Throughout the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department’s nearly 100 years of service, we have been both privileged and blessed to have members that were not only committed to serving and protecting their community, but their country as well through military service. Some of our Charter Members have served as far back as the Spanish American War, while other members have served during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War or the current War on Terrorism. Other veteran members have served during peace time.
Whether these members served during war time or during peace time, they served with pride and distinction. Three of these brave members made the ultimate sacrifice and were killed during World War II, including Staff Sergeant Hersal B. Cralle, Ensign Michael H. Korn, and Private 1st Class Julius Vajda. A bronze plaque is installed on the front of the fire station in their memory.
Sgt. Cralle was a ball turret operator on a B-17 bomber and assigned to the U.S. Army’s 337th Bomber Squadron, 96th Bomber Group. Sgt. Cralle was killed in action when the bomber was hit by enemy fire over Lindhorst, Germany. He is buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery in France.
Ensign Korn was a U.S. Navy pilot. He was killed while flying on a training mission in Jacksonville, Florida. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
PFC Vajda served in the U.S. Army and assigned to the 30th Infantry Division, 119th Infantry Regiment. He received a Bronze Star for his actions in July 1944 when he captured a German soldier while passing through enemy territory to a vital message to other allied troops. PFC Vadja was later killed in action on January 14, 1945 during a break through of the enemy lines during the Battle of the Bulge in St. Lo, France. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
There are many other notable stories of our members’ military service. To learn more visit our website at www.chvfd.org/veterans. Click on each the various campaign medals and you can read their individual stories. The website’s Veterans Page is an ongoing project and we continue to update as we are able to identify additional members or find out more details of the members’ service.
We owe all of our members who are military veterans a debt of gratitude for which we can never truly repay. However, what we can do is never forget their service, not only to this department, but their country, as well. On this Veterans’ Day reach out to those veteran members still with us and say thank you. For those veteran members who are no longer with us, pause and reflect on their service and keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Spanish American War
Harry E. Burns – Charter Member * | Maurice Rackey – Charter Member * | Henry J. Schaefer – Charter Member * | George R. Tudge – Charter Member * | William Williamson – Charter Member *
World War I
Dennis P. Quill – Charter Member * | Raymond T. Payne *
World War II
Grafton Boswell * | Malcolm Bowling * | Frank P. Briguglio * | Earl Burdette, Sr. | Hersal B. Cralle – Killed in Action * | Lewis Crosby * | John Day * | George Dowe * | Harvey Ennis * | Otto Fankhouser * | Robert Fowler * | Frank Greer* | Howard Harrison * | Charles Humes * | Sol Kans | Michael H. Korn – Killed in Action * | Alfred Laughery * | Francis McCormick * | Henry Messineo * | Paul Mockabee * | Ernest E. Moreland – POW * | Benjamin Mullitz | John Nairn * | Herdon Rudasill * | John Simmons* | Roland Thompson* | Melvin Tyler* | Julius M. Vajda – Killed in Action *
John Devine * | Arthur Miller | Charles Miller | Fred Miller | Herbert Miller
George Dove | Richard Maxwell | Robert M. Russell
War on Terrorism
Dwayne A. Frost, Sr.
Peace Time Service
Albert Adams | Charles L. Baldi | David S. Breeden, Jr. | Tyrone Clary | Ramon L. Davis | Robert W. Fralin II | Brian Graham | William Hawkins, Jr. | Albert D. Johnson | Lyman J. Laughton – Charter Member * | William G. Lehew, Sr. | Thomas A. Yowell