HARRY "HACK" DANKS, Sr.
Of Murrysville, died Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. He was born Oct. 12, 1924, in Indiana, PA, a son of the late Leo E. Weiland, Sr. and Esther V. Stuchel. In addition to his parents, Harry was preceded in death by two brothers, Leo E. Weiland, Jr. of Florida and Russell H. Weiland, of White Oak. He is survived by his wife, Audrey Frances (Mahoney) Weiland; two sons, Harry Danks Weiland, Jr. and wife, Paula, of Point of Rocks, MD and Edward Keith Weiland and wife, Jody, of Delmont; four grandchildren, Alyssa, Jenny, Harry, and Eddy; a brother, Edward R. Weiland and his wife, Carole, from White Oak; and a sister, Florence H. Fagan of Perryopolis. Harry attended Pitcairn High School and left his junior year for the service. While at Pitcairn, he lettered in football and played sandlot football for the Pitcairn Mohawks. In 1942, Harry was a messenger for Citizens Defense Corps. Harry enlisted in the Army in 1943 and was a World War II infantry veteran in the Southwest Pacific, New Guinea, Leyte, Luzon and Japan from 1943 to December 1945. He was carefully selected for the Alamo Scouts. The Alamo Scouts were the first special forces (forerunners of the Green Berets) April 1944 to December 1945 to reconnoiter behind Japanese lines up to 250 miles in advance of ground forces gathering army intelligence. Harry earned many medals in the service, including the Expert Infantry Badge, Combat Infantry Badge, Special Forces Tab, Silver Star with Oakleaf, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf plus V for Valor, Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal with four campaign stars, American Campaign Medal, Victory Medal, Japan Occupation Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal plus two stars, Philippine Independence Medal, Army Meritorious Unit Citation and Rifle, Carbine Bar, and Machine Gun and Pistol Medals. Harry served in the 422nd Infantry Regiment, 155th Regiment Alamo Scouts, headquarters 6th Army, as a staff sergeant. Harry was inducted into the Soldiers and Sailors Hall of Valor. He attended the ceremony at Fort Bragg, NC, honoring the Alamo Scouts as the First Special Forces. Harry was also in many books; Silent Warriors, Alamo Scouts, Shadows in the Jungle, and Silent No More. He was also on the web at www.alamoscouts.org and the History Channel program History's Mysteries, June 4, 2001. He loved to hunt and fish and was a carpenter and homebuilder after the service. Harry and his wife were married for 64 years, residents of Murrysville for 58 years and members of Mother of Sorrows Church, Murrysville, since 1956. Harry was in many organizations, including Local 165, retired Supervisor for P.J. Dick Corp., member of White Valley Amvets Post 85, VFW of Delmont, Post 481, Knights of Columbus 4226, White Valley Social Club and the American Legion Post 711 of Murrysville. Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, at the HART FUNERAL HOME, INC., Murrysville. A Blessing Service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in the funeral home. Interment with military honors will follow in Twin Valley Memorial Park, Delmont. If desired, memorial contributions may be made to American Legion Post 711 of Murrysville, P.O. Box 272, Murrysville, PA 15668.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Aug. 22 to Aug. 23, 2014