Greatest Generation: Presidential Material

Greatest Generation: Presidential Material

great gen 038

From receiving the first Presidential Unit Citation to meeting the president, these men made history.

Spectrum Retirement Communities are home to many veterans, and we honor their service to our country by featuring their powerful stories.



Edward Barrett was born in the Bronx on December 20, 1947. He and his family lived in New York for the first 12 years of his life, then moved to California. His father was in the furniture business with Ed’s uncle, Oscar. Ed was a very athletic young man and participated in many sports. He attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, and he received his degree in logistics (sea, air and land) from the Air Force.

Ed joined the Air Force as a young man to help fight in the Vietnam War. He was in the service for 22 years. He was involved in two tours during the Vietnam War with the 4th Air Commandos Squadron.
Although he was in the Air Force, his unit specialized in helping the other armed forces. He was a “gunner” and witnessed a lot of active fire. He received several accommodations, including the Purple
Heart and Bronze Star.

For 15 years following Vietnam, Ed was stationed in Australia, England and Spain. He met his second wife Beverley in Australia and together they had a son, Matt. Sadly, she died when their son was three years old, thus making his new mission in life to be a good father and to raise his son well.

While Ed was still assigned in England he was asked to serve on Air Force One. He was with Air Force One for a year during the Reagan Administration. Ed stated that when they were building the plane for President Reagan, the president gave Boeing a shopping list of everything he wanted on board the Boeing 707, and First Lady Nancy Reagan even designed the drapes on the plane.

Ed also worked for ITT Defense for more than four years, assisting in the building of their radar system, along with working with NASA on the Cassini Mission. Ed was instrumental in ensuring that the satellite sent to Saturn was appropriately balanced in the rocket.

Ed has been retired for 22 years and is a 70% disabled veteran. He moved to Arizona from Las Vegas
five years ago, and his son and grandchildren are very involved with his life and make him smile every day. One of Ed’s passions is restoring antique cars.




Mal Middlesworth was born in Cowden, Illinois, on January 31, 1923. He left Elgin, Illinois, in his senior year of high school and joined the United States Marine Corps on April 13, 1941, in Chicago. He felt America would soon be at war and wished to serve his country. He finished boot camp at the USMC Recruit Depot in San Diego, in June 1941.

Mal joined the Marine Detachment on the USS San Francisco on October 2nd. The heavy cruiser was berthed in Pearl Harbor. After the Japanese attack on December 7th, 1941, the USS San Francisco participated in many 1942 naval and air battles including the landings, capture and defense of Guadalcanal. During WWII, the ship was awarded 17 major battle stars and the first Presidential Unit Citation.

Mal and JoJean Ciraulo were engaged in December of 1943, while he was on a 30-day leave in Elgin. The couple married in East Los Angeles on April 1, 1944, after Mal asked to be transferred from sea duty. He remains married to his still-beautiful wife today.

Mal joined the First Marine Division on Guadalcanal and participated in the September 15, 1944, landings and capture of the Island of Peleliu. The attack resulted in a higher death toll than any other amphibious assault in U.S. military history.

He returned to Elgin High School for his diploma and enrolled in Coe College, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in January of 1946. Jo and Mal had one of the first babies born on campus. He graduated at the end of summer school in 1948 and took a job in Chicago with a major oil company as a writer/editor. He later wrote, directed and produced auto-racing films and television shows. He also served as the vice president of production and board member of a large media corporation in Detroit whose clients included several divisions of General Motors.

After retirement, he edited the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association’s national publication. Mal was the organization’s longest serving national president.

2 Comments on “Greatest Generation: Presidential Material”

    1. Donna, We would love to send you some floor plans and pricing. Can you tell me which community you are interested in?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *