This Veteran’s Day we remember all of our Members, both past and present, who served in our Military Forces. Today, I’d like to pay special tribute to two former Members for their military service.
— Tom Mungeer
Lieutenant George W. Carner
Lieutenant Carner has the distinction of being the highest decorated Member of the New York State Police. He was a Camp Man who was born on December 18, 1880 in Danbury, CT. On January 16, 1899, he enlisted as a private in Company H of the 4th Infantry of the US Army. He soon found himself in Cuba during the Spanish American War and then overseas where he participated in both the squashing of the Boxer Rebellion in China and the Philippine–American War. On September 5, 1901, while in pursuit of insurgents on the Philippine Islands near Nasugbu, Private Alexander J. Hewison fell into the swift moving Borac River. Lieutenant Louis Van Schieck jumped in to save him but also soon found himself in peril. Carner, a strong swimmer, jumped into the river and soon saved both men. In 1912 he was awarded the Certificate of Merit Medal, then the second highest military award, for his actions that day. In February, 1934 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal which had taken the place of the Certificate of Merit Medal. Later that year, as a result of legislation, his Distinguished Service Medal was replaced with the Distinguished Service Cross. Before enlisting at Camp Newayo in 1917, Lieutenant Carner also served with the 5th Infantry, the 7th Co. Coast Artillery Corps and with Troop H, 1st Cavalry of the New York National Guard where he served on the Mexican border. He served with the State Police until June 16, 1920. He died on May 16, 1959 at the age of 78 in Long Beach, CA and is buried in the Veterans Administration Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Investigator Robert L. Van Hall, Jr.
Prior to becoming a Member of the State Police, Investigator Van Hall had served two tours in the jungles of Vietnam as a Green Beret where he distinguished himself by being awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars – including one with a V Device – and a Purple Heart. As a member of the Special Forces, he was a member of an all-volunteer unit (MACV-SOG) which conducted covert operations behind enemy lines in Laos and Cambodia, running missions in very heavily occupied areas. After all of his service and sacrifice, Investigator Van Hall was senselessly gunned down on the streets of Corning serving the people of New York State on December 5, 1980.
We especially remember the following State Police members who gave the ultimate sacrifice to their country:
Tpr. Clarence L. Moe – Troop G – October 7, 1918 – Private Moe died at Camp Colt in Gettysburg, PA on the morning of October 7, 1918 of bronchial pneumonia at the age of 24. He was a Camp Man, an original Member of the State Police, having enlisted as a Private on July 9, 1917 and being assigned to Troop G. The United States had declared war on Germany and filling the need to fulfill his patriotic duty, Moe resigned on August 31, 1918 and enlisted in the U.S. Army the following day.
Tpr. Earl R. Wilkinson – Troop G – May 24, 1942 – Second Lieutenant Wilkinson was on active duty with the United States Army Air Corps when his bomber crashed in a swamp near Houlton, Maine. Tpr. Wilkinson joined the Division on June 1, 1929 and was assigned to Troop A.
Tpr. Peter J. Formosa – Troop B – January 13, 1943 – Tpr. Formosa died as a result of a military auto accident at Hempstead, New York. He was assigned to the U.S. Army, 826th Guard Squadron, Mitchell Field, Long Island, New York. Tpr. Formosa joined the Division on July 1, 1940 and was assigned to Troop B.
Tpr. Milton Ratner – Troop C – July 11, 1943 – First Lieutenant Ratner was killed in action over Sicily, Italy, during a bombing mission. Tpr. Ratner joined the Division on July 1, 1940 and was assigned to Troop C.
Tpr. Bryant P. Stickles (BCI) – Troop C – September 11, 1944. – Marine Sergeant Stickles was assigned to coordinate the advances of two combat units on the Island of Saipan and was attempting to reach one unit from the other when he was killed by an enemy sniper. Tpr. Stickles joined the Division on August 16, 1936 and was assigned to Troop C.
Tpr. William O. Johnson – Troop B – April 12, 1945 – Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Johnson was killed in action as a result of a Kamikaze attack while serving aboard the USS Rall in the South Pacific. Tpr. Johnson joined the Division on June 1, 1941 and was assigned to Troop B.
Tpr. Charles E. Hover – Troop G – June 5, 1945 – Lieutenant Hover died in a plane crash over northern Italy. Tpr. Hover joined the Division on July 1, 1940 and was assigned to Troop G.
Tpr. Richard M. Relyea – Troop B – July 11, 1978 – Tpr, Relyea was killed instantly by a lightning strike on July 11, 1978. He and other members of the 479th Engineering Battalion, Massena Army Reserve Unit, Company B were on maneuvers during field training when the storm struck. Tpr. Relyea was a Korean War veteran and a 20 year Trooper, last assigned to SP Canton, at the time of his death. He joined the Division on May 22, 1958.
Tpr. John J. McKenna IV – Troop F – August 16, 2006 – Captain McKenna left a covered and concealed location and attempted to render aide to a fallen solider when he was killed by enemy sniper fire outside the Iraqi city of Fallujah. He was a member of the United States Marine Corps as served as Platoon Commander of Company B, 1st Battalion, 25th Marines. For his actions that day, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. Tpr. McKenna joined the Division on February 14, 2005 and was assigned to SP Kingston.
Also, to those former members of the State Police who gave their lives in defense of their country:
Arthur J. Nealon – October 26, 1951- Captain Nealon, a member of the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, was killed in action while fighting the enemy in North Korea. He had been a Trooper in Troop B before resigning to join the NYPD – 52 Pct.
Alfred F. Simpson –August 9, 1967 – Marine Lance Corporal Simpson was killed in action in Vietnam. He had been a member of Troop K from 1955 – 56 stationed in Orange County. He was a Korean War veteran and was the recipient of three purple hearts.
Anthony A. Kaiser – March 17, 2007- Specialist Kaiser was assigned to the 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade. He died of wounds from small-arms fire after his unit encountered enemy forces in Baghdad, Iraq. Prior to joining the military, he had been a Trooper in Troop C from 2004 – 05.