Specialist 5 Julius Szahlender

12606 Lake Shore Boulevard
Specialist 5 Julius Szahlender
Specialist 5 Julius Szahlender

Julius Szahlender, the 23-year-old son of Juliu s and  Eva Szahlender, was killed in action on February 25, 1968, near Cay Gai, Vietnam. Salander was serving as the senior medical aidman with his armored cavalry troop on a search and destroy mission near Phu Cuong. The unit received a heavy volume of small arms, automatic weapons, and rifle-projected grenade fire from a numerically superior North Vietnamese Force. The unit suffered heavy casualties. Without hesitation or regard for his personal safety, Specialist Szahlenter dismounted his armorer truck and moved on foot from vehicle to vehicle to aid the wounded. He was repeatedly exposed to concentrated enemy fire.

He ran 100 meters across a field to tend to three wounded members of his troop. He returned fire to cover their evacuation and held his position until they were safe. He died for wounds received from an enemy booby trap. His heroism earned him the Combat Medical Badge and the Bronze Star for Valor with one oak leaf cluster.

For outstanding heroism and devotion to duty, General Harold K. Johnson, chief of staff, United States Army, presented posthumously the Silver Star, Bronze Star (third award), and Purple Heart in a ceremony for his parents at John Carroll University in March 1968.

He served with outstanding distinction and selfless devotion to duty. He was always concerned with his fellow troops before himself.

Julius was born in Sarvar, Hungary, on July 13, 1943. His family was forced to leave Hungary when the Communist Army neared their home. The family lived as refugees in Germany for six years until they immigrated to Cleveland in early 1951 and moved to Bratenahl in 1957.

Julius attended Bratenahl School and graduated from Cathedral Latin High School, where he fell in love with skiing. He joined the Cleveland Ski Club and shortly afterward became a ski patrolman. As his zeal for skiing increased, he qualified to become a ski instructor in 1963 at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, New York.

After majoring in forestry at Ohio State University for half a year, he became ill before the spring term and missed class time. He tried to make up for lost work but lagged too far behind. Instead of struggling through the semester, he took off from school and planned to continue in September.

In June 1966, he was drafted into the U. S. Army. Instead of opposing it, he decided to finish his duty and then return to school.

Julius became a Specialist Five, combat medic, leaving for Vietnam in July 1967 and assigned to the 4th Cavalry of the 1st Infantry Division.

Julius is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Brookpark, Ohio. He served his country in the finest traditions and ideals of military service, and his name is on the Vietnam Memorial Wall, Panel 41E – Line 13.

In recognition of his outstanding military duty, Holiday Valley established the Julius N. Szahlender Memorial Race for high school students at the resort. Although discontinued after several years, it has since been picked up by the Cleveland Ski Club.