Longtime ironworker served in the Civil Air Patrol during WWII
During a special ceremony at Ironworkers Local No. 6, Congressman Brian Higgins and leaders from the Civil Air Patrol presented the family of Alfred Corbran with the Congressional Gold Medal.
During World War II, Corbran was a member of the Civil Air Patrol, protecting the U.S. coastal areas from enemy intruders.
"Today, we are honored to recognize the service of Alfred Corbran for his actions as a member of the Civil Air Patrol and role in protecting this nation during World War II," Higgins said Wednesday. "He stepped forward to secure our country as a member of CAP and stepped up to help build this nation as an ironworker. His contributions are ingrained in the projects he constructed, the family he loved and the freedoms he worked to defend."
Present for the event were Col. Steven Perta, commander of the New York Wing Civil Air Patrol; Lt. Col. John Risio, commander of Western New York Division of the Civil Air Patrol; Lt. Col. Gerald Marketos, Civil Air Patrol government relations officer; and the Western New York Civil Air Patrol Color Guard.
Perta said, "We are honored to be part of this ceremony today in recognition of Alfred Corbran's contribution to our nation during World War II."
Corbran had a strong desire to contribute to the war effort, but was one of many skilled laborers forbidden from enlisting in the armed forces due to the value of his work at home. After his third attempt at joining the Army failed, Corbran was escorted home and advised to join the Civil Air Patrol.
Following the War, Corbran joined the Ironworkers and, as a welder, worked on some of the most iconic projects of his time, including the Atlas Missile Silos in northern New York and Vermont, the St. Lawrence Seaway Eisenhower Locks and the Cape Canaveral Deflector Pads. He remained a proud ironworker for nearly 30 years, until his passing in 1979.
During the Second World War, more than 100,000 men and women served in the Civil Air Patrol. The CAP flew about 750,000 hours on coastal patrols looking for submarines, towing targets for military training, conducting search and rescue and protecting borders. The CAP's motto is "Semper Vigilans," meaning "always vigilant."
While not eligible for standard military medals, in 2014, Congress approved and the president signed a bill awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to members of the Civil Air Patrol who served during World War II in recognition of the critical role these men and women played in protecting the country and supporting the Allied Forces' march to victory.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award given by Congress. It is awarded to those who have performed an achievement that has impacted American history and culture. Others receiving the medal include, but are not limited to: George Washington in 1776, Rosa Parks in 1999, Pope John Paul II in 2000, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King in 2004, the Tuskegee Airmen in 2006 and the victims of 9/11 in 2011.