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Published Wednesday, November 3, 2021

A supplement of the Lynden Tribune & Ferndale Record


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Veterans Tribute

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | Ferndale Record

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | Ferndale Record

Veterans Tribute

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CHARLES BOIES

VETERANS DAY 2021 In making plans for this year's Veterans Day special section, the staff of the Lynden Tribune and Ferndale Record newspapers wanted to try something a little different than in past years. Each year we tell your story. By you, we mean Whatcom County men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces. This year, we asked that you tell us your story of service, or the story of your loved one who served. This year, we are proud to share 17 of those stories, with both images and words telling us all about some of the fine Whatcom County residents past and present who served our country. Thank you for allowing us to tell your stories. Be sure to also find these stories by visiting LyndenTribune.com. Telling so many stories, affording our public the opportunity to tell its collective story, is something we look forward to doing each year moving forward. Next year, we look forward to sharing even more stories of Whatcom County's veterans. -- Bill Helm

Home: Lynden Branch: US Navy Served: 1969–1992 Rank: Petty Officer 3rd Class Medals/Commendations: Navy Achievement Medal with Combat Distinguishing V; Army Commendation Medal; Combat Action; National Defense Ribbon; Viet Nam Service with three campaign stars; NCO Professional Development (3); Army Service Ribbon; Viet Nam Campaign Ribbon with device (1960-); Good Conduct with cluster; Washington National Guard Emergency Service; and National Guard Service with two clusters. In 1964, I arrived with my parents to start my junior year at Ferndale High School. Graduated in 1967 and went to college for two years. The draft was after me, so I joined the US Navy in 1969, went to boot camp in San Diego, California. Then on to NTS Great Lakes for Naval Engineering Training, Mare Island, California for Naval in shore operations training. Then off to Coronado, California for assault boat training, then finally Camp Pendleton, California for Weapons training. My first working station was NSA Da Nang, Republic of Viet Nam. My duties were

assault boat crewman on a combat salvage crew that worked with Navy divers and SEAL teams. From Da Dang to the DMZ. This assignment was for one year. November 1971, I went to San Diego for AC & Refrigeration School. Then assigned to the USS Sacramento AOE-1 Home P. Bremerton, Washington We were in dry dock all winter and then deployed to Yankee Station in the south China Sea for eight months. We were the supply ship for the carrier task forces. My job was maintenance of AC & R, diesel boats, galley equipment, and laundry equipment. This was two years duty. I was discharged in November 1973. Joined the Navy reserve in Bellingham; this duty lasted three years and I attained rank First Class P.O. (E-6). Then transferred to Washington Army Nat Guard, 286 Engineers Bellingham. A few years later, I became the Bridge Platoon Sgt. (E-7). We were activated in the floods of 1990 and 1991. After a few years, I became the 1st Sergeant 286 Engineer, while making ready for deployment to Saudi Arabia for Desert Storm. After Saddam Hussein was defeated a year later, I retired from the military with 23 years of service.

GLENN MCGUIRE Home: Lynden Branch: US Air Force 19481952, 1953-1967; US Army 19671970, 1971-1986 (civil service) Me dals/Comm en dations : Bronze Star with Oak Leaf, Army Commendation, Air Force Commendation with Oak Leaf, Army Good Conduct with four loops, Air Force Good Conduct, National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf, United Nations Service Medal, Korean Service Medal and Vietnam Service Medal. While in the Air Force, Glenn E. McGuire was stationed in Alaska from December 1948June 1949; in Roswell, New Mexico from October 1949-September 1952; at McGuire Air Force Base, south of Trenton, New Jersey, from January 1958-July 1964; then finally at Randolph Air Force Base in Universal City, Texas from July 1964-August

1967. As a chief warrant officer for the Army, McGuire was stationed in Washington, DC from August 1967-April 1969; then in Vietnam from April 1969-April 1970. From April 1971-January 1986, McGuire served in the Army as civil service. From April 1971-August 1977, McGuire served as computer systems commander at Fort Belvoir, Virginia; then from Aug. 1977-Jan. 1986 at the Pentagon, Washington, DC. Stationed at the Pentagon, McGuire served as Army personnel directorate, which means he had approval authority for computer hardware acquisition and was responsible for computer software development. In January 1986, McGuire relinquished military retirement and retired civil service with 36 years of service.

Glenn McGuire, at right.


