Joseph Hrabovecky

Not many folks can say they had six brothers who fought for Uncle Sam. But Ken Hrabovecky of Ebervale can -and proudly does- and that's why he remains bitter over that incident in Our Lady of Grace Cemetery the other day. That's when vandals desecrated the gravesites of 31 veterans by cutting and ripping the American flags specially placed in their honor. "It's an absolute disgrace," said Hrabovecky. He is totally appalled by the spree of criminal mischief, particularly because of the slap in the face to the courageous men and women who defended democracy some never to return to their loved ones. Hrabovecky knows the horror of war because, as the youngest of seven brothers, he learned of the death of his oldest brother, Joe, and the serious wounds inflicted to two other brothers, Thomas and Daniel. Joe was a tank sergeant when he lost his life during the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium in December 1944. He had enlisted in the Army in 1935 - five years before Ken was even born and served three years, then re-enlisted for another five years and had to stay in when war broke out. "Joe had quit school to get a job (during the Depression)," recalled Ken. "He was only 14 years old when he was using a jackhammer while lying flat on the ground." Not long before Joe had lost his life, he had come home on furlough specifically to see little Ken who was sick. "But while he was here, he had come home for another reason instructed to find a kid from Ebervale who had gone AWOL," said Ken. "Joe went to the guy's home but his mother (nervously) said he wasn't there," said Ken. "Later Joe told me, I knew he was hiding upstairs but I decided, if he really wanted to stay home, let him stay home." Another brother, Pfc. Daniel.'was wounded in July 1944 while fighting the Nazis in the assault on St. Lo in France. Dan is buried in the Brittany American Cemetery in St Lo and Ken is hopeful that he'll be able to make a trip there to visit his grave. 
A third brother, Pfc. Thomas Hrabovecky, then 20, was seriously wounded in Korea. He had been involved in hostile action against Communist forces at Heartbreak Ridge carrying a flame-thrower -when a MIG jetfighter swooped down and leveled a volley. Tom had part of his left foot shot off and also suffered wounds of the abdomen, had a long period of recuperation. Ken said, because of Tom's injury, he had to use a very high-heel shoe - and lamented that some people back home actually made fun of him, until his death at age 40. Other brothers who served in the armed forces were Steven, a corporal with a quartermaster unit based in North Africa during WWII; John, a seaman first class aboard Navy cargo ships in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theatres of Operation during WWII; and Albert, a sergeant first class who had been a supply sergeant at a military hospital in Hamburg, Germany, during the Berlin Airlift - the start of the cold war between Russia and the U.S. - after the end of WWII. Ken Hrabovecky is the only surviving son of the late Mr. and Mrs. John Hrabovecky He almost became the seventh brother to serve for Uncle Sam when he was drafted during the Vietnam War. However, he was relieved of the military obligation when the family's long record of military service - by six of his brothers was brought to light. Their parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. John Hrabovecky, had a dozen children. Two died in infancy and they also had three daughters.
Hazleton, Pennsylvania
27 Jul 2001, Fri  •  Page 1

Hazleton, Pennsylvania
04 Aug 2001, Sat  •  Page 5
The Plain Speaker 
(Hazleton, Pennsylvania)
11 Sep 1944, Mon  • Page 12

Joseph Hrabovecky

Service # 6890924

Technician Fourth Grade, U.S. Army

44th Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division

Entered Service From: Pennsylvania

Date of Death: August 11, 1944

Buried: Plot K Row 17 Grave 7

Brittany American Cemetery

Saint James, France

Awards: Purple Heart