Medal of Honor recipient Paul Bucha keynote speaker at Veteran Symposium

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

MOH recipient Paul Bucha Photo: Eugenie Diserio
Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Paul Bucha was the keynote speaker at the New Canaan (CT) High School’s Annual Veterans Symposium on May 27,2011 that honored 80 veterans from every branch of the military.

From Eugenie Diserio’s article, Veterans Honored at NCHS Symposium in the New Canaan Patch:

"Medal of Honor recipients are no different than other people who believe in a better world," Bucha explained. "They refused to accept death and instead challenged destiny to change things."

"The lesson," he said, "is each of us has the potential to change this world."

Bucha and many of his fellow veterans of the Vietnam War were not welcomed nor thanked when they returned home. Today his mission is to insure veterans in combat or not receive the respect and thanks they deserve for their service.

"Never again will we allow a nation to forget," he said.

Principal Tony Pavia, who organized the event stated:

"These are heroes you have in front of you today, all of these people at the same age as you, left their homes to go to parts unknown," he said.

Pavia asked the students to remember what this weekend is all about -- to honor people who gave their lives for our country.

The ceremony also featured a performance by the U.S. Marine Corps Band from Parris Island.

Pavia said he brought in the Parris Island Marine Corps Band to honor the 80 veterans who came to the event. The band played a medley of the songs from each branch of the military. The veterans stood up when their song was played.

After the ceremony Mr. Bucha signed copies of the book, "Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty."

MOH recipient Paul Bucha and New Canaan High School Principal, Tony Pavia are both members of the Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee, which is in the process of raising funds to erect a bronze statue in Stamford, CT of Master Sergeant Homer L. Wise awarded the Medal of Honor on June 14, 1944. Sergeant Wise was one of the most decorated infantrymen of World War II.

Read the rest of the article on The New Canaan Patch

Photo credit: Eugenie Diserio, About Town, New Canaan Patch

A fitting honor for Stamford's quiet hero

Monday, June 13, 2011

Published 06:56 p.m., Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Stamford Advocate


No single event had a greater impact on the citizens of Stamford than the Second World War. In a town of approximately 60,000 people, over 10,000 young men and women served their country during the war. They came from all socio-economic backgrounds, all races, religions, and political affiliations. They fought in every corner of the world and contributed as much as any town to the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan. In many respects this was Stamford's finest hour.

Of the 10,000 courageous Stamfordites who served their country, none embodies the virtues of the quiet humble citizen soldier more than Homer Wise. This adopted son of Stamford earned the highest honor given in combat, The Medal of Honor. Just as important, after his years in the military were over, he became a model citizen, a beloved friend and neighbor and to many in Stamford, as much a hero out of uniform as he was in it.

Now, through the efforts of the Homer Lee Wise Committee, a six-foot, three-inch statue is being created in honor of this great American. The figure will show not the face of a man at war, but rather, that of an ordinary young man, who like so many other young men of the time, was called upon to do extraordinary things, the everyman who embraced greatness.

There has been much discussion about a suitable location for the statue of Mr. Wise. It is imperative that it be placed where it would have maximum visibility and broad exposure to the citizens of Stamford.

No place would be more fitting than in Veterans Park in downtown Stamford. This is an ideal location, one where the citizens of Stamford, particularly young children, would be able to look upon a man who represents the very best qualities of the "Greatest Generation." They would be able to read about his valor on June 14, 1944 in Magliano, Italy, where Homer Wise repelled several German attacks and almost single-handedly saved his platoon. They can learn, not only about the courageous acts that led to his Medal of Honor, but also of the numerous other acts of heroism that led to the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters and 10 other decorations. There might also be a small space in the park that would house Mr. Wise's medals, and maybe even serve as a place to honor all Stamford veterans.

The park would also have special historical significance because of its symbolic importance during World War II. It was, after all, the site of the largest patriotic gathering in the history of Stamford. On Memorial Day 1943 an estimated 10,000 citizens gathered at the Old Town Hall to witness the unveiling of the "Stamford Service Roll" in "Central Park." At the time the Service Roll had 5,555 names of Stamford servicemen and women on it. By war's end it would have 10,000 names. That structure was torn down in 1952 and in 1977 it became the site of Veterans Memorial Park, a fitting, solemn and elegant tribute to Stamford's war dead.

Homer Wise spent a fair amount of time in the area, where he served as an Army recruiter. It was not uncommon for people to see this modest man of celebrity, leaving his work at the Old Town Hall and walking across the street to the popular coffee shop Chat `n Chew, both of which faced the present Veterans Park. What better and more relevant location can there be?

It is no secret that Mr. Wise never discussed his Medal of Honor, and in fact his own son only learned of it when he was told by one of his teachers. He was simply never comfortable with his own fame and right up to his untimely death in 1974 he, like all veterans of Stamford, never acknowledged his own heroism. That is all the more reason for us to acknowledge him.

The statue of Mr. Wise is close to completion and needs a permanent home. It is only fitting that we place his likeness in Veterans Park, where Mr. Wise can face his fallen comrades. In giving him such an honor, we not only insure that his memory is honored but also the memory of the other 10,000 Stamfordites who answered their country's call to duty. When future generations of Stamford's children look into the face of Mr. Wise, they will see the perfect embodiment of every humble unassuming hero in Stamford. Such a tribute will do what all historical monuments should do: serve as a link between the past and the present, and a reminder to all of us of the debt we owe those who made this a better world for us.

In choosing this prominent location as a place to honor Mr. Wise, we have an extraordinary opportunity to pay tribute to a man who represents all that we love about Stamford, someone who understood that sometimes we are called upon to make sacrifices for a cause greater than ourselves.

If you would like to make a donation to the bronze statue of Homer L. Wise, please visit

Tony Pavia, a Stamford resident, is a member of the Homer Lee Wise Committee.

Read the article on The Stamford Advocate

Memorial Day 2011: Flashback to 1958 Medal of Honor recipient Homer L. Wise, Eisenhower and the Tomb of the Unknowns

Monday, May 30, 2011

Today we celebrate Memorial Day.  Fifty-three years ago today, on May 30, 1958, President Eisenhower presided over the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery.

The New York Times reported:
"Two unknown American Servicemen one of World War II and one of the Korean War, were borne to their final resting places today at Arlington National Cemetery. Here on the grassy plaza, overlooking the Potomac Valley, uniformed pall bearers of all the military services laid the two bronze coffins beside the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of World War I."
One of the seven pallbearers was Sgt. Homer L. Wise. Above is a rare photograph taken on that memorable day of the seven pallbearers all Medal of Honor recipients.

Tomb of the Unknowns

On August 3, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill to select and pay tribute to the Unknowns of World War II and the Korean War. The selection ceremonies and the interment of these Unknowns took place in 1958. The World War II Unknown was selected from remains exhumed from cemeteries in Europe, Africa, Hawaii, and the Philippines.

Two Unknowns from World War II, one from the European Theater and one from the Pacific Theater, were placed in identical caskets and taken aboard the USS Canberra, a guided-missile cruiser resting off the Virginia Capes. Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class William R. Charette, then the U.S. Navy's only active-duty Medal of Honor recipient, selected the World War II Unknown. The remaining casket received a solemn burial at sea.

Four unknown Americans who died in the Korean War were disinterred from the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. Army Master Sergeant Ned Lyle made the final selection.

Both caskets arrived in Washington on May 28, 1958, where they lay in the Capitol Rotunda until the morning of May 30, when they were carried on caissons to Arlington National Cemetery. President Eisenhower awarded each the Medal of Honor, and the Unknowns of World War II and the Korean War were interred in the plaza beside their World War I comrade.

Please visit our new website: The Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee and consider making a donation to help us honor this humble and extraordinary hero.
Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.’ May 5, 1868, Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic declared the first Decoration Day to be held on May 30, 1868

Thank you for your support,

The Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee

Photo caption : Body bearers Tomb of the Unknowns 1958 (From left to right) Homer L. Wise, Stamford, CT,  World War II,  William J. Crawford, Pueblo, CO,  World War II, Jerry K. Crump, Forest City, NC, Korean War, Paul B. Huff, Cleveland, TN, World War II, Ronald E. Rosser, Crooksville, OH, Korean War,  Donald E. Rudolph, Minneapolis, MN, World War II and Ernest R. Kouma, Dwight, NB, Korean War.

Hero fiance on the way home to her

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Homer and Madolyn Wise

We found an article from the 1944 Stamford Advocate called:

STAMFORD ADVOCATE November 29, 1944.

The most excited family in Stamford today was that of Madolyn DiSesa, whose finance, Sgt. Homer L. Wise, just received the Medal of Honor "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity."

His achievement was in battle June14, at Magliano, Italy, in which he fired everything at the enemy from a machine gun to a gun mounted on a tank.

Wise, 27, was decorated by Lieut. Gen. Alexander M. Patch in the presence of five general officers.

"Gentlemen, let's give this man a salute," Patch directed the other generals.

" I wish we had an Army full of soldiers like you, " Patch told the sergeant.

Wise, who holds the Silver Star, Bronze Medal, Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters for three wounds in action since June 22, is entitled to a trip home now.

