On January 30, 2020 members of the Wantagh Fire Department, along with many veterans and community members, attended the funeral of Fred Haag, a Purple Heart recipient and decorated hero from the Vietnam War at St. Frances de Chantal Roman Catholic Church.
Mr. Haag was born in 1947 and grew up in Brooklyn. He was drafted into the Army at the age of 19 and served from 1966 to 1968 in the 58th Infantry Regiment and the 197th Infantry Brigade. He was wounded during his service.
In addition to the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medals, he received the National Defense Service Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Vietnam Service Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Like many who served in Vietnam, Mr. Haag rarely spoke about his service and time in Vietnam. According to family, he was kind, gentle and mainly kept to himself. Never marrying or having children, Mr. Haag lived most of his life in Connecticut before being stricken with cancer. He moved to a VA Nursing home in Stony Brook to be closer to what family he had. He died on January 25, 2020, at the age of 72 and is survived by his niece Tina Flaherty, her husband Jason and their daughter Alexa, and another niece Darlene Piritsch, her husband Robert and their children Allison and Christopher.
The family reached out to the community and the Wantagh Chamber of Commerce and invited anyone who would like to attend to pay their respects to Mr. Haag. The following members from the Wantagh Fire Department attended with Ladder One, proudly displaying a large American Flag, to honor Mr. Haag and pay tribute for his service: 1st Assistant Chief Tom Bloomfield, ex-Chief/Commissioner George Krant, ex-Chief Jeff Lindgren, Captain Phil Schaaf, Lieutenant Steve Cohen, ex-Captain Bill Van Leer, and Firefighter Matt Porreca. Several members of the North Bellmore Fire Department joined them. In addition, the Nassau County Police Department, Motorcycle Platoon and Mounted Unit turned out to pay their respects.
– Fire News story by Kevin Regan, PIO; photos by Lt. Cohen