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ALSO: Remembering the Battle of Iwo Jima WWII's Bushnell Hospital: A Good Situation Mentoring in Military Ranks and Business Roles




5 Sisters in Service

‘We’re intertwined, apart, yet together’

Run Date:

Sun Aug 18 2019 04:00:00 GMT-0600 (MDT)



Our staff of trained professionals stand ready to assist you in many ways, such as: • Outreach Activities - Help with VA Pension, and Aid & Attendance - Service Connected Disability Claims • Job Fairs - Getting you employed, skills workshops, etc. • etc. • • The Homeless Veterans Stand-Down - Providing food, shelter, and clothing The Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs is here to serve you. We operate: • The Utah Veterans Cemetery and Memorial Park • Four Veterans Homes from Ogden to St. George • The State Approving Agency for Veterans Education Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs 550 Foothill Drive, Suite 150 Salt Lake City, Utah 84113 Phone: 801-326-2372 Email: veterans@utah.gov www.veterans.utah.gov

8 Contents


High Five to the Military

5 Sisters take Different Paths pages 10-15

WWII's Bushnell Hospital

A Community Transformed pages 16-21


Remembering Iwo Jima

Unimaginable: It was Troubling pages 22-27

DEPARTMENTS The Briefing: WVC earns Top Employer Award / 2-4 Doing Business: Mentoring in Military and Business / 6-7 Service & Sacrifice: Utah Elks Foundation / 8-9 WWII Talks: Edmund Hoff: Remembering Iwo Jima / 24 R&R: Car Shows — Freedom to Ride / 28-29

on the cover :

KEAUKAHA MILITARY RESERVATION, HAWAII. May 2015. U.S. Army Sgt. Stefanie T. Puro, Headquarters, Headquarters Battery, 65th Field Artillery Brigade, Utah Army National Guard, waits to continue a mystery event as part of the Region VII Best Warrior Competition (BWC). u . s . air force photo / staff sgt . christopher hubenthal . courtesy utah national guard

WWW.UTAHVALOR.COM UTAH MEDIA GROUP / 4770 South 5600 West, West Valley City UT 84118 / utahmediagroup.com To subscribe: 801-204-6100 / To advertise: 801-204-6300 PROJECT TEAM / Brent Low, Publisher / Megan Donio, Publications Manager / Michelle Bridges, Project Editor / Utah Media Group Creative VALOR: A Salute to Utah’s Veterans and Military is a publication of Utah Media Group and distributed in partnership with Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune. Copyright © february 2020. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any format without consent of Utah Media Group. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication and assume no liability for errors, inaccuracies or omissions.



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The Briefing U ta h h a s a n e n ga g i n g m i l i ta r y c o m m u n i t y w i t h d e e p r oo t s a n d b ra n ch e s t h a t r e a ch f a r a n d w i d e. O u r m y r i a d o f s to r i e s a r e tol d i n o u r s ch ool s , l i b ra r i e s , m u s e u m s , a c t iv i t i e s a n d h o m e s . E ve r y n o w a n d t h e n VA LO R c o m e s a c r o s s i n te r e s t i n g “ b i t s a n d p i e c e s ” t h a t w e w a n t to s h a r e w i t h o u r r e a d e r s .

WVC earns top employer award


est Valley City was awarded the 2019 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award which is the highest recognition given by the Department of Defense to employers for their exceptional support of National Guard and Reserve members. “One thing that separates [Guard and Reserve members] from us, they volunteer to go to faraway places doing dangerous things protecting our liberty and freedom,” said Jeff Tiede, chairman of the Utah Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. “One really important thing is to have a job to come back to. West Valley City goes above and beyond things required. They do it because they want to, not because they have to.” A company or organization cannot apply for the award, it must be nominated by one of its employees. This year ESGR received 2,415 nominations for this prestigious award. West Valley City won the top award, and is the first government entity in Utah to receive this honor. Only 265 employers have received the Freedom Award since 1996. “The one person I need to make sure that I recognize … is Tech Sgt. Robert Brinton from the Air National Guard, who also happens to be one of our police officers,” said West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow. “He is the one who made the application. He was very instrumental in the city receiving that award.” Officer Brinton is grateful for the support he has received from his employer. “The police department has provided great

photo courtesy of the utah national guard

support to me, my family and other service members. Through my direct chain I have received nothing but positive support with my military endeavors,” he said. “The city’s human resource department provides a seamless process when it comes to time off, benefits and pay, which makes things easy for me when orders come on short notice.” Learn about ESGR and how they support civilian employers and their employees’ military commitments at esgr.mil —BY ILEEN KENNEDY, UTAH NATIONAL GUARD PUBLIC AFFAIRS



The George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home won the prestigious 2019 Gold — Excellence in Quality Award, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) announced earlier this month.

Together, Davis and Weber counties, are one of five communities across the nation named to the 2020 Class of Great American Defense Communities, the Association of Defense Communities (ADC) announced. The communities recognized demonstrate exemplary work in improving the quality of life of military personnel and their families through programs, initiatives and partnerships in their regions.

The home, which is overseen by the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs and managed by Avalon Healthcare (Team Ogden), was one of five longterm and post-acute care providers to earn the distinction, which is the highest level of recognition a facility can receive. It is one of just 38 facilities nationwide ever to receive the recognition. According to Avalon Healthcare, there were more than 1,100 facilities nominated for a 2019 award. —UDVMA


West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow ( left ) and Police Officer Robert Brinton receive the prestigious Freedom Award.

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“The whole community works tirelessly to improve the quality of life and mission effectiveness for over 20,000 military professionals, civilians and family members who make up Hill’s military family,” said Tage Flint, president of the Utah Defense Alliance. —UDVMA february




ore than 175,000 service members, families and veterans call Salt Lake City home. For that reason, Blue Star Families, a national nonprofit that serves more than 1.5 million military and veteran family members nationwide, brought its support here with the launch of the Utah Chapter. Founded in 2009 by a group of military spouses, Blue Star Families works to build communities to empower military and veteran families to thrive by delivering evidence-based programs such as career development tools, local events for families, caregiver support and civilian engagement. Blue Star Families Utah Chapter serves a 65-mile radius around the capital city, covering most of the Salt Lake Valley and Wasatch Front. Because of that expansive reach, the Chapter aims to carry out the organization's mission, while joining the ranks of San Diego, Chicago, Missouri, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Washington D.C., Baltimore and New York City. How, exactly? Emily Harrison, Blue Star Families’ Utah Chapter director, seeks to put her experience in family readiness and family programs to good use for Utah families. Since the Chapter’s launch in July 2019, it has implemented many of Blue Star Families' signature programs, including Blue Star Parks, Blue Star Museums, Corporate Engagement, and Spouseforce — a Blue Star Careers platform. These Military families participate in Yellow Ribbon Tree Coffee programs empower Chat activities held at Starbucks in Lehi in December 2019. courtesy of blue star families utah chapter military and veteran families to get out into the communities in which they live to bridge the civilian-military divide and establish a sense of connectedness and belonging. Moreover, the Careers program aims to reduce military spouse unemployment and underemployment — both critical issues affecting our community, not only here in Utah but across the country. So, we’ll leave you with this: more than 1,100 of your fellow residents have already tapped into the various programs and events Blue Star Families’ Utah Chapter offers. Now, how will you choose to get involved? Membership is free and open to active duty, Guard, Reserve, veterans and their families located within 65 miles of Salt Lake City. Civilian supporters of our nation’s service members can sign up to be a Blue Star Neighbor, which provides access to events and volunteer opportunities. To become a member or neighbor today, visit bluestarfam.org/join —BY EMILY HARRISON, DIRECTOR OF BLUE STAR FAMILIES UTAH CHAPTER february


02/29 DECADES VINTAGE DANCE Come in vintage dress (not required, but highly encouraged), whether it be '20s, '30s, '40s or '50s, and be transported back in time as you dance the night away to a live band, and also entertaining competitions. 6-10:30 p.m. Saturday. Utah Military Academy, Camp Williams Campus, 3901 West Waterbury Drive, Lehi. cafutahwing.org

03/20 SISTERS IN SERVICE: HONORING UTAH WOMEN VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY Celebrate the service of Utah’s women veterans and military. Ceremony, speakers, dinner and social to follow. 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. Free with RSVP. Rotunda, Utah State Capitol, 350 N. State Street, SLC. veterans.utah.gov/calendars

03/29 VIETNAM WAR VETERANS DAY OF REMEMBRANCE Vietnam Veterans of America Northern Utah Chapter will hold a wreath laying ceremony at 1 p.m. Friday at the Vietnam Memorial Wall Replica, 508 Constitution Circle, Layton Commons Park. veterans.utah.gov/calendars

05/08 6TH ANNUAL UTAH VETERAN OWNED BUSINESS SUMMIT Connecting veteran entrepreneurs and their families with business resources. Learn from veteran entrepreneurs who have built their own businesses, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday. Larry H. Miller Campus, Salt Lake Community College, 9750 S. 300 West, Sandy. $30, Register at slchamber.com/mac

05/16 ARMED FORCES DAY CONCERT An inspiring and community-focused event honoring our men and women in uniform featuring Choral Arts Society of Utah and Utah National Guard’s 23rd Army Band under the direction of Sterling Poulson, 5-9 p.m. Saturday. Free. Gallivan Center, 239 Main Street, SLC. veterans.utah.gov/calendars FOLLOW US at facebook.com/ utahvalormag or online at utahvalor.com va l o r : a s a l u t e t o u ta h ’ s v e t e r a n s a n d m i l i ta r y


HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah. Jan. 6, 2020. The active duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings conducted a combat power exercise demonstrating their ability to employ a large force of F-35A—testing readiness in personnel accountability, aircraft generation, ground operations, flight operations, and combat capability against air and ground targets. u . s . air force photo / r . nial bradshaw

