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Veterans Day Remembrance


November 14, 2012

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Voss flew rescue missions over Bermuda Triangle By Rebecca Peter In the spring of 1946, Al Voss of Garner, knew if he was get a college education, the military was going be the way he would do it. “My father had passed away and the only way I was ever going to get to college was to take advantage of the GI Bill which was in effect at that time,” Voss said. “So, I enlisted in the Army Air Corps.” The Army Air Corps was the forerunner of today’s United States Air Force. A graduate of Tipton High School, Voss enlisted in the Air Corps in June of 1946 and reported for duty at Fort Snelling, Minn. He underwent basic training at San Antonio, Texas. “Thankfully I was sandwiched in between World War II and the Korean War,” he said. “I tested to be a bombsite mechanic, but the war was over and they didn’t have any use for a bombsite mechanic. So they sent me to radar school in Boca Raton, Fla.” Al spent the next 30 months stationed at the Air Force Base in Bermuda where he was radar operator aboard the B17 bomber and carried out air rescue missions of military and civilian aircraft or vessels. “We covered basically from Azores to the east, to the Carolinas to the west and Cuba to the south. In other words - the Bermuda Triangle,” he said. “There’s something about the Bermuda Triangle,” he commented, “not only weather-wise, but from a magnetic standpoint. Compasses would go crazy … altimeters would go wacky.” Pilots and seamen sometimes seemed to loose their sense of direction over the Triangle. “They would be like, where are we? How high are we? What direction are we going? Stuff like that. It was confusing. We did have both ships and planes disappear in the Triangle without a trace, but we would go and search.” Once over the rescue area, the crew could release a 33-foot lifeboat that was

Al Voss Army Air Corp - 1946-1949

Al Voss was a radar operator aboard this B-17 bomber. The aircraft was used on rescue missions over the Caribbean.

Al and Aggie Voss slung underneath the B-17 fuselage. The lifeboat had two five-horse on-board engines, a mast, sail, drinking water, K-rations, cigarettes. You could probably get a half dozen people into the boat safely,” he said. Did he ever worry that he, too, might “disappear” over the fabled Bermuda Triangle? “I don’t remember anytime that we were in danger,” he said. “The B17 was a wonderfully stable platform. You could take it almost anywhere and do almost anything with it.” During his time in

Bermuda, they would sometimes have “orientation flights.” “I had breakfast in Bermuda, lunch in Greenland, supper at Bowling Field in Washington, D.C. and back to Bermuda that night,” he

explained. “It was just to keep everybody sharp. We flew all over the place.” College education via GI Bill Upon being discharged, Al took advantage of the GI Bill to begin his college

education at Iowa State College. He transferred to Iowa State Teachers College (today the University of Northern Iowa) where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree. He later received a Masters of Science in Education from Drake University. Al taught high school physics, chemistry and biology at Shenandoah for three years. He was high school principal at Earlham and school superintendent at Central City, Iowa. He was also guidance counselor at Green Mountain, Iowa for a year. Eventually Al switched careers and worked for The Perfect School Plan, a company that specialized in organizing magazine sales as fund-raisers or school groups. When a sales territory opened across the top two tiers of counties in Iowa, Al and his family moved to Garner. He retired in 1985. Al married his second wife, Aggie, in 1983. They met through their shared

activities in the VFW and VFW Auxiliary. Al was State Commander of the VFW and, Aggie, who was originally from Cedar Rapids, was State President of the VFW Auxiliary at the time. Al and Aggie would travel to the various VFW districts in Iowa and attend district meetings and national conventions. Al currently serves as chairman of the Hancock County Veterans Commission. Aggie is Americanism Chairman and Junior Vice President of Garner VFW Auxiliary. She has held various state and national offices in the Auxiliary. Al and Aggie invite younger veterans to consider joining the VFW and American Legion. “It’s a bond between people who have done the same kind of thing. There’s a commonality there that hold you together,” he said. “We know what you’ve been through, to a certain extent.”




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Dale Swenson called in draft at 18

By Sarah Freesemann Dale Swenson had an opportunity for a job near his hometown of Waseca, Minnesota after graduating from New Richland High School in 1943. The employer was worried, as many were at that time, about training a new employee and then losing them to the draft. Swenson went down to the local office to see if he could find out how close his name was to being drafted. The clerk pulled out a box full of cards, thumbed through the stack to Swensonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and referenced his number to the list. Swenson was in the next group to be drafted. Instead of taking the job, he headed to Fort Riley, Kansas for training. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I went from Fort Riley to the west coast for about 30 days and then to Camp Tangle in Kentucky for tank training,â&#x20AC;? he said. Swenson then traveled to Maryland and on to Camp Stevenson in Boston, from which he shipped out to England. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were in England for a short time before we crossed the channel.â&#x20AC;? Swenson crawled up the beaches of Normandy, France June 12, 1944 just six days after D-Day took place there. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were replacement soldiers, I did not know that at the time or I probably would have ran for the hills, but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what we were, Calvary reconnaissance replacements, CAV RCN or Repo Depo as we called itâ&#x20AC;? states Swenson. Reconnaissance work was Swensonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s job. Reconnaissance is the activity of getting information about an area for military purposes,

Dale Swenson Dale Swensonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s awards

Dale Swenson - 1943 using soldiers, planes, etc. Swenson was a T5 Corporal in the 5th Armored division as a replacement in the 85th Calvary. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were in armored equipment and we led the armored division, we just tried to keep everyone alive. It was our job to see what was over the hill or around the corner and to capture prisoners and bring


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them back for information,â&#x20AC;? he recalled. â&#x20AC;&#x153;At one point I was our Captainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jeep driver. We started hauling back prisoners, we were 20-miles ahead of the line, we would put the prisoners on the front bumper and they had to hang on. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t drive slow because we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to be a sitting target on land that wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t ours.â&#x20AC;?

