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Web editor's note: On a regular basis, Emmet County features the story of a local veteran and their service to the United States. With Memorial Day approaching on May 27, 2013, it's an opportunity to reflect on those who have sacrificed and served the United States throughout the decades. Below is the story of Fred Amorose, WWII veteran of Petoskey.
By Tamara Stevens
Special to Emmet County
Fred Amorose can recall many memories from the four years he served as a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. Some memories are good, bringing a smile to his face, while others inspire awe and amazement, and others elicit terrifying images.
But the Petoskey man doesn’t remember much of what happened after the mortar fell into the hole he was in and exploded next to him. He remembers very clearly everything leading up to it, though, and at 92 years old those memories are still emotionally charged.
“Our orders were to hit Guam,” Amorose said. “There were two forces. We hit one part while the other force hit the other side. We (the United States) bombed and shelled that island so hard, you would have thought there was no way anything could have lived after that,” he tells, shaking his head.
He and his unit of Marine Raiders Battalion landed on the island of Guam in the South Pacific Ocean in an LST, (Land-Sea Transport ship), “where the entire front end of the boat opens up,” Amorose describes. Their unit headed inland, where they immediately ran into enemy fire.
“The front lines of battle were marked with big, white oil clothes on the ground for the air support so they could see where to drop their bombs,” Amorose explains. “There was a lot of fire. We kept moving and went beyond the white markers. There were four or five of us. There were Japanese artillery shooting mortars from a nearby valley.”
The small island of Guam, the largest of the Marianas, is only 30 miles long and 9 miles wide. The Japanese captured the island and its residents on December 8, 1941, just hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and occupied it for two-and-a-half years. Guam was subject to fierce fighting for nearly three weeks in 1944 when U.S. troops recaptured the island on July 21. Amorose saw firsthand the intense battle.
“We jumped in a hole, another fellow and I,” Amorose said, choking back tears. “A shell came down and hit right next to me, between me and the other guys. The next thing I knew a Navy corpsman (medic) who was attached to our outfit had me piggyback style and was carrying me out of there, back behind our front lines. I had shrapnel in my hip. I blanked out. The other fellow (who was on the other side of the mortar shell) was killed. One of our planes came over and dropped a bomb to hit the Japanese emplacement.”
To read Amorose's complete story of his service during WWII, click here.
To read past veterans' features, please click here.
This event is part of the First Saturday Stargazing Series at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park
Date: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Location: Headlands Dark Sky Viewing Area
Time: 9-10 p.m. (sunset is 9:21 p.m.)
Note: Telescopes will be provided
As the Earth moves about the Sun each year, the view of background stars changes. Centuries ago this gave rise to the belief that the stars behind the Sun, which came to be known as the stars of the Zodiac, bore a special significance in the grand scheme of things. Among the many stars that make up the constellations of the zodiac, there are 10 that are so close to the apparent path of the Sun, that the Sun appears to block them as it wends along. Tonight we will identify which stars they are, where they are located, when to see them and what dates they have their solar encounter; an engaging way to get ready for summer evenings full of stars!
Join Dark Sky Park Program Director Mary Stewart Adams for this free event; reservations are not required. If you have questions, call (231) 838-8181 or email email@example.com For more information about the park, click here.
James Strang, self-annointed king of Beaver Island, is often portrayed as an eccentric religious mountebank. But he was also the foreteller of the new modern law and order still unfamiliar to the frontier of Northern Michigan.
A new exhibit of the Emmet County Historical Commission explores his impact on Beaver Island and all of Northern Michigan during the mid-1800s. The exhibit is now open at the Pellston Regional Airport on the second floor. It features informative display boards, audio components and a hand-sewn example of "bloomers," a fashion item for women dictated by Strang.
When Strang, a Mormon, arrived in Northern Michigan in 1847 the residents of Mackinac Island were just emerging from the fur trading era and moving into the fishing industry. Strang brought competitor fishermen but he also brought a belief in justice and impartial government. When he was elected to the State Legislature in 1853 he immediately introduced a bill to "organize" Emmet County as a unit of government. The county seal today celebrates his success by featuring the 1853 date.
Beaver Island became part of Charlevoix County in 1895 and is known today as "America's Emerald Isle." It is accessed via two small airlines and also the Beaver Islander ferry, which departs from downtown Charlevoix.
Learn more about this unique Northern Michigan island and the stories behind it at the new Pellston Regional Airport exhibit. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is no admission charge.
Another summer season is upon Northern Michigan, and it's the time of year that Emmet County reopens the McGulpin Point Lighthouse and Historic Site in Mackinaw City. The lighthouse reopened on May 17. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. There is no admission charge for the lighthouse or to climb the tower.
This season, an expanded gift shop and improved trail to the Straits of Mackinac will greet visitors, as well as other site enhancements and signage. A self-guided cellphone tour on the grounds gives visitors more background on this important historical property in Northern Emmet County.
McGulpin Point Lighthouse was an Aid to Navigation on the Straits from 1869 to 1906, after which it was privately owned. Emmet County purchased the lighthouse and acreage in 2008 and since that time the county has worked to restore it to period decor. To read more about its history, click here.
The lighthouse is located at 500 Headlands Dr., Mackinaw City. Phone is (231) 436-5860. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the lighthouse.
During the summer season each year, Emmet County and several partner organizations offer a self-guided cell phone tour at county parks and other significant properties and attractions throughout Northwest Michigan.
The OnCell service is once again active for the season and includes a number of new stops added to the dozens that are already active. Visit destinations throughout Emmet County, Mackinaw City, Mackinaw's Heritage Village, Pellston and now along the Bear River corridor in Petoskey to hear more about the history and unique features of these sites. Each site is marked with a sign with instructions on how to access the audio (some signs will be placed in the coming days); they're found along sidewalks, walkways and trails. You can either dial the main number and punch in the stop number to hear the audio or scan the QR code to be taken directly to the audio.
The County partners with Mackinaw City, Heritage Village and the city of Petoskey in this unique recreational offering. Click here to download the complete brochure with stops listed; if you'd like one mailed to you at no cost, email email@example.com or call (231) 348-1704. If your site would be interested in taking part in the self-guided cell phone tour program, contact Beth Anne Piehl at the email or phone number above.
The sky above Emmet County is a dramatic, changing viewscape that offers endless variations of color and clouds that are reflected in spectacular sunsets and sunrises and on the brightest-blue days, season to season. After dark, there is no place better to view the sparkling Milky Way, the infinite blanket of stars and dazzling meteor showers.
Emmet County is asking residents and visitors, “What’s Up?” -- and we want to see the answer! The county is launching the “Emmet County Skies” photo contest to gather a collection of photos that showcase the beautiful skies of Northwest Michigan, day and night.
Here’s how the contest will work: Through November 30, 2013, please send your Sky photos via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include location where photo was taken with your submission. Residents and visitors are welcomed to participate, but the photos MUST be taken of the sky over Emmet County.
What’s in it for the winner? The winning Day photograph and the winning Night photograph will each be framed and matted in a large-scale format, and will include the name of the photographer. The images will circulate among County park properties, and afterward will be given to the photographer(s) to keep. In addition, each winner will receive a free overnight at the Guest House at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park.
If you have questions about the Emmet County Skies photo contest, call Beth Anne Piehl, County Communications Director, at (231) 348-1704. Click here for complete details.