HILL FIELD CELEBRATES 80TH ANNIVERSARY In 2020, Hill Air Force Base will celebrate its 80 years with a series of events and activities to honor the base’s innovations and achievements along with the mission platforms that have been operated and supported throughout the decades. “Hill Air Force Base’s rich heritage over the past 80 years was founded on hard work, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism and excellence,” said Col. Jon Eberlan, 75th Air Base Wing commander. “As we have done from the beginning, we continue to generate world-class readiness and provide combat air power, anytime, anywhere.” Celebratory activities will take place throughout the year and carry the theme “80 Years of Excellence.” For more information on events, see hill.af.mil —HAFB 75TH AIR BASE WING PUBLIC AFFAIRS

DEMO TEAM AIR SHOW DATES ANNOUNCED The 2020 air show schedule for the Air Force’s only F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team is scheduled to display capabilities of the F-35A at approximately 20 performances starting this March and running through November. Details to be announced. Local flying practice is expected to begin in January. The team operates as part of the 388th Fighter Wing. —HAFB 388TH FIGHTER WING PUBLIC AFFAIRS


F-35A standup complete for Hill's fighter wings


little more than four years after receiving their first combat-coded F-35A Lightning II aircraft, Hill’s Fighter Wings have achieved full warfighting capability. The term describes a set of focus areas within the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings: fully trained pilots and maintainers, a full complement of 78 aircraft and the mission and support equipment needed to fly. While the designation of full warfighting capability is an important milestone, the wing has been combat-capable since the Air Force declared initial operational capability in August 2016. Since then, the wings have participated in several large combat exercises, deployed twice to Europe and once to the Pacific and supported two Middle East combat deployments, including one short-notice tasking. “Every training opportunity, exercise and deployment we’ve completed over the past four years has been a key stepping stone in reaching full warfighting capability,” said Col. Steven Behmer, 388th Fighter Wing commander. “This is just the beginning of sustained F-35A combat operations and we will remain focused on staying ready to deploy whenever, wherever we’re needed.” The first F-35As arrived at Hill in September 2015 and the final aircraft arrived in December 2019. In the intervening years, airmen and maintainers at Hill have been training and developing tactics as the aircraft systems and capabilities have matured. “It took everyone’s input — from E-1 to O-6 — to get where we are today,” said Col. Michael Miles, 388th Maintenance Group commander. “Through hard work, providing programmatic feedback, and developing new processes and procedures, we shaped and pushed the program. Each airman can look back with pride and see their contributions over the last four years standing up this wing, and enabling F-35A combat capability for our country.” —BY MICAH GARBARINO, 388TH FIGHTER WING PUBLIC AFFAIRS

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Doing Business T h e B e e h ive S ta te h a s a d y n a m i c a n d d ive r s e e c o n o m y. D e f e n s e - r el a te d i n d u s t r i e s a r e pa r t o f t h a t e n v i r o n m e n t . Fr o m b u s i n e s s boa r d r oo m s , go ve r n m e n t o f f i c e s , e d u c a t i o n a l c l a s s r oo m s a n d i n d iv i d u a l l ivel i h ood s , VA LO R i n t r od u c e s r e a d e r s to t h e m a n y pa r t n e r s a n d r e s o u r c e s f i n d i n g s u c c e s s i n t h e m a rk e t pl a c e.



ransitioning from military to civilian life can be a difficult move, especially when it comes to entering the workforce. Despite bringing a unique set of tools, knowledge and experiences to the table, veterans often struggle with finding long-term employment. In fact, veterans persistently have an unemployment rate higher than the rest of the population. Today, the veteran unemployment rate is nearly 4%, while Utah’s unemployment rate is 2.5%. Finding the right support and mentorship is key to transitioning from the military into the civilian workforce. Fortunately, Utah is home to many programs that provide indepth mentorship to help veterans land on their feet, whether it’s by joining a company or starting their own. Here’s a look at two mentorship programs that are helping veterans reach higher levels of business success.

WARRIOR RISING Jason Van Camp knows firsthand how vital mentorship can be to a veteran’s career success. Like many veterans, Van Camp, who is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and a decorated Green Beret, struggled to reenter the civilian world. But beyond his own challenges, Van Camp knew too many veterans who couldn’t find a career and began losing hope. He became determined to help others reach business success, whether through finding long-term employment or 6

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entrepreneurship. Today, he is the founder and executive director of Warrior Rising, an organization that empowers U.S. military veterans and their immediate family members by providing them opportunities to create their own sustainable businesses. Van Camp says providing mentorship is a key component of the Warrior Rising plan. The organization provides one-on-one mentorship to veterans as part of the four pillars that make up its program: instruction, mentorship, funding opportunities and Warrior Community. “As a result of their military training, veterans often already have the core skills necessary to be successful, however, they need someone on the ‘other side’ — a mentor in the civilian business world — to translate those skills, strategies and tactics into their counterparts in commercial business operations,” said Van Camp. “That translation is invaluable.” Warrior Rising connects veterans to personal mentors who can address their unique needs and experiences. “This opens up their potential in the civilian world, provided the veteran also realizes that the adjustment is not easy and requires quite a bit of effort and cooperation with the mentor,” Van Camp said. Today, Utah’s Small Business Association (SBA) has teamed up with Warrior Rising to help its mission. In this collaborative effort, Warrior Rising will provide support for the SBA’s Boots-tofebruary


The first trait that is most important to recognize is that the person you work with listens to you and really hears what you are trying to do. So many times, I have clients who work with mentors and they just want to talk about their successes versus helping the mentee grow. Also, some mentors are so programmed to their way of thinking that new concepts in business, like social movements or online businesses, are so foreign to them. Finding a mentor is like finding a right doctor or therapist, the first one you visit might not be a good fit and that is okay. You just need to move on to the next one.

A solid business understanding garnered over time (i.e. someone who has experienced the highs and lows of a business venture), a selflessness to teach and transfer their knowledge to the veteran, and above all patience to work with them at their level of progress. If the veteran is seeking mentors in specific subject matter areas rather than someone to just generally guide them, the specific mentors should obviously have experience in that area. A generalist who has had a lot of exposure though can be just as valuable as the specialists. —Jason Van Camp, Warriors Rising

—Clancy Stone, WBCUtah

What Makes a Strong Mentor? getty images

Business and Business Reboot programs by offering instruction, mentoring and events for veterans in the entrepreneurial space. The SBA will also provide support to Warrior Rising members. “Since we can speak the language of a veteran, and we are willing to work with them one-on-one, there is a higher chance of adherence to programs that, if completed, will give them the higher likelihood of success in business, not just immediately, but into the future,” Van Camp added. For more information, visit WarriorRising.org. For more information about the SBA’s Boots-to-Business program, visit sba.gov.

WOMEN HELPING WOMEN Women face a unique set of challenges in the workforce. Those challenges can be especially difficult to overcome for women veterans. Clancy Stone, a U.S. Army veteran and business advisor at the Women’s Business Center of Utah, is dedicated to helping women conquer those unique challenges. “When women walk into a room to present a business plan or growth plan, she has to prove herself. When a man walks in, it is assumed he is competent — even if the woman is the owner or CEO, which is frustrating,” said Stone. “It is proven that women do more with less money and invest it back into their business and community more than men. Women still have to overcome subconscious bias from other men and women.” february


In her role at WBCUtah, Stone strives to connect women with other women who can offer one-on-one support and guidance. “When it comes to mentorship, I believe it is vital to all individuals going into business being a veteran or not. The ones who are open to mentors go farther than those who go it alone,” she says. “However, with so many veterans having seen combat, the support system in the civilian world is vital even more so than any civilian. The support and accountability you get from a mentor and their input can save you hours and money in the business you’re building.” Stone says WBCUtah aims to help all women build confidence and create opportunities to experience success. “When a woman can sit down with another business owner to help guide them through the process, it really makes a difference in how fast they launch or get traction from the get-go,” said Stone. “Our business advisor is able to mentor people in all levels of their business and is a great sounding board, when people want to bounce off ideas. Also, our board is filled with a lot of successful women in the tech, finance and business world. By being a client of the WBCUtah, you will have access to some of these amazing women.” Visit WBCUtah.org for more information. Sarah Ryther Francom is a freelance writer, focusing on Utah’s business and technology industries. She is the former editor-in-chief of Utah Business Magazine. va l o r : a s a l u t e t o u ta h ’ s v e t e r a n s a n d m i l i ta r y





he Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is known nationwide for its commitment to helping others. Veteran causes dot their service portfolio. The Elks certainly live up to their motto: “So long as there are veterans … Elks will never forget them.” In Utah, 10 different lodges are scattered throughout the state, but members come together to support the veterans’ food bank, participant in the Adopt-a-Veteran program, are involved in all four veterans homes in Utah, strive to get veterans into the great outdoors, and advocate through legislative and legal channels — then fundraise relentlessly for their causes and programs. “When we were in Vietnam, we watched each other’s backs,” said Dick Wilson of the St. George lodge. Wilson served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. “Here we are, most of us in our 70s now — or older — and we need to do the same thing.” Robert Pagnani, an army veteran and the Special Deputy to the Grand Exalted Ruler and Director of the Utah Elks Veterans Programs, echoes Wilson’s sentiments. However, a conversation one day with a fellow Elk shifted Pagnani’s perspective. Several years ago, he recalls being asked, “We are always helping the vets, but what about the children of the veterans?" “Why don’t we bring those kids to camp?” The veteran is not always alone in his or her service. Spouses and children of veterans live with the knowledge they may be uprooted at any moment due to deployment, or even more daunting — their veteran may be sent to a combat zone. Since October 2001, more than 7,000 American military members have died serving their country, according to the U.S. Department of Defense numbers. The families endure this


