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January 18, 2008 . Four Decorated Veterans Inducted into the Southwestern Veterans Center Hall of Fame Back to 2008

PITTSBURGH – Four decorated Pennsylvania veterans were inducted today into the Southwestern Veterans Center Hall of Fame.

“It is an honor to pay tribute to these men, who gave so much to their commonwealth and country,” said Charles C. Rhoads, commandant of the center. “Their bravery and commitment to duty will never be forgotten, and will live on at the Southwestern Veterans Center Hall of Fame.”

Ralph E. Dias, a native of Shelocta, joined the Marine Corps in 1969. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic conduct. While engaged in combat in the Que Son Mountains on Nov. 12, 1969, Dias repeatedly charged the enemy, destroying a machine gun emplacement before being killed by a final round. In addition to the Medal of Honor, he also was awarded the Purple Heart.

Robert H. Kenney, who lived in the Duquesne Heights/Castle Shannon area, served in the Army during World War II. He was in the Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, Central Europe and Normandy theaters. He received the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal with one Silver Star, the Good Conduct Medal and the American Theater Service Medal. He was devoted to his family, church and community.

Tulio B. Leonardi, of Lower Burrell, is a World War II veteran who, at age 18, enlisted in the Army in 1943 and went on to receive a Bronze Star Medal for exemplary conduct in ground combat. He also received three Bronze Service Stars for the Normandy, Northern France and Rhineland campaigns. Leonardi also received the Good Conduct Medal, Distinguished Unit Emblem, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge.

Robert E. Riethmiller, a resident of Lighthouse Pointe at Chapel Harbor in Pittsburgh, joined the Army in 1942 and served in the Eastern Mandates, Central Pacific and Western Pacific theaters. He received the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon with three Bronze Stars, the American Theater Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal and Victory Ribbon. In 2005, he was named the “Pennsylvania Volunteer of the Year” for his work at the Veterans Administration Hospital on Highland Drive in Pittsburgh, and at the Southwest Veterans Center, where he previously served on the advisory council.

Each of the state’s six veterans’ homes, operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, has a Hall of Fame to recognize and honor the military achievements of outstanding veterans who have completed honorable, active-duty military service and who reside or have resided in the region served by the veterans’ home.

The Southwestern Veterans Center, on a 10.5-acre campus at 7060 Highland Drive, Pittsburgh, has 236 beds for Pennsylvania veterans and their eligible spouses. It opened in 1997.

Ralph E. Dias

Robert H. Kenney

Tulio B. Leonardi

Robert E. Riethmiller
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