JNEWS: Cundari, Jim [MC1940] War vet turns 100



Army vet fought in Philippine mountains during World War II (photos, videos)
Updated 10:36 AM; Posted 10:36 AM
By Brian Albrecht, The Plain Dealer

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SANDUSKY, Ohio – The last thing Jim Cundari had on his mind while fighting Japanese in the Philippine mountains during World War II was gathering a few battlefield souvenirs.

Combat, for soldiers of the 161st Infantry Regiment in 1945 was costly and fierce, and as Cundari, 99, recently recalled, “I would not pick up a souvenir on the battlefield because you had to lug it with you, and my life was more important than souvenirs.”

However, he would later obtain a little something that worked out quite well for his honeymoon.

The long road to that modest pay-off started when the New Jersey native was drafted in 1943. He had previously been turned down twice for military service because of his vision, but Cundari said the standards were later eased due to increasing needs for manpower.

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The 1940 graduate of Manhattan College, with a degree in business administration and accounting, also taught the GIs basic bookkeeping and accounting for possible use in a job back home.

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After the war, Cundari worked as an accountant for General Motors and was transferred to Sandusky in 1965. He retired in 1982.

Cundari will be 100 years old this December 21, “if I make it,” he said with a chuckle.

In looking back on his military service, he concluded, “It was an experience I would not want to repeat, but I’m happy that I was in.

“I was one of, I guess 16 million service people, so I did nothing extraordinary,” he added. “I was just an average soldier.”

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Cundari, Jim [MC1940]

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