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The Moravian Dozen
US Coast Guard photo reprinted in 1947 Revista

Moravian Moment

The Moravian Dozen

By Nancy Rutman ’84

Recalling a piece of our history

To mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in 1945, we pay tribute to the 12 students and alumni of Moravian College for Men who gave their lives in service during that war. The conflict had a profound effect on the college. Below is the dedication from the 1947 Revista yearbook, the first published after the war:

“We, the senior class of 1947, wish to dedicate this issue 
of the Revista, with sincere tribute, to those members of the student body and of the alumni of Moravian College who gave their lives in World War II in the struggle against the forces of tyranny and evil which were then rampant in the world...and with this dedication goes our pledge for a continuation of the battle for justice and freedom and for the right to achieve the highest aspirations of life. May we apply the knowledge and learning which we have gained from our college training to works which will make this world a better place in which to live. We must also assume the task of instilling in succeeding generations the desirability of the continuation of these high and worthy aims for successful living with their fellowmen. For this task we entreat Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, to be our help and guide.”



Lt. Cdr. Francis Edward Pinter ’39

November 11, 1913–April 13, 1946

Pinter enlisted in the naval air forces immediately after graduating from Moravian in 1939, entering active service in December that year. He received his commission as lieutenant in 1940 and was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Norfolk, Virginia. Pinter became famous worldwide when he and his crew rescued all 17 passengers from a raft carrying survivors of a torpedoed passenger ship near Puerto Rico without jettisoning any bombs or fuel. For this he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1942. He was promoted to lieutenant commander in November 1945 and stationed in the Philippine Islands, where he died on duty from injuries in an automobile accident. Military honors: 3, 4

Ens. John Stuart Smiley (Student)

November 20, 1924–April 9, 1945

Smiley enlisted in the service in November 1942. He was stationed at Moravian for several months while undergoing V-5 training as a Naval Aviation Cadet, which he completed in December 1943. Commissioned an ensign in January 1945, he was sent for final operational training at the Miami Naval Air Station, where he was killed in a plane crash.

Moravian Moment Medals

David Griffith
2nd Lt. David Hacking “Dee” Griffith


2nd Lt. David Hacking “Dee” Griffith (Student)

October 12, 1920–March 8, 1945
Company C, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment,
 4th Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force

Griffith was inducted into the Marines in 1942 and enrolled
in the US Marine Corps V-12 program, receiving his certificate in October 1943. He was commissioned as an officer and sent overseas in 1944. David and his younger brother Donald (a corporal in the Marine Corps) were fighting side by side with the Marines at Iwo Jima when David was killed. At the time of his death, he was commanding officer of his company. Military honors: 4



Elmer Dorn
Pfc. Elmer Stewart Dorn ’33



Pfc. Elmer Stewart Dorn ’33

January 22, 1911–May 25, 1944
Battery C, 69th Armored Regiment, Field Artillery Battalion

Dorn was inducted into the army in 1942 and sent to North Africa in 1943 after training. Later transferred to Italy, he was killed in action during the Battle of Anzio. Two weeks later, Moravian College received a letter from him enclosing a contribution to the college’s alumni fund. Military honors: 4

2nd Lt. William Shimer Thompson ’37

November 2, 1914–April 27, 1944
250th Infantry, 88th Division

Thompson was inducted in April 1942 and sent overseas in October 1943. He was killed in action on the front in Cassino, Italy. When Thompson’s father died in 1951, he bequeathed $15,000 to Moravian College and Theological Seminary in his memory. Military honors: 4

Willard Bernhardt
2nd Lt. Willard Clayton Bernhardt ’39

2nd Lt. Willard Clayton Bernhardt ’39

August 16, 1917–September 10, 1944
Company A, 11th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division

Inducted in 1942, Bernhardt was commissioned as an officer in 1943 and stationed in England and Ireland in 1944. After the Normandy invasion, he was sent to France, where he was killed in action. The Willard Clayton Bernhardt dormitory (1964) is named in his memory; his childhood home is now Alumni House. Military honors: 2, 4

Pfc. John Austin McNerney (Student)

March 26, 1920–October 13, 1943
168th Infantry, 34th Division

Also inducted in 1942, McNerney received his basic training in Maryland and Virginia. In January 1943, he sent a telegram to his parents from “somewhere in Africa,” where he participated in the African and Tunisian campaigns. He was killed in action in Italy during the Battle of the Volturno Line.


1st Lt. John Lester Mackey ’40

October 21, 1918–April 2, 1943
67th Bomber Squadron, 44th Bombardment Group

Mackey enlisted in the US Army Air Corps (later the US Army Air Forces) in July 1941. In 1942, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and transferred to England, where he was promoted to first lieutenant in 1943. Mackey was reported missing in action on February 15, 1943, when the B-24D Liberator heavy bomber he was navigating was forced into the English Channel off Dunkirk during a bombing run. His family was later told that he had died on April 2, 1943, in the European area. Military honors: 1, 4

John Miller
2nd Lt. John H. “Jack” Miller

2nd Lt. John H. “Jack” Miller (Student)

August 4, 1922–March 9, 1945
89th Fighter Squadron, 80th Fighter Group

Miller was sworn in as an army aviation cadet on October 24, 1942, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. As of October 1944, he was serving as a fighter pilot in the China-Burma-India Theater, where he was killed in action in March 1945.

2nd Lt. Michael “Mike” Musike ’41

February 4, 1920–April 13, 1944

736th Bomber Squadron, 454th Bomber Group (H)

Musike registered for the draft 22 days after graduating from Moravian. After a nine-week training course and advanced training as a bombardier, he earned his silver wings and his commission as a second lieutenant in October 1943. He served as a bombardier aboard a B-29 Liberator. He was reported missing in action at Alp, Hungary, April 13, 1944, when his plane failed to return from a bombing mission, but his family was not told until 55 years later that he had been killed in action on that day. Military honors: 1, 4

2nd Lt. Charles John Yodice ’43

August 30, 1921–November 3, 1944

India China Wing, Army Transport Command

In late 1942, while still a student at Moravian, Yodice enlisted in the Air Corps Reserve. After he was commissioned in May 1944, Yodice became a ferry pilot. He was piloting a C-46 Commando plane when it was reported missing with all of its crew on November 3, 1944. His parents learned of his death in late September 1945, a few days after the wreckage and bodies of the plane’s crew members were discovered.

Cpl. Allen Melvin Zart (Student)

February 6, 1922–October 15, 1944
C.C. Adm. Headquarters, Alamogordo Army Air Base

Zart, who completed a semester at Moravian in fall 1939, enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943. He received preliminary training at New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, and was then transferred to Jacksonville, Florida, and Denver, Colorado. He was a gunner on an air bomber at the time of his death in an airplane accident at Alamogordo, New Mexico.

To read more about these men, including their family lives and their activities while at Moravian College, check out The Moravian Dozen ebook, available on Amazon.