Veterans Day is observed annually on November 11th, honoring those who have served honorably in the armed forces of United States. The day was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the end of World War I. The observance was originally known as Armistice Day, because major hostilities were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
Again, this year, MDNA is privileged to celebrate the many veterans who have served our country. They deserve our highest praise. In recent weeks, it has been our pleasure to pay tribute to some of these heroes who have ties to the MDNA. Here is a recap of that recognition.
Captain Bill Newton was an Army Air Corps air gunner during World War II. He also was a Scripps-Howard News Service war correspondent who covered the Japanese surrender on the deck of the battleship USS Missouri, where he later joked with friends that he’d "left a ring in (Gen. Douglas) MacArthur’s tub." During his career as a Scripps-Howard staff writer, he also reported on village life in Spain under the Franco regime and traveled with soldiers of Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist army during the Communist revolution in China.
Newton was among 14 American news correspondents who died in the line of duty in a plane crash near Bombay, India, on July 12, 1949. He is the maternal grandfather of John Paff, owner and founder of MDNA Premier Vendor Fort Wayne Marketing.
Larry Lachant served in the Army from 1955-1957 as a corporal in the 7th Army’s 4th Ordnance Battalion, Quartermaster Corps. He was stationed not far from UiJongBu, in present-day South Korea. He would tell his son Michael that, very much like the Cpl. Klinger character in the iconic TV show, “M*A*S*H”, he would get into trouble with his superiors for not filling out the proper paperwork before sending out supplies. He said he couldn't stand the thought of "his guys" freezing in trenches and foxholes waiting for gloves and boots and jackets, while the right paperwork was done, so he would just send it first and correct it later.
After his time in the service, Larry founded MI-RO Machinery after working for MDNA member Federal Machinery. His son, Michael Lachant, CEA, grew up in the business and now runs MI-RO Machinery, in Woodbridge, NJ.
Charles H. Thornton, III, is the father of Chip Thornton, CEA, and the grandfather of Chase Thornton, both of whom are with MDNA Member firm Presses for Industry, of Detroit.
He served in the Army during the Korean War, from 1952-1954 as a military police officer (MP) stationed at Fort Knox, KY. Among his duties there was tracking down deserters — often in the wild and woolly Kentucky backwoods — as well as service members who were AWOL (absent without official leave).
Charles H. Thornton, III, is now 90 years old and among a ever-smaller number of veterans of the Korean conflict.
Army Private First-Class James Conway and Marine Sergeant Ryan Emmons are the father and stepson, respectively, of Mark Conway. Mark is with MDNA Member Tramar Industries, of Novi, MI.
PFC Conway fought in Ardennes Forest Campaign — more commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge — and was wounded in action on December 13, 1944, earning his first Purple Heart. He was wounded again on December 21, 1944, earning a second Purple Heart. That injury took him out of action and he spent the remainder of the war recovering from his wounds.
James Conway was honorably discharged in 1945 and spent the next 35 years working at Chrysler, retiring in the 1980s. He passed away in 2001.
Sgt. Emmons served in the Marine Corps from 2000-2005 as a helicopter mechanic. He was assigned to the Presidential Helicopter Squadron (HMX-1) and traveled to South Korea with President George W. Bush.
Today, Ryan works as a cybersecurity manager in Georgia.