Tuesday, September 12, 2017

John Veckly, Jr. and The Forgotten War

Through my ancestral research, I've reconnected with my mother's cousin Jane, who is my closest living connection to the Voegtly family. I'm so glad that I was able to track her down, rather randomly actually, through a letter I found when I quickly stepped into my home office to grab my slippers, since it was so chilly today. I noticed this single letter sitting on my desk amidst all the boxes and piles of paper, practically shouting at me to pick it up.

I don't recall seeing this letter before, or setting it aside, but there it was. I grabbed it and brought it downstairs to continue my online research later, but a clue written on the outside of the envelope by my mother led me to wonder. It was probably an hour or two later when I found an email address for one of Jane's sons and I sent him a hopeful email. It was only minutes later that he wrote back and confirmed I had the right person.

This found letter was sent to my mom in 1978 from her cousin, Jane, letting my mom know that her uncle, Jane's father, John Voegtly, Jr., had died. On the front and back of the envelope, my mother had written the key to unsolving a mystery that has stumped me for several months. It was almost as if she knew someone (maybe me) would be looking for this after her death.

Her notes said simply "My cousin Jane – daughter of my Uncle John (VOEGTLY), mother's brother – he changed his to VECKLY. I've been searching for months for Voegtly, not Veckly, and as soon as I entered the correct spelling, it was almost scary what I could find online. And I couldn't be happier.

I also found out that my mother's only other first cousin, Jane's brother, was killed in the Korean War when he was only 20 years old. He was a Marine like my dad was. And for awhile he was stationed at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, CA, where I lived right after college, renting a room from a Marine wife whose husband was stationed in Okinawa for six months. Interesting to have that connection so many decades later. When we were kids my family went to visit Arlington Cemetery and I wonder now if we looked for his tombstone. I found the details of his service and a copy of his tombstone that I wanted to share.

Private First Class Veckly was a member of Company D, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. He was Killed in Action while fighting the enemy in Korea on November 1, 1951 and posthumously received the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. "Jack" Veckly was stationed at Parris Island, then Camp Pendleton, and traveled to Korea in the Summer of 1951.

1 comment:

  1. That's such a tragedic store,it brought tears to my eyes.Sometimes people has to die in war without being guilty and that's exactly happened to john veckly Jr.