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | Ferndale Record

Veterans Tribute

RON WILSON Home: Custer Branch: US Army Rank: Sergeant First Class (E-7) Served: 1964-1986 Medals/commendations: Silver Star Medal; Bronze Star Medal/Oak Leaf Cluster; Air Medal (3); Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart; National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; Vietnam Campaign Medal; Vietnam Cross of Gallantry; Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal; Meritorious Unit Commendation; Good Conduct

Medal; Overseas Service Bars (7); Overseas Service Wings; Vietnam Jump Wings; Master Parachutist Badge; Army Service Ribbon; NCO Professional Development Ribbon; Combat Infantryman Badge; Meritorious Service Medal; German Chancellor Award for civil heroism, saving two lives. Ron Wilson "served four tours in country and special forces command in Vietnam. We are grateful for your service to our country. We will not forget each of those who sacrificed so much for our freedom."


Veterans Tribute

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | Ferndale Record

GERRIT KUIKEN Branch: US Air Force Rank: Chief Master Sgt./E-9 Served: 1952-1982 Chief Master Sgt. Gerrit Kuiken served 30 years in the US Air Force as Photo Repair/ Avionics/Electronic/Radar/test equipment Technician/instructor/Supervisor/manager supporting mostly Heavy Bombers B-29/B47/B-52, during the Korean War/Vietnam War and the Cold War, the latter - which we won. He was awarded more than 30 medals, commendations and ribbons, including three Meritorious Metals, and European Theatre Senior NCO of the year, 1979. He served a total of 11 years at forward overseas bases, including Okinawa (1953-55); Turkey (1969-71), Johnston Island (1973-74); Athens, Greece (1974-80); with numerous temporary duties in countries, Germany, Spain, Morocco, Italy. His career high point was serving as the Senior Enlisted Advisor (Sgt. Major) to the Hellenkon AB; Athens, Greece ranking officer (1976-79), responsible for 5000 military members and dependents. He served at seven ID, CA, FL, CO stateside bases. Kuiken concluded his full-time working career, first as the maintenance supervisor (1983) and then the personnel and admin.

WILLIAM SMITH Branch: US Army Served: 1941-1945 Rank: Staff Sergeant (E6) In late-1944 during the wake of the Allied Forces successful D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, it seemed as if WWII was all but over. On Dec. 16, with the onset of winter, the German army launched a counter-offensive that was intended to cut through the Allied Forces in a manner that would turn the tide in Hitler’s favor. The battle that ensued was known as the Battle of the Bulge. The courage and fortitude of the American soldier was tested against great adversity. Nevertheless the quality of this response ultimately meant the victory of freedom over tyranny. Our father was one of those brave soldiers at the Battle of the Bulge, and also a part of the third wave of the Normandy Invasion.

supervisor over 1300 employees (1983–88), building the new King Khalid Intl Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Since retiring, Chief Kuiken has engaged in civic/church volunteer work, life-time Republican Party award, while owing/ managing two duplexes. Was married, three children, 13 grandchildren, and nine greatgrandchildren.

The Harmelinks. Front row left to right: Harvey and Vernon Harmelink. Back row left to right: Andy and George Harmelink.

ANDREW HARMELINK HARVEY HARMELINK GEORGE HARMELINK VERNON HARMELINK Branch: US Navy Served: During World War II Jo Young of Lynden talks of her four brothers, Andrew, Harvey, George, and Vernon Harmelink. In her words: “My brother Bert Harmelink and brotherin-law Henry Van Dyke served in France during World War 1, my four brothers Andrew, Harvey, George, and Vernon Harmelink served during World War 2. “They were always in hot spots, and I can remember every evening when the paper arrived with headlines: Thousands killed by Japanese Bombing, my mother would stand by the table crying because she didn’t know where

her sons were fighting. I was a frighten little girl. “My husband Jack Young served in the Marines during the Korean conflict, our son Tom Young served two years peace time, grandson T. Randy Young just completed 20 years in the Army as a helicopter pilot. “I have several nieces and nephews as well that have served. I’m just a flag-waving American, a citizen is what I want to be. I wear red, white and blue every Friday and my shirt says, One Nation under God with liberty and justice for all. “God bless America, and God bless you.”


