The nominees

John Farese, Air Force

David Lee Pastor, Navy

Brian Mahoney Sr., Marine Corps

Joseph Scheirman, Army Reserve

Vanessa Smallsbryant, Air Force

Dick Vaughan, Air Force

Robert B. Abele, Navy

Douglas Homrich, Army Reserve

Ken Curtis, Navy

Andrew J. Savage III, Air Force

Joe Lysaght, Air Force

Sid Busch, Navy

James Ray, Army

Frederick T. Massey, Navy

Jon E. Jordan, Army Reserve

Jack Lehman, Navy

Edward J. Cotter, Air Force

Richard Bartels, Air Force

Chris Holloway, National Guard

Albert William Howard, Navy

William Mersereau, Army

Ike Bullard, Marine Corps

Taylor E. Adams, Air Force

Joseph F. Tallon, Army

Arnold S. Goodstein, Army

William O. Hamilton, Air Force

Andrew Nelson, Navy

James E. Livingston, Marine Corps

Ron Plunkett, Army

Pat Waters, Navy

Myron Harrington, Marine Corps

Ken Whilden, Army

Derek Meier, Navy

Lee H. Moultrie II, Air Force

Brian Stockmaster, Navy

Lawrence Henebery, Army

William O. Hamilton, Air Force

Richard Schramm, Army

Here are some of the nominating letters:

Brian Mahoney Sr., Marine Corps

My husband served in the Marines from 1964 to 1968 as a machine gunner with the 6th Marines, the 26th Marines and the 8th Marine regiments. He served in Santo Domingo and Vietnam. He received numerous awards for service in Vietnam, including a Presidential Unit Citation and a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. During his last week in Vietnam, he was wounded in action and received a Purple Heart. After his military service, he worked for 20 years as a policeman and an undercover detective. He retired in 1990 and has lived in South Carolina ever since.

Nominated by Helen Mahoney, Charleston

Vanessa Smallsbryant, Air Force

Chief Master Sgt. Vanessa Smallsbryant served in the United States military for 33 years before she retired. She served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Her honor to God, her family and her commitment to give her all is what defines her character.

Whether you were an airman under her leadership or a general she was advising, she treated you the same. She's humble, charismatic, loyal, direct, fair, intriguing, enthusiastic and comical. She epitomizes what the United States military uniform stands for.

Nominated by Lindsay Skillman, Charleston

Robert B. Abele, Navy

My husband, Rear Adm. Robert B. Abele, has lived his life with honor and love for God, family, country, and community. His tours over 34 years included USS Bristol; USS Orion; Pearl Harbor Shipyard; Vietnam; Yokosuka, Japan; and later, commanding officer of the Supply Center, Charleston, and vice commander of the Naval Supply Systems Command. His many awards include two Legions of Merit, Bronze Star with Combat "V"and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm.

After retirement, he served on the Base Realignment Commission and the Isle of Palms City Council for eight years.

Nominated by Mrs. Robert Abele, Mount Pleasant

Ken Curtis, Navy

Curtis is a retired veteran, having served in Vietnam and been awarded the Purple Heart.

He is the Commander of the Disabled American Veterans Summerville chapter, where he leads by example. He guides members in participation in veterans' events, including parades, funerals, ceremonies and Veteran Affairs. He is an active volunteer - making hospital visits, helping file claims for VA disability compensation and other benefits.

Ken Curtis deserves recognition for his dedication to helping veterans in our community and throughout the state.

Nominated by James Ray, Summerville

Joe Lysaght, Air Force

On behalf of the membership of American Legion Post 147, James Island, I am proud to nominate a Vietnam veteran who has never stopped giving, Lt. Col. Joe Lysaght.

He has been deputy director of Veterans Affairs for Charleston County, received the S.C. Order of the Silver Crescent, and served on the executive board of the American Military Museum, executive committee of American Legion Post 147 and as American Legion District 2 commander.

Nominated by A. Dwight Cargile, Commander Post 147

Sid Busch, Navy

Submariner Senior Chief Sid Busch spent 26 years on U.S. Navy submarines as a sonar technician. Patrolling off Russia during the height of the Cold War, his command's mission was to covertly monitor the enemy. The subs he was on carried more nuclear firepower on them than any ship or aircraft in U.S. history.

