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Two Delaware County veterans of the Pacific Theater were on hand for events surrounding Japan’s surrender in August and September 1945. The Japanese unconditional surrender culminated years spent overseas for both men - Woodruff “Woodie” Benson, of Middletown, and Ed Buffman, of Upper Providence – in the hard fought effort to defeat the imperial power.“I remember at the beginning of August that the war was still a long way to go. Then on Aug. 6 they dropped the first bomb and about three days later they dropped the second,” said Benson. The 1938 Glen-Nor High School graduate was then in Okinawa, shuttling troops and equipment from Clark Field in the Philippines. “I left home in January ’42, got home in November 1945. I never got home in the meantime,” said Benson, an Army Air Corps Captain, who flew 1,400 hours, with slightly over half in combat hours, as head navigator in a troop carrier outfit.About Aug. 29, Benson was among the crews called to Atsugi air base ahead of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s arrival. “One of our engines was having trouble. By rights we should have turned around gone back but after being overseas that length of time we didn’t want to miss this final bit,” said Benson, who had spent extensive time stationed in the jungles of New Guinea. Held over awaiting engine parts, “I was there when MacArthur came in with the 11th Airborne in a C54. I had kind of a ringside seat, if you will, before they even signed the peace on the Missouri. That was one of my really thrilling times.”However, apprehension remained ahead of the formal Sept. 2 surrender. “There were 250 of us in Japan for two days and we really did not know at that particular point how true this peace would hold,” Benson said, having been instructed to “get out of there fast” and “not have any kind of incident.” While sleeping under a plane in a roofless hangar, a Japanese squad arrived and decided to drill outside alongside Benson’s. “We all had our .45’s there but it wouldn’t have done much good,” he said. “But all they were trying to do was make us feel uneasy, which they certainly did.”Decades after the war, Benson would become involved with the American Legion and working with students after befriending the late Post Commander Oliver C.P. Armitage, longtime Chester banking and real estate figure and U.S. Navy corpsman during the war, at Lima Estates. “I never got into the VFWs or American Legions until Ollie Armitage got here. If I wouldn’t have joined if Ollie would not have been my good friend,” he said.Benson would be among the Legionnaires who inaugurated a patriotic essay contest at Middletown’s Glenwood School, connecting elementary students of the 2010s with the Greatest Generation. “The kids were always very positive,” he said. “Ollie would say ‘how many would like to get in the service?’ and a lot of them would put their hands up.”“The thing that was so good in World War II, was that everybody was involved. They either had a kid that was in the services, some of them two or three – my two brothers were both in,” he said.Ed Buffman would follow in his father’s footsteps in the U.S. Navy, enlisting out of Roxboro High School in 1943. Serving as a Gunner’s Mate, Second Class from 1944-’46 on the U.S.S. Missouri, he saw battle at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Kyushu and Honsho.“My father was in the Navy; he was in 30 years,” Buffman said. “I had all the ideas of being on a PT boat, being in a submarine. He said ‘you’re not going to be on any of those little things.’” Following the wishes of his father – a veteran of World War I and retired Chief Turret Captain who was called back as a commissioned officer for World War II – Buffman was Gun Captain to 25 sailors manning a battery of five 20 millimeter guns on the Missouri.“Those guys were great. I have five on each gun; not one of them ever ran from the gun or anything,” he said. When the Missouri was struck by a kamikaze April 11, 1945 off the coast of Okinawa, “the ship was aflame, smoke all over. I cut through midship and looked down there and said ‘don’t worry, everything’s under control.’ I had a great group of guys,” he said. Five days later, the Missouri would shoot down 11 and ½ kamikazes during a daylong attack.After extensive battle to ensure Japan’s surrender, Buffman would volunteer to join “Malone’s Marauders,” under Commander L.T. Malone, as one of six gunner’s mates to land on Japan after the initial surrender sent to mountains unprotected to rid Japanese ammunition. With Marines still guarding ships in the uneasy days following the initial surrender, groups of sailors had to make the initial landings. “We were told ‘if you’re approached by Japanese soldiers, sailors or anyone – if they have an armband that’s white, don’t shoot them. If they don’t have an armband, shoot them,” he said.When the time came for the formal surrender aboard the Missouri, the monumental occasion seemed an uneventful 20-minute formality for its crew, Buffman said. The dignitaries were nearly left in the lurch when the table for the signing sent from the HMS King George V was found to be two small. “At the last minute… two sailors from my division were sent to the mess hall to pick up a table,” he said. Buffman would finish out his time on the Missouri with a tour of duty in Europe, which he characterized as a “pleasure cruise” after the combat of the Pacific. “We were treated like kings,” he said.In the 1990s, Buffman would come to be active in veterans’ organizations and education programs. Serving as VFW Media Post 3460 Commander from 1999-2001, he would go on to be All State Post Commander. He would help launch the Media Theater Veterans Alliance in 2001, which to date has honored 75 veterans at the opening of productions.In 2005, he co-founded the Media-based Pennsylvania Veterans Museum with borough Mayor Bob McMahon and fellow Pacific Theater veteran, the late John “Bud” Hendrick Jr. The museum teaches 500 students per year and the general public the contributions of U.S. veterans from all wars.Buffman was forthright in what he hopes younger generations can take away from his peers and the war effort. “They called the World War II guys ‘The Greatest Generation,’ because they are the greatest generation,” he said. “The values of the World War II generation are far different than their thoughts now, such as respecting each other, respecting the flag, and respecting the National Anthem.” 