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sacrifice often with stoicism and a sense of duty and courage. Yet an unseen foe has claimed far more lives than enemy troops abroad. In 2017 more than 6,000 veteran suicide deaths were reported. That’s one year. A Utah County family lost its father to suicide 10 years ago. The veteran’s death left his wife, Angela, a widow and three young children without their dad. Ashlyn, now 17, recalled that after her father’s death she never felt welcome in the military community. She didn’t feel as though she could talk about her father to others. Her time at Little Warriors Camp, established by the Utah Elks, changed that. Camp Wapiti, located in the hills near Tooele, has been the site of Little Warriors since 2013. Little Warriors is geared toward children of military families who have lost a parent in battle or by suicide after returning from combat. The purpose is to facilitate healing and show the children they are not alone. Among a host of activities, the three-day camp includes a BB gun range, zip line, swimming pool, crafts, obstacle courses and campfire tales. It is completely free to the children. Out of approximately 80 Utah children who meet the criteria for attending Little Warriors, typically about 55 attend each summer. All children must be accompanied by an adult chaperone, typically a parent or grandparent. “The first time I went to this camp at age 13, I was welcomed with open arms,” Ashlyn said. “I specifically remember a man in his military uniform looking me in the eyes telling me that my sacrifice was not forgotten. It was all I could do to not break down in front of him. The Little Warriors Camp lifted a burden february


photo by ed helmick

CAMP WAPITI, Tooele County. Each July the Utah Elks Foundation and countless volunteers treat the children of fallen soldiers to an outdoor experience at the Little Warriors Camp. photo courtesy the elks foundation

off my shoulders that I thought I would have to carry for the rest of my life.” Her younger sister Cadence adds, “One year we met a little boy. We were able to play all the field games with him and enjoy all the activities. By the end of camp, we all felt as though he was family. Connecting with other families and kids is something we always look forward to doing.” The Utah Elks provide backpacks loaded with flashlights, toiletries, sunscreen, insect repellent, coloring books and crayons. They also volunteer their time. There was a ratio of nearly one Elk per child during the 2019 camp.

photo by cowboy ken baschke

“They paid the ultimate price, losing a family member,” said Pagnani. “It’s nice to see the kids experience a little bit of joy and happiness in those three days.” “The knowledge that I wasn’t alone in my struggle — that people were there to support me and completely understood what I was going through — was critical in the healing process,” said Ashlyn. More information on the Elks’ wide array of programs, events and how to get involved, visit: nationally at elks.org and locally at elksinutah.org. David Cordero has been a professional writer for more than 15 years. He has won awards on a variety of subjects, including sports, education and military matters. Among his volunteer endeavors he edits the American Legion Post 90 newsletter. february


photo by cowboy ken baschke

va l o r : a s a l u t e t o u ta h ’ s v e t e r a n s a n d m i l i ta r y


DRAPER HEADQUARTERS, Utah - The Puro sisters grew up in Roosevelt. The five sisters have pursued careers in the U.S. Armed Forces, including ( top down clockwise ) Ty'lene, Army Guard; Tayva, Air Guard; Tiara, Air Force; Taryn, Navy; and Tambra, Army Guard. photo courtesy utah national guard


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HIGH FIVE T H E P U RO S I S T E R S TA K E D I F F E R E N T PAT H S TO M I L I TA RY S E RV I C E B U T T H E Y A R E 'A L L I N T E RT W I N E D, A PA RT, Y E T C O N N EC T E D' by Sgt. Nathaniel Free f ro m u ta h n at i o n a l g ua r d m i n u t e ma n (reprinted

w i t h p e r m i ss i o n )


iara Puro was 17 years old when her father handed her a recruiting brochure for the Utah Army National Guard. She remembered a feeling of excitement as she flipped through the pamphlet, especially when she read about the education benefits. She had been trying to figure out a way to pay for college and the Utah National Guard was offering the equivalent of a full-ride scholarship for six years of service. “When I enlisted, it was peacetime,” Tiara said. “There was nothing going on, and it was actually why I felt so comfortable agreeing to enlist. What’s six years of an enlistment during peacetime, especially if I get a college degree out of it?” Tiara enlisted in 1999 as a paralegal specialist. Once a month, she drove to the armory in Vernal to train with the 1457th Engineer Battalion as part of the Delayed Entry Program, until she finished high school. A week after graduation, she shipped out to Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

TAKING THE FIRST STEP Tiara is the oldest of five sisters. Her four younger sisters are Tambra, Tayva, and the twins, Taryn and Ty’lene. They all grew up in Roosevelt, and graduated from Union High School. Their parents met on the University of Utah ballroom dance team. All five sisters grew up singing and dancing. Four of the five sisters have placed in the Miss Duchesne County and Miss Uintah Basin pageants. While large, musically-inclined families are not uncommon in Utah, the Puro sisters are unique in that they are all currently february


serving in the military, with decorated careers spanning the Army, Air Force and Navy. “I don’t think any one of us thought that we would serve in the military,” Tiara said. Tambra was 14 years old and a freshman in high school when Tiara left for basic. “It was a little scary, a little nerve-racking to think about her going off and doing all those things,” Tambra recalled. “But I just thought, wow, that’s pretty awesome.” When Tiara returned from Basic Combat Training, the experience had changed her. “I came home super excited about being in the military and what that meant,” Tiara said. As she described the experience to her family, Tambra thought, “That will never happen in my life. It’s not something I’m interested in. Who wants to be yelled at by Drill Sergeants and do push-ups? I can’t even do a push-up, let alone pass a PT test. So, no thank you. I’ll do something else.” At 12 years old, Tambra knew she wanted to do something important with her life. “At the time, I was really interested in being a nurse, so I went and asked the hospital if I could volunteer.” She was the youngest volunteer the hospital had ever seen. She formed a group of young hospital volunteers called the Junior Pink Ladies. As a sophomore in high school, she started working on her Associate of Science Degree in Pre-Health Sciences. “Caring for others is a common thread in my life,” Tambra said. “That’s really what I’m passionate about.” va l o r : a s a l u t e t o u ta h ’ s v e t e r a n s a n d m i l i ta r y


"I wanted to be an Army veterinarian, but I wanted to wait about a year after graduation to make sure the military was actually something that I wanted to do for myself, not just following in my sisters’ footsteps.”

—Ty'lene Puro, reflecting on making a decision on whether to enlist in the military

CHANGING THE WORLD On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Tiara was at the University of Utah, enjoying her education benefits. She didn’t have class until later in the day, and decided to sleep in. She woke up to the phone ringing. Her dad was on the other end of the line. He said, “You need to turn on your TV.” Tiara was confused. “What are you talking about?” He said, “Don’t ask any questions. Just turn on the TV.” Something in his tone had unsettled her. She went into the living room of her college apartment and switched on the TV. She watched the second plane collide with the south tower of the World Trade Center. “I knew in that moment my life would never be the same,” she said. Tiara told her dad she loved him, but she needed to go. She hung up and immediately called her unit to know what she could do to help. The 2002 Winter Olympics came only a few short months after 9/11. Approximately 2,400 athletes from more than 80 different countries, and even more spectators, were headed to Utah. Under the looming shadow of terrorism, the burden of law enforcement augmentation fell to the Utah National Guard. Some 4,500 Guard members were called up to provide security for the Games, and Tiara was among them.

MAKING TOUGH DECISIONS Tambra was a high school senior on the one-year anniversary of 9/11. “I woke up that morning, turned on the TV and President Bush was giving a speech,” she said. The Statue of Liberty stood over President George W. Bush’s right shoulder as he addressed the crowd and the cameras in the New York harbor: “September the 11th, 2001, will always be a fixed point in the life of America,” he said. “The loss of so many lives left us to examine our own. Each of us was reminded that we are here only for a time. And these counted days should be filled with things that last and matter: love for our families, love for our neighbors and for our country, gratitude for life and to the giver of life.” His words caused Tambra to reflect. She listened to the speech as she was getting ready for school and thought to herself, “Where am I going in life? How will I pay for things? What’s my next step, my next move?” 12

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“For members of our military,” Bush continued, “it's been a year of sacrifice and service far from home. Our generation has now heard history’s call, and we will answer it,” Bush declared. “In the ruins of two towers, under a flag unfurled at the Pentagon, at the funerals of the lost, we have made a sacred promise to ourselves and to the world: We will not relent until justice is done and our nation is secure.” In that moment, Tambra was inspired to say to herself, “That’s what I want to do. Tiara did it, I think I can do it. I’m not very aggressive, I don’t do those physical things, but I can try.”

MASTERING THE BASICS The same recruiter who worked with Tiara three years earlier happened to see Tambra at school that day and asked, “Have you given it any thought?” “Well, actually, yes I have,” she replied. Two weeks later, on October 1, Tambra enlisted in the Utah Army National Guard to be an administrative specialist, assigned to the same unit as her sister. She was sworn in by Lt. Col. Jeff Burton, who was then the commander of the 1457th Engineer Battalion. “I really wanted to be a combat medic,” Tambra explained. “But I also really wanted to start college as soon as possible. I didn’t want to postpone college, so I chose the shorter occupational school.” At the time, the Utah National Guard offered an orientation course called Non-Prior Service Support which helped prepare future soldiers for Basic Combat Training. The course was conducted by a retired Marine drill instructor and designed to be physically grueling. Today, this same program has been expanded into the Recruit Sustainment Program. “It just about killed me,” Tambra recalled. “I couldn’t sit up on my own for two full weeks.” Realizing she had a lot of work to do, she started doing pushups and sit-ups and went running every single day until she graduated. Then she was headed to Fort Jackson in March 2003. “Basic training is still one of the highlights of my career,” Tambra said. Around that same time, Tiara was sitting in her Readiness NCO’s office when a mobilization order came in for their unit, the 1457th Engineer Battalion. “In the Guard we’re always ready,” she said. “We’re always exercising and training, so we were ready when the call came.” february


(LEFT) 2002. Tambra ( left ) and Tiara were the first two Puro sisters to join the military. (CENTER) 2018. Taryn, suited up as a Navy Flight Officer. (RIGHT) 2005. Tambra during her Iraqi deployment. (BELOW) 2018. The Puro sisters on a rare occasion when all five are together ( left to right ) Tiara, Air Force; Tambra, Army Guard; Tayva, Air Guard; Ty'lene, Army Guard; and Taryn, Navy. all photos courtesy utah national guard

CHOOSING A NEW PATH In April of 2003, Tiara and the rest of the 1457th were headed to Iraq while Tambra was in the middle of basic training. “The training felt very real to me,” Tambra said. “Because my sister was already in Iraq.” She would see newspapers in display cases outside the dining facility where she ate each day, headlining the toppled Saddam Hussein statue. As she donned her gas mask and entered the gas chambers, she imagined Hussein’s chemical attacks on innocent civilians and thought “Wow. This is why we do what we do.” When Tambra returned home from basic training, she immediately enrolled in Utah Valley State College using her new military education benefits, and joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps. Even before enlistment, she had considered becoming an officer, but wanted the added experience of basic training. february


“You already have a degree,” as Tiara had pointed out. “Go Army and go officer.” Tambra contracted in the fall of 2003, and graduated in the Spring of 2005, with an Integrated Studies degree in Community Health and Military Science. She was assigned to the 144th Area Support Medical Company as a medical services officer. As soon as she finished Officer Basic Course, today known as the Basic Officer Leader Course, she was headed to Fort Bliss, Texas, where her new unit was preparing to deploy to Iraq. Tiara had returned from her own deployment during this time and decided to reenlist, but now in the Utah Air National Guard as a personnel specialist. “I loved working with the Guard. Loved what I was doing. But I felt like I needed something different. I needed a change of scenery—a new path.” She got an Active Guard Reserve job in the Air Force Reserves and had a permanent change of station to Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. va l o r : a s a l u t e t o u ta h ’ s v e t e r a n s a n d m i l i ta r y


“My girls have grown in the military. As a dad, I know they are going to be OK, because they have learned to stand on their own two feet and take charge of their lives.”