One submarine he served on was the Clamagore, now located at Patriots Point and soon to be sold as a reef. He volunteers his time at Patriots Point, giving informative tours of the Clamagore to visitors from all over. He's a walking encyclopedia of the equipment and personnel and brings the boat to life for all who take his tour. Sid is an avid runner and has run over 190 marathons. He is associated with the Wounded Warrior foundation and runs many of his marathons in honor of fallen solders. After each marathon Sid presents his finisher's medal to the family of the fallen hero.

Nominated by Chuck Altschul and Jeff Jacobs

James Ray, Army

James Ray was awarded the Purple Heart while serving in Vietnam.

His is the adjutant of the Disabled American Veterans Summerville chapter, where he provides administrative support and much of the direction needed to run the chapter.

He is the DAV Volunteer Services Representative at the Charleston VA Medical Center participating in veterans' events and providing support to the various programs.

He maintains the chapter and state DAV Local Veterans Assistance Program.

Ray is active in his care for fellow veterans and deserves to be acknowledged for his exceptional duty to them and the community.

Frederick T. Massey, Navy

Capt. Frederick T. Massey served his country as a naval officer and aviation leader for 30 years. After retirement he has continued to serve, including 12 years as senior naval instructor of the award-winning Naval JROTC units at St. Andrews and West Ashley High School and a national officer of the Military Order of the World Wars. He volunteered as director of 10 Youth Leadership Conferences providing patriotic education to 80 high school students each year aboard the Yorktown.

Nominated by Rudolph Matzner

Jack Lehman, Navy

Lehman is a World War II veteran who was aboard the USS Saratoga (in February 1945) when it was attacked by six kamikazes in the afternoon and then three more after dark.

He went on to become a hard-hat diver on the USS Petrel ASR-14 who recovered one of four H-bombs lost over Spain in 1966 when a Strategic Air Command B-52 collided with a refueling plane. Of the four hydrogen bombs the B-52G carried, three were found on land near the fishing village of Palomares, Spain. The fourth, which fell into the Mediterranean Sea, was recovered intact from 2,500 feet after a 2-month-long search.

Nominated by Jeff Jacobs

Albert William Howard, Navy

Capt. Albert William Howard, 83, joined the Navy in 1951 as an aviation cadet. His tours as a pilot included Hawaii, California, Iceland and Japan, with deployments to Vietnam. In 1961 he was the pilot who found Ham, the first chimpanzee sent to space, after the ape's splash landing outside the expected limits in the Atlantic Ocean.

Howard's 29-year career includes having four commands, including being the first Wing Commander of Fleet Tactical Support Wing One, commanding 2,700 officers and enlisted men. Bert and his wife Mary Anne moved to Charleston in 2011.

Nominated by Stratton Lawrence

William Mersereau, Army

I mark significant events in my son's five-year military service by telephone calls. William's enthusiastic call in July 2001 to a surprised father announcing his new job as U.S. Army scout. A call that basic training was hard, but he was going to make it. The call from Kuwait in March 2003 that his scout platoon would help spearhead the Iraq invasion, but for us not to worry. The 30-second call from Baghdad on Easter weekend that he was alive. The call from his assignment in Asheville that he was voluntarily returning to join his platoon in Ramadi. My recent call to him asking about the heroism he rarely mentions, after reading a Veterans Day message to Will from the gunner on his unarmored Humvee: "thanks for being there and getting me out of hell." Hell was a deadly ambush.

William Mersereau served in the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, of Fort Benning, Ga., and is now a federal police officer in the Charleston area.

Nominated by Jon Mersereau, Charleston

Ike Bullard, Marine Corps

My dad, Ike Bullard, is a longtime coach in Charleston. He played in three bowl championship teams as a defensive back at East Carolina. He also served as a captain in the Marines and was a helicopter pilot. He was awarded six air medals, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Purple Heart, and the Boeing Vertol Rescue Award for pulling out a 10-man recon team under heavy enemy fire.

While coaching, he served as a sports analyst with WCIV from 1986-1993. He has served as chaplain for the Charleston RiverDogs baseball team for 24 years and for the South Carolina Stingrays hockey team for the last 10 years.

He teaches at Gregg Middle School and is an assistant coach to John McKissick at Summerville High School.

Nominated by Brett Bullard

The letters were edited for clarity and brevity.