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Ticonderoga High School welcomes veterans

Students hear stories of sacrifice, honor

Rolland Yaw, left, of Ticonderoga talks with Ticonderoga High School students about his experiences during World War II. Listening is Bob Sutphen, Ti High social studies teacher.

Rolland Yaw, left, of Ticonderoga talks with Ticonderoga High School students about his experiences during World War II. Listening is Bob Sutphen, Ti High social studies teacher.

— Taking part in the program were Yaw, World War II Army Air Corps pilot Bruce Craig of Hague, Navy Cold War and Vietnam Era veteran Larry Lauman of Chilson, Army Korean War veteran John Barber of Silver Bay, Air Force Cold War and Vietnam veteran Tom Provoncha of Ticonderoga and Marine Desert Storm veteran Jim Decker, a Ticonderoga teacher.

Students had an opportunity to meet and visit with each veteran.

“They’re amazing,” senior Ben Karkoski said of the visiting veterans. “It’s insane what these men did. It’s incredibly impressive.

“They (Japanese) sank Mr. Yaw’s ship and he still went back and fought,” Karkoski added. “These are great men.”

Lauman, served 22 years on submarines, enlisting in 1963. He served on America’s first nuclear attack subs and was assigned to the Tinosa, the sister ship of the submarine Thresher

April 10, 1963, the Thresher sank during deep-dive trials southeast of Cape Cod, Mass. All 129 men aboard perished in 8,400 feet of water.

“I get emotional sometimes,” Lauman said, pausing to compose himself as spoke with students. “We knew a lot of the guys on that sub (Thresher).”

Provoncha spent 26 years in the Air Force, seeing duty in Vietnam and around the world.

“I think it’s important that we let these students know who vets are, what they’ve done and what they still do,” Provoncha said. “I want to explain a little bit about the sacrifices of military life.

“A lot of these kids really don’t know about our history and the men and women who have made America what it is,” he added. “It’s vitally important that they hear these stories and never forget.”

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