State honors 8 vets whose remains were never claimed

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STAMFORD -- Connecticut’s State Veteran Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly joined Lieutenant Gov. Nancy Wyman and state officials to honor eight Connecticut veterans--two sailors and six soldiers--whose remains were located and identified by the Missing in America Project.

The veterans' remains were never claimed or given a proper burial.

"That's what today is all about: that we will never leave a fallen comrade. And no veteran, whether in life or in death, will be forgotten," Connolly said.

Thursday, the eight men were awarded the Connecticut Wartime Service Medal before being interred at the State Veterans Cemetery in Middletown.

Before the burial, a public service was held at the Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home in Stamford for the soldiers and sailors. Following the conclusion of the service, a police escort led  the processional for the eight hearses. State and area veteran service organizations joined police for the transfer of cremated remains to the cemetery.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who attended the ceremony and sits on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the Senate Committee on Armed Services, said, "We're tempted to be sad, but really, we're celebrating men of extraordinary character and dedication to our country. We're celebrating an ethos of courage and committeemen that has come to us from centuries ago."

The ceremony honored:

  • Kenneth Joseph was born on July 15, 1925 in New York City. He enrolled in the United States Navy on October 13, 1943.  Kenneth served during World War II.   He was honorably discharged on March 24, 1946.  At that time he had earned the rating of radarman 3rd class.  Kenneth passed away at the age of 52 in Stamford.
  • Earl Dietrich was born on July 18, 1900 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He enrolled in the United States Army on October 1, 1918.  Earl served during World War I.  He was honorably discharged from the United States Army on December 29, 1918.  At that time he had earned the rank of private. Earl passed away at the age of 80 in Greenwich.
  • John Nelson was born on June 6, 1894 in Chicago, Illinois. He enrolled in the United States Naval Reserve Force on December 5, 1917.  John served during World War I.  He was honorably discharged from the S.S. Ninth Naval District and the S. Naval Reserve Force, Class A, on January 11, 1919.  At that time he had earned the rating of quartermaster 3rd class.  John passed away at the age of 81 in Stamford.
  • Henry DuFresne was born on February 19, 1891 in Lenox, Massachusetts.  He enrolled in the United States Army on September 29, 1917.  Henry served during World War I as a regimental sergeant major in the Central Record Office in France.  He was honorably discharged from the United States Army on August 28, 1919.  Henry passed away at the age of 87 in Greenwich.
  • Victor Glazer was born on June 23, 1932 in Brooklyn, New York.  He enrolled in the United States Army on August 4, 1954.  He served as a clerk in the Army and earned a Good Conduct Medal.   Victor was honorably discharged on July 28, 1958.  At that time he had earned the rank of private first class. Victor passed away at the age of 55 in Stamford.
  • Samuel Gruber was born on November 11, 1906 in Stamford.  He enrolled in the United States Army on August 3, 1943. Samuel served during World War II.  He was honorably discharged on January 3, 1944.  At that time he had earned the rank of private.   Samuel passed away at the age of 75 in Stamford.
  • Douglas MacKinnon was born on January 24, 1903 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He enrolled in the United States Army on July 27, 1942. From 1942 to 1945 Douglas served in the South Pacific. He founded the Armed Forces Master Records, which he helped to collect and distribute to armed forces all over the world. He was honorably discharged from the United States Army on May 15, 1945.  At that time he had earned the rank of staff sergeant. Douglas passed away at the age of 81 in Stamford.
  • Ernst Tuchmann was born on April 12, 1907 in Nuremberg, Germany.   He enrolled in the United States Army on March 27, 1942. Ernst served during World War II.  He was honorably discharged from the United States Army on October 29, 1945.  At that time he had earned the rank of technical sergeant.  Ernst passed away at the age of 84 in Stamford.

To date, the Missing in America Project has identified the remains of more than 2,700 veterans across the country.