Summit Lake’s Joe Konyndyk celebrated his 96th birthday on June 23, thanks to his son and daughter-in-law, with cake and ice cream. There were several former members of Summit Lake Church, a few local neighbors and me. That morning I drove up from Albuquerque, spent half an hour with Joe and his wife Merna before the guests arrived, and had a blast.
Joe is the last living crew member of the USS Landing Craft Support (L) (3) 18. Along with five other LCSs Joe had photos of, he was an integral part of the “Mighty Midget” ships (along with about 56 other ships ” Mighty Midget ‘of various types) who fought in the South Pacific during World War II. They were heavily armored ships that helped repel Japanese kamikaze planes trying to destroy our ships around Okinawa. (See “sole survivor”, Cortez’s Journal, January 19, 2019 by Erika Alvero.)
The US Navy really has a great volunteer support team that has published a publication called “Ongoing: The Landing Craft Support Museum Newsletter”, written and edited by Dennis Steenbergen, with the help of his wife Bonnie, the treasurer of the newsletter, who lives in the Denver area. The newsletter covers the history of these important ships and the dedicated sailors who piloted them during World War II.
Joe has been heavily involved with Foreign War Veterans and many other activities in the towns of Mancos, Cortez and Dolores. It has been a pleasure to be his neighbor for the 20 years we have lived five doors east of Joe and his family. A real friend.
Albuquerque, New Mexico