OLD FORGE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — In this edition of Veterans’ Voices, the story of a local man who fought in one of World War II’s most intense and bloodiest battles, the Battle of Iwo Jima.
He was a part of not one, but four landings were shot by a sniper and survived. Recently his family and community paid tribute to him on a very special day.
Tony Julian is a lifelong Scranton man who served his community as a letter carrier. But it was his service to his country during wartime that has friends and relatives in awe.
“The life expectancy of a marine corpsman is not very long on the battlefield because they’re one of the first targets the enemy goes after and when I found out that Tony made four landings in World War II it was truly amazing to me that the man survived,” said Joel Sofranko, a veteran of the Vietnam War.
“I went through four invasions before I got hit. The last one on Iwo. I was in the first wave with a couple of others, Sipan and all of them. Always in the front lines, attached to a rifle platoon,” World War II Veteran, Tony Julian states.
His family recently hosted Tony’s 100th birthday party in Old Forge and it was a good time to take stock of a life well lived.
Tony served in both the Navy and the Marine Corps.
In fact, members of the local US Marine Corps League Northeast Detachment showed up to pay their respects, and to present a certificate of appreciation
One well-wisher says Tony is part of history, and part of his family because his father was Tony’s lieutenant.
Tony’s impact all these years later is still felt.
“The things that he said about my dad were just overwhelming. I still choke up when I think about it. The wonderful things that he said, and the bond that they had. He’s willing to share that with me, so I’m blessed,” the son of Tony’s Lieutenant, Bill Michels Jr. lamented.
“He is a true war hero and someone to always be looked up to and sacrificed for what we have today. And I love him for it,” Tony Julian’s son-in-law, Larry Nicolais explained.
Tony’s bravery in world war two earned him a bronze star and a purple heart.