Name: William Bonini
Branch of Service: Air Force
Dates: 1949 – 1953
Dog Tag #: 03-2023-01
Bill and a good friend decided to join the Army one day during the global conflicts. They went to Bradford, PA walking from their hometown Mt. Jewett, PA. Of course, they stopped for a beer at local pups. By the time they got to Brand, the Army recruiter was gone, but the Air Force recruiter was there. They joined the Air Force instead. Bill passed the physical exam, but his buddy did not. A few days later, he was at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
After basics, he was on his way to join the war effort, where he was enlisted into the Korean War as a radio repairman. As the war progressed, every soldier’s involvement became more diverse and crucial to the war conflict. He was involved in many front-line battles and considered himself one of the lucky ones to make it back home. He served 4 yrs before being honorably discharged and returning to his hometown of Mt. Jewett, PA.
A couple of memories he repeats are;
‘His commander asked if he could drive a truck. Bill jumped at the opportunity. Once he saw the truck, he about shit. It was a supply truck he had never seen, let alone driven. His duty was to follow other trucks to unload cargo ships once it was his turn to get loaded. He saw case after case of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer! He said, “if they think. I’m not going to have a few beers; they’re crazy. I felt like I died and went to Heaven.”
‘One day, during a firefight, he and a buddy were in the trenches when a grenade flew in and landed next to them both. There was no time to get out and nowhere to hide. He has a moment to contemplate life and say goodbye. As luck may have it, the grenade was a dud and never exploded. To this day, that was his closest to death account.’
After completing his 4 yrs of service overseas, he decided not to reinstate and returned home. Shortly after, he and Doris Silvis got married and started a family. Every year he and other local town Vets would walk in the memorial Day Parade and finish at the cemetery honoring all past Veterans with a gun salute. Upon entering our little town, the town also honors veterans with their picture on a series of flags. Bill’s flag is flying at the beginning of his street, and he smiles whenever he goes by it. This symbol reminds an old man that he was once a brave young soldier fighting in the greatest fights this world has ever seen for the most significant humanitarian causes. Earning the title of ‘the greatest generation.’