From Normandy, his outfit went to Paris, north to Belgium, Holland and then to the German line. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I had imagined as a kid what it would be like to be on the lines of battle, and here I was standing right there in the middle of it.â&#x20AC;? When asked about his first time in live combat, Swenson recalled two memories. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The first time I thought we were about to enter a combat situation we were traveling at night and I told my Captain to stop, see those guys up on the hill? He looked up there and did not stop. He just shook his head and said â&#x20AC;&#x153;young kid, those arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t people they are stocks of grain.â&#x20AC;? I will never forget that, I was greener than grass,â&#x20AC;? The first time Swenson did find himself in live combat he said they got into it so quick that you did not have time to think, you just had to fire quick. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was lucky I remember a shell came right beside us and it did not go off on impact, if it would have I wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be



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here.â&#x20AC;? Swenson was never wounded, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I had a bullet pop right off my helmet and many go right by me, I was lucky. Was I scared? Yes I was!â&#x20AC;? He also noted that he saw General Patton many times, â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was amazing how much you saw a guy like that.â&#x20AC;? When asked what parts of his deployment he remembers most Swenson talked about being right there when the Battle of the Bulge broke out. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We also helped liberate one big GI prison camp and 3-4 smaller concentration camps.â&#x20AC;? Swensonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s outfit spent time around Achim, Germany where he said that they used white sheets as camouflage during the winter in the thick forest. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We also slept outside most of the time. I had recovered a Germanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sleeping bag and used that,â&#x20AC;? Since Swenson was in reconnaissance work and a mobile group, they often ate K rations and C rations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had a kitchen truck in our outfit, but it was never with us.â&#x20AC;? Eventually, Swenson was stationed at the Maginot line, a chain of defensive cement fortifications built by France on its eastern border. From there it took ten days for preparations to head home and then five days of travel time

before Swenson stepped back onto American soil in Virginia. He then went to Camp McCoy in Wisconsin before heading home to Minnesota. It was January of 1945 and he was home safe at the age of 19 after seven months. Swenson married his wife, Rita, on June 12, 1948. Four years to the day after crawling up the beaches of Normandy. Dale and Rita raised four children, Mary (Britt), Kurt (Kansas City), Paul (Des Moines), and Jon (Britt). He met Rita in New Prague, Minnesota where he was training for his first job working for MVBA. Swenson worked for MVBA until he was 41, he then went to work managing a new feed mill, before moving to Britt to run the elevator at Farmers Cooperative. He also sold American corn dryers for a few years, amongst other jobs leading up to his retirement. Although it can be argued that he is still at work today, as you can always find him uptown at Swensonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hardware, owned by his youngest son Jon, helping out where he can. At 87 years old and 67 years after discharge Dale Swenson can still rattle off his identification tag number when asked. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 37578110,â&#x20AC;? he grins.

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Dodd serves in the west Pacific

By Travis Fischer For Ivan Dodd of Garner, joining the Navy just seemed like the natural thing to do. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I just kind of had the Navy in my thoughts all the time,â&#x20AC;? said Dodd. Following in the footsteps of his cousin and uncle, Dodd enlisted on February 19, 1964. Though he may have had an affinity for the Navy, Dodd preferred the open air over the cramped insides of a ship. After completing boot camp in Miramar in San Diego, Calif., Dodd was sent to Memphis, Tenn. for aviation training. After returning to Miramar, Dodd was assigned to the U.S.S. Coral Sea. Aboard the carrier, Dodd toured the west Pacific. The purpose of these â&#x20AC;&#x153;west pacâ&#x20AC;? tours was to keep a naval presence in the area around the Philippines and Japan. Aboard the ship, Doddâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s job as part of the flight crew was maintaining airplanes on the flight deck. Although Dodd had little to fear from enemy attacks, navigating the floating airport came with plenty of its own dangers. One careless move in front of a jet engine could send a sailor into the shipâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s safety nets, or worse. Dodd experienced all

Ivan Dodd, Garner, United States Navy, 1964-1968 kinds of cuts, bruises, and burns as he worked on the flight deck during his tour. It was during his first tour that the Vietnam conflict began heating up. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We woke up one morning, went down the breakfast, and saw all these




bombs laying around,â&#x20AC;? said Dodd. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We figured it out real quick like.â&#x20AC;? Doddâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ship returned to Miramar, where he performed periodic inspections on the Navyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new F-4 Phantoms. As part of this duty, Dodd had

to take the planes up for a test run. Although he would survive three crash landings during his time in the Navy, including one on his final trip home, Dodd is proud to say he was never in the pilot seat for any of them. Dodd would go on two more tours during his career.



A second tour on the U.S.S. Coral Sea and a third on the U.S. S. Ranger. Aboard The Ranger, Dodd had to adapt to an abrupt change of climate as the ship moved to provide air support for the Korean conflict. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were in North Vietnam, which was 110

degrees working,â&#x20AC;? said Dodd. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Two days later we were in sub-zero weather.â&#x20AC;? In 1968, after four years of service, Dodd decided that his time in the Navy was up. After a bumpy ride back from the Philippians to the mainland, he left the service to start a family.






