By Scott Muska
MARTINSBURG - During World War II, Army Air Corp veteran Bart Hoover was on board a ship in the Indian Ocean that was torpedoed by a German submarine.
Mirror photo by Scott Muska
Army Air Corp veteran Bart Hoover and Mary Jamison chat Saturday during a luncheon honoring World War II servicemen at The Park at Morrisons Cove. Mary Jamison was there with her husband, Leo, who also served in?World War II.
Specifically, German Submarine No. 862. Hoover, a sharp and well-spoken 93-year-old from Claysburg, still remembers the name of the vessel and many other details of the ordeal vividly.
It sunk, and Hoover and the other surviving soldiers spent a week crammed aboard a raft together with very few supplies beyond two cases of Philip Morris cigarettes - Hoover wasn't even a smoker - before they were rescued, he said.
Hoover shared his story with some of about 250 veterans and attendees of a World War II Veterans Salute Saturday at The Park at Morrisons Cove.
They gathered for a luncheon and a program that were a continuance of Thursday's Veteran's Day celebrations, and Hoover said he appreciated the recognition they were getting.
Army veteran Dominic Cecera looked out across the room at all of the people sitting at tables during the luncheon and said the turnout made him feel like he was on top of the world.
"It gives you a warm feeling inside that people respect and remember that we did what we had to do," said Cecera, an 84-year-old who lives at the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home. "I don't regret a second of it, and I'd go back and do it again right now if I had to."
Cecera's daughter, Lynne Cecera, said she was astounded by the fact that the veterans had to fight at such a young age. Her father was only 17 when he went to war.
"Well, the younger you are, the faster you can run," Dominic Cecera said.
After the luncheon, there was a slide show accompanied by Billy Ray Cyrus's song "Some Gave All" that saluted veterans. Then, the veterans had fellowship and reunion time with colleagues and friends.
Jean Sinal, one of the event's volunteers and a seventh-grade teacher at Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School, said some of her students had prepared placemats and cards for the veterans.
She likes to stress the importance of helping and honoring veterans in the classroom in hopes that the students will continue to do so when they're finished with their schooling.
"We have to support our soldiers and be proud of everything they do," she said. "Sometimes we can do that by trying to enrich their quality of life."
Mirror Staff Writer Scott Muska is at 946-7435.