A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

History: Aram Captanian Receives Bronze Star for Service in Po Valley, 1945

The 16 August 1945 edition of The Matawan Journal carried this wartime story of a local doctor winning the Bronze Star.

Matawan Doctor Wins Bronze Star Medal
Major Aram Captanian Cited For Meritorious
Service as Commanding Officer In Hospital

Major Aram A. Captanian, formerly of Matawan, who has been commanding officer of a field hospital unit with the Fifth Army in Italy, was recently awarded the Bronze Star medal for meritorious service.

The citation accompanying the medal read as follows:

"For meritorious services in support of combat operations from Apr. 13, 1944, to May 8, 1945, in Italy.

Major Caplanian, as commanding officer of a field hospital unit, skillfully supervised the activities of his organization in providing medical and surgical treatment to critically wounded troops in forward areas.

"By his resourceful ingenuity, he developed many improvements in unit equipment which not only greatly facilitated the treatment of battle casualties, but also significantly improved its efficacy. He so planned and cubicalized a hospital ward tent that four surgical operating tables were conveniently and efficiently operated during the rapid advance through the Po Valley.

"Major Captanian's splendid leadership ability and skilled professional knowledge materially contributed to the efficient and immediate medical treatment of the sick and wounded, and his achievements exemplify the finest traditions of the United States Army Medical Corps."

Major Captanian is a graduate of Colgate University and of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. Overseas for the past two years, he was a practicing physician in Matawan prior to entering the service in August, 1942. His wife, the former Miss Helen McCarthy of Freehold, is now employed by the War Department at Fort Lewis, Wash.


Social Security records show Aram Captanian was born 16 February 1912 and died in Matawan in August 1978.

Aram Captanian with his mother and brothers in New York in 1921
He was the son of Arakel and Pailadzou (Torykian) Captanian, of Armenia, according to his mother's obituary in the 28 May 1962 edition of The Red Bank Register. His mother was a local teacher, writer, and poetess. NPR says her rice pilaf was the inspiration for Rice-a-Roni! She lived at 166 Main Street in Matawan at the time of her death in 1962. His brothers Herant (Grant) and Gilbert lived in New York and San Francisco, respectively, at the time of their mother's death.

Dr Aram A Captanian went into medical practice in February 1954 with Dr Alfred Casagrande, according to a 27 September 1972 Independent article, in which Dr Casagrande was named Citizen of the Year by the Matawan Chamber of Commerce. Dr Zaven S Ayanian later joined their practice.

After Dr Captanian's death in 1978, his widow Martha Anne remarried to James C Day and moved from Matawan to Aberdeen, where she lived for 19 years. She was a communicant member of St Joseph's R C Church in Keyport. Her obituary appeared in the 17 July 2001 edition of The Independent.


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