Gainesville Daily Register


April 11, 2014

MOH recipients visit Gainesville Middle School

Gainesville — Medal of Honor recipients Bruce Crandall and Sal Giunta visited with Gainesville Middle School sixth grade students from the Language Art classes of Kristy Smith, Sonya Galvan and Elaine McHorse.

The visit is part of the Medal of Honor Host City program events.

Crandall and Giunta answered questions and developed a friendly rapport with students as they spoke about their experiences in the military and in life.

Giunta is from a small town in Iowa. He told students why he wanted to serve his country. “I was a junior in high school Sept. 11, 2001 when America was attacked and it had an impact on my life. I wanted to join the military.”

An Army recruiter talked to Giunta about making a tangible difference for his country -- everything has been given to him -- the right to vote, the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, the freedom to gather. Giunta was invited to make an impact for his country and join the Army.

Crandall was 11 years old during World War II and in his town had the responsibility to see that blackout procedures were followed in his community. He would knock on doors if lights were showing. His father and uncles went to war and three did not come back. “Everyone was committed to World War II,” Crandall said. “I had to give up my bicycle because it was made of steel. I have to give up anything that was rubber. Everybody lived off of rations. My brother and I provided fish for our neighbor by going down to the river and catching salmon. We missed some of our childhood because of the war. We were always concerned about war coming to our coast in the state of Washington.”

Crandall said he was drafted. “I decided to do it because I wanted to serve my country; get the two years over with and then I wanted to play professional baseball. I knew I could play ball in the Army. During basic training I tried to throw a hand grenade harder than I should have and tore my rotator cuff. There went my baseball career and 25 years later I got out of the Army.”

Giunta volunteered for military service and Crandall was drafted. Crandall explained the difference; when he was 18 years old he was required to sign up for the draft. Names were sent to Washington D.C. and numbers assigned. “If you had a low number, you were going to go. Low and go. You could join any of the services and keep from being drafted. If you were drafted you went into the Army.”

Crandall told students about his early years when he was based at the Presidio in San Francisco. He loved to fly helicopters and at the time the lack of federal aviation rules allowed Crandall to do some creative flying. He flew daringly under the Golden Gate Bridge, several times. Crandall said that he flew across country and when the gas tank got low, he would land at a gas station to fill up for the return trip back.

Staff Sergeant Giunta received his Medal of Honor on Nov. 16, 2010 from President Barack Obama. He was in Afghanistan a second time and received his medal for actions on Oct. 25, 2007 for rescuing wounded fellow soldiers while under fire. He served eight years in the Army, seven and a half years overseas in Afghanistan, Italy and Germany.

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Crandall is a veteran Master Army Aviator in both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. He led more than 900 combat missions during two tours of Vietnam. Crandall received his Medal of Honor on Feb. 26, 2007 from former President George W. Bush. Crandall received the medal for his actions that occurred on Nov. 14, 1965. He said he has traveled to the Arctic, South America, Thailand and two tours in Vietnam.

Students asked what their favorite subject was when they were in school. Crandall said “recess” and Giunta said “history.”

“I was always fascinated why things happen and how the outcome was and if you don’t learn from the past how will you ever learn to deal with the future,” Giunta said.

“It was the greatest honor and greatest responsibility to lead troops,” Crandall said. He would not tell students his nickname he received in the service, but  he did tell his call sign, Snakes 6. “You carry that kind of thing with you,” Crandall said. “They knew exactly who I was when they saw the snake. I was also a target.”

“I was one-one; first platoon, first guy,” Giunta said about his call sign.

Crandall said that medical evacuation helicopters are one result from the Vietnam War. The helicopters that provide quick, air flight for the injured were first used in Vietnam.

Students applauded the soldiers and thanked them for the honor of their visit.

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Local News

Cooke County Commissioners Court approved a proclamation declaring August, September and October United Way Months in Cooke County. Pictured during Monday’s commissioners court meeting are Craig Lamkin, Nadine Creswell, Pam Sidwell, Kathy Reed, commissioner Leon Klement, Judge John Roane, commissioner Al Smith, Billy Roessler, commissioner B.C. Lemons, commissioner Gary Hollowell, Ruth Chalmers and Cooke County United Way executive director Angie Hare. Lamkin, Creswell, Sidwell, Reed, Roessler, Chalmers and Hare were on hand to accept the proclamation on behalf of United Way.

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Business spotlight

The new Bosco’s Gym facility located at 1112 E. Main St. in Gainesville is up and running with state-of-the-art equipment and training available. Owner Sarah Galvan is excited about the new center that offers long time patrons as well as new members a place to rejuvenate and get fit. The estimated 7000 square foot facility houses an extensive weight room, work out space, treadmills, a cardio vascular area, aerobics, spin cycle room, two personal training rooms as well as a childcare facility. Hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Gainesville Pride
Staff outside.jpg

In the photo above, Dr. Matthew Bayne and his staff stand outside Family Dental Care of Gainesville.

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