—Steve Puro, regarding his daughters who he fondly refers to as "Papa's Patrol"

CONTINUING THE TRADITION By the time Tayva was a senior in high school, she had one sister in the Army and another in the Air Force. “I grew up with one sister or another deployed,” Tayva reflected. “I knew what deployment looked like. I remember waiting for phone calls and running out of church to answer a phone call.” Unlike Tiara and Tambra, military service had become part of Tayva’s life, but she wasn’t initially interested in serving, unless she could be an engineer. Fortunately, a new engineering unit had opened up in the Utah Air National Guard. She enlisted September 2006 as an engineer in the Air Guard, which tied in perfectly with her civilian career path. Brig. Gen. Christine Burckle, who was a colonel at the time, issued the Oath of Enlistment. Tayva used her education benefits to attend Utah State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.

BEING THE BEST In 2010, the twins, Taryn and Ty’lene, graduated high school. “I wanted to be a veterinarian,” Ty’lene said. “I kind of had it in my mind that I wanted to be an Army veterinarian, but I wanted to wait about a year after graduation to make sure the military was actually something that I wanted to do for myself, not just following in my sisters’ footsteps.” She went to Weber State University with a music scholarship. One year after graduation, she met with the recruiter on campus and decided to enlist. The officer who administered the Oath of Enlistment that day was none other than Ty’lene’s older sister, Tambra, who had recently returned from her Iraq deployment. Ty’lene joined under the Simultaneous Membership program, planning to return to Weber State’s ROTC program after completing basic training at Fort Jackson, but plans changed when she had her first taste of the military. “I fell in love with the Army mindset,” she said. While still at Advanced Individual Training, she applied for several full-time positions in the Utah National Guard. On the plane coming back home, she set up job interviews. The Monday after she came home, she interviewed for two jobs, and started the following week as an admin assistant in the G3. Not long after that, she joined the Utah Guard Biathlon team and brought home two second-place medals from her first regional 14

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competition. She would go on to take first place in the 2015 Utah Best Warrior Competition, to be the Soldier of the Year.

REACHING HIGHER After graduation, Taryn was on a different path. She had been attending Southern Utah University, where she was pursuing a music major, when she reached out to Tiara and asked if she could come stay with her in Nebraska for the summer between college semesters. “She was a great roommate,” Tiara said. “She helped me foster doggies and we had a great time.” After moving to Nebraska, Taryn decided it was time to do something different. “I wanted to push myself, to set higher goals for myself.” She had been considering the Navy since high school. “I remember getting a Navy recruiter postcard in the mail and I liked the colors—the blue and white—and when the recruiter came, dressed in his ‘whites,’ it was super motivating.” She was accepted into the Navy ROTC program at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln. As the last of the five sisters to join the military, she wanted to set herself apart, to blaze a new path. Tiara was serving in the Air Force Reserves, Tambra and Ty’lene were in the Utah Army National Guard, and Tayva was in the Utah Air National Guard. She would go Navy. While in Nebraska, Tiara worked on her undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska—Omaha and graduated in the winter of 2011. She was simultaneously accepted into the Deserving Airman Commissioning Program and became an officer in May 2012. She moved to Washington D.C. for a civilian job in Human Resources with the Department of Transportation, then did an extended tour to support the International Airmen Division at the Pentagon. As an officer, she was able to administer the Oath of Office to commission Tayva as an officer, while Tayva’s first salute came from her twin sister, Ty’lene.

PARENTING PRIDE “My parents raised us to know our strengths and to always try our hardest, to tell the truth and be brave,” Tiara said. “To do things that scare us. To eat the food that’s put in front of us, whether we like it or not. If you look at the way my mom and dad raised us, those skills are what helped us to adapt to serve in the military.” “One of the rights of passage for each of my girls,” their father, Steve, explained, “is at age 8, I take them out rappelling. I february


2017. Puro family at Tayva's commissioning including ( left

to right )

Ty’lene, Taryn, Mom Lena, Tayva, Dad Steve, Tiara and Tambra.

photo courtesy utah national guard

teach them proper skills, with good anchors and good knots, and then I back them off of a cliff.”

Maj. Tambra West is the G3 resource integration manager in the Utah National Guard.

By the time each of the five sisters arrived at basic training, they could get down a rappel tower in a single bound.

1st Lt. Tayva Lamb is a Cyberspace Operations Officers in the Utah Air National Guard, assigned to the 130th Engineering Installation Squadron, currently preparing to deploy with her unit. On the civilian side, she is a systems structural engineer for Sumaria Systems, Inc., working on the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon at Hill Air Force Base. She’s married with two boys, ages 4 and 8.

When asked about what it was like to have five daughters serving in the military, he said, “It’s the scariest thing you’ll ever be proud of.” He invites all parents to have an open mind about military service. “My girls have grown in the military. As a dad, I know they are going to be OK, because they have learned to stand on their own two feet and take charge of their lives.” He fondly refers to his daughters as “Papa’s Patrol.”

COMING FULL CIRCLE Today, Capt. Tiara Puro is the operations officer for the 301st Force Support Squadron, at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base. “The gifts and blessings that have enriched my life because of my military service are countless,” she said. february


Staff Sgt. Ty’lene Puro is an admin assistant in the Utah Army National Guard, assigned to the 65th Field Artillery Brigade, having recently returned from deployment in the Middle East. She is the only NCO in the family. Lt. j.g. Taryn Puro is a Naval Flight Officer, stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, assigned to the Fleet Readiness Squadron. She flies in the Boeing P-8 Poseidon. “We’re intertwined,” Ty’lene said. “Even though we all have such different military careers, we’re all still connected.” Nathaniel Free joined the U.S. Army in 2009 to be a combat journalist. He is currently the state public affairs specialist for the Utah National Guard and editor of Utah Minuteman Magazine. He holds the rank of sergeant and serves in the 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, headquartered in Draper, Utah. He lives with his wife and son in Lehi, Utah. va l o r : a s a l u t e t o u ta h ’ s v e t e r a n s a n d m i l i ta r y


1942-46. U.S. ARMY BUSHNELL HOSPITAL, Brigham City, Utah. photos courtesty weber state university / stewart library special collections

(TOP LEFT) Local citizen volunteers and organizations, including Boy Scouts of America, assisted with recreational outings. Ambulatory patients enjoyed field trips throughout Northern Utah. (CENTER LEFT) Staff discovered swimming benefitted almost all patients. Special swimming instructors were generally local Red Cross volunteers who learned how to teach injured servicemen. (ABOVE) Music was also part of recreational therapies. It enabled patients to heal physically, emotionally and socially after the traumas experienced during combat. (BELOW) When Bushnell General Military Hospital opened in August 1942, construction was incomplete. It would be another year before the complex was completed. It was the fifth largest Army hospital in the nation and the only one in the Mountain West.


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A GOOD SITUATION W W I I'S B U S H N E L L H O S P I TA L T R A N S F O R M E D WO U N D E D S O L D I E R S A N D A C O M M U N I T Y by Andrea Carter fo r va lo r maga z i n e

AUTHOR’S NOTE: When I was a child traveling to Brigham City with my grandmother, Norma Wallwork Bailey, she would tell me of her experiences volunteering as a nurses’ aide at Bushnell General Military Hospital during World War II. She told me about the interactions she had with patients and the other nurses’ aides at the facility. Later, while attending Utah State University while working on my master’s in history, I decided to write about her experiences and the history of the hospital for my graduate thesis.


uring World War II, the U.S. Army had 61 stateside hospitals. One of them in the 9th Service Command was Bushnell General Military Hospital in Brigham City, Utah. It was the fifth largest Army hospital in the nation, and the only hospital located in the Mountain West. Bushnell Hospital was named after George Ensign Bushnell (1853–1924), a World War I U.S. Army tuberculosis specialist. When Bushnell opened on Aug. 21, 1942, construction was incomplete. It would be another year before the complex was finished. The first patients arrived on Oct. 13 from Ogden’s Hill Field Army Air Base and Salt Lake City’s Fort Douglas. During its four-year existence (1942-46), the facility treated about 13,000 military patients.

PLASTIC PROSTHETICS The treating of amputees and the making of artificial limbs were important specialties at Bushnell. Orthopedic staff cared for all fractures and deformities of the limbs and joints. About 20 members of this staff operated a “brace” shop, where they fashioned metal appliances to increase the function and locomotion of patients with limb injures, including prosthetics for amputees. february


Before WWII, prosthetics consisted of heavy metal parts and caused wearers severe blisters because the artificial limbs did not fit well. Plastic proved a good substitute for the metal parts previously used, and Bushnell used Bakelite plastic in the manufacturing of artificial limbs. Since the newer prosthetics were lighter, many of Bushnell’s patients progressed quickly through physical therapy.

