Flag Flies for Larry Kuhn

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In continuing its mission to take history out of the textbooks by honoring a local veteran each month of the school year, the Hampton Bays School District is paying tribute to Korean War veteran Larry Kuhn by flying an American flag in his honor throughout the month of February.

“The district is proud to honor Mr. Kuhn for his bravery and service to the United States,” said Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen.

Mr. Kuhn was honored at a ceremony at Hampton Bays Elementary School on Feb. 12. During the event, the Hampton Bays Middle School Harmonizers performed “Blackbird” by Paul McCartney, and middle school VFW Patriot Pen essayists Bryan Carrillo and Samantha Coulton read their essays, titled “What Freedom Means to Me.”

Born in Ridgewood, Brooklyn, in 1929, Mr. Kuhn and his family moved to Bellerose in Nassau County in 1931. Mr. Kuhn attended parochial school in Queens Village and traveled even further to Holy Trinity High School in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for high school.

After graduating high school, Mr. Kuhn enrolled in a seminary with the intention of continuing his religious studies. However, he had a change of heart after meeting Jane Wuensche, his future wife, in 1948. After leaving seminary, Mr. Kuhn found employment with General Foods Corporation and worked in the accounting division of Birds Eye Foods for three years.

In 1951, Mr. Kuhn received a U.S. Army draft letter and was sent to Camp Carson in Colorado, where he took both basic and advanced training as a construction engineer. That year, shortly after completing his basic training, he married Jane.

While stationed at Camp Carson, Mr. Kuhn and his construction battalion built a road to Pueblo, Colorado, through the Rocky Mountains that saved many miles of travel. He was transferred to Fort Riley in Kansas, where his unit built several pontoon bridges to address the area’s heavy flooding.

Mr. Kuhn was then assigned to the 45th Division, 180th Battalion in Posan, Korea, in 1952, where he was promoted to sergeant first class. While in Posan, he was attached to company headquarters. His tour in Korea ended five and a half months later when he was offered a field commission to second lieutenant, a position that was contingent upon him remaining in Korea another six months. However, as he was eager to return to his wife at home, Mr. Kuhn was sent back to the United States and was honorably discharged in 1953.

After being discharged, Mr. Kuhn and his wife moved in with his wife’s parents in Elmont and, in 1954, moved into a house they built on the property that Jane’s father owned in Hampton Bays. Kuhn went to work for the Bulova Watch Company in Sag Harbor and then for the telephone company as a lineman. He stayed with the phone company for 34 years, receiving several promotions along the way. He retired in 1989. After retirement, he returned to work for the phone company as a teacher for two years. Jane also worked for the telephone company and years later was employed by the Hampton Bays School District.  

Mr. Kuhn has four children, three sons and one daughter, and while Jane passed away in 2004, he still lives in the house they built.

Mr. Kuhn is a member of the Hand Aldrich Post of the American Legion and was its commander in the 1970s. He is still active as a member of the Holy Name Society of St. Rosalie’s Church and is a regular at the monthly Hampton Bays Veterans Breakfasts.