Celebrating 100 Years - Our Alumni Serve

We continue to look back at great Rossford Schools alumni during its 100th year in downtown Rossford and today we are looking back at the deep, honorable, and proud tradition our alumni have bravely serving our country in the United States military.

Rossford Junior-Senior High School has a Wall of Honor, began by the Serving Our Soldiers Club. Originally the wall featured photos of the veterans, and when we entered our new building we added a touchscreen that can hold more information including a biography section for those who served. Below we take a look at some of those biographies and see some stories from our Rossford graduates who have served. If you or a family member isn’t on the wall yet, or doesn’t yet include a bio, please email [email protected] to be included.

This Friday, Dec. 9 the Rossford High School boys basketball team is hosting a Military Appreciation Night when it faces Lake at 7:30 p.m. Military members with a military ID get into the game for free and will be invited to the hospitality suite during halftime for light refreshments.

When looking at Rossford Schools alumni history in the armed forces something that stands out is how they served together. From families to classmates, Rossford graduates have served in the air, sea and ground together all over the world in all eras since RHS opened its doors 100 years ago.

In the Class of 1958 classmates John Durco, Richard Nietrzeba, John Szul, John Rumer and Joe Balla all joined the Navy together. In the Class of 1949 Stan Bishop, Dave Doren and Tom Maddock joined the Air Force. Doren served as a radio operator and Maddock a pilot. Also in that class was Wesley Falls who was a radio man in the Marines and received a Purple Heart for being wounded in 1951. He continued to serve in Korea until 1953.

In Vietnam we had so many classmates from different years serving together. Michael Jimison was a helicopter pilot while John Strzelecki was a specialist in generator repair on transfer fuel pumps for the helicopters (he earned Bronze Star for meritorious service against hostile force). Richard Kusner was on the Green Beret Special Forces.

Norman Losonsky left playing baseball for the Minnesota Twins farm team to be a marksman in the Army. Rick Tilimon is an Army Sergeant who received three Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars in Vietnam. Jack Tisdale worked up from Private to Corporal in the Marines during Vietnam earning National Defense Service Medal, Vietnamese Service Medal, and Purple Heart with a Rifle Marksmanship Badge among other honors.

During World War II the European Theater so many Bulldogs fought for our country. John Bobak was a B-26 Tail Gunner, Joseph Richards Jr was on the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, John M Cincala was a Flight Engineer and B-25 Bomber, Louis Pietrasz was in 324th Troop Carrier Squadron and European Air Transport Command (he also helped with planned USO entertainment shows), and Charles Hatas was on the 325th Bomb Squad and played in the Army/Navy football game in London in front of 50,000 spectators.

Walter Stachowicz served in the 204th Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion where he was injured and received the Purple Heart in the Asiatic Pacific Theater of Operations in the Philippines and Okinawa.

So many of our alumni served in unique and all vital roles throughout many international affairs.
Bradley Goeke served as an Orthopedic Surgeon for the Air Force. Donald Staczek served in the Navy through the Berlin Crisis and then Cuban Missile Crisis as Airman and AE-4 Aviation’s electricians working in the avionics shop. Joseph ‘Moe’ Minarcin Jr served for 35 years retiring rank of Chief Master Sergeant, E-9 with 180th Fighter Wing.

Megan Hirzel built servers and communication platforms and is Martial Arts and Foreign Weapons instructor for the Marines. Edward Reiter was a training officer for the 983rd Engineering Battalion and later attended a special school to become an expert on brainwashing techniques that were being used by the Communist Chinese in the Korean War.

Russell A Frautschi was a radio operator technical sergeant for the Army Air Corps and was shot down and captured during WWII. After 20 months as a prisoner of war, suffering from frostbite and malnutrition he was released on June 3, 1945.

Tyler Fargo became an expert for the Air Force with their ejection systems to make sure pilots have a safe and quick ejection in an emergency. James Rossler, Class of 1949, graduated from Air Weather School and helped in the Strategic Air Command and later trained future Air Weather Observers. Chester Mierzejewski Jr. was on a crew that flew dirigibles (look like blimps) along the coast during WWII looking for enemy ships. James Hatas worked as Intelligence Operations Specialist for the Air Force.

The list of veterans proudly serving our country is much longer with many other roles and responsibilities our country is grateful for.

We also remember those lost in battle including Timothy Williams who died in Vietnam, Michael Strahocki killed in action in July of 1944 in the Battle of Normandy. William Stock died in a car accident near Camp Lejeune in 1952. Thomas Belkofer who was killed in a Taliban attack in Kubal, Afghanistan on May, 18 2010 and is buried at the Arlington Cemetery. John Folcik was killed in action on Nov. 16, 1944 in Schevenhutte, Germany while serving with the 9th Division, 47th Infantry.

We will never forget those and others who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country in action.

Others like Norman Losonsky and Steven Bacon died later in life to complications of Agent Orange, a chemical sprayed during the Vietnam War which caused illness and death to thousands of soldiers later in life.

Rossford Schools are incredibly appreciative of all our alumni who have served. This was just a glimpse into a few of the bios from our Wall of Honor touchscreen. If you can visit for our basketball game Friday, please click the screen and see all 151 honored on the touchscreen. If you or family aren’t honored on it and served, please email [email protected] to be included. Rossford Schools looks to continue to honor those serving.

John A. Kachmarik, Air Force Captain from Class of 1959, wrote in his biography “I was proud to serve.” The Rossford Schools community is so proud of all of our military veterans.

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