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Once a Marine, Always a Marine

By Jill Blank “I am a Marine.” Unlike with any other branch of service, these words convey a wealth of information about the individual making the statement. Spoken by a recruiter, these words also helped Corwith’s Brent DeGroote decide to join the Marine Corps instead of the Air Force upon graduation from CWL high school in May 1998. “No other branch of service can identify itself in the same way,” DeGroote said. “You can’t say ‘I’m an Army’ or ‘I’m an Air Force,’ but you can say, ‘I’m a Marine.’ There’s also an immediate sense of respect, even from other members of the military, when you identify yourself as a Marine.” There was another point in favor of the Marines over the Air Force, Brent said. Once his initial enlistment was up, if he chose to change branches and enlist in the Air Force there would be no additional basic training requirement. However if he chose to become a Marine after an initial enlistment with any other branch, he would still be required to attend a Marine boot camp. An athlete who once thought of becoming a personal trainer, DeGroote enjoys being pushed to his

physical limits. His choice of joining the infantry, considered one of the more demanding career paths within the Marines, was also a good match for his personality. After attending boot camp in San Diego, DeGroote was member of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center located at Twentynine Palms, Calif., in the Mojave Desert. Less than ten years since the end of the First Gulf War, Brent’s unit was kept in a constant state of readiness. “You train as if you’re going to war in the next day,” DeGroote said of being a full-time Marine

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during peacetime. His infantry unit experienced a variety of trainings. Some of these included Mountain Warfare training, both summer and winter tactics; and Combined Armed Exercises (CAX) that included live fire, or ammunition; and experience with beach landings. Specialized trainings included Military Operation Urban Training (MOUT) warfare that simulates fighting within city settings. To experience and train in jungle warfare, DeGroote’s unit had a 6-month deployment to Okinawa, Japan. From there the unit went into Thailand for the jungle experience. Initially enlisted at the rank of private (E1), DeGroote advanced to the rank of sergeant (E5) by the end of his four-year enlistment. During this time he was an honor grad of a corporal’s course. DeGroote comes from a multi-generational family of veterans. His grandfather Darrel DeGroote was in the Navy and stationed on the USS Bunker Hill

during World War II. He would tell stories of witnessing Kamikaze pilot attacks. Brent’s maternal grandfather, Bernard


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Brent DeGroote, Corwith Marine Corps, 1998-2002 Kunkel, was in the Army during World War II. During Vietnam two uncles also served their country. Duane Kunkel was in the Air Force, while Gary DeGroote served in the Navy. Brent’s brother, Ben, is currently in the Marine Corps, stationed at San Diego. DeGroote is active in the Corwith American Legion. He enjoys working with the other local veterans, and takes pride in wearing his dress blues at special

events. A rural route postal carrier who works out of Wesley, Brent and his wife, Beth, have three sons, ages 11, 7 and 3. In addition, Brent coaches boys and girls track at CWL high school. Employee. Coach. Husband. Dad. Each role has its own responsibilities. And with each, Brent pushes himself to excel. Deep down, he is still a Marine.

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Dankbar was in artillery during the Korean Conflict By Rebecca Peter Eugene Dankbar was 19-years-old when he and a friend decided join the U.S. Army in 1952. The Korean Conflict (1950-1953) was underway. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We thought we might as well get it over with. We werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t married, so we decided to enlist,â&#x20AC;? he said. The Korean Conflict is sometimes called the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Forgotten Warâ&#x20AC;? due to the lack of public attention it received both during and after the war. It was the first armed conflict of the Cold War. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It never really made too much splash when the war was on,â&#x20AC;? Eugene remarked. He speculates that coming so soon after the end of World War II, the public was probably tired of war. Dankbar underwent basic training at Ft. Bliss, Texas, followed by advanced training. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Then we got our orders for Far East Command (FECOM).â&#x20AC;? He spent two weeks in Japan for more training before being sent to the front lines

in the Korean Peninsula. Dankbar was assigned to U.S. Army, 143rd Field Artillery, Battery B, where he operated a 105 howitzer artillery gun. The howitzers could launch shells for a range of about 7 miles. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We would have a forward observer. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d go way up front and call back where we supposed to fire. Sometimes there would be a big concentration of troops,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sometimes we tried to knock off tanks. The

Eugene Dankbar U.S. Army 1952-1954 enemy had a lot of moving equipment, too. So we tried to knock some of that off.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;All in all it was a lot of noise over there. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why I wear hearing aids.â&#x20AC;? Dankbar noted that almost all of his buddies in artillery experienced hearing loss. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was on the front near Heartbreak Ridge,â&#x20AC;? he recalled. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One night we were over there and got into a situation. We took a North Korean prisoner. They got out of him that [the North

Koreans] were going to get our unit. Late that night we decided we better pull out.â&#x20AC;? The unit pulled back to where Army engineers were digging parapets (an earthen defense along the top of a trench.) â&#x20AC;&#x153;They made parapets that we could move the howitzers into, but lo and behold, [the North Koreans] found out we were over there and started shelling us. We never had any casualties that night, but we had a lot

of injuries.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were up in the mountains. That first winter we were so cold. It would snow 6 feet at a time,â&#x20AC;? he recalled. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One morning it snowed so much we couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get out the front door of our bunker.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had these little walkie talkies. We called and said, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trapped. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not getting out of here!â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;? The officers in charge had to dig them out of their bunker. Dankbarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unit was not far from the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ), a strip of land that runs across the Korean peninsula and serves as a buffer between North and South Korea. To this day, the United States has troops stationed at the Korean DMZ. On July 27, 1953 an armistice was signed that ended the fighting and maintained the boundary between North and South Korea at the 38th Parallel. Dankbar was discharged in March of 1954 and returned to Garner. He was

in the Reserves for eight years. He took advantage of the GI Bill to enroll for a year at Mason City Junior College (NIACC). He resumed working at the creamery for a time. He then had a 40-year career as a railroad agent - starting with the Milwaukee Road and finally retiring from the Canadian Pacific in 1995. He married his wife, Ruth, in 1959. The couple have three children and their families: Eugene Dankbar Jr. of Rochester, Minn., daughter: Johnna Sweers of Guttenberg, and Wendy Ambroson of Leland. He is member of the American Legion the VFW and has served on the Garner Ceremonial Unit for the past ten years. He likened the Korean Conflict to confronting bullies on a playground. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We let [the Communists] know weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not just going to stand by and let them take over,â&#x20AC;? he states. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My theory is Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d rather be fighting over there than fighting in this country.â&#x20AC;?