NEW WONDER DRUG Perhaps the single most important contribution to the field of medicine that occurred at Bushnell was its pioneering use of penicillin. The Army designated the hospital as the military’s first center for the study of penicillin’s possible uses. On April 1, 1943, the first shipment of the drug arrived by special courier to Bushnell. During the hospital’s operation, the facility used the drug more than any other medical institution in the nation. At first, the drug was a brown crystalline powder dissolved in a saline solution and then injected into or put directly on wounds. Doctors used the medicine to treat deep tissue and bone infections (osteomyelitis). The standard treatment for such infections of the time was to use maggots to eat the diseased flesh around the bone. When penicillin was substituted, some cases showed dramatic improvement. va l o r : a s a l u t e t o u ta h ’ s v e t e r a n s a n d m i l i ta r y


One noteworthy case appearing in the local Box Elder News Journal praised the results of the “new wonder drug.” An officer with a chronic mastoid infection resulting in a high temperature and a coma received penicillin. Less than a day after the first dose, he regained consciousness and his temperature dropped dramatically. The next day, he got up from his bed and moved around his ward.



ometime in 1943, the USO came to Ogden asking young ladies to be hostesses for Saturday night dances. The musicians had gotten together and formed a dance band with a young lady singer but they needed hostesses. So they went around to the LDS wards, other churches and clubs and asked for the young ladies to come. So my girlfriends and I, since there was nobody to date, decided to go to the USO. It was fun. At one of the dances, they asked for ladies to go to the rodeo because they were bringing patients down from Bushnell Hospital. So we all went.

From an interview with Mary Jeanne Baron (2008), who was an assistant in the dental clinic, she told of a Lt. Llewellyn who received the drug in a powder form. The medicine worked and he did not need to have his leg amputated. During the largest massacre that happened stateside during the war — the massacre of nine German prisoners of war at Utah’s Camp Salina in July 1945 — one of the surviving POWs, Dieter Lampe, received penicillin to treat an injured arm. He explained that in Germany a doctor would have amputated his arm immediately. He was delighted because penicillin enabled him to keep his limb. Unfortunately, not all osteomyelitis cases treated with penicillin were successes, and penicillin was not the “miracle drug” for bone infections that doctors hoped it would be. It was effective to some extent when combined with traditional therapies, and it helped to lessen the time that patients suffered disabilities from bone infections. However, the hospital staff discovered that penicillin was much more effective for treating muscle, lung and intestinal tract infections. The drug was generally available for civilian use in the spring of 1944.

HELPING HANDS As part of the home front volunteer effort, citizens from throughout Northern Utah aided the hospital and its patients. One way to free up American soldiers for overseas duty was to use Red Cross nurses’ aides to replace some hospital orderlies. Nurses’ aides came from all over Utah,

Many of the fellas were from the East Coast and other places; that’s what we young ladies were confronted with. In summer 1944, I sat and talked with one young man from Arizona. He asked me if I had lived in Ogden all my life and I told him yes. Then he asked if I was a Mormon. Eventually, I said yes. We dated for five months and were married in December 1944 while he was still in recovery at Bushnell. My experiences during World War II taught me there’s another world out there besides Ogden. I learned to be more tolerant of people from different parts of the country. It’s interesting because you’d kind of judge people from where they come. Upper East certainly had a different accent from the Deep South, definitely interesting; the rest of us all talked western English. —Myrtle McPhie Used with permission. From interview, July 2, 2017 by Lorrie Rands for the World War II “All Out for Uncle Sam” Oral History Program. Weber State University / Stewart Library Special Collections / Ogden, Utah


1942-46. U.S. ARMY BUSHNELL HOSPITAL, Brigham City, Utah. Founded during World War II, the USO (United Service Organizations Inc.) sought to be the GI's "home away from home" and began a tradition of entertaining troops with live entertainment, such as comedians, actors and musicians. USO centers offered recreational activities, such as holding dances and showing movies. And there were the well-known free coffee and doughnuts. Some USO centers provided a haven for spending a quiet moment alone or writing a letter home, while others offered spiritual guidance and made childcare available for military wives. photo courtesty weber state university / stewart library special collections

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but most came from the northern regions of the state. According to the American Red Cross for example, 38 women from Ogden, five from Salt Lake Valley and four from Provo volunteered at Bushnell. Even across large distances they came: two women from Cedar City spent 207 hours assisting patients and two more women from Price volunteered 35 hours. Five ladies from North Ogden, including my grandmother, trained as nurses’ aides at Ogden’s Dee Hospital, and then reported, as volunteers to assist nurses at Bushnell. One job done by the nurses’ aide volunteers was giving bed baths to patients. From the personal history of Norma Bailey (1987), of the North Ogden group, comes this story. She once gave a high-ranking Army officer, hospitalized because of the flu, a bed bath. After she finished, he inquired if she and the other Red Cross nurses’ aides were paid for their service. Norma responded by saying it was volunteer work. The commander stated, “This is the best bath I’ve had since I’ve been sick; if they don’t pay you, do they give you dinner or lunch?” She said that they ate in the enlisted men’s mess. The commander responded, “Not anymore you don’t. You all go to the officers’ mess from now on,” and they did.

EXERCISE AND EXCUSIONS To aid injured GIs, some local citizen volunteers assisted with recreational and occupational therapies. Ambulatory patients enjoyed field trips throughout Northern Utah. During the winter months, patients, including amputees, learned to ski at Snow Basin Ski Resort in Ogden Canyon. Another excursion was a tour through Utah State Agricultural College and lunch in Logan Canyon. Occasionally groups visited Yellowstone National Park, and, on at least one occasion, patients heard an organ recital at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. However, the most frequently requested trip was to go fishing at Tony’s Grove Camp in Logan Canyon. On almost all excursions, aides and volunteers accompanied the patients. The hospital had a variety of recreational facilities that used Brigham City volunteers to help rehabilitate patients. A year-round swimming pool was available for use by anyone at the Bushnell facility. It was the top recreational and therapeutic priority at the hospital. Special swimming instructors were generally local Red Cross volunteers who learned how to teach injured servicemen. The staff discovered that swimming benefitted almost all patients. Horseback riding was a special therapy for amputees because it aided in the “development of body control and balance.” The community and local organizations raised money for a miniature golf course to enable amputees and other injured patients to play golf. Sometimes celebrities from outside of Utah got involved. For example, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby came to northern Utah to help the community raise money for an 18-hole golf course. They raised $31,000 for the effort. However, the U.S. Army closed Bushnell before the golf course became a reality. The Army donated the money raised for the course in equal amounts to building funds for the Shriner’s Crippled Children’s Hospital and february


As part of the home front efforts some women trained as nurses' aides and then reported as volunteers to assist nurses at Bushnell Hospital. Four women from North Ogden trained at Ogden's Dee Hospital including ( from left to right ) Myrtle Layton, Norma Bailey ( the author ' s grandmother ), Agnes Berrett and Naomi Randall. photo courtesty andrea carter

the Primary LDS Hospital for Crippled Children (now Primary Children’s Hospital). Both hospitals are in Salt Lake City. At least one “Field Day,” involving 150 patients competing in teams, occurred at the hospital field house. Each team did jumping jacks, pushups and pull-ups; as well as, played volleyball, basketball and softball with the assistance of staff, Brigham City citizens and other volunteers. In an interview Gayle Macey (2006), a local civilian, mentioned watching her boyfriend Wooley, who was recuperating from a leg amputation, play basketball from his wheelchair, play volleyball while sitting on the floor, and bowl with his bowling team.

'NORMAL' PEOPLE Perhaps one of the most important services that Brigham City’s citizens offered to patients was treating them as normal people. Despite the horrific scars and disabilities some patients bore, the town welcomed injured patients around town. The city even installed wheelchair access sidewalk ramps to enable patients to visit downtown Brigham City. While citizens often saw men with missing limbs, visible scars, or other deformities that were particularly hard for civilians to deal with, the community did not ostracize soldier-patients. Often plastic and maxillofacial surgery attempted to fix the scars, but most could never be fully repaired. Verabel Knudson, Idle Isle restaurant owner, tried to encourage amputees to come downtown and be seen outside of the hospital setting wearing their new prosthetics. She realized the spiritual va l o r : a s a l u t e t o u ta h ’ s v e t e r a n s a n d m i l i ta r y


Meets Wife



uring the summer of 1943, I developed pneumonia. I was home recuperating when Stillman received his Wings in the Army Air Force and came home on an overnight leave. He came to our home in Willard to see me, and when he left asked if I would accept his "Wings." I accepted them knowing it was sort of a promise to wait for him. After he left, I remember smiling as I pinned them to the pocket in my pajamas, over my heart. A short time later, Stillman once again came home on an overnight pass and taking me for a ride in his sister's car, took me up into the foothills where we hiked up the mountain a short ways and he gave me a beautiful blue-white diamond. Due to the war and me being in nurse's training, our courtship was hectic. Rules in the Nursing School only allowed one overnight pass a month and if you took more than one in any one month, you had to forfeit future overnight

passes. So when Stillman called on a Thursday night and said, "Can we get married tomorrow, I have until Monday morning off?" It meant I would have to give up any future overnight passes for six months. I had to get friends who had their days off, to work for me, as I was scheduled to work that weekend. In addition, the Nursing School didn't allow students to get married, but because I had joined the Army's Cadet Nurse Corps, I was under its jurisdiction and the school couldn't stop me. This was not the end of our problems though. We were determined to get married in the temple. This meant getting recommends. Then there were physicals and a marriage license to get. Once again, Mother came to the rescue. She went out in a snow storm to the bishop's house and got recommends for both of us. Then she took them to the stake president's home and signed her name that we were worthy for them and brought them home for us.

