Tag Archives: West Point

Corona man arrested for hate crime against gay couple in Manhattan


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos via Facebook/DCPI

A Corona resident was arrested early Wednesday morning on hate crime charges for the assault of a couple, who were the first gay men to tie the knot at West Point, according to police.

On Aug. 2 at about 2:30 p.m., Daniel and Larry Lennox-Choate were inside the Newsstand store at 186 Prince St. in SoHo when 57-year-old Thomas Clabough of Corona entered the store to buy beer, cops said.

Clabough then started to shout anti-gay statements at the couple, which led to a verbal dispute. According to authorities, the suspect then struck Daniel in the face, causing minor injuries to his mouth. The 30-year-old later refused medical attention at the scene, police said.

According to a post on Larry’s Facebook, he intervened after his husband was attacked.
“He left covered in his own blood with his tail between his legs after I handled the situation and tossed him in the street like the coward loser he is,” the post said.

Clabough, who fled the scene on his bicycle, was arrested Wednesday reportedly near his Junction Boulevard home and charged with assault as a hate crime and attempted assault as a hate crime.

In 2013, Daniel and Larry Lennox-Choate were the first same-sex male couple to marry at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, from where they both graduated.

A few days following the attack, Larry wrote another post on his Facebook thanking everyone for their support and concerns, and also urged for people to reach out and call for zero tolerance policies aiming “to make good on the promise that all men (and women, of course) actually are created equal in this country.”

“Let’s be the generation that says ENOUGH! There are hundreds of non-violent ways to send a clear message that this sort of behavior is intolerable and that we just won’t take it any longer,” he wrote.

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Seven Queens students accepted to the US service academies


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of Congresswoman Grace Meng's office

Seven recent high school graduates from Queens will be all they can be in their college years after being accepted into various U.S. military service academies with the assistance of Congresswoman Grace Meng.

The academies consist of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland; U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado; U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point; and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut.

Kate Gerodias from Middle Village graduated from Forest Hills High School and will be attending the Naval Academy; Zachary Kurre from Glendale graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School and will attend West Point this summer; Selah Cho of Fresh Meadows finished school at Marion Military Institute in Alabama and will attend West Point; Kevin Guo from Rego Park graduated from Hunter College High School and will be continuing his education at the Naval Academy; Julia Hsu from Flushing graduated from West Point Prep School and will go on to West Point this summer; John Makiling of Flushing graduated from Naval Academy Prep School and will continue on to the Naval Academy; and Daniel Zakrevski from Richmond Hill graduated from Bronx High School of Science and will be attending the Merchant Marine Academy.

“I am honored to congratulate these seven exceptional students,” Meng said. “All are outstanding individuals who will be future military leaders of our country. I have no doubt that they’ll make Queens and the nation proud.”

Students looking to attend the service academies are required to be nominated by their Congress member. The institutions then evaluate the nominations from across the nation and decide which nominees to accept.

The students nominated by Meng compete against students from across the country and must meet the highly competitive educational, physical and extracurricular standards set by the institutions. Meng’s Academy Review Board, which is a panel of local community leaders, assists Meng in the nomination process for students looking to attend the academies.

This year, a total of 33 students applied to be nominated by Meng. Of those 33 students, 20 were nominated by the Congresswoman.

To congratulate the students for being accepted to the service academies, Meng hosted a reception for them and their families at her office in Flushing. She also presented each student with a certificate of Congressional recognition.

Meng plans to continue her “U.S. Service Academy Information Night” for Queens students who are interested in applying to the U.S. Service Academies. The day and location will be announced in the near future.

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Bayside students thank soldiers from home


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan

Three soldiers from Queens and Long Island got a hero’s welcome Monday when they paid a visit to a Bayside school.

Students from P.S. 130 welcomed the trio of military men on November 25 with armfuls of letters and a homemade flag with each child’s handprint, thanking them for their service.

Working with a nonprofit, volunteer corporation called Operation Gratitude, the youngsters wrote 150 letters and collected 126 pounds of candy and 150 toothbrushes to be sent to deployed military men and women.

This is the third year the school has helped the initiative.

“It means a great deal to me and other soldiers, serving overseas,” said Master Sgt. Robert Frame, one of three guests. “There are very tough times in combat, and it’s easy to kind of get lost in the challenges and rigors of war. When you receive letters from all these kids, from schools back home, it really lets you know what it is you’re fighting for.”

