Five vets honored in Albany Co. for service, commitment to freedom

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Five war veterans were honored for their service on Thursday in Albany.

The honorees included two women who helped the war effort by training and assisting air pilots.

Ruth Leeson and Cecily Geraghty were among the first to show that women could carry out duties other than as medical personnel or in an office setting while serving in World War II.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy began the Albany County Veterans Recognition Program three years ago to honor veterans who are still with us.

The honorees also included two Vietnam War veterans and one Iraq War veteran. Seventeen veterans have now been honored as part of the program.

The following veterans were acknowledged, according to the Albany County Executive’s Office:

  • Richard Oppedisano, who served in the US Navy during the Vietnam War. In the course of a 30-year career at the Watervliet Arsenal he served as Chief of Staff and in other roles and it is there that he established numerous programs to help veterans obtain jobs and access services from the VA. He has received numerous awards and honors for his work including the Superior Civilian Service Award from the US Army.
  • Ruth Leeson, who served in the US Marine Corps during World War II. Leeson served as an aerial navigation instructor and was well-versed in the use of the Link Simulator, which taught pilots about the art and science of celestial navigation. This was a key pilot training aid used by almost every combatant nation and more than 500,000 US pilots were trained on these simulators.
  • Bill Keyes, who served in the US Marine Corps in South Vietnam in 1967. Keyes was a member of a team that helped clear mines and explosive traps on roads for truck convoys. He was wounded and received a Purple Heart. Following his service, Keyes served as Commandant of Capt. William Dale O’Brien Marine Corps Detachment, and as a volunteer at the John J. McKenna Military Courtesy Room.
  • Michael Lawrence served in the US Army and National Guard from 2008-13. Lawrence served as a cannon crewmember with the 3rd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Currently he is working closely with Connecting the Dots, a community outreach organization dedicated to assisting veterans.
  • Cecily Geraghty, who served in the Royal Air Force in Great Britain during World War II where she assisted in providing care and assistance to RAF pilots. She remains active in the community by volunteering at her church and the Emeritus at Landing in Queensbury.

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