Published on February 8, 2018
The local community came together at Bethlehem’s ArtsQuest Center in November to honor two veterans who live in Phoebe communities as well as other World War II veterans from the area. On Veterans Day, SteelStacks hosted “The Greatest Generation: Untold Stories of World War II” a free event that featured first-hand accounts of veterans’ experiences while protecting and serving our nation. Resident, Frank Lordan and First Sergeant Paul Kunkel, a Phoebe Allentown health care center resident
Assigned to the 50th Artillery in the European Theater near the end of WWII, Frank Lordan 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 Lordan 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.
Paul Kunkel served in the 22nd Special Services Company in Occupied Japan and was tasked with converting existing structures such as Shinto shrines into movie houses and other recreational venues for U.S. military 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 a First Sergeant at the age of 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.
The Greatest Generation event also included a Presentation of the Colors by the Steel Battalion ROTC unit and a screening of the 2015 documentary “The USS Indianapolis: The Legacy.” During the screening, World War II Veterans and World War II Re-enactors greeted guests at the event and the re-enactors also offered a World War II Gear and Weaponry Display.
Lordan was featured in the Fall 2017 issue of The Phoebe Messenger and Kunkel’s story will be highlighted in 2018’s forthcoming Winter Issue. To be added to the Phoebe Messenger mailing list, please complete this form.