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Baseball Career Sacrificed for Military Service By Jill Blank In April 1937, Corwith High School baseball standouts Robert Barracks and George Evans, Jr., signed contracts to play baseball with a St. Louis Cardinals farm team based at Monnett, Missouri. Barracks was a catcher, while Evans was a pitcher. The pair continued to play professionally for the next five years during the spring and summer months. In the off-season of 1940, both men were listed in the federal census of that year as residing at the parental Glen Barracks home; the primary employment for each man is recorded as â&#x20AC;&#x153;baseball player.â&#x20AC;? In the fall of 1941, when Robert came home after playing â&#x20AC;&#x153;class Dâ&#x20AC;? baseball out West, he was unable to catch up on events in the lives of his peers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;All my friends had enlisted in the military,â&#x20AC;? he said of that time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The very next day I told my folks I was joining the Army,â&#x20AC;? Robert said. And thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what he did. Barracks and Wayne Yeakel of Kanawha went to Britt and enlisted on October 13, 1941. One week later both men were on their way to Camp Roberts, Calif., for basic training at the Field Artillery Replacement Training

Center. After additional training at Camp Sealy, Barracks was a Private in the horsedrawn field artillery. While stationed in California, Barracks was present when the Japanese-Americans were gathered together and moved to internment camps. This event remains a lasting memory. Much of his combat service was spent in the Pacific Theater preparing for skirmishes with the Japanese. By June 1942, he was stationed in the barren Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We never saw a tree or a woman, or had a beer for two years,â&#x20AC;? Barracks recalls. When asked how time was passed, he said it was mainly writing letters home and playing cards. With its climate and geographical challenges, the horse-drawn field artillery was not conducive to warfare in the Pacific Theater. The horses were left behind in the States, and more advanced technology was put into use. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were mechanized with Army trucks that pulled the cannons,â&#x20AC;? Barracks said. When asked if the soldiers were issued earplugs for working in the field artillery, he laughs. â&#x20AC;&#x153;No earplugs. We just

stuck her fingers in our ears,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s probably why I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hear well today.â&#x20AC;? At age 94, Barracks regrets the loss of most of his wartime memories, however heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quick to state he was a soldier â&#x20AC;&#x153;for four years and 19 days.â&#x20AC;? By the time of his honorable discharge in November 1945, Barracks had achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant. He returned to Iowa, and was a catcher for the Mason City Legionnaires semi-professional baseball team. One special memory is of a planned exhibition game where Barracks was scheduled to be the catcher for legendary Iowa pitcher Bob Feller during one of Fellerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s barnstorming tours. To Bobâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great regret, that game was rained out and not rescheduled. After the war, mutual friends set up a date between Barracks and Berniece Omvig of Kanawha. When Robert told his mother, Marie, the identity of his date, she gave him a stern warning. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You had better be careful,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; she said, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;because she was a lieutenant in the Army,â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? Bob recalls with a laugh. Staff Sgt. Barracks married Lieut. Berniece Omvig on Sept. 8, 1947,

Robert Barracks and Berniece Omvig Barracks at home, in Kanawha. in Sioux City. The couple recently celebrated their 65th anniversary. They are the parents of Mary (Mark) Sorensen of Hopkins, Minn.; Roxanne (Dale) Thompson of Ames and Ron Barracks of Clear Lake.

Robert Barracks Army, 1941 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1945







Veterans Day 2012 - Page 9

WWII Army Nurse Serves in War-torn England By Jill Blank When Berniece Omvig of Kanawha neared the end of her nurseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s training at the University of Iowa in 1942, classmates encouraged her to join the service. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They said, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Omvig, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to join the service, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s where all the cute men are,â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? Berniece recalls. As a new registered nurse (R.N.), Berniece joined the Army Nurse Corps and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. In April 1943 she went to Fort Des Moines for her initial training, a location that also trained the Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Army Corps (WACs). After training Berniece was sent to the 316th Base Hospital at Camp George A. White near Medford, Ore. On Aug. 22, 1943, the entire hospital (staff and equipment) took a troop train across 15 states to the east coast staging area of Camp Kilmer at Stelton, New Jersey. After additional round of trainings and inspections, the entire group boarded the RMS Mauretania for a 7-day journey across the Atlantic Ocean. In her journal, Berniece remembers arriving in Liverpool late the evening of Sept. 19. They boarded a train that same night and began journeying south along the border of Wales. The landscape was especially dark as the border areas were â&#x20AC;&#x153;blacked-

outâ&#x20AC;? to prevent visibility of the German bomber plans. The 316th Station Hospital at Camp Stover was ready for service a few weeks later on Oct. 25. Berniece recalls they had few patients beyond the soldiers who came to fisticuffs or were injured working around the base. The location was also a training area for surgical teams from around the United Kingdom who received specialized training for medical duty aboard LST boats. This was in preparation of the planned invasion of France, or what would become known as D-Day. The lack of patients changed in May 1944 after the Germans bombed the seaport of Plymouth located 25 miles away. This began a series of air raids and wartime maneuvers that continued through the June 6 invasion at Omaha Beach in Normandy across the 20-mile wide English Channel. Bernieceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s journal records several nights of hearing bombs dropping and â&#x20AC;&#x153;continual rumbling all night.â&#x20AC;? On D-Day itself, she recalls â&#x20AC;&#x153;lots and lots of air trafficâ&#x20AC;? and has a notation about 4000 ships and 1100 planes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had blackout curtains in all the buildings,â&#x20AC;? Berniece said. During the D-Day invasion, she recalls staff members were told to sleep with their gas masks â&#x20AC;&#x153;at the