Veterans Tribute

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | Ferndale Record

C6 DAVE LOOMIS

IRENE TICHELAAR SILVERMAN

Home: Bellingham Branch: US Navy, US Army Served: 1958-1962, 1963-1967; 19841998 Rank: 1st Sergeant Born June 4, 1941, in Yakima. Graduated high school in 1956. Joined US Navy in 1958, served until 1962. Worked civil service until 1963. Joined US Army, attended combat medical school, airborne school at Fort Benning, Georgia. Sent to 82nd Airborne as combat medic in Panama, with 508th Airborne Infantry completed jungle operations training course. Ordered to Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Completed two years of nursing, ordered to Fort Benning, assigned to HHC 4th BN Airborne 503rd INF 173rd BDE Bienhoa, Vietnam in 1965. Served in several en-

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gagements as senior medic, discharged in 1967. Joined US Army Reserve in Bellingham, made 1st Sergeant. Returned to active duty as recruiter in 1984, earned the Glen E. Morrell order of Recruiting Excellence Award. Retired with 28 years, then served with Whatcom County Sheriff, Pittsburg Police, then retired as Rossmoor senior sergeant. Returned to Bellingham. Life member of American Legion Post 7, Disabled American Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1585, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 165, has been president the past three years. Has recruited 173 new members, bringing chapter strength to 345 Vietnam veteran members and 78 associate Vietnam veteran members with 424 members.

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Home: Birch Bay Branch: US Navy reserve, active duty Served: 1976-2000 Medals/commendations: Defense Meritorious Service, three Meritorious Service, two Joint Meritorious Service Commendations, National Defense Service, Navy Reserve Meritorious Service, Southwest Asia Service with Bronze Star, Kuwait Liberation, USAF Special Achievement Award. My parents and I immigrated from the Netherlands to the USA to escape the long tentacles of the Russian regime. We always felt that my military service was a payback for the freedom we were granted. I had a late start, entering the US Navy when I was 29, first as a USN Reserve Storekeeper, then in 1980 on active duty as a USN Supply Corps officer. On active duty

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I served in varied duties, both afloat and shore, overseeing the operation of galleys, berthing, post offices, supply parts inventories, and convenience stores. As a supply officer I was not only are responsible for the providing the beans and bullets for the troops; but in different assignments also worked as Contracting Officer, Transportation Logistics Officer, Business Financial Manager, Air Terminal Manager and HQ Staff Supply Officer Highlights of my career include traveling in the Persian Gulf area and France and England while serving as a Personal Aide to General Schwarzkopf, and personal travel in the Far East. Most importantly I met my now-husband David Silverman, in Bahrain. We retired together on 1 October 2000.

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Veterans Tribute

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | Ferndale Record

GERALD (JERRY) SMOOT Home: Bellingham Branch: US Marine Corps Served: 1962-1966 Final rank: E-5 (Sergeant) Medals/commendations: Air Force Expeditionary Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal Meritorious Mast, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal Expert Badge (M-14). In US Marine Corps from 1962 until 1966, with training in infantry, then moved to message center into cryptographer with TS clearance. Our unit 2/9 was in Viet Nam in 1965, back to Camp Pendleton, California where I was moved from communications to a US Mail orderly handling mail for our schools company, Schools Battalion. Here we went from a small unit almost over-

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GORDON TERPSTRA night due to the Vietnam issue. We had a huge group of young Marines, and we had to make sure they put the correct address for their mail. The correct address was their rank-their name-their serial number, SchsCo, ScosBn, Camp Pendleton, Calif. 92055. With all these green recruits, we received a letter addressed “Rank-Name-Serial Number, Schools Company, Schools Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif. 92055.” The only name on the front of the letter was from a girl in Tennessee. So, I handed this letter with no name to our troop leaders who passed it on to all squads until we found someone who knew the girl on the return address. This was quite funny for everyone except the recruit.

Home: Bellingham Branch: US Marines, 1969-1972 US Army, 1989-2010 Rank: Lt. Colonel/Chaplain “People will say when I wear my veteran’s cap, ‘Thank you for your service.’ I reply, ‘People like you make it worth it.’ I am Gordon Terpstra. I reside in Bellingham, though I was raised in Lynden. I served in the Marines from 1969 to 1972, then later became an Army Chaplain from 1989 to 2010 as a Lieutenant Colonel. In the Persian Gulf War of 1990/1992 I deployed with my battalion to a base camp in the desert. Fifteen years later, in 2007, I deployed to Iraq. In

Iraq, I was awarded the Bronze Star for conduct under combat and the Combat Action Badge for coming under attack numerous times. Soldiers need Chaplains. They endure fear, stress, homesickness, hardship, and a profound sense of needing God. Chaplains stand with them in these crises of the soul. We perform field worship services anywhere and anytime. We counsel those who fear for their lives, and for any kind of mental and spiritual stress they endure. We are seen as the very presence of God in a forsaken, hostile place. This is why we wear the cross on our uniform. It tells them that God is here and has not forsaken them.”


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | Ferndale Record

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Veterans Tribute

PAUL VANDER POL Branch: US Coast Guard/Merchant Marines Served: 1944-1946 On Nov. 28, 1944, Paul Vander Pol signed up with the Maritime Service as a Merchant Marine. This was a civilian non-commissioned directive under the United States Coast Guard. Classified as a fireman, Paul worked in the engine/boiler room, making sure the steam level was sufficient to power the ship. The Liberty/Victory ships he sailed on took supplies to the war in the Pacific. The ships he served on were as follows: • Percy E. Foxworth Liberty, Feb. 13, 1945May 10, 1945. Sailed from San Francisco to Hawaii, then on to Tinian Island. • SS Flagstaff Victory, June 29, 1945-Sept. 24, 1945. This tour was memorable as they were loaded with 8,000 tons of ammunition and 1,000-pound bombs heading to Okinawa. They were traveling solo until Ulithy.

During that time, they were told if a submarine 10 miles away was to torpedo the ship, the concussion would also destroy the sub. During this tour, the war treaties were signed, and the war was official over, Aug. 14, 1945. • Devils Lake Victory, Dec. 11, 1945-July 22, 1946. Going to Saipan with PX supplies but because the war was over, they had to wait 85 days to unload – didn’t know what to do with the supplies. Some of the beer (from supplies) on board helped the crew get through the waiting. They picked up some staff and guns, then went to Guam for heavy equipment. On to Tarawa for sawmills. They took them and the rest of the equipment to New Zealand and New Caledonia. Back to Seattle, June 24, 1946, but stayed aboard until July 22, 1946, then was discharged and went home.

Joanie Vander Pol of Everson holds a scrapbook she has made of her family. The facing pages are of her father-in-law, Paul VanderPol, who served in the US Merchant marines from 1944-1946. “He sure had stories to tell,” she said. “He was a veteran to the core.” (Bill Helm/

While docked in Okinawa, Paul Vander Pol (right) had the opportunity to meet up with his brother Mike, who was serving in the Army. Mike had visited aboard ship and was to return the next week. When he didn’t show, Paul got someone to stand his watch and he went ashore without permission. At the third location, they got together for a good 24-hour visit. (Photo courtesy Joanie Vander Pol)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | Ferndale Record

Veterans Tribute

CARL WILLIS-FORD Home: Lynden Branch: US Navy Served: 1980–1988 Rank: ET1 (SS) Served as a nuclear reactor operator onboard fast attack submarines at the end of the Cold War. USS Guitarro (SSN 665). USS Gurnard (SSN 662). Medals/Commendations: Good Conduct (twice), Navy Expeditionary Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Sea Service Deployment (with one Bronze Star), Arctic Service Ribbon, COMSUBPACREP letter of commendation, COMSUBGRU Five letter of

commendation. "I didn’t plan on joining the Navy. We’d been married a year and suddenly found that we were pregnant. I was trying to finish up college but realized that I needed a steady source of income to support my family and wanted to serve my country. "I went to the local recruiting station in the mall, but the Air Force recruiter was at lunch. In the adjoining office, I saw someone gesturing for me to come in. It was the Navy recruiter. I did well on the entrance exam and joined the Navy Nuclear Power Program. Navy Nuclear Power School was considered

one of the toughest technical schools in the country. "I reported to my first submarine on Christmas Eve 1982 and by the second week of January we were out for a six-month WestPac (six months away from homeport, with operations and port stops all over the Pacific Ocean). We’re known as the ‘silent service’ for several reasons, one of which is that we don’t talk specifics about submarine tasking. "Submarine duty filters out anyone that cannot work as part of a team, and the bonds formed within the crew are strong and still hold 30 years later."

