Published in the June 17, 2016 edition.
MIDDLETON — They came together to remember “Two Fighting Marines” last month at Mikey Benedetto’s place in Middleton. People are still talking about what a great time it was.
Over 300 people attended the pig roast hosted by Benedetto and Milt Pollock, held in memory of Mike’s father Gus and fellow Marine Bill Cashman.
Flags were raised in honor of the two men, who will always be highly regarded for what they did for their country.
David Johnson and Martin Cox brought military vehicles which were used to shuttle people back and forth to Mikey’s property and custom cars and plenty of Harley-Davidsons were on hand as well.
B&G Sound Systems helped out, as did Al Pereira of North Reading’s Advanced Photo, who provided drones and photography, and Bert Russell, who brought a U.S. Marine Corps van.
Those who came to the party devoured close to 340 pounds of pork. The weather was great and the people were even better, according to Mike Benedetto.
“May the memory of the two Marines live on forever,” he added.
Alfred P. “Gus” Benedetto was 79 when he died in 2002. He was born and raised in Wakefield and attended the public schools here.
In 1941, Gus enlisted in the Marine Corps. He trained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the South Pacific Campaign and served in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater with the First Marine Amphibious Corps, Ninth Defense Battalion, Special Weapons, 30 caliber Machine Gunner attached to the First Marine Division and Second Marine Division on Guadalcanal.
Later, his unit was attached to the 43rd Infantry Division.
Mr. Benedetto landed on Rendova with the Army Ranger Battalion and the 27th Infantry. After Rendova, he landed on Munda, taking the airfield, while still attached to the 43rd Army. Division.
He served 27 months in the Pacific and later was transferred to the Boston Naval Shipyard. While at the shipyard he was transferred to the USS West Point as a gunner and security duty. Mr. Benedetto’s travels took him into the North Atlantic European Theater waters and ports including Italy, France, Scotland and England, among others.
Mr. Benedetto earned the Presidential Unit Citation (Guadalcanal) attached to the First and Second Marine divisions; two Navy Unit Commendations: Guadalcanal and Rendova-New Georgia area; one Army Commendation with the Rendova-New Georgia group from the 43rd Army Infantry Division; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three battle stars; the American Campaign Medal; the Victory Medal World War II; the Good Conduct Medal; the Combat Action Ribbon, the Guadalcanal Medal issued by the Solomon Island People and the European Theater Medal (USS West Point). He was honorably discharged in 1946.
Gus Benedetto, who owned S. Benedetto Sons Construction Co. before he retired, was a life member of the following: First Marine Division Association, the Guadalcanal Campaign, The Veterans Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2346, Special Marine Corps Units of WWII Charter Member, Marine Corps League and the Disabled American Veterans.
Bill Cashman, who lived to be 89, also served his country in the Pacific Theatre as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. Bill’s squadron was one of the first to arrive in Nagasaki following the dropping of the atomic bomb and spend much of their time reconfiguring Japan.
Upon his return home from serving his country, Bill first worked at the former A.C. Lawrence Leather Company. In 1950 he married and moved to Middleton with his wife and began a career as a builder and carpenter.
He began with Campenelli Homes, then went out on his own, founding a carpentry business. For many years Bill was also associated with the William Durzak Con Arch Company.
Bill served as the Building Inspector of the Town of Middleton for many years and contributed a lot of his time helping out that community.
The party in memory of Gus and Bill, “Two Fighting Marines,” was a lasting tribute to both men. They will never be forgotten.