A Tradition of Service

The February program page has info about upcoming events on the PA Trails of History.

My thanks to Linda Bolla at the Erie Maritime Museum for text and photos related to our top story this week.

Echoing Erie’s long relationship with significant events and ships of the U.S. Navy, at least once a year the Erie Maritime Museum is privileged to honor a request from service personnel to hold their reenlistment ceremony at the Museum or onboard Niagara. Last month, the Museum hosted an unprecedented four reenlistments in a two-week period.

Captain James Bier, U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, administered the service oath for Staff Sergeant Kristina Perieff and Sergeant Steven Aceves on Jan. 13. Museum docent Lieutenant Colonel Bill Koehle, U. S. Marine Corps Reserves (Ret’d), facilitated arrangements and gave a tour to the Marines directly following the reenlistment ceremony. Marines served in both Oliver Hazard Perry’s squadron at the Battle of Lake Erie and in USS Michigan throughout her long career on the Great Lakes, home port Erie [both stories are told in the Museum's exhibit galleries].

Marines take oath of service at Erie Maritime Museum
Sgt. Aceves (3rd from left) takes the oath of service as SSgt Perieff (far right) and other Marines look on (photo Linda Bolla)
After the oath of service is given, another important award is always made for the families of active duty personnel. At BU2(SCW) Matthew Pfadt’s reenlistment ceremony on Jan. 19, his parents and fiancee were honored for their support and sacrifices. Matt's reenlistment ceremony and his wedding to Ashley were moved up on short notice as he is soon to be deployed to the Middle East. We wish Matt and his family the very best.

Family of Matthew Pfadt honored for their support
LCDR Baughier (left) honors Matthew Pfadt's (right) family - fiancee Ashley, mom Pam, and dad Jerry (photo Linda Bolla)
On Jan. 26, Petty Officer Jeremy Mong reenlisted and was promoted to “NC1” – Navy Counselor, First Class. Along with some of Petty Officer Mong’s colleagues, Lieutenant Commander Peter Hoegel drove to Erie from Pittsburgh to accept his reenlistment and commend him on his excellent work in recruitment.

LCDR Peter Hoegel congratulates Petty Officer Mong
LCDR Hoegel (left) congratulates Petty Officer Jeremy Mong on his promotion (photo Linda Bolla)

On a related note, we mentioned last week (or week before) that the Pennsylvania Military Museum (which also serves as a venue for military commissioning ceremonies) was hosting a town hall organized by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Site Administrator Tyler Gum recently received a thank you letter from the acting director of the VA's James E. Van Zandt Medical Center in Altoona, Charles Becker. Becker commended the museum staff and volunteers for their exemplary support of the event and their role in making it a success. "Your facility displays respect and reverence to our Nation's Heroes, and it was our honor to be associated with the Museum."

Thank you all--active duty personnel, reservists, veterans, and families--for your service. And thank you to the staff and volunteers of the Erie Maritime Museum and the Pennsylvania Military Museum for your efforts in honoring our service personnel.

In other news...

The Railroad Museum of PA has reached a significant milestone in their $250,000 "Ready for the Roundhouse" campaign, which will support media blasting, painting, and repair of 5 PRR steam locomotives destined for exhibit in the new Roundhouse. The PA Railroad Technical and Historical Society challenged the Friends of the museum, saying they would match the first $50,000 raised when the campaign was announced in November. They set a deadline of April 15 for the Friends to raise their share. As of Jan. 31, $60,000 has been raised, triggering the match. Combined that puts the museum at not quite halfway to the ultimate fundraising goal. Congratulations to all concerned and thank you to PRRT&HS for their continued support. (Read more here from Lancaster Online.) If you'd like to help them get the rest of the way, you can donate online via the Museum website.

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, State Sen. Art Haywood, State Rep. Jordan Harris, DGS Secretary Curt Topper, and PHMC officials marked the beginning of Black History Month by unveiling "Trailblazers: Notable African Americans in Pennsylvania History" at the PA State Capitol. The panel exhibit originated at the State Museum of PA.

The State Historic Preservation Office has reported out some of the results of a public survey that will help inform the next statewide historic preservation plan (covering the period 2018-2022). You can read a summary of the results on the PA Historic Preservation blog; they'll be posting about more detailed analyses periodically in coming months.

A couple of deadlines...
  • Undergraduate and graduate students wishing to be considered for this summer's Keystone Internship Program have until next Friday, Feb. 10, to submit their applications.
  • The State Museum is accepting entries for the 50th Art of the State exhibit through Feb. 28. Submitting artists must be Pennsylvania residents. All entrants will be notified of the jurors' decisions no later than April 7. The exhibit runs from June 11 to Sept. 10.


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