As the war years continued, the devastation and destruction had a profound effect upon those who served. Many went to war as children, but all who returned home came back as men.

Fresh out of Wernersville High School, Al Kasprowicz ’51 was drafted into the Army and sent to Fort Lee, Va. for basic training. Shipped out to Germany to be a part of the occupational forces, Kasprowicz says his view of the world changed drastically.

Al Kasprowicz '51
Al Kasprowicz ’51 takes a moment to reflect as he stands in front of Neuschwanstein Castle, located south of Munich near Yussen (circa 1946).

“As a young soldier of 19, my most vivid memory was the awesome destructive power of war; especially upon the buildings and other physical structures,” he says. “I was stationed in Munich and saw block long buildings with only the front facade of the building remaining upright, leaving only the remainder of the building in rubble. I was fortunate to be able to visit Berlin in 1946 and was amazed at the devastation and destruction of the city. I remember standing at the center of Potsdamer Platz, a former thriving commercial metropolis, now lying in rubble.”

Kasprowicz adds, “Without the full awareness of an adult, I marveled at the resiliency of the people who had endured this terrible devastation but were using their energy to rebuild what had been destroyed.”

As many servicemen did upon return from the war, Kasprowicz entered Albright with the benefit of the GI Bill®.
“I found myself out of step with my younger classmates,” he says. “For the most part, they had little awareness of what damage war can do. Most of my colleagues were veterans who were more serious and somber about what they had experienced. In some ways we grew old too quickly.”

Nevertheless, he adds, “Albright College offered us an opportunity to expand our academic knowledge and to see the world in a different light.”

Dr. Lewis Krimen ’51 agrees. Krimen, who enlisted in the Army in September 1946 after completing summer school at Albright, says his “experiences at Albright were the best one could ask for.”

Although the shooting war was over, Krimen says, “most people are unaware that World War II was not declared over until December 31, 1946.” Krimen was a member of the Occupation serving in a field artillery battalion with the First Calvary Division stationed about 60 miles northwest of Tokyo.

Upon returning to campus in February 1948, Krimen says it was a welcoming site to see many of his friends from Reading High School’s class of 1947, along with some of his classmates from the class of 1946 already enrolled at Albright.

The rush of veterans returning to campus began in February 1946. Coming back from the battle arenas of Europe or Asia, from military and naval bases, and from hospitals and prison camps, these veterans proved to be the best student bodies colleges had experienced in several decades.

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They were mature, thankful to be able to get on with their lives, and wanted to complete college programs as quickly as possible. “It was an era of optimism,” says Bill Marlow ’49. “We had a real sense that we could do anything we wanted to do. We had unlimited future possibilities. It was a time of great excitement and gratitude.”

(Factual information for this story was excerpted from Discovery and Promise: A History of Albright College, 1856-1981 by Eugene H. Barth.)
 


Albright College pays tribute to all Albrightians who bravely served their country. Those who gave their lives will remain in Albright’s heart forever.


Special Events for a Generation Defined by World War II

Tom Brokaw calls it “The Greatest Generation,” but however we collectively identify them, the men and women of Albright classes from 1938 to 1952 are part of a generation defined by the war that engaged the nations. This year, we extend a special invitation to these alumni to take part in several special events commemorating World War II.

Honor the Sixtieth Anniversary of Pearl Harbor
December 3-5, 2001
Albright College, in cooperation with the Blue and Gray Education Society, will participate in a symposium and extensive tour of the sites related to December 7th, 1941. The program, December 3-5, has limited seating and reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. An inclusive package will include airfare from the West Coast.

You may add days to the package at the group rate. Full details about cost and registration forms are available from BGES.

Call toll free 888-741-2437 or e-mail blue-grayedsoc@mindspring.com. Identify yourself with the Albright College group.


WWII Events at Albright Reunion Day 2002
May 3 and 4
A special series of events for alumni and friends of the classes of 1938 to 1952 will be part of Reunion Day activities. Watch for more information in upcoming issues of The Albright Reporter and your mailbox!

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Mdsn. William S. Reed, USN ’38
– May 5, 1942, Annapolis Naval Academy
Lt. Leslie B. Knox, USN ’38
– May 7, 1942, Coral Sea, Southwest Pacific
Lt. Paul R. Petrucka, USMCR ’41
– October 17, 1942, South Pacific
Pvt. James R. Doyle ’36
– January 30, 1943, Eglin Field, Florida
Cpl. Philip E. Riddle ’36
– February 25, 1944
Ens. Mark L. Titus, USN ’43
– March 11, 1944, Southwest Pacific
Lt. Donald W. Spatz, USMCR ’42
– April 14, 1944, Southwest Pacific
Cpl. Saul Pokrass ’44
– July 27, 1944, France
Ens. J. Harold Klopp, USN ’41
– March 29, 1943
Lt. (j.g.) Leo M. Sekulski, USN ’42
– May 30, 1943, Grossfield, Chicago, Ill.
Lt. (j.g.) Harold L. Carney, USN ’31
– June 19, 1943, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Lt. (j.g.) Edward A. Nicolai, USN ’40
– September 16, 1943, Southwest Pacific
Lt. William Smith ’45
– August 1944, China
Pfc. James F. Mohn ’35
– September 21, 1944, Italy
Lt. Leonard F. Stephan ’37
– September 25, 1944, France
Lt. Joseph R. Zeock ’44
– January 27, 1945, off Tokyo
Cpl. Paul L. Fleisher ’42
– March 19, 1945, Germany
Lt. Edgar C. Carpenter ’45
– April 18, 1945, Ieshima
Lt. (s.g.) John S. Smith ’26
– former member of the faculty and football coach
– May 28, 1945, Okinawa