Bernice Omvig Barracks U.S, WACs 1943-1945 ready.â&#x20AC;? The first patients that arrived were German prisoners of war, accompanied by armed Military Police. The next wave of patients were injured American troops who arrived by train in early July; they had initially been treated and stabilized at field hospitals. The July 6 journal notation records the arrival of 300 battle casualties. According to one account, peak number of patients occurred on July 30 when 819 patients were at the 750-bed facility. On Aug. 14, Berniece was part of a group sent on a three-month rotation to an Air Evacuation Hospital located at a former Royal Air Force (RAF) retirement home site in Prestwick, Scotland, an area outside of Glasgow. The Prestwick locale acted as a holding hospital for soldiers

First Lieutenant Ruth E. Nordstrom (right) and 2nd Lieutenant Berneice Omvig at the 316th Station Hospital at Camp Stover near the town of Newton Abbot on Nov 7, 1943. being sent, by air or sea, for the â&#x20AC;&#x153;gorgeous Christmas away from the warzone and pantomimeâ&#x20AC;? of Cinderella to the Zone of the Interior. contains this announcement: â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was rather nice assign- â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the event of an Air Raid ment as I recall,â&#x20AC;? Berniece Warning a red light will flash said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pilots were stationed intermittently at each side of there, and if they needed to the stage; a white light will log more airtime, they would denote â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;All Clearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.â&#x20AC;? often invite some nurses to Victory in Europe was deride along.â&#x20AC;? clared on May 8, 1945. BerAs a nurse and an officer nieceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s overseas assignment Bernieceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time was a bit ended in July of that year. more flexible than most dur- She returned stateside and ing wartime service. Her was stationed 157th General memorabilia includes sev- Hospital in Rome, Georgia. eral programs from musical Even though she and other concerts and other cultural unmarried nurses had earned events she was enjoyed at enough points to be disneighboring cities. charged, they were instead Even as the British people told to prepare for service in were encouraged to â&#x20AC;&#x153;Keep the CBI Theater (China BurCalm and Carry On,â&#x20AC;? it was ma India). apparent the war was never Preparation for CBI duty far away. A 1943 program included sitting in fields of sand during August in Georgia, and learning to assemble


and disassemble rifles, Berniece recalls. National newsman Drew Pearson, known for writing inflammatory news in his â&#x20AC;&#x153;Washington Merry-GoRoundâ&#x20AC;? column, was tipped off about these nurses training in the sand and came to investigate. Berniece said it was shortly after Pearsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s visit that her orders were rescinded. She was honorably discharged in December 1945. After returning back to Iowa, Berniece had her own concerns about that first date friends had arranged with Bob Barracks of Corwith. At 5â&#x20AC;&#x2122;9â&#x20AC;? Bernieceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s often found herself as tall as, or taller than, the men she dated. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When I got ready for our date, I had two pairs of shoes: one with heels and one some pretty new flats,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When Bob arrived, I asked him which shoes I should wear. He said, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;the heels of course!â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? At 6â&#x20AC;&#x2122;1â&#x20AC;? Bob had no problem escorting Berniece while she wore high heels. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ever since then, he told me to throw away all my flats and only wear heels,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If I wanted to wear flats, he said I could wear them as bedroom slippers.â&#x20AC;? Berniece went on to serve as a public health nurse in Hancock County for more than 19 years. She and Bob raised their three children in Corwith, Clear Lake, Renwick and Kanawha.

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Veterans Day 2012 - Page 10

Geary honored for service to veterans Hancock County Veterans Monument

Elwood Geary of Corwith, was honored for his many years of dedicated service to the veterans of Hancock County. He was presented a plaque during a special reception in his honor, Sept. 29, 2012, at the Corwith Community Center. Geary served as chairman of the Hancock County Veterans Commission for 31 years. He retired from the Commission earlier in 2012. From left: Veteranâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Board member Harry Smith of Britt, Hancock County Veterans Director John McCormick of Garner with Elwood and Wava Geary. Geary served in the Navy during World War II.









Veterans Day 2012 - Page 11

Update: Corwith Veteran Receives Bronze Star By Jill Blank Since being profiled in the 2011 Veterans Day section, Don May of Corwith received the Bronze Star Medal, an honor earned for service during World War II. The Bronze Star is the fourthhighest combat decoration in terms of precedence, and immediately precedes the Purple Heart, an award Staff Sergeant May also earned. The award arrived along with a replacement set of medals after his family had encouraged him to obtain them. While May had performed â&#x20AC;&#x153;meritorious service in a combat zone,â&#x20AC;? a review of his military discharge records did not shed light onto the reason he was now receiving a Bronze Star. Further complicating the issue was the fact that Mayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s official military personnel files were lost in a fire at St. Louisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; National Personnel Records Center on July 12, 1973. The answer to the Bronze Star Mystery dates back to shortly after the military award was created. One particular supporter of the newly proposed medal was General George C. Marshall. In a memorandum to President Roosevelt, dated Feb. 3, 1944, he wrote: Ground troops, Infantry in particular, lead miserable lives of extreme discomfort and are the ones â&#x20AC;Ś in personal combat with the enemy, â&#x20AC;Ś the maintenance of their morale [is] of great importance. â&#x20AC;Ś The Infantry Riflemen â&#x20AC;Ś are now suffering the heaviest losses, air or ground, in

the Army, and enduring the greatest hardships. The next day, on Feb. 4, 1944, President Franklin D Roosevelt signed Executive Order #9419; it established the Bronze Star Medal and its criterion for all branches of military service and was made retroactive to Dec. 7, 1941, the day of the Pearl Harbor bombing. The Bronze Star may be awarded for â&#x20AC;&#x153;acts of heroism, acts of merit, or meritorious service in a combat zone.â&#x20AC;? Note: when awarded for acts of heroism, the letter â&#x20AC;&#x153;Vâ&#x20AC;? for valor is part of the award. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;acts of heroismâ&#x20AC;? are of a lesser degree than the Silver Star requirements, and the acts of merit or valor must be less than those required for the Legion of Merit. As of his honorable discharge on April 2, 1946, May had earned the following awards and citations: Combat Infantry Badge; Purple Heart; Good Conduct Medal; the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon, with one star; the Philippine Liberation Ribbon, with one star; and the World War II Victory Medal. The key to the resolving the Bronze Star Mystery is the fact that May had earned the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) while serving as a Squad Leader with Company A, of the 27th Infantry. According to several military-oriented websites, because of a study conducted in 1947 a policy was implemented that authorized the Bronze Star Medal (without the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Vâ&#x20AC;? device) to soldiers who had previously received either the Combat Infantry

