Grand Islanders
In The Service - 2009

Previous In The Service Pages

   This page is for the purpose of posting news and addresses of Island
residents who are serving our country in the military.
See previous "In The Service" pages above
To add news and photos to this new page, email to

or drop off at the office, 1871 Whitehaven Road (between Hairitage Hair Salon and DeSignet Jewelry)

Service Persons from Grand Island, New York

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Pfc. Michael Magaris, US Marines - 2009

   Pfc. Michael Magaris, son of Robert and Linda Magaris, recently completed basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. Mike successfull completed 12 weeks of training designed to challenge new Marine recruits both physically and mentally.
   Mike and his fellow recruits began their training each day at 5 a.m., by running three miles and performing calisthenics. In addition to the physical conditioning program, Mike spent numerous hours in classroom and field assignments, which included learning first aid, uniform regulations, combat water survival, marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat and assorted weapons training. They performed close order drill and operated as a small infantry unit during field training.
   Mike also received instructions on the Marine Corps' core values, guiding personal and professional conduct. Mike and fellow recruits ended the training phase with the Crucible, a 54 hour team effort and problem solving evolution. After graduation from Parris Island, he will be stationed at Ft. Lejeune, NC for 29 days of combat training. He will then begin additional training at Fort Lee in Virginia for Bulk Fuel Specialist. Michael is a 2008 graduate of Grand Island High School.

E2 Jason J. Walker, USN - 2009

   Seaman Recruit Jason J. Walker, United State Navy, Division 311, has been selected as the Honor Recruit for his division. This selection was based on his individual performance of duty in all phases of basic training including leadership, initiative, military bearing, response to orders, sportsmanship, qualities of good shipmate, and high overall scholastic standing. Jason was recognized for the honor during the Recruit Graduation and Pass-in-Review ceremony on Thursday, September 3, 2009 at the Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois. Jason, who was recently promoted to E2, also received the sharpshooter award and was made section leader in his division. Jason is the son of Margaret and John Walker of Stony Point Road.

Returning Soldiers, Send Us Your Stories - 2009 would like to share the stories and photos of Grand Island soldiers returning to the state from overseas in January 2009 as well as other "In The Service" news. Email me at

Paul Michaud, M.D, Major, U.S. Army - 2009

   Major, U.S. Army Paul Michaud, M.D., GIHS class of 1995, graduated from the Diagnostic Radiology Residency Program at Walter Reed Army Center on June 19th. He was also recently granted Board Certification by the American Board of Radiology. Paul, who has been in the service for the past five years, will continue his training at Walter Reed where he was selected for a fellowship in Nuclear Medicine. Paul and his wife, Jamie, are the parents of Paul Guy, 6; James, 5; Andrew, 4; and David, 11 months. They are residents of Bethesda, Maryland.

SSgt Brent Helman - U.S. Air Force - 2009
   July 16, 2009 . . .The Air Force announced on Thursday, July 9th that SSgt Brent Helman has been selected for promotion to the rank of Technical Sergeant. SSgt Helman recently returned from a 4-year tour overseas, including Germany, Iraq and South Korea. SSgt Helman is now stationed at Vandenberg AFB, California as a Security Forces Assistant Flight Chief.

Jeff Wansart - Navy - 2009
   June 4, 2009 . . .Jeff Wansart, United States Navy, has been promoted to first class. He has been in the Navy for ten years and is currently stationed with his wife, Elizabeth and two sons on Whidbey Island at NAS Naval Base in Washington State. He will be there for about seven months. The Wansarts are hoping to locate "back east" soon.

Michael Zaremski Jr. Promoted - 2009

Sergeant First Class Michael Zaremski
Click photo for larger view
   June 4, 2009 . . .Michael Zaremski, Jr. has been promoted to Sergeant First Class with the New York State Army National Guard. SFC Zaremski is the Platoon Sergeant of the J6 Communication Platoon at the Masten Armory in Buffalo, NY. He has recently returned from serving a 12-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While serving in Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan as the Platoon Sergeant and a mentor to the Afghan Army, SFC Zaremski was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his performance of duty in a combat zone. His efforts markedly improved the Army’s ability to effectively and securely communicate via voice and data throughout the regional area of operations. Other awards he received include the Good Conduct Medal, the Combat Spur, the Combat Action Badge and the Conspicuous Service in the State of New York Medal.