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Veterans Tribute

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | Ferndale Record

RICHARD S. POWELL Home: Everson Branch: US Army Served: 1974-1978 (active), 1978-1983 (reserve) Final rank: Sergeant Infantry, Armor, Truck Driver For years, I never thought much about my service other than it was a chance to get out of Everson and off the farm after high school. Anyway, 47 years later, I’m going, ‘Well, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to say a couple of things before it becomes just a sidebar in a life story that a person reads in an obituary.’ We all have accomplishments that we are proud of, at the time, I thought, ‘What have I done?’ when I enlisted for four years in combat arms with the U.S. Army. Still, technically it was the Vietnam Era in 1974, but by taking a four-year enlistment I was ‘guaranteed’ my MOS of choice, choice of first duty station and a $2,500 bonus after completing AIT. I’m in! In retrospect, while the majority of my friends and classmates went on to other activities, I was stuck for four years in what turned out to be a really proud experience. It also was probably the best education a person can pos-

sibly receive. Pretty much kept my nose clean except for a few youthful indiscretions which admittedly affected my future potential for promotion. Because I had decided I wasn’t going to make the military a career, it didn’t really reflect on my four years of ac-

tive duty. Wound up with a bunch of tattoos, a couple of broken bones and a bunch of skills that have (arguably) absolutely no value or cross-over value in the civilian world. As in life, everyone has different experiences. I could write a book and have lots of stories … I will conclude by saying I have the utmost respect for any person that has served in any capacity whether drafted or volunteer. I have some medals, qualification badges and letters of commendation. Completing any training, exercise or mission (alive) was always a proud moment. The feeling of accomplishment never really goes away. There is a great deal of truth in the statement that you never know how far you can go or how much you can accomplish until you are pushed to perform. I have memorized and recite out loud daily this blessing for all veterans past, present and future regardless of branch of service: “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine up on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his face to you and give you peace” - Numbers 6:24

“Thank You for your courage, service & sacrifice for our freedom!”

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Veterans Tribute

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | Ferndale Record

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | Ferndale Record

Veterans Tribute

THOMAS RIPPCHEN Branch: US Marine Corps Served: 1966-1972 Rank: Corporal (E-4) Medals/Commendations: Good Conduct. The following was written by Thomas J. Rippchen in 1968-69 while he was in DaNang, Vietnam as well as reflections he had from Chu Lai, Vietnam in 1967: "I arrived in Chu Lai in September 1967. I volunteered for the United States Marine Corps in March 1966, and I signed on and went to Parris Island on June 20, 1966, and began my four-year tour because I wanted aviation guaranteed programs. "After three months of basic training, at Parris Island, South Carolina, I (proceeded) to Camp Lejune, North Carolina for advanced combat infantry training. I was only 18

years of age and was gung ho and totally trusted the politicians and officers (who) I was associated with 110%. "I finished my combat training in Camp Lejune and was sent on leave for 30 days before my next duty station, which was aviation schooling in Memphis, Tennessee. "When I arrived in Memphis and was still taking IQ tests, they offered me a variety of positions due to my IQ numbers. (Still to this day don’t understand the numbers, but anyway my score was above a 138.) "The choices I had then were to pick the top three in which I was interested in. "After I chose three, I came to find out that the top to that I chose had a waiting period of up to three months for another class to begin. "My first two choices were becoming a pilot or air traf-

fic controller, which had at least a three-month period of waiting. My last choice was to be a jet mechanic. Since becoming. Jet mechanic was instantly available, I chose that. "Went through training, got a certificate for accomplishing that, and was sent to Cherry Point, North Carolina. "I am just turning 19, my own personal views are changing about what politicians are doing and many have become self-serving and greedy in only wanting their power and money. "Off to Vietnam I went, (volunteered) in September 1967 and came home in May 1969. During my first two months in Chu Lai and DaNang did my eyes ever open up. "How many corporations and politicians at home were making millions and billions of dollars off this war with little concern for us, the soldiers fighting and dying for it."


