FAIRPORT, N.Y. -- Two local veterans of the Second World War who were inducted into the New York State Senate's Veterans' Hall of Fame earlier this year were recognized by Senator O'Brien at the Perinton Memorial VFW Post 8495, the home of "Freedom Hill."
Bob Nolan of the Army and Lyle Dupra of the Naval Armed Guard and Navy were recognized for their service. Dupra is also a veteran of the Korean conflict, while Nolan later had a long career with the Central Intelligence Agency.
"It is truly humbling for me to have the opportunity to honor these men for their service to our country and present them with these plaques and certificates," Senator O'Brien said. "I know that is a small token of appreciation compared to the medals and accolades they've received, but I do think it's very important that they receive recognition and respect locally, as well. It is not only something that they have earned and deserve, but their life stories are also important lessons that we can share with our young people about personal sacrifice and responsibility."
Nolan, a Rochester native and longtime Fairport resident, served with the 104th Infantry Division, the Timberwolves and landed in France a few months after D-Day. He then traveled through Belgium on his way to the Netherlands, where his division was hailed as the "liberators of Holland."
The Timberwolves saw heavy combat in Germany. While under attack near the village of Franhoven, where 88mm shells seriously injured two of his comrades -- one of whom lost a foot – Nolan dragged them out of the line of fire and back to seek medical attention. For his heroism under fire, he received the Silver Star.
Nolan also served his country in the Central Intelligence Agency for several decades, including as its representative to the National Military Command Center, and as an Army reserve officer, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Dupra is a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy Armed Guard. These sailors were assigned to organize the defense of armed transport ships who often sailed without escort.
During his time in the Armed Guard, Dupra sailed on the Liberty ship S.S. John Alden, which was crewed by members of the Merchant Marine. The ship was attacked by Japanese fighters in October 1944 while offloading troops, during which time Dupra was struck by shrapnel and partially lost his hearing. Dupra received a belated Purple Heart for these injuries in 2002.
Towards the end of the war, the Armed Guard was dissolved and Dupra moved to the Navy, where he participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, by most measures the largest naval battle in all of recorded history. He also served aboard the minesweeper U.S.S. Device during the Korean War.
For decades after the war, he sought to increase public awareness of the dangerous work he and his brothers-in-arms had done in the Armed Guard. He has spent years writing articles and speaking in public about his experiences, and he also wrote and published a book, "We Delivered! The U.S. Navy Armed Guard in World War II."
The plaques presented to Dupra and Nolan featured their photographs and short biographies, and were displayed in the State Capitol complex in Albany earlier this year.
"It is my distinct pleasure to honor these two outstanding veterans of the Second World War," Senator O'Brien said. "These two gentlemen are excellent examples of why those who lived through their era are commonly called "The Greatest Generation."
Longer biographies of the two veterans that were submitted to the Senate as part of their induction materials are linked below.
Senator O’Brien represents the 55th district in the Senate, which is made up of the eastern half of Monroe County and the western half of Ontario County, including much of the city of Rochester.
Thomas J. Morrisey
office: (585) 218-0034