Badge (CIB) or the Combat Medical Badge (CMB) during World War II. The justification was that those two medals had required a personal recommendation by the commander and a citation in orders. They had also been awarded to soldiers who had born the â&#x20AC;&#x153;extreme discomfortâ&#x20AC;? and hardships cited by Gen. Marshall. Many have erroneously referred to this policy as the â&#x20AC;&#x153;conversionâ&#x20AC;? of the previous medal into the Bronze Star, implying an exchange of the one award for the other. In fact the issuance of either CIB or CMB provides the necessary documentation that demonstrates the World War II era soldier is entitled to the Bronze Star award, in addition to the previously earned medals. After receiving the medals and citations, including the Bronze Star, Don Mayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s children, Susie (Mrs. Doug) Gayken and Mike (Becky) May of Britt, and Tom (Peggy) May of Avarda, Colo., have enjoyed talking with their father about his wartime experiences. The awards have helped re-focus Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s memories and allowed him to share even more stories of his military career. May was clearly pleased to receive the Bronze Star, even some 65 years after earning the honor. NOTE: Other World War II veterans (or their family members) who believe they earned a Bronze Star Medal can seek assistance through their local Veteranâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Administration office or by going online to http://www. a rc h i v e s . g o v / v e t e r a n s / military-service-records/

Don May, Corwith Army, 1942 - 1948

204 N. Main Street, Kanawha, IA 641-762-3688 Mon. -Fri. 9-5, Sat. 9-12

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Veterans Day 2012 - Page 12

Trulson served aboard a nuclear submarine

By Sarah Freesemann Tim Trulson served in the Unites States Navy from 1987 to 1991. Tim never found himself in the middle of live combat, but that did not mean he wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t trained and prepared. Tim graduated from Britt High School in 1984. He went to work for his fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s auto repair shop before deciding to enlist in 1987. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I really didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what I wanted to do at the time so when the Navy recruiter came by I took the ASVAB test and scored high enough to basically pick what I wanted to do,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So I picked the Navy nuclear power program.â&#x20AC;? The ASVAB test (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) is a series of multiple choice questions administered by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command to determine qualification for enlisting in the United States armed forces. Tim left Iowa for Orlando, Fla., in April of â&#x20AC;&#x2122;87. He spent eight weeks in basic training before entering the nuclear power program. Over the next year, Tim went through nuclear field A school and nuclear power school before leaving Orlando for Idaho Falls, Idaho for nuclear power prototype.

Trulson is awarded a â&#x20AC;&#x153;dolphinâ&#x20AC;? pin after completing submarine certification aboard the USS Helena. The process usually take a year. Trulson completed the qualifications in 9 months.

Tim Trulson

Trulson volunteered and was selected to work in submarines. In Idaho he trained in the back half of a nuclear submarine, in the engine room, for the next six months. The training took place in the middle of the desert. The men were bused an hour and half one-way each day to work a 12-hour shift

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before busing back. Once completing his training in Idaho, Trulson left for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in January of 1989 where he was stationed for the remainder of his service. While in Pearl Harbor, he worked and served aboard the U.S.S. Helena SSN 725, a Los Angeles class fast attack submarine. 120 sailors were onboard where Trulson worked in the engine room as a nuclear machinist mate. From 1989 to his discharge in 1991, Trulson mainly left port Monday through Friday to go underwater to patrol, train and run drills. At times the U.S.S Helena would go out for a few weeks or months, including Trulsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sixmonth deployment that was called a WESTPAC. No matter the length of time underwater, the routine included 18-hour days. He would work a six hour watch shift and then run drills or train the other 12 hours. Tim recalled the very first time he left port on the U.S.S. Helena. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The guys kept telling

me that this submarine was cursed and would not come back. On my first time out we had been gone for a few weeks and were doing our drills when we had an accident on board and lost our main engines.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;When you lose power, you begin to sink so we had to blow out the ballist tanks to cause us to float. We then had to wait floating in open water for the ship to come and tow us back to Pearl Harbor. At that time I was working in the kitchen trying to do the dishes while we swayed back and forth.â&#x20AC;? Trulson wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t sure what the next two years would be like after his experience the first time out. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That was the only real accident we ever had,â&#x20AC;? he said. He also had to become qualified and was given a thick book to study once coming aboard. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You had to learn all the different systems on the sub. You then had to draw them for someone specialized in that system to get certified on every single thing. Also during part of the final exam you had to be able to go through the fire drill successfully.â&#x20AC;? A fire drill on a submarine included knowing where each port was located to hook into the emergency air breathing system throughout the vessel. When Trulson was tested he had to wear a

blacked out air mask and find each overhead port. There were rough patches on the floor to help indicate the air locations and he would need to plug in, take a breath, and then move on to the next one until he successfully maneuvered through the ship. Upon becoming qualified, Tim received his Dolphins. It is tradition for someone already qualified to do the pinning and to do so as hard as they could. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I had a bruise for a good week,â&#x20AC;? he said with a smile. That wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the only tradition the crew had. During his six-month WESTPAC deployment, Trulson traveled along the western part of the Pacific Ocean, including Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Guam. When you crossed over the International Date Line, heading west it was said that you entered the dragonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s empire. The Navy would hand out an unofficial award called The Domain of the Golden Dragon to all the pollywogs, or those sailors crossing over for the first time. The certificate is decorated with the Chinesestyle dragon and was paired with an initiation ceremony. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was more like a hazing,â&#x20AC;? he recalled. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You would have to crawl through slop and slim and do all sorts of gross things,