"LIEUTENANT STILLMAN HARDING, wounded veteran, and his wife, Senior Cadet Nurse Harding" as they appeared in the Army Life, September 1944. At the time, the couple were at Bushnell General Hospital in Brigham City. photo courtesty jaelynne h . hathaway


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Our marriage day, Jan. 7, 1944 was no less frenetic. It snowed 14 inches the night before and Stillman was up at 4 AM shoveling the long driveway from our garage to the road. Then Mother drove Stillman and I and Stillman's father to Ogden where our family doctor drew our blood for the required blood test, signed for our physicals, and wrote a letter to a doctor friend in Salt Lake City, asking him to sign the lab reports for him, after we had taken them to the State Capitol for testing. We accomplished the necessary paper work and were on our way to get our license when something went wrong with the car. We had to spend precious time in a garage getting the car fixed. The courthouse closed at 5 PM and we were due at the temple for the 5:15 session. We arrived at the courthouse at three minutes before closing and while we were getting our license, Mother called the temple and they held the 5:15 session — waiting until we could get there. After the session was over, we were married about 9:15 PM. After leaving the temple, we drove to Ogden and went to a Chinese restaurant about 11 PM and then caught the midnight train to Pocatello, Idaho, where Stillman was stationed and had to report at 7 AM. When we arrived so late, we learned they had sold our reserved room, so we waited in the lobby until Stillman left for the airbase and I went to our room sometime later, after another room was vacated. I waited there for him to come back about 5 o'clock that night. Our honeymoon ended about 4 AM Monday morning, when I had to catch the bus back to my hospital and nursing school to be there for class at 1 PM. I made it by the skin of my teeth. Stillman went overseas on Feb. 27, 1944. On May 10 while on a bombing run, over the target on his fourth mission, his plane got several direct hits from anti-aircraft flak and Stillman had his left thumb taken off and received injuries to his left leg that paralyzed it from the hip down. He was sent to hospital. Although, it seemed tragic at the time, it was a blessing because 15 days later, his plane got another direct hit and some of the crew crashed with the plane, while the others bailed out and were shot in their parachutes. Out of the 10 crew members only three returned home, they were prisoners of war until the war ended. Because I had joined the Cadet Nurse Corp, I was one of the first group of Cadets and the first one from the Thomas Dee Memorial Hospital to go to a military hospital to finish training. I only had about 10 weeks left, but was sent to Bushnell General Hospital in Brigham City to finish. I was assigned to the amputation ward. Strangely enough, this was a very happy ward. I was transferred to surgery and while there had Saturdays and Sundays off. I had to take a Thursday and Friday off to go into Salt Lake City and take my nursing State Board Exams. To make up my time, I was sent to the officers' ward on Saturday and Sunday that weekend. On Sunday, they sent me to "Receiving" to meet an ambulance with four incoming officers. Imagine my shock, joy and surprise when I opened the ambulance door and saw Stillman on one of the stretchers. He was as surprised to see me. The day Stillman arrived there, unbeknown to me, I was sent to meet the ambulance that was “bringing an officer” to the hospital. When the door to the ambulance was opened, he was as surprised to see me, as I was to see him. It was a happy reunion. Our picture and an article about our reunion was even printed in the Army Life: September 1944 issue, which circulated among the U.S. military around the world. We received newspaper copies from several places in the United States. I finished my training about a week later and we moved to our first home. Stillman would still be in the hospital, receiving therapy for another nine months, but he was allowed to come home each night. —Madalynne Harding Used with permission. From personal history by Jaelynne Harding Hathaway



boost that good food could give a patient, and she gave a free steak dinner to any Bushnell amputee who could walk through Idle Isle’s door on his own with the use of his artificial limb(s). My Grandmother Norma Bailey lead by example in treating a patient with disabilities as “normal.” She recalled assisting a patient who had lost his ear. The physicians were trying to transfer skin from his arm to create a new outer ear. Because of the procedure, the man’s arm was straight up in the air and somehow attached to the side of his head. She said that she felt sorry for him; however, since it hurt the patient more when people pitied him, she treated him as normal. She soon came to see him that way. An African American convalescent that Norma cared for had lost his dominant hand in the war. One day, she observed him trying to tie his shoe, but he was having great difficulty. She offered to help him, but he responded, “No, I can get it.” She acknowledged he wanted and needed to do it himself, and soon after the conversation, he did tie his shoe. Doctors encouraged staff and volunteers to be congenial with patients in order to help the GIs regain self-esteem and to assist them in navigating society’s obstacles. In an interview Nurse Mary Sellers Gray (2006) was assigned by her boss to be a friend to an amputee named Ralph Yamaguchi. He had lost an arm and the opposite leg that kept him from using crutches or a wheelchair on his own. Sometimes Mary took him on a gurney to the movies. They became great friends, and often talked about his life and future. In some small way, Yamaguchi, like other patients at Bushnell, sought reassurance from his nurse that his girlfriend or wife (as well as society in general) would accept him with his disability.

COMMUNITY RELATIONS Bushnell was a military hospital that advanced medical science and was supported by the community volunteers from Brigham City and northern Utah. The community and nurses’ aides helped the hospital and the war effort succeed by donating their time and friendship to the displaced patients. Medical staff and the volunteers enabled patients to heal physically, emotionally and socially. It seems that almost all the people, who were involved with the soldier-patients at Bushnell, did their best to create a good situation for them at the hospital and in Brigham City. Bushnell General Hospital closed in 1946 when a veteran’s hospital was established in Salt Lake City. It later housed the Intermountain Indian School until 1984. After demolishing buildings, Utah State University built its Brigham City campus on the former Bushnell site. Andrea Carter graduated with an undergraduate degree in history, English and secondary education from Weber State University. She received a Master's in history from Utah State University. Currently she teacher English language arts in Davis County. See her full thesis, https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/etd/162/ va l o r : a s a l u t e t o u ta h ’ s v e t e r a n s a n d m i l i ta r y


(TOP) U.S. Marines brace for impact after a massive explosion. the life picture collection / getty images (CENTER) Four soldiers carrying an injured Marine at Iwo Jima. keystone - france / gamma - keystone via getty images (BOTTOM) U.S. Marines sitting in foxholes. photoquest / getty images (BACKGROUND) FEBRUARY 23, 1945. U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, a volcanic Japanese island, during World War II. ap photo / joe rosenthal


va l o r : a s a l u t e t o u ta h ’ s v e t e r a n s a n d m i l i ta r y



UNIMAGINABLE R E M E M B E R I N G T H E BAT T L E O F I WO J I M A by John S. Reed fo r va lo r maga z i n e


he seizure of Iwo Jima was the next to last great amphibious island assault of World War II. It saw the largest number of U.S. Marines in combat in a single operation, and, tragically, it was the only major Pacific battle in which there were more casualties among the Americans than among Japanese defenders. Wedged in between the U.S. Army’s landings on the Philippine island of Luzon in January 1945 and the Army/Marine invasion of Okinawa (April-June 1945), the seizure of Iwo Jima occurred at the high point of America’s wartime industrialization: most ships used to transport the Marines to Iwo Jima were not built until 1944.

MIGHTY MARINES In February 1945, the cutting edge of the U.S. Marine Corps consisted of six divisions, each slightly larger and more powerfully armed than an Army infantry division. These were distributed between two Corps-level headquarters: III Amphibious Corps (1st, 2nd and 6th Marine divisions) and V Amphibious Corps (3rd, 4th and 5th divisions). V Corps conducted the Iwo Jima operation (codename DETACHMENT); III Corps the Okinawa operation (codename ICEBERG). In V Corps, six of the nine Marine infantry regiments had fought in previous Pacific campaigns before Iwo Jima, while in its newest division, the 5th, roughly 40% of riflemen and combat leaders had experience with other units in previous operations. The Japanese garrison on Iwo Jima under Lt. Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi had determined that the best defense against U.S. combat power was in fact a very good defense: a maximum number of automatic weapons and mortar emplacements cunningly located to conform to local february


terrain; well connected to each other, in some cases with underground tunnels; and well camouflaged. From these positions the Japanese soldier, or hei, fought until killed at his weapon, emplacement by emplacement. There would be no gyokusai, or mass, daylight “banzai” attacks, until the last days of battle on Iwo Jima. Since most Japanese positions were not detected until they fired, indirect fire support from U.S. howitzers and mortars was often impossible: attacking Marines would be more likely than Japanese defenders to be killed in “danger close” fire missions. Japanese 81mm and 90mm mortars were present on Iwo Jima in large numbers and were very skillfully handled — more Marines were killed or wounded by mortar fire than any other type of Japanese weapon.

THE STRATEGIC PLAN The U.S. strategic decision to seize Iwo Jima must be understood in light of the previous Japanese addiction to a forward or “beach defense,” and their deep cultural belief that individual courage, deployed in mass gyokusai attacks, could overcome near-unlimited American material resources, backed by what the Japanese believed to be a weak American will to combat. In the absence of intelligence on General Kuribayashi’s defensive preparations, the estimate for the length of the battle was seven days, not its actual five weeks. Thus, its expected cheapness screened it in. Other reasons for the Iwo Jima operation advanced at the time and later included: prevent the Japanese from further developing and using the three airfields on the island to attack U.S. B-29 bases in the Mariana Islands to the south; destroy Japanese radar installations on the island that were giving the home islands warning of approaching B-29 va l o r : a s a l u t e t o u ta h ’ s v e t e r a n s a n d m i l i ta r y





hen Edmund K. Hoff volunteered for the U.S. Marines on Dec. 27, 1943, he said, “It seemed like a good thing to do at the time.” Instead of graduating from high school, the 18-year-old hopped a train to San Diego where he did eight weeks of basic training. Hoff went on to telephone school where he learned how to splice wires, hookup lines to poles and how to climb those poles. He was sent to Camp Pendleton for field training, but ended up mostly with mess duty. He trained using a 30-caliber carbine and became an expert marksman with the M-1 rifle. Shooting came easy for Hoff, who had enjoyed pheasant and quail hunting back home in Utah. He “liked to shoot, just like people like to play golf.” He was assigned to the 5th Joint Assault Signal Company (JASCO), a group of combat teams, which was attached to the 1st Battalion of the 5th Marines Division. After two months of extensive training on amphibian landings, Hoff’s unit headed to Hawaii where his communications team did six months of field training. They shipped EDMUND K. HOFF U.S. MARINES out aboard the USS Charles Dickens, a Navy RADIOMAN troop transport ship, and headed first to Saipan, then to Iwo Jima. Hoff recalled as the WWII TALKS troops headed off, the young Marines felt invincible. “We were so tough that nobody could defeat us.” He later acknowledged that the “Japanese shook that out of us real quick.” Upon arrival at Iwo Jima, the battleship USS New York was shelling the island. The bombardment stopped just long enough for the Marines to land. “When we first landed, it was a balmy thing,” Hoff said. “It was a dry landing; we didn’t even get our feet wet. The landing craft we went in on, never got off the beach because a mortar round hit behind the engine and killed both the coxswain and the wake commander.” He recalls lot of bodies piled up on the beach and many landing craft never made it off the beach because of heavy mortar fire from the Japanese troops. “The front line was anywhere,” Hoff said. His unit was supposed to find the battalion communications post and run a line to them. It took almost three days. Their communication team had walked into a Japanese machine gun emplacement and most of them were killed.

