Salute to veterans
By Anthony Welch
As a teenager, Fred Jayne was fed up with high school.
“I wasn’t happy with my professors,” the 92-year-old said.
So Jayne enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was a third class petty officer as part of the World War II Amphibious Force and served on the USS LST-574 ship, which took part in three invasions, according to Jayne.
During World War II, LST-574 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following operations: Leyte landings-Nov. 1944, Lingayen Gulf landings-Jan. 1945 and Mindanao Island landings-March 1945.
Jayne worked as a motor machinist and diesel mechanic working in the ship’s engine room, making repairs to small boats and working on tanks and trucks, he said.
“I was in charge of changing oil and doing whatever needed to be done to engines,” Jayne added.
The LST-574 weathered a kamikaze attack. Many lives were lost, according to Jayne, but he was on the other side of the ship when the attack occurred.
“I heard it. I felt it, but I didn’t have to see it,” he said.
When his three years in the Navy wrapped up, Jayne married a farmer’s daughter, Virginia Faye Franklin. The couple had three children: Yvonne, Fred and Ronald. They were married for 69 years. Sadly, Jayne lost his wife three years ago.
“She was a wonderful lady,” Jayne said. “She was about the best.”
Jayne worked a few different jobs after his military career, the longest being at the Air Force Academy as an instrument technician. He also conducted research work with cadets at the aeronautics lab. He worked there for 31 years, before retiring at age 55.
“I loved my job,” Jayne said.
Tony Korte, 68, was drafted during the Vietnam War in 1969.
“When I heard my number, my heart started beating fast,” he said. “I waited until the day I was to report before I went to the recruiting office and signed up for the Navy. I had already lost a couple of friends in Vietnam during that time.”
Korte served four years in the military and was stationed at Sabana Seca, Puerto Rico. He worked in communications at a receiver site. The base would receive incoming Morse code and teletype messages from ships in the Caribbean, Korte said.
Fortunately, Korte did not have to serve time in Vietnam. He was afforded the option to stay put at his position.
“That was a no-brainer,” he said.
There were definitely lessons to be learned during his four years in the military, Korte said.
“They teach you discipline. It also developed my character as far as being more responsible,” he said. “When I went into the Navy, I didn’t know where the hell I was going. It’s a great place to start. I’d definitely recommend it to anybody.”
After the Navy, Korte attended trade school and earned his FCC First Class Radiotelephone Certificate. He worked on microwave radios and later as a television broadcast engineer. Korte married in 1975 and had two kids – Melissa and Christina.
Korte left engineering and moved to California to take a position with Videomagnetics, a company that refurbishes video heads. Korte eventually purchased the company in 1987 and later relocated to Colorado.
The business refurbishes old 1950s-era quadraplex video heads for the Library of Congress. It also does similar work for television stations all over the world. In 1998, Videomagnetics was honored as Exporter of the Year by the Small Business Administration.
Outside of work, Korte’s biggest passion has been music. He grew up in a family of musicians. His parents were in a band, and Korte picked up the drums at age 14. He played in his first band a year later.
While in the Navy, he took up guitar, because “hauling drums around in the service wasn’t ideal,” he said.
In 2007, Korte remodeled a portion of his Videomagnetics building to include a recording studio, and Sunshine Studios was born. Not too long after, Korte, was the help of his daughter Christina Corbitt, opened a live music venue – Sunshine Studios Live. The venue hosts local and national acts in it’s warehouse-like setting in Widefield.
Korte has performed in around 20 bands in his musical career since he was a teenager. He still plays at home these days and jams with siblings when they’re in town. But mostly, he puts in time bringing live music to his venue.
“Music was always there when I was a kid,” Korte said. “I was around it all the time.”
U.S. Marine Corps
Lydia Cabrera, 55, served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps. She enlisted at the age of 18.
“I just didn’t have my head wrapped around college.” Cabrera said. “I wasn’t disciplined enough to go through that long-term process.”
Cabrera went through boot camp at Paris Island, S.C. before heading to Twentynine Palms, Calif. for electronics school. During her time in the Marines, Cabrera also spent some time in Norway and Okinawa. After getting married and having three kids, Cabrera took a non-deployable position back in Twentynine Palms working on radio systems.
“I went through a divorce and wanted to be closer to my children,” she said.
Cabrera was honorably discharged from the Marines after injuring her back when lifting test equipment. She relocated to Colorado in 1990 and spent six years going to college and spending more time with her children – Elijah, Ryan and Joey.
Her military training led to numerous jobs in the electronics field, according to Cabrera. There were other takeaways from her life in the marines.
“I gained self-discipline. Also, you really learn how to read people,” Cabrera said. “I tell people (being in the military) looks fantastic on your resume and it opens quite a few doors for you.”
These days, Cabrera works part-time managing Airbnb houses and dedicates a majority of her time to her new passion – glasswork. She took a class two years ago and was immediately hooked.
“It’s super meditative,” she said. “You’re in the moment.”
To see some of Cabrera’s glass art creations, visit her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LydianGlass.
Catherine “Kay” Milano
Catherine Milano enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 22, where she served for six years.
“At time time, I went to college and could not find a job,” she said. “I decided to go into the military to see the world.”
Milano, worked as supply clerk and was stationed in Wildflecken, Germany. She also played volleyball and softball while in the Army, and that allowed her to travel to places like Vicenza, Italy and East/West Germany, “before the wall went down.”
The most interesting trip was Germany, according to Milano, who just turned 60.
“It makes you appreciate your freedom,” she said. “It was also my first experience with snow.”
Milano was born in New York but raised in Clearwater, Fla. She said she loves the snow, just “doesn’t like driving in it.”
Her time in the military really built up her self-pride. She said she thoroughly enjoyed her country while also having the chance to play her favorite sports.
“You also learn to stay focused and to do your job,” Milano added. “One of my favorite quotes is, ‘The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.’”
Shortly after leaving the military in 1986, Milano was a single mother of two daughters working at Walter Drake when she was offered a position at the U.S. Postal Service. While work there, she met her husband-to-be Dan and the couple raised daughters Stephanie and Jennifer.
Milano’s career in the Postal Service lasted 30 years, and she worked at five different post offices. Fittingly, her last office was on Fort Carson.
“II wanted to finish my career there because that’s where I started,” she said.
Milano retired from the Postal Service in June. She plans to enjoy retirement spending time with her husband, children and her grandchildren Avery and Jace. She’d also like to do some volunteer work eventually, she said.