Mr. Carolin Goes to Washington:
A few months ago, someone suggested to John Carolin, a veteran of World War II, that he apply to be considered for inclusion on the Hudson Valley Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. in October. T
By Robin Jovanovich
A few months ago, someone suggested to John Carolin, a veteran of World War II, that he apply to be considered for inclusion on the Hudson Valley Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. in October. The National Honor Flight Network is a non-profit created solely to honor America’s veterans for their sacrifices. Through local chapters they transport our heroes at no cost to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials.
The spry Rye resident, who turned 99 on October 1, made the cut.
“Before 8 on the morning of October 18, I and many other veterans were treated to a huge send-off at Westchester Airport,” said Carolin, who was still flying high two weeks later. The weekend included stops at the World War II Memorial, “a moving experience for all of us,” Arlington National Cemetery, where they saw the Changing of the Guard, and the Iwo Jima Memorial, and much more.
“There wasn’t a hitch in the day,” said Carolin. “The people orchestrating the trip were the greatest I’ve met, since those I met during the war. A number of the veterans were in wheelchairs and they were handled with care and ease.”
When Carolin returned from Europe at the end of the war, the transport ships brought him and countless others back to Newport News, and from there he took a train north. “We didn’t get a big welcome. We just went home. So the Honor Flight welcome and celebration upon our return was particularly meaningful.”
It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us
freedom of religion.
It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us
freedom of the press.
It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has
given us freedom to assemble.
It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the
right to a fair trial.
It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the
It is all Americans that salute the flag.
Carolin’s war experience was longer than many. He joined the 7th Regiment, New York National Guard in 1935. “I was in the Machine Gun Company. In 1940, he went to Ft. Stewart, Georgia to open the Army installation. “We had to clear the land, resettle the poor African-Americans.”
By the time the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Carolin was a 1st sergeant in the machine gunnery. “Next thing I knew it I was sent to Rhode Island to help set up a battery from New London to Newport and install searchlights for submarines.”
The Army sent him to OCS in North Carolina and then to Texas before shipping him to North Africa. He was the Communications officer for the 44th AAA Brigade. “My outfit supported Patton’s landing.”
Before the war was over, Carolin had served in Algiers, Sardinia, and Corsica, liberated a concentration camp outside Worms, escorted Gen. Patton near Berchtesgaden, made his way to Munich, and ended up at Eagle’s Nest, “where we welcomed the brass.”
He had a memorable war, and he finally got the homecoming he deserved.