June 28 – Happy Birthday Sgt. Peter Fedasch

fedaschTed and Mary Fedasch moved to Amsterdam, NY with their three young sons from Aalen, Germany in 1952. The husband and wife had both been born in the Ukraine. Since Germany had plundered that region of Russia during WWII, I wondered why the Fedasch’s ended up living there so I looked up Aalen, Germany online. I discovered that during World War II, Ukrainian natives were used as slave labor by the Nazis, filling the huge hole in Germany’s domestic work force created when most young German men were called upon to fight in the military. Aalen had been the site of one of these forced labor camps.  At the end of the war, the prisoners were transferred to displaced persons camps, where they lived while waiting to be sponsored by an immigration organization overseas. Amsterdam’s St. Nicholas Ukranian Church was one such sponsoring organization. The Fedasch family had been members of St. Nicholas since they arrived in the Rug City. They settled into an apartment on Grand Street with their three boys. They lost their fourth child, another boy at birth in 1960. They would eventually move to a home on Milton Avenue.

Of their sons, I remember Jerry Fedasch best because he was a very good varsity basketball player for Amsterdam High School in the mid sixties, who averaged double figures in points and captained Coach Tony Greco’s ball club in his senior season. He wore glasses on the court making him look smart, which was appropriate because he used to play smart, directing the AHS floor game and very seldom making a mental error. Jerry ended up going to the University of Cincinnati and settling in that Ohio city after he graduated. He became a financial advisor. I believe the youngest brother Michael, a veteran of the US Army, still lives in this area.

It is the oldest Fedasch son who is today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant and an American hero. Born in Germany on June 28, 1947, Peter Fedasch attended Milton Avenue Elementary, Theodore Roosevelt Junior High and Amsterdam High School, graduating in 1965. He then enlisted in the US Marine Corps. After basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina he was stationed at Camp Lejune, SC. He was trained as a rifleman, promoted to corporal and assigned to the I Company, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines. He shipped out to Vietnam on September 9, 1967. He immediately was thrown into the ground fighting and just three weeks after he got there he was wounded in the left arm by exploding shrapnel. He was treated in the field and returned to action immediately.

He was able to avoid further injury during the next seven months of his tour and also earned a promotion to Sergeant. I have no idea of really knowing but I would assume that this young man was thinking of two things when he celebrated his 21st birthday on June 28, 1968. The first was that he was scheduled to complete his tour and return home in just two days, on June 30th. The second was that when he got back to the US, he was going to marry his fiancée…

(This Uncle of a former TV variety show super host was another Amsterdam resident who was born on June 28)

I will complete and post the rest of this story about Sergeant Fedasch in the June issue of the Amsterdam, NY Birthday Blog e-newsletter on Thursday of this week. It will be sent via e-mail to everyone on the current subscriber list. If you’d like to receive a copy of Thursday’s newsletter, you can join the distribution list here.

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