World War II Veteran Receives Long Overdue College Diploma

WW II soldier and former Rockland County Times and Journal News editor finally receives his degree!
BY MAUREEN MOLLAHAN
Capt. Stephen Gerry, Mr. Lynch, Lt. Robert Thorne and Sean McKenna.

World War II veteran Edward Lynch Jr., resident of West Nyack, unmistakably embodies the bravery of America’s warriors.

Lynch’s heroism earned him several military medals, but one honor he has never been able to call his own is a college degree. War injuries interrupted his studies in 1944.
That void has finally been filled as Lynch received his honorary diploma from Providence College this weekend. It is a diploma he had been working towards in the ASTP after he was drafted into the Air Force as a machine gunner during World War II. He was one of 400 students out of Providence College.
The ASTP was a program for soldiers serving during WWII that allowed soldiers to earn college credit while serving for their country. The program allowed them to gain degrees in Engineering, Science, Math, English, History and other fields of study at over 120 Colleges and institutions. The idea behind the program was to teach the soldiers proper training and information for the positions they held.
Lynch was part of Providence College’s “Lost Class of 1944,” a name given to that group of students because out of the 400 soldiers enrolled in the college, 37 of them were killed in action. Lynch himself was wounded in November and December of 1944, first in the shoulder and then a more serious injury that required immediate surgery in Paris. After his operation in Paris, he was transported to England to recuperate fully in a hospital. “Thankfully, I was wounded”, Lynch recalled. “It was right at the time of The Battle of The Bulge.”
Lynch was awarded many medals during his time serving, including an Infantryman’s Badge, a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Clusters, due to his two wounds in battle, and a Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, meaning that specific medal was awarded to him twice.
Providence College awarded Lynch with his degree at his home in West Nyack this weekend. Three students from Providence College who are members of the U.S. Air Force presented the degree on behalf of the college.
A Rockland resident his whole life, Lynch became a newspaper writer and editor after serving. “I was a  newspaper man,” Lynch said. He worked for The Journal News and The Haverstraw Times. “I was an editor for what became The Rockland County Times,” Lynch said cheerfully. He has also been married for 50 years, has over 20 grandchildren, and now has a Bachelor’s Degree in Science.  With all the excitement going on in the house, all Lynch could happily say was, “All this commotion over me?!”
Edward Lynch Jr. is as intelligent as he is brave. From serving the county by being a soldier, to serving Rockland with his news writing talents, he is one of many who have given so much for his country and community. And thanks to Providence College, he finally has a college diploma to go along with his war medals.