CANCELLED – Battle of the Bulge and Pacific Theater WWII Veterans Talk, January 6, 2018, 12:30 pm

This event has been cancelled due to extreme weather conditions. We will be rescheduling for the spring, so please check back to see the new date.

Members of the Lehigh Valley Chapter, Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, will be joined by veterans of the Pacific Theater. Along with moderator Bill Gieske, they will lead a commemoration by sharing their stories, relating the conditions of the battles, and the price the Allies paid to win the war.

Program is free with museum admission or $5 for program only. Free for active military and reserve members.


Corporal Raymond DeRaymond

Raymond DeRaymond served with Company “C”, 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion. The 4’2” mortar shells weren’t filled with chemicals, but high-explosives. On the first day in actual combat, his Company was shelled continuously for six hours, and there were casualties. Besides working with mortars, Raymond was a rifleman who accompanied the Forward Observer. They were exposed to enemy fire many times in this function. The Unit battled through hedgerows to Sherbourg, firing many rounds in support of various infantry units. They continued through Northern France; skirted south of Paris to Chateau Thierry; then north to Belgium to fight in the Battle of the Bulge. On August 1, 1945, Raymond was awarded a Certificate of Merit by the Battalion. He was made a Knight of the Order and awarded the Medal of the Legion of Honor at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. (November 16, 2016).

Matt Gutman

Matt Gutman was born and raised in Allentown, Pa. He enlisted in the US Navy on June 15th, 1943 and took his basic training at Sampson Naval Training Center in New York. After seven weeks, he was sent to Camp Bradford, Virginia for amphibious training and then eventually to serve aboard a Landing Ship Tank, the USS LST-553.

Matt served as a Coxswain aboard a landing craft that carried up to 36 combat Marines and supplies to the beach in the invasions of the islands of Peleliu, Leyte, Lingayen Gulf, Subic Bay, and Okinawa. At the end of the war, he served for two months on a ship to sweep pressure mines from the harbors of Japan in preparation for the Occupation Forces.

While in the service he advanced from Seaman Recruit to Chief Petty Officer. Matt was honorably discharged from the Navy on December 19th, 1946. In 1955 he enlisted in the US Navy Reserve and served as instructor and recruiter until he officially retired on September 1, 1973. Over the course of his career, Matt was recognized for his service with numerous awards.

Major Nathan Kline

Major Kline has 42 years of military experience. He enlisted in the USAAF in 1942 and flew 65 bombing missions as a bombardier/navigator in B-26 Marauders assigned to the 454th Bomb Squadron, 323 Bomb Group, 9th Air Force. All missions were flown in the European Theater of Operations. Major Kline was involved in some of the European Theater’s heaviest combat including the D-Day Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. Twice, he was shot down behind enemy lines. Some of the awards he received include: the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with one Silver Oak Leaf cluster and four Bronze Oak Leaf clusters that equate to ten Air Medals, four Bronze Battle Stars, the French Legion of Honor by the French Government in Paris, and a nomination for the Presidential Citizen’s Medal by Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey.

Hank Kudzik

Hank Kudzik, the son of Polish immigrants, left Bethlehem’s Liberty High School to join the Navy soon after Pearl Harbor. He volunteered for the submarine service and got a berth aboard one of the fleet’s largest subs, the USS Nautilus. On its first combat patrol, the Nautilus headed for the tiny U.S. base in the mid-Pacific to help repel an expected Japanese attack. The boat was hit by enemy planes on June 4, 1942, near the Midway atoll, and dove to evade them. When the periscope went up, they soon realized that they were smack in what would become known as the Battle of Midway. They spotted a heavily damaged Japanese aircraft carrier, the Soryu, which was trying to get away. The Captain fired three torpedoes which all hit, but one didn’t go off. A Japanese destroyer spotted the Nautilus and gave chase. The boat began to dive, but the depth charge barrage was already underway. This was the start of what would become the first of a total of fourteen successful combat patrols on the USS Nautilus, and later during the war, the USS Gar. In August of 1942, the Nautilus was chosen to deliver US Marines to Makin Island. These turned out to be the legendary Carlson’s Raiders. Hank was fortunate enough to have met fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the commander of all land and sea forces in the central Pacific, on two different occasions.

PFC Frank Maresca

PFC Frank Maresca was born and raised in Jersey City, NJ. He served for three years as a rifleman assigned to F Company, 289th Regiment, 2nd Battalion of the 75th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. After training at Camp Breckenridge, KY, his unit was sent overseas to the European Theater. He was seriously wounded by German rockets in the Ardennes Forrest in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge and received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star by the U.S. Government. PFC Frank Maresca was awarded the French Legion of Honor Medal. The award is France’s highest decoration for merit or bravery. He was honorably discharged and currently lives in Effort, PA Frank has written about his World War II service in the memoir titled A Soldier’s Odyssey: To Remember Our Past As It Was.