Montauk Man Honored in Veterans Hall of Fame



New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle with Lt. Col. Walter George Drago on Tuesday when Drago was honored through his induction into the New York State Veteran

New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle has selected Montauk’s Lt. Col. Walter George Drago for induction into the New York State Veterans’ Hall of Fame. Drago joined veterans from across the state at an Albany induction ceremony on Tuesday, May 21.

In 1968, Drago enlisted in the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Flight Program and graduated with honors as a Warrant Officer 1 Army Aviator. He was selected to fly the Grumman OV-1 Mohawk. While serving in Vietnam, Drago was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 2 and was awarded several prestigious distinctions, including the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism, the Bronze Star Medal, 13 air medals, an Army Commendation Medal, the Vietnam Gallantry Cross and a Civil Action Medal.

Drago was released from active duty in 1972 and joined the Georgia Army National Guard. In 1988, he was transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve as a Master Aviator and Captain. He was then promoted to major and assigned to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, retiring as a Lt. Col. in 2002.

Since 2010, Lt. Col. Drago has been active with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and continues to volunteer with the military academy.

“Lt. Col. Drago demonstrated extraordinary courage and commitment in his service to our nation,” said Senator LaValle in a press release last week.

In 2012, Sag Harbor resident Marine LCpl. Jordan C. Haerter — who was killed in Iraq in 2008 — and Shelter Island resident Army 1st Lt. Joseph Theinert — who perished in Afghanistan in 2010 – were posthumously inducted into the veterans hall of fame.