The Japanese would fire upon Hoff’s unit every day from holes on the mountain, periodically emptying a 50-round clip. The attacks were very effective because it would stop all work by American forces. Hoff told a lieutenant he was tired of being shot at and not being able to shoot back. Getting a positive go ahead, Hoff took off with five bandoliers of ammunition. If it worked for the Japanese, it would work for the Americans to fire back with accurate rifle fire. So, Hoff fired about 500 rounds into one of the Japanese holes, and it worked. The next morning Hoff and the sergeant went to find the regimental communications post. Hoff said he carried his combat knife and the sergeant didn’t have even that. They made their way to the crest of the island. There was nothing around them but dead Marines and dead Japanese. The two flopped down into a bomb crater to look the situation over — but something felt off. Then the first mortar round hit about 100 yards away; then another one hit, followed by another. The sergeant said when the next one hit, they needed to quickly scramble away from the hole they were in because the next round would surely get them. But the firing stopped. “We thought it was the Japanese firing at us," said Hoff. "But instead, the rounds were coming from our own mortars.” They concluded they were in no man’s land. The pair finally made it to the command post. After the Battle of Iwo Jima, Hoff’s division was shot up so badly that what was left was recalled back to Hawaii. They were at Pearl Harbor about the time President Franklin D. Roosevelt died and when the U.S. dropped the atomic bombs on Japan. Then in September 1945, he and his regiment were taken to Sasebo on the island of Kyushu, Japan, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands. “At first the Japanese were afraid of us,” Hoff said. “Yet, we got to where we were quite friendly once they realized we weren’t going to hurt them.” After three weeks in Sasebo, they transferred to the town Fukuoka: where the Japanese held field days for school children and where the Marines would watch soccer-like contests between teams. “They drank a lot of Saki and Scotch whiskey,” Hoff recalls. “They couldn’t get through field days completely sober.” After nearly a month, the regiment moved to Nagasaki helping to dismantle the Japanese war machine.

Hoff’s unit was entrenched on a ledge at the base of mountain where the Japanese opened fire on them and came within six inches of hitting them “and we started digging like a couple of badgers.”

Hoff was discharged in 1946. He returned home, became a machinist, married and had three children. After the death of his first wife, he married the widow Maurine Jones who also had three children. They raised their combined family in the Salt Lake area and, upon retirement, moved to St. George.

Hoff saw the U.S. flag raising on Mount Suribachi. “We could see it, it was small. We saw it after it was up because we were at the foot of the mountain. When the second U.S. flag went up, it was a very large flag. It was quite a thing. The fighting kind of stopped.” Of course, the Japanese knew it too, said Hoff. “That was the first inclination that we knew we were winning. It didn’t detract the Japanese. It became a battle of attrition.”

Hoff rarely spoke of his wartime experiences with anyone, even his family. Eventually, he completed a personal memoir, “My Time in the Military,” to help work through his own troubling memories. His advice to younger generations: “Be careful not to give away your freedom. Once you vote it away, the only way you get freedom back is with absolute bloodshed …”

What was supposed to be a three-day operation stretched


into 36 days. Hoff’s group stayed on the beach until the mountain was secured. Then moved to the Motoyama Airfield where their assignment was to set up communication between ship and shore.

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missions; provide emergency airfields for damaged or fuel-starved B-29s; provide airfields for very long-range (VLR) fighter escort aircraft (P-51D Mustangs and P-47N Thunderbolts) to protect B-29 missions to Japan; and provide aviation facilities for air-sea rescue aircraft. Between March and August 1945 around 2,250 B-29s returning from bombing runs over Japan landed on Iwo Jima, while a small number of VLR fighter missions were launched from Iwo Jima. However, in view of the very large Marine casualties, the risk versus benefit calculus was heavily weighted in favor of Army Air Forces flying personnel, not Marine riflemen.

MISSING IN ACTION One complaint voiced by Marines during the battle concerned the duration of naval gunfire support, which was biased towards supporting the initial landings, and not “on call” fire support throughout the length of the battle. The official Marine Corps history observes that the “maze of virtually untouched pillboxes — between the southern and central airfields — were situated in more or less exposed terrain that was largely open to direct fire at relatively short ranges from vessels standing offshore” if those vessels had remained indefinitely on station. The Navy’s response was that their battleships and heavy cruisers were on orders to refit and resupply with ammunition before sailing to support the Okinawa operation. The ships offshore Iwo Jima on Feb. 19 quickly exhausted their basic loads and did not have enough time to return to their forward logistical base at Ulithi Atoll and return to Iwo Jima, and the Navy at that point had no ability to replenish ammunition at sea. It also became clear that many Japanese positions were so well constructed that

they could not be destroyed by artillery fire alone. Some Japanese emplacements required a dozen or more direct hits from 155mm howitzers for neutralization.

LAY OF THE LAND Iwo Jima is shaped like a porkchop, with its pointed end angled southwest. Its longest and widest measurements are 4.66 and 2.5 miles. The pointed end contained the 546-foot high Mount Suribachi, which contained both cave-protected Japanese artillery pieces and forward observer positions to direct fire onto the Marines’ Feb. 19 landing beaches. Mount Suribachi, the site of photographer Joe Rosenthal’s iconic flag raising image, was secured by Feb. 22. On Iwo Jima the Japanese had built two airfields and begun a third, designated in different documents as the south, central and northern fields; or one through three, south to north. These fields became the Marines’ basic ground objectives, with the south airfield cleared by Feb. 24. However, the bulk of Japanese weapons emplacements were located in three defensive fortification belts that protected the central and north fields, and these were where the Marines were forced into a prolonged, direct, force-on-force series of infantry attacks that relied heavily on tank support, lavish use of demolitions, and flame weapons, some of them tankmounted. As casualties mounted, the time passed, with the last Japanese positions not destroyed until March 24. Although ultimately successful, this “retail” form of war matched U.S. strengths against Japanese strengths, and was, inevitably, very expensive in American lives. All three of III Corps divisions were committed by February 24: the 5th Division to the left, or west, 3rd Division in the center, and 4th Division on the right, or east of the island.

THE HUMAN COST Casualty numbers of the DETACHMENT operation were very high: V Amphibious Corps contained 71,245 personnel on Feb. 19, 1945, 65,953 of whom were Marines. Of these, 4,554 were killed in action; 1,331 died of their wounds at medical facilities; 46 were missing and later declared dead; and 17,272 were wounded but survived. The total casualties thus reached 23,203, or 32.5% of V Corps’ strength. The total of 5,885 KIA and DOW also represents 32% of the Marine Corps total losses in those categories during World War II. Another index of the severity of the fighting on Iwo Jima is the number of Medals of Honor awarded to Marines and sailors who served there: 22 Marines and five sailors, four of whom were hospital corpsmen. Of this total, 14 were posthumous awards. The Marine awards, for the 37-day battle, represent 28% of all Marine Corps WWII Medals of Honor.

U.S. soldiers unload supplies shortly after the invasion of Iwo Jima. u . s . coast guard / the life picture collection / getty images february


John S. Reed is a member of the history faculty at University of Utah, teaching courses in U.S. political, economic, foreign relations and military history. He did not serve in Vietnam, but served for 26 years as an Army reservist with one deployment to Iraq, as a staff officer 2007-08. va l o r : a s a l u t e t o u ta h ’ s v e t e r a n s a n d m i l i ta r y





entral Utah-based artist Larry Nielson is world-famous for his renderings of American Indians, cowboys and wildlife on weathered wood. One day in August 2001, while rummaging through files, he came across the iconic World War II image of the “raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima” and he was emotionally transfixed. Never having used a military theme before in his artwork, Nielson decided to paint his interpretation of the historic image onto a piece of rustic barn wood, finishing his composition on the evening of Sept. 10, 2001. The next morning, Neilson watched in horror as the news repeatedly showed terrorist-controlled airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and an isolated field in Pennsylvania, along with the horrific aftermath — resulting in the deaths of more than 3,000 people. It was a day that changed America, the world and Nielson. Nielson’s inspiration for the painting, as it seemed to him, was more than a mere coincidence. He felt there was a spiritual connection between his painting and the far-reaching tragedy.

FINDING PURPOSE Unsure of what to do with his finished piece, Nielson eventually decided to enter it in an art show in Orem (larrynielsonart.com). While on display, someone suggested that Nielson ought to send the original painting to President George W. Bush. He agreed and through Joe Lake, president of the Children’s Miracle Network at the time, he presented the original painting and the first artist’s proof to President Bush on April 29, 2002, at a fundraising event in Los Angeles. Not long after the presentation, Nielson’s friend, Buddy Youngreen, introduced him to Orem resident Keith Renstrom, a WWII veteran who served as a gunnery sergeant with the 4th Marine Division during the historic battle. Renstrom told 26

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Nielson he was planning to attend his 55th Iwo Jima reunion in San Antonio, Texas, that year. At the suggestion of Renstrom’s wife, Jody, Nielson gave the couple a large print of the painting to take along for fellow veterans to sign. “That got the ball rolling,” said Nielson.

