Warren County Career Center held a Thank You Drive Thru celebration of our area military Veterans on Nov. 11. Due to Covid-19 precautions, the drive-through event replaced the annual breakfast the district has held for Veterans since 2006. WCCC hopes to be able to return to the event, which draws hundreds of area Veterans for a breakfast prepared by Culinary students and program, in 2021.
WCCC students involved in making the day special include those in Graphic Arts who made posters and buttons, and those in Culinary Technology and Early Childhood Education who assembled gift bags and baskets as an FCCLA project.
A special thank you goes out to the students in the Lebanon High School Air Force JROTC, who greeted and cheered for the Veterans as they drove in.
Thank you to the following area businesses and individuals who donated items for gift baskets: Springboro Wendy’s; The Donut Haus; Centerville Chick-Fil-A; Premier Health; Jam & Jelly Lady; B&B Carryout; People’s Bank; Lixil; WCCC Adult Education Cosmetology; and WCCC board members Lori Raleigh, Dave Barton, Charles Anderson, Esther Larson; Lisa Babb.
Attending this year’s recognition was the Rev. Charles Edwin ("Ed") Pellett, 96, a member of the Americal Division of the U.S. Army in World War II. He is pictured with his wife, Katharine. The Division, named because it was formed on New Caledonia Island, was made up of infantry, field artillery and National Guard units already on assignment in the Southwest Pacific. He recounted his experience to his daughter in 2015 and she recorded his history, summarized below.
Rev. Pellett was a freshman at Indiana Central College, in September 1942 when he enlisted. He was assigned to Camp Roberts, CA, for Basic Training on 105mm howitzers. After Basic Training, he sailed in a ship-load of 5,500 soldiers under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on October 28, 1943, headed for the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations. He joined the Americal Division, the first Army troops to meet the enemy on Guadalcanal Island, in WWII. He was assigned to firing battery C as a forward observer, which lasted only a few weeks, and then he was offered a position as a Chaplain's Assistant, which he accepted.
The first Chaplain he worked with was Chaplain Captain James Tucker Riley, a Methodist pastor from Washington D.C. and later Chaplain Captain Ollie V. Elkins, also a Methodist pastor from the Methodist Tennessee Conference. Early in 1944 the Americal sailed to Bougainville Island, Northern Solomon Group, where they were engaged in combat most of the year. The Americal then sailed to Leyte Island, Philippines, training for a beachhead landing on Cebu Island, facing enemy fire. While on Cebu Island, the atomic bombs were dropped, instrumental in soon bringing the war to an end. On September 12,1945, the Americal shipped to Yokohama, to be the second echelon of Occupational Troops in Japan. As a Chaplain's Assistant, Rev. Pellett was a Corporal. Chaplain Elkins became eligible to ship back to the States. Since Rev. Pellett had no Chaplain to assist, he was assigned to the kitchen crew as a cook and promoted to T-4, Sargent. During Thanksgiving week, he, along with several thousand soldiers, had accumulated enough points to be allowed to return the States. They shipped to Fort Lewis, Tacoma, Washington, and from there by train to Camp Atterbury, Indiana, where they were mustered out on December 6, 1945.