Fiancee Excited

This is the thing the tall blonde Stamford girl is most excited about. " now H.L. will be coming home."

She hadn't had a letter in three weeks and the first news this morning was that there would be a Medal of Honor in the family.

"I've been waiting for him for almost two years and I guess praying really pays off," she said.

Ms. DiSesa met Sgt. Wise during a vacation near Cape Cod, MA over three years ago. "Oh, he's very good looking, over six feet tall, with chestnut hair and very blue eyes. He's the kind of person who wants to do his job and the only thing he would write is, 'Darling I'm in the hospital again, or I'm out again.' He was the first man on Salerno after serving in North Africa, and then sent to France. Just two months ago, a bullet went through his right shoulder, but he said he was lucky because it was a clean wound."

Now near Strasbourg

Sgt Wise is serving in the same division of the Seventh Army with his uncle and most recently around Strasbourg. He has two or three brothers, Ms. DiSesa is not quite sure how many, and a "wonderful grandmother" in Baton Rouge, LA who writes to me all the time and tells me about him. I guess she knows about this and is just as excited as I am."

But H.L. who prefers this to his given name of Homer, is probably more nervous than excited, according to Ms. DiSesa, who should know how he would react.
"He'll probably be more nervous when we finally meet than he was during all those campaigns," she said. "He's very modest and he'd give up his uniform for civvies in a minute, but he never gripes about the Army in his letters. He just figures it's something that has to be done and he's doing his best in a big job."

MOH Homer L. Wise 37th Anniversary April 22, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Today, Friday, April 22, is the thirty seventh anniversary of Homer Wise's death. Sgt. Wise was Stamford's greatest war hero. During World War II, he was wounded three times during several major battles in Italy and France. He was honored by a grateful nation with the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government; the Medal of Honor. He was also honored with The Silver Star, Two Bronze Stars and ten other decorations.

Homer spent the last thirty years of his life in Stamford, CT. He passed away in 1974 at Yale New Haven Hospital. At the time, he was working at Connecticut National Bank in Darien as a supervisor. The Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee is working hard to honor him with a magnificent bronze statue which is now entering its final stage.

We thank you for your continued support.

Stamford Times: Committee raising funds in honor of Stamford soldier

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Homer L. Wise Memorial, Inc  at the Mayor's office in Stamford. From left, Tony Pavia, Jean Rinaldi, Homer's niece, Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia and James S. Vlasto Secretary Treasurer and Project Director, with three foot replica of the statue which is now nearing completion at its full length of six feet three inches.
Photo credit: Stamford Times
The Stamford Times on February 11th, 2011 published an article about our project:

STAMFORD -- Most Stamford residents have driven by Homer L. Wise Park hundreds of times -- and maybe even stopped to sit in the park -- but most people probably have no idea what a great hero Wise really was, said a member of the committee raising funds to erect a memorial statue in honor of the former U.S. Army sergeant.

"Homer L. Wise was a very special soldier who served in W.W.II," said James Vlasto, project director, secretary and treasurer of the Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee. "He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, The Silver Star, The Bronze Star, a total of 16 awards. He was a real-life hero who received astounding recognition and no one knows about it."

In the spring of 2008, Vlasto created the Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee to build a life-size statue of the former Stamford resident, complete with a plaque to tell the community about the World War II veteran and his accomplishments. Currently, Homer L. Wise Park, which is located off Bedford Street in Stamford, only has a sign with Wise's name on it and a small plaque that states he won the Congressional Medal of Honor, he said.

"In 1976, when the park was dedicated to Wise, that small dedication was probably OK," said Vlasto, "but I think that people need to know what a great man he was."

Tony Pavia, who is also a member of the committee, said the most important thing about Wise -- who passed away in 1974 -- is that he was a very humble man, and hardly ever spoke about the awards he received.

"Homer L. Wise is the everyday day man who rose to extraordinary heights to become a hero," said Tony Pavia. "His own son didn't even know that he won the Medal of Honor until he was 12 years old. If you look at the statue, it doesn't depict a king it depicts a common soldier, which is what Wise symbolized."

Mayor Michael Pavia, who is also a member of the committee, said it is important to recognize Wise as a community hero, and celebrate his life and achievements.

"Homer L. Wise is a compelling story," said Michael Pavia. "He was a common, humble man that rose to the occasion when he had to, and deserved the recognition that he received during World War II. There are many war hero stories, and we have one right here in Stamford."

Vlasto said the committee's goal is to have the statue completed before the spring, and no plans have been finalized for where the statue will be placed.

Mayor Michael Pavia said he would like to see the statue placed in Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Stamford.

