MARKING MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND: YSU honors 67 who died on active duty

The American Legion Post 737, Lake Milton, present the flag during the opening of YSU Reading of the Names at Veterans Plaza on Wednesday morning...By R. Michael Semple

YOUNGSTOWN — As Dale Baringer sat through a short, but somber ceremony, he couldn’t help but flash back to his late brother.

“I did two tours of duty in ‘Nam. I lost my brother over there, so this is kind of personal with me,” Baringer of Austintown, said.

Baringer, who served from 1967 to 1975 in the U.S. Army, reflected on his brother, Billy E. Gipson, who was killed in 1966 while serving his country in the Marine Corps. Gipson was 19.

Baringer thought of his brother while attending the 27th annual Reading of the Names ceremony Wednesday morning at Youngstown State University’s Veterans Plaza.

Hosting the sobering 30-minute outdoor gathering was YSU’s Office of Veterans Affairs.

Read aloud were the names of 67 students, faculty members and staff associated with YSU who died while on active duty. The majority of those honored were students at what was then Youngstown College, and who fought in World War II.

Reading the names were Delmus Stubbs, Peter Reday, Sal Sanders, Susan Krawchyk and Edward Villone, all of whom served in the U.S. Army; Paul Arthur and Brian Kennedy, who were Marines; and Jaesson Lujan, who served in the U.S. Navy.

In some cases, the readers included additional information about the fallen soldiers, such as when and where they served, the high school from which they had graduated, other affiliations with YSU and the dates of their deaths.

Rick Williams of YSU’s Office of Veterans Affairs provided a brief history of the ceremony. He said 52 names were read aloud when the tradition began in 1996, with a small group of university employees and students with military service who had formed the YSU Armed Forces Association. Since then, 15 names have been added to the list, he said.

“We read the names aloud so they are each remembered and honored,” Williams said. “Their names were once spoken here as rolls were called. It seems right, in the best of military traditions, that we bring them home and call roll again.”

In addition, it’s likely additional Mahoning Valley residents with ties to YSU may be missing in action, he said.

Also part of the ceremony was Lake Milton-based American Legion Post 737, Voices of YSU and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 2 of Austintown.

“This is always a great service, and one of the few times we can say we enjoy doing something like this,” Baringer said, adding that veterans who nobly served the nation are becoming fewer and need continued public support.

He also praised the recent flag ceremony at Calvary Cemetery on the West Side, for which about 110 volunteers took part. Fifty of them were Ursuline High School students and the rest were people who lived in the surrounding neighborhoods, said Baringer, who also serves with the Veterans Service Commission.

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