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Queens Chronicle

Four area veterans to head parade

For Little Neck-Douglaston event

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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 10:58 am, Thu May 1, 2014.

The Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade Committee announced Monday the names of four Queens veterans who will lead the May 26 event.

They are:

• Lt. Col. John. Peterkin (Ret.), who served in the U.S. Navy as a steward’s mate before going to the City College of New York, where he was commissioned through the ROTC program. Peterkin served for two years in Korea during that conflict and returned to service during the Vietnam War, where he saw two combat tours. He lives in Queens Village.

• Thomas Dent, a Little Neck resident, who was a Queens College student and on-campus peace activist when Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941. By war’s end, he had been wounded by a Japanese bomb, survived a kamikazi attack and braved the inferno of a burning gasoline ship to rescue sailors in the water, from the decks of PT boats.

• Rocco Moretto, who was among the first 18-year-olds to be drafted into service in WWII. On June 6, 1944, D-Day, he waded ashore on Omaha Beach with a company of the 1st Infantry Division, “The Big Red One.” Of the 219 men in his unit, only Moretto and one other GI survived the war unscathed. He lives in Astoria.

• John McHugh, who was orphaned and impoverished during the Great Depression.McHugh also served with the 1st Infantry on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invastion, where he found himself unarmed after the rest of his machine gun crew were killed before getting ashore.

He survived five battles and friendly fire from Normandy to Czechoslovakia, winning a Silver Star and Bronze Star for his gallantry and service. He lives in White-stone.

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