Veterans Tribute HERM VAN BEEK Branch: US Army Served: 1953-1955 Rank: Sergeant, 1st class I joined the National Guard when I was 18. Roger VandeKamp joined also. We went to a meeting every week and in the summer, we went to Yakima Firing Center for two weeks to do some firing of the anti-aircraft 80mm gun. When our draft number came up, we both applied for active duty. We were both sergeants and were able to keep our rank and our pay. We went to Fort Ord in California for basic training for six weeks. We were then sent to Camp Chaffee Arkansas. We were allowed to come home for a short visit before flying to Japan, we left for Travis Air Force Base in California. The plane had bucket seats on each side

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | Ferndale Record JACK MATHEIS with the staff sergeant’s car in the belly. We spent two months in Japan. We were in B company of 434th Engineers and we learned how to build roads and bridges and how to destroy them. I went to Fort Ord on Nov. 4, 1953, and we flew to Japan in February of 1954. From Japan we were in an open boat to Korea (May 1954) I forgot to say, at Camp Chaffee we used the 105mm and 150mm howitzers. Our base in Korea was between Busan and Daegu. We were there until we got sent home Sept. 16. 1955. That trip was by boat and many of the men got very sick. I became Sergeant 1st class during that time.

With Respect & Gratitude, we honor all who have served

Home: Lynden Branch: US Served: 1942-1945 Rank: Lieutenant On this Veterans Day of 2021, the Matheis family gives tribute to their dad and grandpa, Lynden resident Jack Matheis, for his service to our country in WWII. Lieutenant Jack James Matheis, born in 1924 in Ohio, as an 18-year-old enlisted in the Army Air Force in November 1942. Apparently, they didn’t have a separate Air Force back then, but then it changed to US Air Force in 1947 when it became independent of the Army Air Force. Very interesting fact. Jack trained to be a navigator on a B-24 Bomber. It was on his 27th mission, after just being promoted to the lead plane, that they were hit by enemy fire. Despite being in-

jured, Lt. Jack Matheis expertly navigated his squadron back to their home base in southern Italy. After recuperating from his injuries, Jack was honorably discharged back to the States where for his act of heroism received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star, and Purple Heart awards. Jack went on to marry and have a family of seven children. He earned his seminary degree, serving churches in Everson, Iowa and Edmonton, and teaching Bible classes at Lynden Christian and Bellevue schools. He is the author of two books and was a semi-professional artist. The family gives thanks for God’s tender mercies in preserving the life of Jack Matheis, who at age 97 continues a legacy of servant hood and remains a hero in their lives.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | Ferndale Record

Veterans Tribute

EIVIND ENGEN

TOP PHOTO: Eivind Engen, far left, with reconnaissance team after clearing police posts along the border of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. BOTTOM PHOTO: Cleaning the 50-cal after bunker clearing operations. (Courtesy photos)

Branch: US Marine Corps 8654 Served: 1988-1992 Medals/commendations: Rifle Expert 3rd award, Pistol Expert 2nd award, Sea Service Deployment w/two stars, National Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Mast, Combat Action Ribbon, Southwest Asia Service Medal. w/three stars, Good Conduct Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Basic Parachutist Insignia, Navy and Marine Corps Scuba Divers Insignia. “You are not going to be sitting around the house watching TV all day while I’m working all summer,” mom said. “You better find a job.” Next day … “Mom! Guess what?!?” I said. “I got a job!” “That’s wonderful,” she said. “Where are you going to work?”

"I told her. 'The Marine Corps.'" "Yea, that is when my dear mother turned white as a sheet and wanted me to “take it back.” “It’s too late,” I told her. “I already signed the papers.” "In bootcamp I shot a 242 out of 250 (back when they still did open sights out to 750 yards) and was the battalion high shooter. I was selected to do a recon try-out in the Philippines. Five of us out of 35 or so were sent to RIP (recon indoctrination course). That course was a complete suffer festival for many weeks. Once you pass all the rigorous training, you are sent to Army Airborne school and Navy Dive school. (MOS 8654) There are many other schools, too. "In February of ’91, I was flown into Saudi for Operation Desert

Shield. I participated in forward operations in Kuwait clearing police posts occupied by Iraqis in Markaz Radifah and Julhum. "Quickly after my team was involved in the ground assault into Kuwait with Task Force Taro (RCT3), our recon teams did the bunker clearing and zone reconnaissance ops in the burning oilfields for 8-9 days. I was involved with coups in Thailand and the Philippines shortly after that time. In 1992, shortly before my four-year reenlistment, I broke my back in a training accident off the coast of Coronado, California. I was paralyzed from the waist down for a few days. As a result, after I got out of the hospital, I was grounded. No more airborne operations or scuba diving. My adventurous career was over."


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