Tony Pavia said he would be happy no matter where the statue is placed, as long as it is put in a public place where a lot of people could read about Wise.

"I think the statue should be placed in a spot where many people would walk by and read about what Wise accomplished," he said. "I think that every child in Stamford should know who Homer L. Wise was and what he achieved."

Vlasto said the committee has received 80 contributions from residents in Stamford and surrounding communities, totaling $39,897. However, the committee still needs to raise $70,000 to complete the project, he said.

Times Staff Writer

To learn more about the Homer Wise L. Memorial Committee and its efforts, visit or send an e-mail to

Paul Bucha Medal of Honor recipient joins committee to honor Homer Wise

Monday, January 17, 2011

Connecticut's only living Medal of Honor recipient announced today he will become a member of the Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee.

Paul W. Bucha of Ridgefield, CT was awarded the Medal of Honor while serving as a captain and commanding officer of Company D, 3rd Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, on March 18, 1968 in Vietnam.

Mr. Bucha, a graduate of West Point and former President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, says about Homer L. Wise:

“It is important that among the celebrities for whom we name parks and streets, there are those we also honor who come from everyday America, living anonymously among us, until that mysterious confluence of time and circumstances places them one day in a position where they can see fate has it will be; unless they and they alone reach down within themselves for that hidden potential that resides within each of us, old or young, rich or poor, black or white, male or female, a potential that can literally challenge destiny and change the world.

Such a man was Homer Wise until June 14, 1944, on a hillside in Italy; he found himself needing to act to save himself and his men and he did. And the rest is history.

Men and women like Homer Wise, common everyday people who one day do something extraordinary that literally changes history, remind us each day that each of us if so called upon can find with ourselves the power to challenge destiny and by that power we can change the world."

The Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee, Inc. is in the process of raising funds to erect a bronze statue in Stamford, CT of Master Sergeant Homer L. Wise awarded the Medal of Honor on June 14, 1944. Sergeant Wise was one of the most decorated infantrymen of World War II. He served in Italy and France and was a member of Company L, 142d Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division.

The following is official citation signed by President Richard M. Nixon during the presentation of the Medal of Honor to Captain Bucha on May 14, 1970:


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Bucha distinguished himself while serving as commanding officer, Company D, on a reconnaissance-in-force mission against enemy forces near Phuoc Vinh, The company was inserted by helicopter into the suspected enemy stronghold to locate and destroy the enemy.

During this period Capt. Bucha aggressively and courageously led his men in the destruction of enemy fortifications and base areas and eliminated scattered resistance impeding the advance of the company. On 18 March while advancing to contact, the lead elements of the company became engaged by the heavy automatic weapon, heavy machine gun, rocket propelled grenade, Claymore mine and small-arms fire of an estimated battalion-size force.

Capt. Bucha, with complete disregard for his safety, moved to the threatened area to direct the defense and ordered reinforcements to the aid of the lead element. Seeing that his men were pinned down by heavy machine gun fire from a concealed bunker located some 40 meters to the front of the positions, Capt. Bucha crawled through the hail of fire to single-handedly destroy the bunker with grenades.

During this heroic action Capt. Bucha received a painful shrapnel wound. Returning to the perimeter, he observed that his unit could not hold its positions and repel the human wave assaults launched by the determined enemy. Capt. Bucha ordered the withdrawal of the unit elements and covered the withdrawal to positions of a company perimeter from which he could direct fire upon the charging enemy. When 1 friendly element retrieving casualties was ambushed and cut off from the perimeter, Capt. Bucha ordered them to feign death and he directed artillery fire around them.

During the night Capt. Bucha moved throughout the position, distributing ammunition, providing encouragement and insuring the integrity of the defense. He directed artillery, helicopter gunship and Air Force gunship fire on the enemy strong points and attacking forces, marking the positions with smoke grenades. Using flashlights in complete view of enemy snipers, he directed the medical evacuation of 3 air-ambulance loads of seriously wounded personnel and the helicopter supply of his company.

At daybreak Capt. Bucha led a rescue party to recover the dead and wounded members of the ambushed element.

During the period of intensive combat, Capt. Bucha, by his extraordinary heroism, inspirational example, outstanding leadership and professional competence, led his company in the decimation of a superior enemy force which left 156 dead on the battlefield.

His bravery and gallantry at the risk of his life are in the highest traditions of the military service, Capt. Bucha has reflected great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Excerpt from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society (CMOHS)

For more information regarding The Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee, Inc.’s efforts to raise funds to erect a bronze statue in Stamford, CT, visit our website: or contact us by email:

Copyright 2011 The Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee, Inc.