if you didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t throw up by the end of it, your final task to pass was to eat chocolate pudding off of the hairy belly of a commanding officer. I passed but to this day I no longer like chocolate pudding.â&#x20AC;? Aside from The Domain of the Dragon, the WESTPAC deployment included a variety of drills and ports. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We would play war games with our own, one thing that was cool was we got to test our ballistic missiles, the kind that will shoot over the horizon, on an old ship. We could watch through the periscope the ship exploding.â&#x20AC;? Trulson noted that the best part of the deployment was going to all the different ports, â&#x20AC;&#x153;When we were underwater it was routine, so it was fun to see the different ports when we were on liberty.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I did spend time in a Japanese jail,â&#x20AC;? smiled Trulson. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Three of us were heading back to the submarine one night when one of my buddies got lippy with a Japanese cop. He handcuffed all three of us and away we went.â&#x20AC;? Trulson returned to Iowa in 1991 where he went back to work for the family business, Trulson Auto. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My grandpa started the business in 1918 as a blacksmith shop. In 1951 it became a repair shop and then in the 1970â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s started specializing in auto repair. In The year I came back, 1991, we became a NAPA auto parts store.â&#x20AC;? Tim met his wife, Holly, in 1992 when she moved from her hometown of Bridgewater, Iowa to Britt for a teaching job. They married in 1993 and have three children. Broderick is 17 and a junior at West Hancock, Lizzy (14) a freshman, and Ben (10) is in 4th grade. Today, Trulson enjoys visiting with kids about his time in the Navy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I really enjoy taking to the kids about submarines, the response you get from them is great. They are full of questions and curiosity since it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t something they hear about everyday.â&#x20AC;?

Veterans Day 2012 - Page 13

Vietnam-era Naval Seaman Toured Western Pacific

By Jill Blank Upon graduation from high school in 1962, Dave Greiman of Garner enlisted in the Navy. He was sent to San Diego for basic training, and then completed Fire Control School after showing an aptitude for basic electricity and the emerging field of electronics. Greiman then attended missile school at Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo, Calif. Once trained he was stationed on the USS Oklahoma City, only the 3rd commissioned navy cruiser with the TALOS (Thermal Anti-missile Launched Offboard Seduction, or Ship) guided missile system on board. The entire ship was 610 feet in length, or the equivalent of two city blocks. It had only recently been converted into a guided missile light cruiser. After conversion, the hull classification number changed from CL-91 to CLG-5. With the rank of Fire Controlman, Greiman boarded the ship in September 1963. Early in July 1964 he was in Japan, then two weeks later he was on the Mekong Delta heading upriver toward Saigon. His 20th birthday was spent in Saigon. The USS Oklahoma City’s homeport was Yokosuka, Japan, however the ship spent a good deal of time on mission patrol duty off the coast of Vietnam. When spotters onshore called for assistance, the “Okie Boat” would fire its guns and provide shore bombardment in support of the ground troops. In 1964 Greiman earned the Armed Forces Exibitionary Service Medal for his contribution to the Gulf of Tonkin campaign. “This was the infancy of missile systems in the military,” Greiman said. The state-of-the-art hydraulic motors of the gun turrets were capable of turning the 22-ton radars 360-degrees in 1.2 seconds, according to Greiman. His job was to work with radar systems.

Dave Greiman, Garner Navy, 1962 – 1965

Talos guidance radars on USS Oklahoma City

“There w e r e t h r e e systems: a tracking radar, a guidance radar, and then a computer,” Greiman said. “These were the days when the computer was as big as a house.” While the radars were located above deck, the electronic systems were below deck. A perk of working with the electronics systems, according to Greiman, was it was housed in the only air-conditioned place on the entire ship. Cool

air was necessary to prevent overheating of the computer components. Greiman recalls one time off the coast of Okinawa when a Navy frigate was testing a new missile system. After its second day of testing, the frigate crew contacted the Oklahoma City to see if its advanced weapon systems could detect the radio-controlled target. “After about two seconds we locked onto it with our

radar, and shot it down,” Greiman said, with a chuckle. “We got into a bit of trouble with that because we weren’t supposed to be able to shoot it down.” As flagship of the 7th Fleet, the USS Oklahoma City had the honor of hosting the Fleet Commander. The flagship also made a lot of “goodwill stops” throughout the Pacific region. Greiman recalls visiting Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Guam, and Mexico. A planned stop for Indonesia was canceled due to Communist Party riots on the island nation. One time Greiman said the ship’s course was diverted to pick up some scientists. They delivered

them to an area volcano for research purposes. Later he determined they had visited Krakatoa during one of its active periods Another special memory is attending the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. Event tickets were not easy to come by, however Greiman attended the shooting venue and saw the athletes shoot pistols. “It was the only ticket I could get,” he said. “But I can now say I did attend part of the Olympic games.” Greiman credits his Navy service with teaching him many things and allowing him to see many parts of the

world. “They teach you how to listen better in 15 seconds than any number of years of college does,” he said. At the end of his three-year enlistment, several civilian companies interested in his knowledge of electronics contacted Greiman about job opportunities. Instead, he opted to return to Iowa and utilized the G.I. Bill to further his education. He worked in construction for many years. Dave and his wife Jeannettee reside in Garner. In their free time, they enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.

