U.S. Marine Corps, World War II - front row on right.
Medals Award - World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign
Duties - (Military Occupational Specialty) - 0311 Grunt; 6001 Marine Corp Air Wing Maintenance (Mag Unit)
Ralph Stanley Pachol
M.O.S. 6001 - to maintain and provide assistance in all areas of keeping all Mag craft in the ready position, areas can and do include mechanical, electrical and ordinance loading.
Marine Air Group (M.A.G.) is an active air group of U.S. Marines whose task is to provide aircraft assault support in all weather, night and day assault, capable of operating from an amphibious naval ship or austere expeditionary air fields or even forward operating bases ashore. It also serves as a crucial part of the aviation combat element of a U.S. Marine air group task force.
MOS 0311 Grunt - A soldier who is especially trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. Stationed USS Gilbert Island (CVE 107) mini aircraft carrier carrying marine corp torpedo dive bombers to areas needed for action against hostile enemy forces.
Duty Stations - Okinawa, Cherry Point, Esperiots Islands, USS Gilbert Island CVE 107 Escort Air Craft Carrier
Married Arlene (Wolfe) Pachol - Feb 23, 1946
Sisters: Frances, Helen and Jean.
Brothers: Ed, Ted, Hank, Allen and Stanley
Children: Richard, Staff Sgt. Air Force Vietnam; Ronald, U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam Era; Cyndi and Mary
Grandchildren: Brad, Eric, Mike, Ron Jr., Martin, Richard and Erica.
Stepgrandchildren: Robie and Mike.
Great-grandchildren: Colby, Cameron, Kilean, Cole and Cassie
Ralph Stanley Pachol was born in Dunkirk on Sept. 16, 1922, to Ignatius and Catherine (Dudek) Pachol. He was the last of the nine Pachol children in his family, having three sisters and five brothers. Ralph attended St. Hyacinth Grade School until the eighth grade in 1936. The next year, he became a freshman at the Dunkirk High School graduating in the class of 1940. Ralph excelled in football, playing the game with Potsy Rosumalski, Ed Kujawa and Marion Mamp as his close friends and teammates.
After high school was over, the military was the next phase in Ralph's life. In the summer of 1942 along with friends Frank Mucha, James Mamp, Aldolph Dobek and Henry Kupiec, the five boys traveled to Buffalo to enlist in the military, not really knowing what branch they would end up in. At the end of that day Ralph was now a part of the U.S. Marine Corp.
Later on, a book was written on Adolph Dobek, titled "Bombadier," which told of being shot down over Germany. In his book Adolph had talked about his friendship with Ralph. Getting back to the early summer of 1942 that's when Ralph met the girl that he was going to marry, but at that time he didn't know it yet.
The first date ended up just being a bicycle ride home after swimming off the Dunkirk breakwall. At that time the girls swam on one side and the guys on the other. It wasn't until a few years later when Ralph had earned leave time to come home, the two reunited when a group of boys and girls went to Celoron, N.Y. for a night of dancing. This dancing date got organized and a reunion was to take place at the College Inn in Dunkirk, a local bar on Roberts Road in Dunkirk's First Ward. A place at that time where everyone met and enjoyed hanging out together.
After the 30-day leave Ralph returned to the Esperiotos Islands and reported to the Mag 2 Armory Group. Ralph spent the rest of the war in the Marine Air Group and did his duty as mag unit maintenance Marine. He made sure the Marine air group fighter planes were ready for duty.
At night as a 0311 grunt Ralph spent six hours every evening assigned to perimeter guard duty and with that job and Ralph's rank became the title corporal of the guard. His next assignment took him to the USS Gilbert Island 107 A U..S. jeep carrier, some would call them a baby flat top some an escort carrier. Ralph was assigned to work on the marine corp torpedo dive bombers and while being a marine on a U.S. naval ship sometimes ended up with much rivalry between the sailors and marines.
All Ralph's letters were censored so over a year Arlene or his family never knew where or what Ralph was doing. A lot of times mail would get lost or delayed so it was so difficult at times to understand because the letters never came in order. At times you would read about things that had happened in May and the next letter talked about things that happened in February. So when Ralph received all his mail he never knew what one to read first.
When Ralph was 18, he had received a job at the Alco Plant in Dunkirk. He became a welder and was quite good at it. Leaving the Alco Plant to serve our country, Ralph felt he had a good chance of returning to Alco after the war.