Frame, 33 of Albertson, Long Island has been in the Army for 15 years, having served two tours in Iraq. He is in charge of cadet operations at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point.

Frame fielded question after question from the curious bunch. Then two Queens Navy recruiters — Rocky Ramdyal and Wubin Emerson Liao — showed their captivated audience a life vest that inflates upon impact.

Ramdyal, an aviation electronics technician, is entering his 16th year with the Navy. The Woodhaven native, last stationed in Hawaii, became a recruiter in downtown Flushing last year.

Liao of Elmhurst, also a recruiter, is a logistics specialist, serving nearly six years with the Navy. He did a four-year tour of duty in Japan before returning home.

“Getting letters from students means a lot more than getting letters from your parents, who know what you’re doing,” Ramdyal said. “When you’re in a war zone area, when you see that letter saying, ‘thank you,’ it means a lot because it’s like our job isn’t going unnoticed.”

 

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Furloughs cancel forum for future cadets


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo by Neil Ruiz

Queens high school students looking to serve their country will have to make do without a planned information forum that could have been critical to their military future.

Recruiters from five of the nation’s top military academies were set to meet the borough’s prospective cadets until the government shutdown trickled down and caused its cancellation.

The Forest Hills forum organized by Congressmember Grace Meng was expected to draw at least 100 people, according to Meng’s office. It was called off since most academy representatives were likely furloughed from the shutdown.

A spokesperson for Meng said the event could not be rescheduled even if the shutdown ends soon due to time restraints.

“Canceling this important forum for our local students is extremely disappointing,” Meng said. “It illustrates how our Congressional district continues to feel the effects of the GOP shutdown.”

The event gave students a chance to get key information all at once, including requirements and procedures for applying, from representatives from the prestigious institutions.

Applicants are also short on time and have until November 1 to apply for their required congressional nominations — a competitive process in New York.

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy all mandate a nod for appointment from a U.S. representative.

Congressmembers or senators then have until January 31 to review and interview applicants before sending their choices to the academies.

“For the sake of our constituents and the rest of the country,” Meng said, “I once again urge House Republicans to immediately reopen the government.”

The federal stalemate, at least, is not delaying squared-away cadets at Francis Lewis High School, which has one of the country’s largest junior battalions.

The six seniors interested in attending West Point have already submitted their applications and congressional nomination requests, according to Senior Army Instructor retired Lt. Col. Al Lahood.

The school’s JROTC program has sent more than 20 cadets to West Point since 2003, officials said. Five alumni graduated from the prestigious military academy last year.

Five Queens teens from other high schools have also been accepted to the Air Force Academy since last year.

 

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Francis Lewis JROTC program sends two more students to West Point


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The country’s largest Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) program will send two more cadets to West Point.

Aaron Lin, 19, and Brian Nepogoda, 17, have been accepted to the U.S. Military Academy.

The JROTC program at their high school, Francis Lewis, has sent more than 20 cadets to West Point since 2003. Five of Francis Lewis’ JROTC alumni graduated from the prestigious military academy last year.

“I really, honestly can’t even describe my feelings. It’s an extreme honor,” Lin said. “It was my goal since I was a little kid. I’ve always wanted to be a soldier. It’s my highest personal achievement.”

Lin, a former cadet captain from Flushing, recently completed a one year preparatory program at Marion Military Institute after graduating from high school.

He said his “extreme patriotism” for his country and his Chinese-American pride pushed him to start a life of service.

“Since I’m here, I might as well fight for everyone who lives here,” he said. “I want to show that Chinese-Americans are not any less than anyone else. We’re just as strong. We can become great officers and leaders. I wanted to make my family proud.”

Nepogoda, a senior from Bellerose, said he was inspired to continue in the footsteps of his veteran grandfathers.

“They used to tell me stories about their service, stories about honor and how they were heroes. That really inspired me,” he said.

Nepogoda, a cadet first sergeant, is currently third in charge of a company of 200 students. He was also part of a Francis Lewis team that won first place in a recent Fort Dix competition that tested their mental and physical abilities.

“He gives 200 percent,” said coach and retired Master Sgt. Peter Rompf. “I’m proud. They were both good role models for the team.”

The pair leaves for six weeks of basic training in July before they begin their academic year. They will spend five years in active duty and four years in the reserves after graduating in 2017.

“I’ve wanted to go to West Point since about eighth grade,” Nepogoda said. “When I got accepted, I just couldn’t help but think how weird it is how quickly dreams can come true.”

 

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