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Steelers Blog

Steelers honor Military Veterans

Posted by Teresa Varley on November 10, 2013 – 1:02 pm

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As a part of Veterans Day celebration and the NFL’s Salute to Service, the Steelers honored Veterans of Foreign Wars, as well as a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor, prior to today’s game against the Bills.

The veterans stood on the field along with players during the National Anthem, and were given a huge, well-deserved ovation by the Heinz Field crowd.

The veterans honored included the following:

** Seaman First Class Alan Sanford who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Sanford was serving on the U.S.S. Ward when they were attacked and was one of the few able to fight back. He later went on to work for NASA and assisted the Air Force with training in Iran in 1980.

** Corporal Stephen Vukson served in the U.S. Army’s 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion during World War II. Vukson, 92 years old, was honored in 2012 by the U.S. Army’s Chemical Corp Regimental Association with the Order of the Dragon, their highest award.

** Carpenters Mate Second Class Gene Rockacy, who will be 97 in December, served in the Pacific Theatre of World War II.  As a Navy Seabee, he was sent to Dutch Harbor, in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, then to the island of Saipan in the South Pacific.

** Corporal Andy Andrews, 80 years old, served in the U.S. Army’s 7th Division during the Korean War. While on combat patrol his Platoon was caught behind enemy lines and at 17 years old he was captured and spent 31 months as a POW. He has received the Combat Infantry Badge, nine Battle Stars and the POW Medal.

** Private First Class Weldon “Donnie” Luck served in the U.S. Army’s173rd Airborne Brigade during the Vietnam War. In April, 1971, he earned the Purple Heart during an intense battle in the central highlands of Vietnam. He was also awarded the Combat Infantry Badge.

** Sergeant First Class Bill Forristall served with the U.S. Army in the 10th Special Forces Group during Desert Storm. He performed combat search and rescue missions and became head of security over the Northern no fly zone. After 21 years of service, he was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal.

** Staff Sergeant Brian P. Dillon served with the U.S. Marine Corps during the Iraq War. Dillon served with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 8th Marines in Iraq in 2004 during his first of four deployments. He was deployed in 2005 and 2007 with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion 6th Marines. In 2010 he was deployed with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion 6th Marines, to Marjah, Afghanistan. During his last tour he led over 120 combat patrols and earned a Bronze Star with Valor for his actions.

** Corporal Brandon Rumbaugh served with the U.S. Marines during the War in Afghanistan. Rumbaugh, who served with the 8th Marines, earned a Purple Heart when he stepped on an IED while coming to the aid of another Marine who lost both legs stepping on an IED.  He also was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon and the Navy Commendation Medal for valor in combat.


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