Sacrifice and service: A salute to Palm Beach County veterans

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As South Florida plans to honor those who have served in the United States military on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the following profiles recognize the sacrifice and service of four Palm Beach County residents.

Before he settled in retirement at Wycliffe Country Club in Wellington, Lou Mina, 88, graduated Bayside High School in Queens at age 17. He had served two years in the National Guard, inspired by six uncles who served in World War II.

After earning his high school diploma, he enlisted in the Army Airborne Paratroopers and trained at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky from January through March 1951 where he made six jumps as part of his training. He told his worried mother he wasn’t jumping out of airplanes.

Lou Mina

Lou Mina (Ira Abramson/Courtesy)

“My job is to fold and pack the parachutes, ma. That’s all I do,” he said.

His unit of about 4,000 men boarded a troop ship and were escorted by convoy to a base in southern Japan. They made two combat jumps behind enemy lines in North Korea from C-47s and C-46s to disrupt an enemy force advancing on South Korean and American troops.

Mina spoke about their third jump that took place at Geoje POW camp, a prisoner of war camp located on Geoje island at the southernmost part of Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea.

“It was considered the largest of the UNC established camps. Geoje Camp was a United Nations Command POW camp that held from 100,000 to 137,000 North Korean and Chinese prisoners captured by U.N. forces during the Korean War. Brigadier-General Francis Dodd was appointed commandant of the camp to tighten discipline,” Mina said.

“Discipline and order were practically non-existent and 3,500 of us paratroopers jumped in to help quell the insurrection, which included the kidnapping of Gen. Dodd by the prisoners. He was eventually freed. This was a difficult and embarrassing episode for the Allies and U.N. that took place in May 1952.”

Mina returned to civilian life, raised a family of three children that has grown to seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He established a successful heating and air conditioning business in Corona, Queens, and retired in 1992. He and his wife relocated to Wycliffe in 1995.

Mina volunteers as a Catholic lay minister once a week at the South Bay prison in Palm Beach County.

Arthur Gotlieb, 95, another Wycliffe resident, enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in May 1943. After basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, he was transferred to the 13th Fighter Squadron, 32nd Fighter Group at Venice, Florida, serving on maintenance crews for over a year, then moved to the Air Transport Command in Miami and trained as a space control technician — the person who determines the location of cargo and the space required for the cargo on each plane assigned to fly men and material to bases around the world.

Gotlieb was transferred to duty at Naples, Italy and then to Cairo, Egypt where C-46, C-47 and C-54 cargo planes flew east to Karachi and west to Casablanca.

Arthur Gotlieb

Arthur Gotlieb (Ira Abramson/Courtesy)

Gotlieb cited an interesting anecdote: “Because I learned Arabic, I was assigned to accompany Major Gen. Parks early in 1946 who was traveling to historic sites in Southern Egypt. Our guide was a man named Mahmud Aboudi.

“I was honorably discharged from the service in October 1946 from Fort Dix, New Jersey.

“In the early ‘90s, my wife and I were on a boat tour on the Nile. The guide had the same name. When I told him I knew a guide by that name in 1946 when I was in the ATC, the guide said, ‘That was my grandfather.’”

Gotlieb was born and grew up in Brooklyn and graduated Lafayette High School. He married his high school sweetheart in 1947. The family grew to a son and daughter, two granddaughters, one great grandson and one great granddaughter.

He is a retired automobile dealer, has survived lung cancer and was widowed four years ago.

“I live by the saying: ‘Today was yesterday’s dream; tomorrow is today’s hope.’”

Born in Chicago, Richard Schuberg he attended Austin High School and then two years at Purdue University, studying construction engineering. He had grown into a 6-foot-2-inch, 203-pound young man.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 19 in January 1951, with the goal of making life in the Corps his career. He spent two years as an enlisted man, and six years as an officer.

He served as a platoon commander in the Tank Corps in Korea. There were 15 tanks in his platoon, most of them out of commission. His commanding officer gave him an order: “You have 30 days to get these tanks in fighting condition. I don’t want to know how you get it done, just do it!” He and his men got it done.

Richard Schuberg

Richard Schuberg (Mort Mazor/Contributor)

“I studied the history of tank warfare developed by German Field Marshal Gundering in World War I,” said Schuberg. “He created strategies for advanced tank warfare and Panzer divisions.”

After 13 months in Korea, now a first lieutenant, he was moved to Quantico as an instructor. A woman entered his life who was not interested in being a service wife. Joanne wanted to settle in the Chicago area where she and Richard grew up. They were married in 1959. The family grew to son Mark, now 61, daughter Sherry, 52, and two grandsons, Chris, 31, and Josh, 29. In 1961, Richard was honorably discharged and worked as a construction engineer for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

His favorite reading has always been the Bible.

Schuberg celebrated his 90th birthday on Aug. 13 when his family travelled from Chicago to visit with him for the weekend.

A surprise happened Aug. 15 when he and his family attended worship services at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Lake Worth. At the fellowship meeting after services concluded, Pastor Rev. Kyle Will had a birthday cake in the shape of a camouflage-colored tank presented to Richard, and a gift of a bright red Marine Corps cap. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to him.

Richie Herbst, 74, was born in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn and grew up in Brentwood, Long Island, Suffolk County.

Herbst became an ASE certified master auto mechanic, undergoing four years of stringent Cadillac training. His love of cars engaged his leisure time also, remodeling and driving many makes of contemporary autos such as Pontiac GTOs, Plymouth Barracudas and others at Northeast drag race sites.

Richie Herbst

Richie Herbst (Mort Mazor/Contributor)

He served in the U.S. Army Artillery Division from 1966 to 1968. His first year was spent at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; after that in hazardous combat in Vietnam. He was in Special Operations on search and destroy missions in a demilitarized zone. His Special Op unit was always on their own and in danger. No IDs were allowed on their person. When they concluded each mission, or faced superior enemy forces, waiting to be air lifted to safety was harrowing.

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“On one mission we were ambushed by the Viet Cong,” Herbst said. “I lost my best buddy, my friend since high school, and I was wounded. I spent three months in the hospital recovering. After release from the hospital, I was returned to combat duty. A month and a half later, May 15, 1968, I was honorably discharged and returned home to civilian life at Brentwood. Those two years in the Army as a young man taught me the importance of hard work and sacrifice throughout my life since then.”

Herbst was married to Fran for 49 years until her death in 2020. They raised two sons and have two granddaughters, 9 and 10. The girls are the light of his life, providing the impetus for him to face each new day.

The Lake Worth resident said he is most proud of raising his family and earning his master mechanic certification for 40 years. The sadness of losing Fran never leaves him.

Herbst speaks of a great uncle he looked up to when he was a boy.

“He was a true gentleman who was respected; conducted himself with dignity and honor — characteristics I have lived by all my life because of his influence. He died a young man, and I will never forget him,” he said.

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