StateJimFarm Insurance Becker, Agent 37 Main Ave., N. Britt, Iowa 641-843-3563

Veterans Day 2012 - Page 14

Molander served in Pacific during WWII

Royal Molander U.S. Navy WWII - Pacific Theater 1941-1947 werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t too many destroyers at Peal Harbor because they all went with us.â&#x20AC;? The Republic and the rest of the convoy finally ended up taking troops delivering the troops to New Guinea then to Australia. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t break radio silence, or [the Japanese] could have tracked us down,â&#x20AC;? he said. Molander was part of the engineering crew that worked in the fire room of the ship. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was scary at times being below the waterline,â&#x20AC;? he said. Mealtime aboard the ship â&#x20AC;&#x153;was terrible,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You got 4,000 men and one kitchen and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re all hungry. And a lot of the guys would get sick down in the compartments.â&#x20AC;? He recalls, with a bit of humor, painting the ship. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had to paint the ship gray. I was over the side painting and I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even swim,â&#x20AC;? he recalled with a chuckle. Royal and his brother, Bud, served together aboard the Republic during most the

Navy veteran Royal Molander, Garner, served in the Pacific from 1941 to 1947. He purchased the map during a troop stopover in San Franciso in 1941 and carried with him during World War II. The stars on the show various placed he was during his time in the U.S. Navy. war (from 1941 to 1945), said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I felt sorry for a lot Legion. He retired this year other landmarks. but they had to sign a of the innocent people, but from the Garner Ceremonial â&#x20AC;&#x153;I never regretted going Unit. A highlight in recent into the Navy,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I release to do so. After the war is war.â&#x20AC;? incident where the five He generally believes, years was being on 2009 always felt sorry for the Sullivan brothers from however, that President Honor Flight of veterans to guys in the Army. I always Waterloo were lost at sea, Truman did what he had to Washington D.C. to see the knew where I was going to â&#x20AC;&#x153;they wanted to break us do, and as a result, the war World War II Memorial and sleep at night. They never did.â&#x20AC;? up, but we said no.â&#x20AC;? was shortened. The Republic brought Royal was a part of the 3rd troops that served in the Fleet that was in Tokyo Bay Battle of Guadalcanal for the surrender of Japan and the Solomon Islands. on Sept. 2, 1945. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Guadalcanal was one of He served about the USS the biggest. We took the Chicago as part of the Marines in to replace the occupation forces in Japan after the surrender until his Army.â&#x20AC;? In all, the Republic made 23 discharge in 1947. trips during World War II Upon returning to Garner, from San Francisco to Pearl Royal married his wife, Harbor to the South Pacific. Clare, in July 1947. The Molander was later assigned couple celebrated their to the cruiser the USS 65th anniversary this year. Amsterdam when atomic He worked for the Garner bombs were dropped on Creamery for several years, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. then for the U.S. Postal He saw some of the Service from 1955 to 1978 destruction at Hiroshima before retiring. Royal is a member charter afterwards. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We never thought the member of Garner VFW United States could ever Post 5515 and a 63-year do something like that,â&#x20AC;? he member of the American




By Rebecca Peter The day after 18-yearold Royal Molander graduated from Garner High School in 1941, he joined the U.S. Navy. He went through training at the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I had an older brother, Bud, who was in the Navy,â&#x20AC;? he explained. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The ship (USS Republic) that he was on, happened to be in Iceland at the time. I wanted to be on the same ship as him. I waited until the ship got back to New York, then I got on.â&#x20AC;? The USS Republic was a former hospital ship that was converted into a troop carrier. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We loaded up in New York City, and went down to the Panama Canal then up to San Francisco. We loaded up with more troops in San Francisco.â&#x20AC;? From San Francisco, the Republic took on more supplies at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and was headed for the Philippines. â&#x20AC;&#x17E;A Day of Infamyâ&#x20AC;° â&#x20AC;&#x153;When they go across the equator or the 180th Meridian, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always a big celebration they call you pollywogs,â&#x20AC;? he recalled. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were having a big celebration on Sunday, Dec. 7, when we heard about the war.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;It really surprised us. We never knew anything. A lot of the guys said, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;We left Pearl Harbor two days before it happened,â&#x20AC;? he continued. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There we were out, in the middle of the ocean, and didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what the heck to do.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;There were 21 ships in our convoy - mostly destroyers. They were escorts. Small ships. There




Veterans Day 2012 - Page 15

GI Bill gave Tammen his career By Travis Fischer Army veteran John Tammen of Garner may have only spent two years in service, but those two years would go on to define the rest of his life. Drafted into the Army in 1963, Tammen was sent to Fort Leavenworth to train as a combat engineer. On January 1, 1964 Tammen left Fort Dix in New Jersey for Etain, France. Tammon expected that his job as a combat engineer would be to build bridges. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not what I ended up doing,â&#x20AC;? said Tammen. Instead, he found himself in a construction battalion performing maintenance on buildings at the base his unit shared with the Air Force. Eventually, Tammen was promoted to corporal and placed in charge of the baseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s water purification system. With nine or ten people working under him, Tammenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s day involved assigning duties and making sure the baseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s buildings were kept in tip-top shape and the water remained

John Tammen clean. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was a good duty,â&#x20AC;? he said. In his downtime, Tammen was able to travel Europe, including visiting relatives in Germany. His base in Etain also put him close to the historic trenches of World War I.


â&#x20AC;&#x153;There were remnants of World War I still around,â&#x20AC;? said Tammen. After two years in service, Tammen was discharged and he returned to work in Gilmore City. He considered starting back to his life where he left off, but his tour in the Army gave

him an option that changed the course of his life. Utilizing the GI Bill, Tammen enrolled in an electrics technical school in 1968. This led him to a career that took him to Illinois and then to Garner where he worked at Northern Border Pipeline until his retirement in 2002.

Thank You Veterans! Mark A. Newman Jeremy J. Gray Shaun A. Thompson -Attorneys at lawNEWMANLAWOFFICE@WCTATEL.NET





Veterans Day 2012 - Page 16

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A Special Thanks to all IMT Employees Who Have Proudly Served! From the grateful men and women of

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