That was not the case, with the war over, so were the war contracts. So after applying for reemployment to his old job Ralph was refused. There were no jobs to be had. Ralph then received employment as a bartender for the Moniuszko Club within a year Ralph got a call from Alco to come back. They found a job for him as a welder. The Alco job kept Ralph working for 23 years and like others in the area they decided to close the doors. Ralph now had to travel to Lebanon, Pa., to land work as a welder for the Cleaver Brooks Co. Being so far away Ralph ended up living in a boarding house with four other guys only coming home on certain weekends. Ralph's wife and children were home in Dunkirk.
Another job was offered at Basco in Buffalo being a lot closer Ralph changed jobs. Finally, Plymouth Tube in Dunkirk was hiring Ralph being a top-notch welder was hired from the first list being called third. As in the past it was too good to be true. As the Alco did to Ralph years earlier Plymouth Tube did the same. The doors were closed and Ralph again was looking for work. A call from Richard Anson landed Ralph his final employment at Lakeside Precision until his retirement.
This World War II hero can finally enjoy the life he worked so hard for. His wife Arlene told me that Ralph learned three words when he retired. These three words were one, golf; two, every; and three, day - and golf every day is what Ralph did.
The famous foursome at Hillview were brothers Ralph, Teddy, Stanley and Bob Meyers. Having golfed every day never brought a hole in one for Ralph. But anyone who saw his game would say he would always hit the ball a mile and straight as an arrow. Ralph's brother Stanley who is 92 years old still golfs today. When the courses close for the season you could find Ralph at the bowling alley. His wife, Arlene, would be home dusting off all the summer golf trophies that her husband brought home.
On April 20, 2003, we lost a local hero. A hero that when our country needed him, he went. Ralph Pachol went and did his job and came home. When coming back, all he wanted was his old job and his life back. He earned it! Don't you think? But never really got it.
While in Vietnam we always believed that once we made it through the war life was going to be easy. I'm sure it was the same for World War II veterans. But it was never easy. Ralph's life wasn't easy, going from job to job living hundreds of miles away from his family. Ralph Pachol wasn't given a thing. Everything Ralph got he earned, no free passes for this marine.
While doing this story about Ralph and sitting in his dining room I could see all of Ralph's life around me all the photos, all the trophies, all the memories. But the thing that fascinated me about Ralph's life was in a box held dearly by his wife, Arlene. A box that to me carried the real life of Ralph Pachol. In this box were old orders, discharge papers, photos, and a stack of letters each one stamped (passed by Naval censor) letters that have this young, handsome Marine writing to his beautiful girlfriend back home. It brought a tear just knowing what this Marine was going through by just doing his duty. When we discussed the letters and how sometimes letters were never in order sometimes reading about August and the next being an April letter.
As we continued, we saw how precious these perfectly stacked, in order by date, letters were. We had talked about a school project their granddaughter had about World War II. Arlene told me of the times her and her granddaughter would read the letters from Ralph and the tears that would fall - along with the laughing when the mushy parts in the letters came up.
The one thing that fascinated me most is when Arlene commented that her granddaughter had on many occasions said, "Grandpa did that. Grandpa was there. I never knew." That is why we have these stories. How many grandpas, how many fathers, how many brothers are still with us? And all it will take is someone close to say grandpa, dad tell me about your life as child. How were things back then? What was it like? Grandpa I want to know. I need to know your life, tell me, tell me everything.
They will. They will tell you. It's your history. It's your child's history, it's your grandchildren's history. All you have to do is just ask. Do it today. Do it before it's too late!
In the end, the story will be written about Ralph, a local hero who did his duty for his country. Ralph Pachol a U.S. Marine, worked on Marine Corps fighter planes during the day and at night he was a corporal of the guard. The corporal of the guard is responsible for the entire perimeter of a military base.
His decisions could save the base or possibly have it overran. With the war behind him Ralph Pachol USMC, then became Mr. Ralph Pachol, husband, father, golfer and bowler. He married his sweetheart, built his home, raised a family and even got in a little golf. Whenever I heard of the name Ralph Pachol before I always related the name to a great golfer from our area. From this day on the name Ralph Pachol will be thought of by me as a hero. For this Ralph Pachol is our local hero.