Post 42 of Ocean Springs, Miss., was honored to be chosen to perform color honor guard duties at the VA national cemetery. Special guest speakers were Congressman Steven M. Palazzo and Governor Phil Bryant. The keynote speaker was Maj. Gen. Timothy J. Leahy, Commander, Second Air Force, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The 41st Army Band provided military honors and Taps.
Ocean Springs resident Emile Ladnier was the only OS resident to lose his life in WWI; his monument is located in Pershing Square. Pershing Square consists of 360 veteran honor memorial bricks (now completed) for those who served in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East wars. Each honor brick has a story - there is an honor brick honoring a Medal of Honor Award recipient, several honor the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and one a survivor of the Bataan Death March from WWII. A WWII servicemember who comes to mind with an honor brick from Ocean Springs is Adelchi Pilutti. He entered the Army on January 1, 1941. A member of Post 42 prior to his death at 90, he was a member of the 508th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne. He led his squad at night behind enemy lines prior to the actual invasion of Normandy in June 1944. He was chosen to represent Mississippi in 2004 at the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. There is a brick for Korean Seabee veteran John C. Norris, who helped build a Korean orphanage and later personally funded the complex. An honor brick for the service of Gary Gollott of Ocean Springs as an Army tank driver in Korea comes to mind . His current wife Laurie Gollott and Joan Weems led the OS Garden Project in establishing the Gold Star Memorial next to Pershing Square.