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A number of Chester residents have been stepping up to battle the illegal dumping of trash in their community with recent clean- up efforts. This past weekend, community groups including Making A Change Group, The Bridge Church and volunteers from Covanta, a trash-to-steam facility, gathered near the Edgemont Park Apartments to clean up a large pile of illegally dumped trash and furniture.

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CHESTER — As Japanese officials took to the airwaves on the morning of Aug. 15, 1945 to proclaim the nation would soon accept the surrender terms of the Potsdam Declaration, the American people, who had toiled for years to ensure that result, waited by their radios across the date line on th…

If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos .      -      E.O. Wilson

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Monday evening school board meetings resulted in three different outcomes to the question of reopening school in the coming weeks. Penn-Delco returned to a hybrid opening, Wallingford Swarthmore voted to go all virtual until Oct. 2 to start to the school year and Garnet Valley is delaying a decision one week.

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UPPER DARBY — An armored police vehicle many in the township referred to as a tank has been sent west as administrators move to modernize the police department. But others, including the county's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27, say it's a move to defund the police.

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MEDIA —With Civil War monuments in the news recently, particularly those situated in the South, it is interesting to reflect on local monuments in our area. One of these, Delaware County’s Memorial to the Civil War, known as the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, features a Union soldier leaning on his rifle atop a 30-foot column and is located on the east side of the Delaware County Courthouse facing Olive Street.  The story of its creation is of particular interest during these times.

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MEDIA — Delaware County's most senior medical official issued recommendations pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which has killed more than 100 people and sickened thousands in China.

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NORRISTOWN — More than 30 superintendents from districts in five counties across the greater Philadelphia area announced their intentions to tackle charter school reform during a press conference Monday at the start of National School Choice Week. 

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PHILADELPHIA — An update by the education advocacy groups representing over a dozen petitioners in a public school funding lawsuit against the state is expected in the coming days.

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MEDIA — Changes keep a'coming to Delaware County as county council hired a human resources specialist to revamp hiring practices and as it prepares to host an ethics reform hearing next month.

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HAVERFORD — If you’re driving around Havertown and wonder what’s up with all those green lights? The lights are to show support to some Haverford High School students and others who are fighting cancer.

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HAVERFORD — The perfect combination. That is what Huong Bui has found in her new endeavor, the Sugar and Spice Thai restaurant which opened in early January.

MEDIA COURTHOUSE — A decade-long battle between Haverford Township and the Bartkowski Investment Group over the proposed placement of billboards in heavily trafficked corridors of Lancaster Avenue and Haverford Pike returned to court this week.

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HAVERFORD — Carrying signs with slogans such as “No Billboard Blight” and “Giant Billboards: Unsafe, Unsightly, Unacceptable” about 75 people protested proposed billboards along the 600 block of Lancaster Avenue Monday afternoon.

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UPPER DARBY— Upper Darby School District taxpayers will be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in capital costs if a state program to reimburse some of those expenses gets no funding from the state in the next budget.

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UPPER DARBY — An Upper Darby woman has been charged for a sixth time for driving under the influence following a Thursday afternoon accident, authorities said.

MEDIA COURTHOUSE — One of four people arrested in October for stealing from lockers at the Haverford YMCA was sentenced this week to six to 23 months at the county prison in Concord after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, a third-degree felony.

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MEDIA COURTHOUSE — Clifton Heights Borough and the Upper Darby School District have agreed to participate in at least five sessions of non-binding mediation to work out their intergovernmental dispute about building a new middle school in the borough.

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MEDIA — The solid Democratic Delaware County Council met for more than two hours Wednesday and already began making changes by scheduling nightly meetings, live streaming meetings and setting hours during the week to make themselves available to the public and to county employees.

MEDIA COURTHOUSE — Democrats officially took control of county government Monday morning with the swearing in of Dr. Monica Taylor, Christine Reuther and Elaine Paul Schaefer, who joined incumbent Democrats Kevin Madden and Brian Zidek on the five-member county council.

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HAVERFORD — Area communities are continuing to fight against the intrusion of billboards. Two upcoming community meetings - Jan. 9 and Jan. 14 - are on tap to let people know about possible billboards in Haverford and some that would impinge on Lower Merion.

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UPPER DARBY — By tip-off time Saturday afternoon, 26 people, many of them adults, including two uniformed security guards, did their best to populate the stands adorned with banners for “Upper Darby students.”