While living in Ozone Park, Queens, many of Frank Fontana’s friends enlisted in the US Army, so Frank followed suit. He was flown to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for training. Frank was a Sergeant, however one of his house boys fired Frank’s weapon unbeknownst to him and because of this incident Frank was demoted back to Private. He eventually worked his way back up the ranks to Corporal. Frank served in the Korean War – he remembers being stationed in Pusan and then traveling up North. He was in the chemical mortar battalion. Frank remembers seeing combat, sadly there were many fatalities in his unit, and at one point a mortar blew up right in front of him, throwing his body back. He was injured and sent to a hospital in Japan. He says he is lucky to be alive now! Frank received a purple heart award due to this incident.
When Frank returned after the war, he was discharged honorably. At this point he went back to school at Queens College and NYU for landscaping architecture. Frank states that the lifestyle of being in the Army and in war was not for him, and he was glad to come home and pursue school, a career, and his life. Frank went on to get married and had 1 son. Frank is now living his life to the fullest at The Arbors at Islandia East. He keeps himself busy with recreation activities, including Veterans Voices program with the local school children.
First Sergeant, Earl Douglas Brown, affectionately known as Doug, was born to a military family in Cherokee, North Carolina. He is proud of his Cherokee and Irish ancestry, but he is a true American through and through. Doug’s father and brothers were all military men, so at the age of 19 he enlisted in the U.S Marine Corps, which would lead to a decorated military career.
Doug served in Vietnam from 64’-65’ and again in 67’, 68’ and 69’. In Vietnam he served in a special unit called the “Force Recon Rangers.” he would assist with secret patrols across the border and special operations while stationed in Vietnam.
In 1962, before his 1964 descent to Vietnam, Doug was a Presidential Honor guard to President John F. Kennedy. He would guard the oval office and make sure no one got to the president. “Every morning I would open those big oak doors to the oval office for the president.” When asked what he thought of President Kennedy, he spoke fondly of memories of him. “I thought he was a great guy” “His children- Bobby and Caroline- use to roll across our shoes with their strollers”
Doug recalls the first time he was sent overseas. “I was afraid” he stated, but that fear soon disappeared. On March 8th 1965- by order of President Johnson, his company was sent to guard a U.S air force base. “It was 112°. It was hot! The mosquitoes could pick you up and fly away with you” he accounted.
Doug has received many accolades and awards during his military service. 2 bronze stars, 4 purple hearts, combat action ribbon, Navy achievement award, P.U.C- presidential union citation, N.U.C Navy unit citation and 5 South Vietnam awards.
After the war Doug applied to be a firefighter, he took a written test and then was sent to school in Pine Bluff Arkansas. While stationed in billings Montana, he flew airplanes during forest fire outbreaks. He eventually was transferred to Governors Island where he remained for 15 years until his retirement at Fort Hamilton in December of 2004.
Doug married Mary (Marie) Mea in August of 1964. He had met her while he was working at the White House and she was a college student on tour. They have one daughter whom Doug loves with all his heart. He also has 1 grandson and 2 granddaughters, ages 16, 14 and 6. Doug has lived a tremendous life, full of heroism and devotion to his country. Doug enjoys the quieter pace of life now, while residing at The Arbors at Islandia West. He is active in our veteran affairs, and was even in combat with Pat our veteran liaison, in Vietnam. Doug also enjoys chatting with friends, and sharing his experiences with staff.
Richard Brennan has served our country well with the US Army. He joined the Army as a teen and remembers vividly his experiences in World War 2, the Korean War and Desert Storm where he was a Convoy Commander. Richard remembers “These were hard times but it was an honor serving”. Richard Brennan has enjoyed living at The Arbors at Hauppauge since 2018, has made many friendships and keeps busy with many recreation activities daily.
After serving in the Army Richard drove a school bus and enjoyed making custom fishing rods. Richard has been married for 60 years. His passion is fishing and would love to show you some of his favorite catches. He has caught a tiger shark from Fire Island, a bass from Cape Cod and blue fish from Sunken Meadow all hanging in his room. Richard attends the Arbors monthly Vets Chat, sharing stories with other veterans. He enjoys socializing with his friend while getting fresh air on the patio. Richard will definitely get up and cut a rug when we have live entertainment; he especially loves 50’s music.
Peter Infanti joined the US Army at the young age of 18 years old. He served as a Corporal during World War 2 and spent 2 years in the service. Peter was married for 40 years and has one son. He grew up in Howard Beach until he wed and moved to Hempstead, Long Island. For 32 years Peter was a delivery driver for Nabisco. His hobbies included being a part of a bowling league and going to the casinos. Peter has resided at The Arbors at Hauppauge for 4 years and enjoys the many daily activities and has made many friends.