IN-PERSON Veterans Breakfast Club Penn Hills, Beulah Presbyterian Church | July 7, 2023

Date: July 7, 2023
Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Beulah Presbyterian Church (2500 McCrady Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15235)
All Events | In-Person Events
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Our first Penn Hills breakfast was back in 2009, and it’s been a lively location ever since with an unusual number of World War II veterans still attending regularly. Take 99-year-old Mike Scuro, above left, for example. The WWII veteran leads us in the National Anthem every event and always offer a little war story, such as the one about going AWOL during Basic Training to sneak back home for his mother’s cooking. Or Dominick Carchidi, above right, who joined the Navy at age 16 and become a Navy Diver on submarine rescue in the North Atlantic aboard the USS Falcon (ASR-2) and USS Penguin (ASR-12). Dominic has told stories of his dives and rescues and also of the first thing he did after the war, which was to buy a Model A Ford for $80 and drive it cross country to California at 25 mph.

Join us in Penn Hills and perhaps meet Mike and Dominick at our next event there on July 7 at 10:00am.

It’s a new location and also a new format. This will be our first event at Beulah Presbyterian Church (2500 McCrady Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15235) right off the Parkway in Churchill.

Instead of an early breakfast, we’re doing light refreshments–coffee and Danish–at no charge. The event begins at 10:00am with food service and socializing, and then we’ll start our program at 10:30am and continue the storytelling to 12:00pm noon.

As always, everyone is welcome, and you don’t need to be a veteran to attend.

RSVP by calling 412-623-9029 or emailing betty@veteransbreakfastclub.org. And let us know if you have any questions!

Please consider sponsoring this event!

101-Year-Old P-47 Thunderbolt Pilot Col. Edwin Cottrell on VBC Happy Hour

Date: July 10, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
All Events | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour
New York Times Bestselling Author-14

101-year-old Ed Cottrell flew 65 missions in Europe in a P-47 Thunderbolt with 48th Fighter Group, 493rd Fighter Squadron in 1944-1945. He joins VBC Happy Hour to talk about his experiences in World War II and in the decades after when he served in the Air Force Reserves, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.

How he survived the war against Germany is still a mystery. One mission, during the Battle of the Bulge, on December 17, 1944, especially puzzles him.

Ed was a student at Slippery Rock University in Western Pennsylvania when he first got his pilot’s license. During his Junior year in 1943, the Air Corps called him to active duty.  Before shipping overseas, he married his college sweetheart, Millie.

Based in France and Belgium, Ed did all kinds of flying, including a skip bombing mission in Germany, where 12 P-47s flew treetop level at 300 mph to bomb entrenched Germans who were preventing an American advance. It was a success, though about every plane returned with bullet-riddled bellies.

On December 17, his mission was to take out Tiger tanks east of Cologne headed to Bastogne. The Germans had just launched a devastating surprise attack on Allied lines the day before. The Battle of the Bulge, as it became known, was the largest US forces would face in Europe.

Taking out tanks on the move required dive-bombing, flying in low, dropping ordnance, and pulling up fast.

Just as Ed pulled his P-47 up from the dive, a pack of enemy ME-109 planes appeared.

“Bandit at One O’Clock!” Ed called to his squadron commander.

The bandit–a 109–turned toward Ed’s plane and fired its 20mm cannon. The blast struck Ed’s engine. Oil splattered over his windshield.

Ed flung open the canopy and radioed that he was going to head as far toward home as he could, chugging along at 120 mph.

Then, he looked left. Another German 109 was bearing down. On the right, still another. Ed and his plane were as good as gone.

The two German fighter pilots crisscrossed behind E’d P-47. Expecting to be shot, Ed was surprised with the enemy planes flew right up next to him and escorted him back to Allied lines.

The Germans “used their thumbs and first fingers to make a little circle and peeled off. That was the signal they were leaving me,” Ed explains. “‘Good luck and God bless’” was the message.

Disoriented and concerned about engine failure, Ed called on the radio for a nearby landing field. Just as he touched down, the engine seized.  He made a dead-stick landing and rolled to a stop.

He climbed out of the cockpit and kissed the ground. A lot of other pilots and crew members weren’t so lucky that day. One of Ed’s roommates, 2nd Lt. Art Sommers, was one of the casualties. He never returned from the mission.

Join our conversation with Ed as he shares this story and many others from his long and heroic life.


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The mission of the Veterans Breakfast Club is to create communities of listening around veterans and their stories to ensure that this living history will never be forgotten.  We believe that through our work, people will be connected, educated, healed, and inspired.


Preserving veterans’ stories so that this living history is never forgotten.

We pair passionate VBC volunteers with military veterans for one-on-one oral history interviews over Zoom. If you are a veteran, or you know a veteran, who would be interested in sharing his or her story with us, let us know. If you are someone interested in conducting these interviews, please reach out!


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