Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them.
Welcome to Schenectady County's Finest
In rememberance of the men who sacrificed their lives for our country.
Schenectady County suffered a substantial loss of men during the four major wars of the twentieth century. Men enlisted or were drafted into World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War. Schenectady experienced its greatest loss during World War II—an estimated three hundred men never came home. The number of casualties for all four wars was over five hundred—a tragedy for Schenectady County.
The men of SCF were sons, brothers, husbands and fathers who never returned to their families. The soldiers from Schenectady County would meet their fates differently: Some were killed in action; others died of wounds or were missing in action. Men were lost at sea, died of disease, or suffered a fatal accident. And each of them had a story.
SCF is a database of the men Schenectady County lost and a way for us to keep their memories alive. You can search by NAME, CONFLICT, RANK, MILITARY BRANCH, SERVICE GROUP, CAUSE OF DEATH, and CEMETERY. Or visit the VETS, CONFLICT, or BURIED OR MEMORIALIZED pages to browse by category.
George Gunn & The Story of SCF
George Bruce Gunn
When my father passed away in 2015, my mother mentioned a name I'd not heard before—George Gunn. I'd never heard my father talk about George. I discovered that as children George and my father both lived on Davis Terrace in the Mont Pleasant Neighborhood, and both their fathers had been in the Navy during World War II. George was killed in action during the Vietnam War when he was only eighteen years old. My mother said my father had fond memories of George and always kept his picture. Also, my mother spoke of the memorials George’s mom would have in the newspaper on special anniversaries.
One day as I was walking through Sts. Cyril and Method Cemetery in Rotterdam, NY, to visit my grandmother's grave, I came upon a military headstone for Martin Joseph Cribbs. After reading it, I realized he'd also died in the Vietnam War. George wasn’t the only one. I went home that day and started a four year journey to find every Schenectady soldier who died during the four major wars.
When I began my research, I decided that the soldier had to have been part of the community—it wasn’t necessary for him to have been born here. World War I had many soldiers who immigrated to Schenectady, and I didn’t want to leave them out. World War II had soldiers who moved here with their families to work for the General Electric Company and the American Locomotive Company and then enlisted.
My research turned into developing stories for each individual soldier. Some stories were longer than others, because some stories have been lost to time. Every time I write a story I hope to share it so we never forget, but also I want us to remember that these men were Schenectady County’s Finest.
Books About SCF Men
Those Who Remain, Remembrance and Reunion After War is a heart-rending memoir of Ruth Crocker's survival after her husband of three years was tragically killed during the Vietnam War. Ruth tells the story of how she met Captain David Rockwell Crocker Jr., their marriage of three years, his devastating death and how she survives. David enlisted in the US Army while his father Colonial David Crocker Sr. was stationed in Schenectady, serving as a senior Army advisor with the State Division of Military and Naval Affairs in Albany.
The Immortals by Steven T. Collis is the true story of the four chaplains, George Fox, a Methodist minister, Alexander Goode, a Jewish rabbi, John Washington, a Catholic priest and Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed minister. Clark Poling served at the First Reformed Church in Schenectady from March 1938 until entering the service on June 25, 1942. The story tells of these four chaplains being brought together to save lives on the USAT Dorchester after it is torpedoed.
His Name Was Donn by Evelyn Sweet-Hurd is a collection of letters Donn Sweet sent home from Vietnam. Friends from high school still talk about the zany antics of Donn Sweet, a bright guy with a wild sense of humor. After college, he was drafted and sent to Vietnam. Lt. Sweet had a sign over his tent that said, "Smile! That's an order!" The letters he wrote home brim with his humor, but they also contain brutal details and an unswerving look at war.This is a book about life and death in Vietnam, but it is also a book about all wars and the families they affect forever.