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The Junction Bugle

The Sunday Dispatch has dominated non-daily newspapering around here for decades. But historically the Dispatch was not the only non-daily newspaper in these parts. Many readers may recall, or at least have heard of, the Wyoming Observer, The Exeter Bugle, and the Pittston Gazette which operated as both a daily and weekly.

But the Junction Bugle?

Before recently not even John Dziak, the founder of the Greater Pittston Historical Society had heard of the Junction Bugle. Then one day one of Dziak’s neighbors produced a couple full copies and fragments of copies of the Junction Bugle. Dziak was floored and so were we when he brought the evidence to the office.

The Junction Bugle was published during World War II by the Upper Pittston War Service Club and Junior Auxiliary. The editor was William A. “Scoop” O’Hara.

The two surviving full copies are from Saturday August 7, 1943 and Saturday, December 16, 1944. The earlier issue is labeled Vol. 1 – No. 8 and the later issue is labeled Vol. 1 No. 3, which tells us the paper was probably published intermittently every three or four months or so.

We’re pretty sure the Bugle lasted only for two or three years during WW II, as it was clearly aimed at providing news about local folks who were involved in the war and it was sent to Pittston servicemen on all fronts.

The paper did run a few non-war stories.

For example the 1944 edition has a story about the Pittston High – St. John’s football game. The St. John’s nickname, according to the story, was the Blue Jays.

From that story:

The twenty-fourth annual football Classic between St. John’s and Pittston High School was played Thanksgiving Day at West Pittston Stadium and some 3,500 persons cast their lamps on the Blue Jays walking off the field with a 12-6 victory tied under their belts.

A Giordina to Hastie pass scored the Pittston touchdown.

Both St. John’s touchdowns were run in by Jimmy Lavin after punts blocked by Linskey.

Also from the story:

To make the day complete the entire St. John’s squad attired in their uniforms visited the home of Chris Campbell a guard, who was stricken ill a few days previous. They cheered Chris up considerably when they presented him with the ball.

But that football game story was unusual for the Bugle.

Most of the pages were filled with news stories about the war and letters from soldiers. Al Petrolonis wrote from France: This country has better beer than the Limey’s, but it still tastes like some of that flat beer we got back in the Junction.

One story told of the heroics of Seaman First Class William “Tricky” Kridlo who received a commendation for meritorious action for jumping overboard in the Mediterranean Sea to rescue two fellow seamen.

Kridlo, the great uncle of Dale Kridlo, who lost his life in November serving in Afghanistan, was one of four brothers serving at the time. John and Danny Kridlo were in Germany at the time and Aloysius, Dale’s grandfather, was in England.

Another told of three boys who received decorations: Thomas Watson, Cliff Street, who was decorated after being wounded handling a gun aboard a transport during the Battle of Midway; Joseph “Jody” Hines, Market Street, who was decorated for his service as a gunner and bombardier aboard a bomber; and Vincent Wachs, 112 Butler, who won the Oak Leaf Cluster as a gunner in the African Campaign.

The Junction threw a parade and banquet for Hines when he came home on leave. Wachs also came home on leave and was promptly married to Jean Burns at St. John’s Church. He was reassigned to a base in Utah and took his bride with him.

A story told of PFC James Burke who was in the Army Hospital in Italy after being wounded, for the third time, fighting with the Fifth Army.

Letters from boys who received the Bugle came from, among other places, Iran (Pvt. Tony Yarmel), New Guinea (Pvt. John Donahue), somewhere in Germany (Pvt. Harold W. Collins) and North Africa (Pvt. William Connors).

A front page story in the August 7, 1943 edition is headlined: Junction Youth Participates in Tunisia Campaign.

The story includes excerpts from a letter from Private John Kundrak, who apparently was having trouble getting his mail. From his letter:

I don’t know where the difficulty lies but I am still waiting to hear from you again. To date all I can boast of is the first edition of your paper and a letter from Miss Agnes Gerloc. I hope you haven’t discontinued your paper, because if you have something should be done to get it started again. I’m sure the rest of the fellows will agree with me on that so what say.

Well, the war in Africa is over and since then we’ve had some good things happen to us. For instance, we’re back to three squares a day, have a tent with two blankets, received pay yesterday for February, March and April. Went to a city and had a helluva good time.

We had a Victory parade in Tunis. Our unit represented the United States Army and I’m telling you it was an honor. We paraded along the largest streets of Tunis and the applause of the civilian population started with the first step and stopped with our last. As our unit reached the reviewing stand in came the first planes of a few hundred overhead. The applause was deafening.

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