GATHERING SIGNATURES When creating the original artist proof, Nielson left an oversized border around the central image, something he normally didn’t do, but again, inspiration seemed to be with him. The extra white space allowed ample room for veterans to sign “their name, rank and serial number.” Some even put down their hometowns. As word of the name-gathering project spread, other organizations invited Nielson and the Renstroms to reunions so more names could be collected. Between 2002 and 2012 when most names were obtained, the trio traveled to Iwo Jima reunions in California, Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Vermont and Washington. On one trip to Camp Pendleton near San Diego, nearly 100 names of veterans were added. As the borders of one print filled up, Nielson added another one; eventually, seven prints were in circulation. If neither Nielson nor the Renstroms could make personal appearances, arrangements were made to ship one of the prints to the requesting individual or organization, “simply trusting” that it would be returned. Unfortunately, one print failed to make it back to the artist; Nielson still feels the loss and wonders where it is. “These prints are sacred to me,” Nielson said, “because they contain the energy of every individual whose name is written down.” He explains handwriting reveals a lot about a person. “It is a reflection of the individual. Our spirit flows from our fingertips as we write, leaving our essence on the paper we have signed.” february


Artist Larry Nielson holds one of seven proofs of his rendering of the iconic image of the U.S. flag raising on Iwo Jima. Nielson has collected nearly 1,000 signatures and continues to seek survivors of the historic battle to sign their "name, rank and serial number" on the prints. umg photo / michelle bridges

LASTING IMPRESSION One particular signing stands out for Nielsen. While at a reunion in Los Angeles, he was approached by a group of guys who spoke of a buddy who they wished could have his name added to one of the prints. Arrangements were made to visit their dying comrade in the hospital, and, among family members, doctors and clergymen, the veterans squeezed into the hospital room. Their frail friend, who had been drifting in and out of consciousness, briefly acknowledged his fellow Marines. With the encouragement of his wife, a pen was pressed between his fingers and he began to scrawl his signature. Unable to finish, his wife placed her hand under his, and patiently helped him finish is name. At the end Nielson recalls, “He said ‘thank you for remembering us.’” “I lost it and cried. We all did,” Nielson said. “It was an extraordinary experience; very moving.” The original Iwo Jima flag-raising painting and its subsequent prints, Nielson said were done “to appreciate the greatness of these humble men.”

FINISHING A COLLECTION Momentum for gathering veterans’ signatures has waned the last few years as reunions have all but stopped, mostly because february


Iwo Jima survivors themselves have died. Even Nielson’s allies, the Renstroms, passed away in 2018. Nielson feels the loss. He fears the project will be forgotten. He often asks himself what will become of the prints? And what of the men who sacrificed so much? This experience has encouraged Nielson to be more patriotic. His regard and respect for members of the country’s armed service have greatly increased. “It has been a great honor,” he said of being able to gather the signatures of nearly 1,000 Iwo Jima survivors through the years. “It’s not about the painting or me. It’s about the men who gave their lives for their country.” Recently, Nielson has learned of three Iwo Jima survivors living in Utah and southern Idaho who he knows haven't added their “John Hancock” to any of the prints. He is working with the Fort Douglas Military Museum (fortdouglas.org) to acquire their signatures while the WWII veterans are still alive. Afterward, the six remaining prints will be gifted as a collection to the museum with the intention that if any more survivors are located, arrangements can be made to obtain their signatures to be added to their archives. A native of St. George, Loren R. Webb has been a reporter in community journalism and a teacher of history and English in southern Utah and Nevada. He is an avid historian and spends summers volunteering at Camp Floyd & Stagecoach Inn State Park in Fairfield. He and his wife look forward to retiring and traveling throughout the West always following another story. va l o r : a s a l u t e t o u ta h ’ s v e t e r a n s a n d m i l i ta r y





ack in 2014, Jeff Burton saw a poster in the window of his local barbershop promoting the Payson Veterans Car Show & Cruise. He remembers thinking, “Man, I definitely want to go to that.” It was a great way to meet other like minded folks, and support a great veterans’ cause at the same time.

shiny Model T that pulled up besides them and the driver shouting, “You wanna drag?” Haskell’s driver revved her engine and the Ford gunned his. Haskell said that Model T went crazy and shot off down the road like a bullet, leaving them sitting there. “I enjoyed the ride,” he said. “Even if we did get beat.”

“I have a ’65 Mustang GT. It’s a cool car,” said Burton. “What can I say, I’m a car guy. I grew up in southern California and remember the surfer music, the beach and hot rods. From a young age, I got really interested in that Americana culture.”

Residents’ ages range from 100 down to the early 50s, and they don’t get out much. Laughing, Burton refers to some of his charges as “barrack rats” because they don’t want to leave their rooms. He and his staff look toward anything that can give their veterans some quality of life and enjoyment.

“This will be our sixth car show,” said Kalisha Wilson, recreation therapy director at the Bennion Veterans Home. Set for Saturday, June 13, it is an all-day, family-friendly event. It begins at 7 a.m. with a Race for Vets 5K and by 9 a.m. cars are lined up and ready for judging. The cruise takes place at 10 a.m. At noon, a hamburger lunch is served inside where “it’s air-conditioned” — free for veterans, $5 for everyone else. A raffle rounds out the day at 3 p.m. “I’m a huge fan of the car show,” said Jim Hazlett, a Vietnam veteran and a four-year resident of the veterans’ home. “They’ve got Model Ts’, Mustang’s and Chevy’s,” he said. “My favorite is the ’38 Chevy Coupe. I learned to drive in my dad’s ’48 Coupe.” He laughs when he says there are cars that are half his age of 70, and others that are older than he is. “Our residents love the cruise,” said Wilson. It starts at the parking lot, heads west on Main Street toward West Mountain, travels rural roads along the lake shore, and then returns to the home. It takes about a 45 minutes. Burton had the privilege of leading the cruise one year and had a World War II veteran, who was kind of on his last leg, in the passenger seat, “He had a blast.” He believes that being around the classic cars is nostalgic for the veterans. “It takes them back to happier times in their life when they were younger. These cars are a time capsule in many respects.” In last year’s cruise, Haskell rode in a ’63 Mustang. He recalls a 28

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“When you’re responsible, you look at things differently,” said Burton, who is the new director at the Bennion Veterans Home. He wants the car show to be more lucrative so recreational programing for the residents can be increased. This year Burton wants to see more residents actually experience the car show: get outside, walk around the cars and to “take a ride.” He also would like to see more drivers participate in the cruise. “You’ve got to have a dependable hot rod. It can’t be a trailer queen. It’s got to be something that you could drive,” Burton said. Local businesses, nonprofits and military/veteran organizations provide information about products, services and activities through a selection of vendor booths. “We also sell the car show T-shirt,” Wilson said, noting that they’re something of a collector’s item. Burton believes being around the veterans has enriched his life. He says this can be a tough time in their lives and he can only imagine what its like for them to lose some of their freedoms. He recalls the day his dad lost his car keys and couldn’t drive anymore. “It was a significant and emotional event.” “For me, the car show is freedom,” said Burton. “To give them a little bit of freedom with the wind in their hair is an awesome thing to be able to do, even for just a minute.” For more information, visit facebook.com/bennionveterans february


Stay in the know for everything on show. Information may change so please check for dates, times, fees and details. Follow events on Facebook or along with these sites: utahcarczar. com, thanks2frank.com, or jchackett.com

MAY 8TH WINGS & WHEELS 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Western Sky Warbird Aviation Museum, St. George Regional Airport, 4196 S. Airport Pkwy, St. George. 435-669-0655, westernskywarbirds.org

JUNE 9TH VETERANS CAR, MOTORCYCLE & TRUCK SHOW — 4-8 p.m. George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home, 1102 N 1200 W, Ogden. 801-334-4300

PAYSON, Utah County. Classic car owners go cruisin' down Payson's Main Street with veterans from the Mervyn S. Bennion Veterans Home during the home's annual car show. photos courtesy mervyn s . bennion veterans home

12-13 9TH ANNUAL SOUNDS OF FREEDOM FESTIVAL CAR SHOW — 5 to 5 p.m. 24 hours straight. Layton Commons Park, 437 N Wasatch Drive, Layton. 801-645-1919, utahcharities.com/sounds-of-freedom

13 VETERANS CAR SHOW & CRUISE 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mervyn S. Bennion Veterans Home, 1551 N Main, Payson. 801-609-8744

JULY 2-4 FREEDOM VEHICLES MILITARY OUTPOST — 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 600 N State Street, Scera Park, Orem. 801-427-7445, freeomvehicles. org

AUGUST PLANES & HORSEPOWER 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Commemorative Air Force Utah Wing, Aviation Museum, Russ McDonald Field, Heber. cafutahwing.org

VETERANS APPRECIATION DAY & CAR SHOW — 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Aquatic Center Park, 55 N 200 W, Tooele. 435-496-0458

HOT AUGUST NIGHTS CAR SHOW 4-8 p.m. William E. Christoffersen SL Veterans Home Car Show — 700 Foothill Drive, SLC

OCTOBER ANNUAL SALUTE TO UTAH’S VETERANS & MILITARY CAR SHOW 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Utah Veterans Alliance, Southern Utah Veterans Home, 160 N 200 E, Ivins february


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Join the Utah Veteran Owned Business Coalition to learn about what it takes to become a successful Veteran-Owned business, the local and national resources available, and to connect with other entrepreneurs and business owners. General Session: 0830-1330 | Mentoring & Networking Roundtables: 1330-1530 SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE Larry H. Miller Campus | Karen Gail Miller Conference Room 9750 South 300 West, Sandy, Utah 84070 RSVP ONLINE AT

SLCHAMBER.COM/MAC INDIVIDUAL ADMISSION: $30 QUESTIONS? Contact Jackie Sexton at 801-328-5053 or jsexton@slchamber.com



HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT VETERANS BENEFITS IN UTAH? The Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs is here to help Veterans, current service members and dependents navigate their federal, state, and local earned benefits. CONNECT WITH A VETERAN SERVICE OFFICER Phone: (801) 326-2372 Email: veterans@utah.gov Website: veterans.utah.gov Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs | 550 Foothill Dr. Ste 150, SLC, UT 84113 | 801.326.2372 | veterans@utah.gov | www.veterans.utah.gov

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