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Leetonia to recognize Vice Admiral Tony Less

Morning Journal/Danielle Garner Bill Billet, Advisor for Sons of the American Legion stands beside the stone where the plaque will be in recognition of the accomplishments of Vice Admiral Tony Less. On the other side stands Sons of the American Legion adjutant Norm Kagelmyer and Commander of the Sons of the American Legion Danny Fire.

LEETONIA–Local community organizations are working together to recognize Vice Admiral Tony Less of the U.S. Navy.

There will be a commemoration service for Less at 10 a.m. on July 4. The service and celebration will be held at the American Legion Post 131, 540 Main St.

Ohio Senator Michael A. Rulli is planning to have a fly over and U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson is expected to give remarks. The Columbiana Color Guard will present and Leetonia High School band will play.

Less was born in Salem on Aug. 31, 1937. Norm Kagelmyer, adjutant of Sons of the American Legion, believes it is time for Less to be recognized.

“It’s just long overdue that somebody has done something for him,” he said.

Tony Less’s brother, Jerry Less, said Tony had a namesake to live up to.

“He was named after our grandfather who was one of the finest Christian gentlemen that I ever had the pleasure to be around much,” Jerry said.

Jerry said Tony excelled at everything he got his hands on, including athletics.

“Everyone used to talk about him in Leetonia; they never knew who had the ball,” Jerry said.

Jerry said Tony did well in school and always wanted to fly planes. Tony worked hard to get where he wanted and helped on the family farm until he graduated from Leetonia High School in 1955.

After graduation Tony went into the Navy and enrolled at Heidelburg College in Tiffen, Ohio.

Tony earned his navel aviator’s wings in June 1961. Jerry remembered getting to go on the ship with Tony for three days in 1983 when Tony was captain of the Ranger.

Jerry recalled Tony making weighted decisions about routines and procedures on board.

Tony logged 6,200 flight hours and 1,000 assisted carrier landings upon retiring in May 1994. He earned 10 air medals and a Navy Commendation Medal with combat “V”.

Tony also served in 110 missions in Vietnam.

Jerry has pride in his brothers’ accomplishments. “The Blue Angels was the big thing but he was captain of the Ranger. USS Ranger.” Jerry said.

Jerry said his brother taught him perseverance and diligence. “He’s always been a natural leader,” Jerry said.

Kagelmyer wanted to give thanks to businesses Richardson Monuments in Lisbon, Quaker City Concrete Products, Less Contracting Inc., Solomon’s Mines Inc., and Dennis Waggle of Leetonia.

Organizations that contributed include Sons of the American Legion Post 131, American Legion Post 131, VFW Post 532 of Washingtonville, Fraternal Order Eagles of Leetonia and Rulli Brothers of Boardman and Austintown.

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