Coaldale Memorial Day.............................Times News.............May 15, 2004

Ex-star athlete returns home to speak


Pete Sachon was a terror when he played football at Coaldale High and later Catholic University.

But there was one time he was stopped cold on the gridiron.

He was playing in a post-season game as quarterback of a Norfolk Semi-Pro team when at halftime it was announced that the Japanese has just bombed Pearl Harbor. It was Dec. 7, 1941.

Five months later Pete was accepted in the Navy Air Corps for Flight Training in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he was commissioned a Naval Aviator in February, 1943.

Assigned to Dive Bombing Squadron 8, aboard the USS Intrepid, and later the USS Bunker Hill Aircraft Carrier, Pete flew 36 attack missions in Palalu, Truck, Mindanao, Holandia, Philippines, Iwo-Jima, Okinawa, Formosa, and Quam.

In much the same fashion he racked up the athletic honors in football, basketball, baseball and track, the Navy awarded him six Air Medals, and a Distinguished Flying Cross.

Despite a much-traveled life, Pete, and his wife, the former Florence Webster, who was once an Army Air Corps Nurse, still spend their summers in Coaldale.

On Sunday, May 30, at 2 p.m. Pete will be in his hometown again, this time as the guest speaker at the United Veteran's Organization (U.V.O) of Coaldale Memorial Day services.

Sachon follows a long line of distinguished Coaldale son who have brought their patriotic messages home on Memorial Day. Last year's speaker was George Welsh, the former Navy quarterback great who now coaches the University of Virginia football team.

Following the war, Sachon returned to the United States and was asigned to a Fighter Squadron, and returned to the Pacific aboard the Aircraft Carrier Midway Peace was declared and Pete received his Honorable Discharge in January, 1946.

Sachon returned to Virginia where he played more semi-pro ball, and then went on to receive his Masters Degree from William and Mary College. He began a football coaching career at Newport News, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Virginia Beach high schools. His teams won two State Championships and tied for a third, as well as several conference championships.

Pete and Florence have four children, Florence, Peter, Michael and John.

Parade lineup

A full parade lineup is planned for the annual Coaldale Memorial Day parade and ceremony, scheduled Sunday, May 30 at 2 p.m. The event is coordinated and sponsored by the United Veteran's Organization (U.V.O) of Coaldale.

The parade will form at the Coaldale Complex Building and will proceed up Phillips Street to Third. Services will be held in front of the town hall.

Former World War Navy Pilot, Lt. Peter Sachon, a Coaldale native, will be this year's guest speaker.

Edward Blasko, Past District 12 Commander, and Past Commander VFW Post 6982 wll be the master of ceremonies.

Rev. Father Francis Baransky, pastor of the Roman Catholic churches of Coaldale, will give the Invocation and Benediction.

Mayor John J. Radocha will deliver remarks, while patriotic musical selections will be played by the Panther Valley High School band.

Student speakers willl include: Gina Poluka, 7th Grade, St. Michael Parochia School, "Lincoln Gettysburg Address"; Danielle Ems, 10th Grade, P..V. High School, "Flanders Field"; Colton Gibiser, 9th Grade, P.V. High School, "Logan's General Orders".

Nicholas Paraschak, past commander VFW Post 6982, will introduce the Roll Call of Soldier Dead, which will be delivered by Thomas Sopko, adjutant, American Legion Post 170.

The Panther Valley Junior R.O.T.C. will salute the dead and play Taps.

In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held indoors at the Coaldale Complex Building.