted In: News

Five scouts and as many leaders, sat silently listening to Anna Perrella tell of her memories of her brother, CPL Peter Andrews, one of five former Troop 53 boy scouts who have died in service to their country during World War II.

The purpose of this visit was to have troop historian, Mike Fish capture information on one the troops “Gold Stars” who went off to war following his time as a scout. Daniel Albertine, Dusty Albertine, William Noll and Matt McKnight were also on hand to represent the troop.

Mrs. Perrella told of how Peter was eager to enlist in the Marines, but had to wait until he turned 18 years old to do so. Later, he was injured twice, receiving a Purple Heart each time, once on Marshall Islands and again on Saipan. He could have requested to return home following the second injury, but instead choose to remain with his fellow Marines. He was killed by a Japanese sniper near his foxhole on the black sands of Iwo Jima, in February 1945.

The battle of Iwo Jima is known to every Marine and many Americans alike, and Rich Noll was able to add that this battle represented the only time that Marines had suffered more casualties then they inflicted in a battle that they had won. The fighting was brutal and the photo of five Marines and one Navy Corpsman raising an American flag on the top of Mount Suribachi is one of the most published photos in history.

Mrs. Perrella also told the boys of what her family’s life was like prior to the war and shared some family photos with the boys. She spoke of the sacrifices required during WWII and spoke of the other men who gave their lives in the war. Some of them she remembers well. A total of nine Castletonians gave their lives in WWII: Peter Andrew, George Earing (a Bronze Star recipient), Edwin Fulgo, William Grooten, Jr., William Stolp, all prior scouts and Harold Dorn, Carl Jewett, Willis Lamberson and Frank Price. The Andrews family donated a plot of land that was to be Peter’s, and on that land was built the Castleton VFW Post 7337, which carries Peter’s name. The Vietnam War claimed the life on one Castletonian, Kenny Jaros, also a former scout, who died as a result of hitting a land mine while in a vehicle.

Mrs. Perrella also shares this information with seventh graders of the Schodack Central Schools and with the Castleton historical committee. She showed the boys the Western Union telegram that informed her parents of Peter’s death, and the limited information that accompanied that. “Loose lips sink ships” was the statement of the day, so parents would have to wait months or years to find out exactly what happened to their sons and daughters. CPL Peter Andrews was originally interned in the cemetery on Iwo Jima, but was later repatriated and buried in Castleton’s Mountainview Cemetery, site of Castleton’s Memorial Day ceremonies. She also told the boys of the many veterans who are buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Mrs. Perrella also related how the US Government assured the family that dental records had confirmed that the body brought back to the states was indeed that of her brother. Peter was home.