SSgt Brent Helman - 2009

(left) Maj Seth Frank and SSgt Brent Helman
Click photo for larger view
   February 26, 2009 . . . SSgt Brent Helman was awarded the U.S. Army Commendation medal for his service in Iraq while attached to the 1-179 Infantry Battalion. Presented by Maj Seth Frank, Commander of the 435 Security Forces Squadron of Ramstein Air Base, his citation praised him for the 1200 +hours of combat patrols and joint raids conducted by SSgt Helman’s squad, and the countless supply convoys to and from FOB Basra Air Field. Along with his Medal Citation, SSgt Helman was also awarded with a citation from the director of Det Ops, Multi-National Division South East for actions and composure under enemy fire. The second citation read while in Al Basra province, a convoy where SSgt Helman was the Bravo Truck Commander, came under a complex attack. The citation praised SSgt Helman for “his impromptu actions and decisions to get his vehicle and subsequent trucks out of the ‘kill zone’ while remaining within the realm of organized battle drills resulting in no coalition casualties.” SSgt Helman is finishing up a three-year tour in Germany and will be moving to California in April to assume his next assignment.
   SSgt Helman is a member of the Grand Island High School Class of 2001.
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009

SSgt David DiTullio
Back from Afghanistan- 2009

Click photos for larger view
By Dick DiTullio
   January 22, 2009 . . .Dave DiTullio is back from Afghanistan! This whole adventure had its birth when Dave, son of Dick and Debi DiTullio of Grand Island, joined the Navy after attending Abiline Christian University in Texas.
   Dave started out in the Aviation field working closely with officers who were learning to fly the EA6-B Prowler. He then attended Navy SEAL selection school including Basic Underwater Demolition training. He deployed with the Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit in 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In this role Dave provided ship-board security to military contracted ships transporting fuel, weapons and medical supplies.
   Dave is now a Staff Sergeant in the Army National Guard, 2/101 Cavalry (RSTA). He has been enlisted 16 years, the last six with the Army. He graduated from Army Air Assault School, Long Range Advance Scout Surveillance System training, and a Combat Life Saver course.
   While stationed in Southern Afghanistan in the province of Kandahar, Dave led a 13-man Police Mentor team. Operations included raids, reconnaissance, search and recovery, "presence" patrols, and High Value Target search, all part of a bigger plan of the Counter Insurgency mission to gain the trust of the local people and their government.
   Dave attended numerous shurais (a gathering of local village elders) in order to discuss their needs, concerns and security. This information was used to help the local population with medical/dental care, humanitarian aid, and veterinary care. This also allowed Dave to gain critical intelligence to assist in tracking down Taliban strongholds, weapons caches, and illegal drug trafficking. He was overseas in this tour for nine months.
   Dave was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantry Badge, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Overseas Ribbon and the NATO Medal.
   SSG DiTullio will attend the US Army Pathfinder course in August 2009, a school that teaches how to locate, identify, and operate rotary and fixed wing drop zones and landing zones. He will also go through US Army Special Forces training that starts at Fort Benning, Georgia. He will then continue with the following schools: Army Airborne School, Special Operations Preparation Course (SOPC), Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC), and Live Environment Training (LET). Dave plans to retire from the military in 2013.
   Outside of serving in the Guard, Dave enjoys spending time with his wife, Elisa, and daughter, Aubrie. Dave also enjoys skydiving, scuba-diving, and just working out in general. He is employed by TSA at the Buffalo Airport, serves as a Deacon at the Amherst Church of Christ, and runs his own corporate security firm, RAMACOR.

Capt. Jonathan D. Monti - 2009

   Captain Jonathan D. Monti was recently awarded a Doctorate of Science Degree in Physician Assistant Studies (DSc-PA) from Baylor University. The clinical doctorate degree, unique to the US Army, was awarded after successful completion of an intensive, 18-month residency in emergency medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, WA which included didactic, clinical, procedural skills, and original research components. During his residency, CPT(P) Monti authored a case report in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and his research was selected for presentation at the annual Special Operations Medical Association Conference. CPT Monti was also recently selected for promotion to Major in the US Army Medical Specialist Corps.
   Jonathan is the son of Ronald and Gail Monti of Colonial Drive and is currently working as an active duty physician assistant in the Emergency Department at Evans Army Community Hospital in Ft. Carson, Colorado.

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