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Grew up in Brooklyn but has resided on Staten Island for more that forty years.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army on March 16, 1965 and served until February 22, 1967
He was sent to Fort Gordon, Georgia where he began and completed his eight weeks of basic training. From there he was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky where he had taken his advanced individual training as an Armor Crew Man 11 Echo 20 in tanks.
Following that training he was sent to Hawaii for Jungle Training.
Leo was then shipped to Cu Chi South Vietnam along with B Troop, ¾ Cavalry, 25th Infantry Division as a tank crewman after a few months was transferred to the 65th Combat Engineers, Company E, 25th Infantry Division and drove a tank retriever vehicle until his tour was up.
Leo reached the rank of Specialist 4th Class
While serving in the Vietnam he was awarded the National Defense Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with two stars, South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w/palm, Unit Citation Cross w/palm, First Class Unit Citation Badge, Good Conduct Medal and a 45 Caliber Pistol Sharpshooter Badge.
After leaving the Army Leo became a member of the New York City Police department in November 1967 until his retirement in 1981. Leo is married and has two sons and one granddaughter.
Leo also belongs to numerous organizations including, BPO Elks, Fraternal Order of Police, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled War Veterans, American Legion, N.Y. C PBA and volunteers at the St. Edwards Food Pantry.
Leo has devoted his life for the past 25 plus years in helping his fellow veterans and other in the Staten Island Community
Lester Modelowitz was born in Brooklyn, New York. In August 1966, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for Basic Training.
Following Basic Training, he remained there for Advanced Individual Training in Supply and Demand. He was then sent to Fort Lee, Virginia for Advanced Individual Training for Quartermaster and Armorer training for Small Weapons. In February 1967, he was deployed to Vietnam and was assigned to the 1st Aviation Brigade, 162nd Assault Helicopter Company in Phouc Vinh, 3rd Corps. In May 1967, he was reassigned to the 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery in Dong Ha and Camp JJ Carroll in I Corp. He was classified as a Sp4 and was primarily a Small Weapons Specialist. While being attached to this artillery unit he mostly rode in convoys from Dong Ha to the units firing bases in Northern I-Corps. He returned to the United States in February 1968 and was assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky as a supply sergeant. After being discharged from the US Army he was awarded the National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
Lester Modelowitz married in September 1968, and worked in construction with the Carpenters Union until his retirement in 1992. Modelowitz is a member of the Kells–Grennie American Legion Post 316 where he has served as a Post Commander and County Vice Commander. In 2002 he was the Richmond County Legionnaire of the year.
He is a member of the Disabled American Veterans and the Vietnam Veterans of America where he served as 2nd Vice President of Chapter 421. Lester Modelowitz also volunteered at the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility aiding incarcerated veterans from 1992 – 2001, and was named Volunteer of the Year in 1996, he also helped with Con Thien Memorial Post 1945 which was at the correctional facility. In 2008, Lester Modelowitz asked State Senator Andrew Lanza to sponsor legislation which would designate March 29th as Vietnam Veterans Day in the State of New York. The bill was signed into law by Governor David Paterson on May 27th, 2008. (Chapter 90 of the laws of 2008). In 2010 Senator Lanza had Lester Modelowitz inducted into the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame. In 2009, Lester Modelowitz helped to organize Senator Lanza and Assemblyman Matthew Titone’s first annual Vietnam Veterans’ Celebration at Mt. Loretto CYO center on Staten Island. He was also an integral part of the second annual celebration of Vietnam Veterans’ Day in 2010 and continues to help each year. Lester is still an active member with the Kells – Grennie American Legion Post 316 and serves as the Post adjutant and did a complete history on Post 316.
Members Photo's Now and Then and their
Gaspar (Gus) LaRosa
Gus was inducted into the U.S. Army on April 27, 1953 and was sent to Camp Kilmer, NJ for processing. Three days later Gus arrived at Camp Drum in Watertown, New York. Camp Drum was a National Guard Training Facility that was activated to train regular army troops during the Korean War. Gus was trained as a radioman to assist a forward observer in the 278 R.C.T. Artillery. Gus said they trained for eight months opposed to the usual six months. We were ready to ship out when it came to someone’s attention that we never fired the 105 MM howitzers. Our unit then traveled by trucks to Fort Devens, Massachusetts for two months and stayed at camp near Devens that was closed since the end of WW II, and was reopened so the unit could practice firing. During this time period there was a peace treaty signed in Korea and we went by ship to Iceland, I soon found out that sailing in the North Atlantic in February is not a pleasant cruise. I was seasick for seven days. When you see sailors getting sick you know things are bad. We later found out that the ship split in half on the return trip. I was assigned to a 4.2 heavy mortars outfit. I soon learned that the horizontal control operator tour was over, and I was chosen to replace him
My new job had a lot of good factors, I no longer had to carry the heavy M1 Rifle, instead I carried a 45 Caliber Pistol. The heavy back pack radio was replaced by a table and chair and I was no longer in air shot of the mortars. To top it all off I was promoted to corporal. No more KP and now instead of standing guard in the middle of nowhere I drove the guards to their posts and went back to a warm hut. In February 1955 I flew back to Springfield, Massachusetts. And then to Camp Kilmer and completed the circle to end my time in service
Gus has been a loyal member of our Post and now serves as one of the Vice- Commanders and also as our Sgt-at-Arms