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In memory of our Honor Guard Members for their dedication and commitment throughout the years. May they Rest in Peace.
Raffaele “Ralph” Pascazio, 82, died peacefully early Friday morning, March 31, 2023 at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany with his loving family at his side. Ralph was born in Modugno, Bari, Italy on November 11, 1940, the son of the late Giacinto and Antoinetta Fragassi Pascazio. Ralph was foreign car mechanic while living in Italy. He legally emigrated to the United States in November of 1961 and settled in Cohoes. He resided in Watervliet for many years before moving to Latham in 2008.Ralph Pascazio
WEST HEBRON – Donald R. “Don” Coldwell, 81, of West Hebron, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at his residence with his family by his side. He was born September 29, 1941 in White Plains, the son of the late Dwight and Louise (Hang) Coldwell. Don graduated from Greenwich High School in 1960 and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps where he was a Cryptographer. He was honorably discharged in 1964. Don worked at Hollingsworth & Vose in Greenwich for 32 years. After retirement, he started his own business, Sawtooth & Nail Woodshop in West Hebron. Don loved making custom furniture for his friends and neighbors. He also enjoyed the outdoors and was an avid deer hunter.Don Coldwell
William James Chase, 79, of Valdosta, GA died on February 14, 2023, at South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta, GA surrounded by loving family. William was born on June 27, 1943, in Providence, RI, son of Henry Francis and Ellen May (Hannah) Chase and was the loving husband to Janice Leigh (Aspinall) Chase.Bill Chase
Albin J. “Bud” Pendrak, 79, passed away peacefully and comfortably on Saturday, August 12, 2023, at Saratoga Hospital, with his family by his side. He was born March 18, 1944, in Saratoga Springs, NY, to the late Albert and Mary (DeGrechie) Pendrak. Albin graduated from Schuylerville High School in 1962 and Adirondack Community College in 1996. Following high school, he served his country proudly, in the United States Army, serving during the Vietnam War. Bud was a military professional, serving as staff administrative assistant to the commander, retiring in 1988 with 23 years of active service. He remained active during his retirement, serving on the Saratoga National Honor Guard.Bud Pendrak
We’re saddened with the passing of Tuesday Squad and Rifle Detail Leader – Mike Marko. He was a staunch advocate for the Honor Guard and he cherished his relationships with his team. At the age of 18, Michael enlisted in the United States Navy. He served his country for 20 years and attained the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer. Michael started his career on the USS Huntington, a destroyer. He served on various destroyer escorts. He spent the remainder of his career on nuclear submarines. He retired in 1975 after serving on the USS Sam Rayburn as Chief of the Boat. During his time in service, he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, United States Antarctic Expedition Medal and the Navy Presidential Unit Citation.Mike Marko
Al was a long time member of the Thursday Squad. Alan L. Ernst, 76, a lifelong resident of Schuylerville, passed away Sunday, July 23, 2023, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, surrounded by his loving family. He was born March 14, 1947, in Saratoga Springs, NY, to the late Donald L. and Julia E. (Coffinger) Ernst. Alan was proud of his country and all the American Flag stood for. He served his country valiantly in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. One of his most important ways of serving his fellow veterans was by doing it, as a member of the Saratoga National Cemetery Honor Guard Association.
Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery is New York State’s sixth national veteran’s cemetery and the 116th in the National Cemetery Administration.
More than 1.4 million veterans live in New York and more than 225,000 reside in the Albany/Saratoga area. The first phase of construction, encompassing 60 acres of the 351-acre cemetery, included 5,000 gravesites, 2,000 lawn crypts, 1,500 columbaria niches and 700 garden niches for cremated remains. At full capacity, Solomon-Saratoga can provide burial space for 175,500 veterans and eligible dependents.
On Jan. 24, 2002, President George W. Bush signed legislation renaming Saratoga National Cemetery as the Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery. Congressman Solomon was known as the champion of veterans’ causes. Among his accomplishments, he spearheaded the effort to create the cabinet-level Department of Veterans Affairs and successfully led a drive to establish the national cemetery in which he is now interred.
Monuments and Memorials
The ship’s bell from the USS Saratoga, CV-3, was installed as a memorial at the cemetery in 1999. The USS Saratoga was launched in 1925 and spent 20 years at sea, including action during World War II. It was taken out of service and destroyed in 1946. New York Congressman Dean P. Taylor requested the bell in 1946. It was first displayed at Saratoga Spring’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Memorial Home, dedicated on Veteran’s Day in 1949. The bell was later restored and permanently mounted at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery.
An American gray granite memorial was erected in 2001 to honor veterans from Saratoga County, N.Y. The monument features two granite slabs inscribed with approximately 980 names of individuals who gave their lives for their country. A granite obelisk is at the forefront of the monument.
A pyramidal black-mist granite memorial for Congressman Gerald B.H. Solomon, who was instrumental in the national cemetery’s establishment and a proponent of veteran causes, was erected in 2002, the year the cemetery was renamed in his honor.
A granite and bronze memorial was erected in honor of U.S. submariner veterans on Oct. 19, 2002.
The cemetery also has a walkway that features a number of memorials erected by various veterans and fraternal organizations in honor of events and fallen comrades.
The American Veterans (AMVETS) donated a carillon in 1999.
Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. A Veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor dependent children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial.