Earl Roy Colebut

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Elder and World War II Veteran Honored

Gale Courey Toensing
5/5/13

A Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation elder was among more than 100 World War II veterans to be acknowledged in an honoring ceremony in Connecticut.

Tribal elder Earl Roy Colebut was greeted with a hero’s welcome during an AmericanWarrior Day of Honor homecoming event at Bradley International Airport near Hartford, Connecticut on Saturday, April 27. Colebut and the group of veterans had returned from a visit to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Dozens of family members, friend and local citizens came out to thank the veterans for their selfless service in fighting for their country.

Earl Roy Colebut (Courtesy Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation)

Colebut deeply appreciated the warm welcome. “I never had anyone care for me like that,” Colebut said.  “It was great to see the way people greeted me and took pictures. . .I have never been in anything like that before in my whole life.”

The Connecticut Day of Honor was sponsored by the AmericanWarrior organization, a non-profit volunteer organization founded in 2006 to help World War II veterans around the country to visit the national memorial in Washington, D.C.. The World War II Memorial opened to the public in 2004. It honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home.

Earl Roy Colebut and a company mate during WWII

Colebut entered active service on October 18, 1943 in the U.S. Army.  He was stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey as a private first class, attached to a Quartermaster company.  His military occupation speciality was truck driver and he served in Belgium, France, and Germany.  In 1944, he qualified as a sharpshooter.  He is credited with fighting in the Rhineland Campaign in 1944, a massive Allied campaign against Germany.  Besides Colebut’s impressive service to his country, he also received various medals which included the American Campaign Medal.  Colebut was honorably discharged on June 11, 1946.

According to the AmerianWarrior website, the first Day of Honor took place in 2007 when 100 World War II veterans and 45 Guardians were brought to the nation's capitol. “AmericanWarrior is sending World War II Veterans to their Memorials in Washington DC, before it's too late. The WWII Memorial was completed 60 years after end of the war. This is their final wish and we make sure it becomes reality,” according to the website.  “Along with sending WWII veterans to their Memorial we bring these heroes to schools, senior centers and other fraternal organizations. These heroes have the unique ability to inspire people from all generations."

Colebut is one of those inspiring figures, according to his family members. At the age of 88 years old, Colebut gave up his motorcycle riding only two years ago. He is a great role model, family members said in a statement released by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. “My grandfather as well as my father served this country so it was a special day for our family,” said Roy Colebut-Ingram, grandson to Colebut and a Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council Member.  “It was an honor and privilege to be able to show our appreciation to not only my grandfather, but to all veterans who have sacrificed so much to protect the freedoms that we enjoy today.” 

Other family members also expressed pride in welcoming Colebut home.  “We feel he represents all the Pequot Warriors who served during WWII,” Joyce Walker, chairwoman of the Tribal Elders Council said.  “As our Flag Song says “Our warriors are bringing our Eagle Staff home Victory, Victory.”

May is National Military Appreciation Month. All month ICTMN will be recognizing and honoring military service members and veterans. If you have stories, photos or news about events honoring service members or veterans this month, please submit for possible publication to editor@ictmn.com.

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