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Thank a Veteran Today!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017


Veterans D ay Thank a Veteran Today!

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express



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They Served With Honor Anderson Josh ...................................................................... Pg. 5 Thank You Veterans ........................................................... Pg. 7

Anderson Kenneth ............................................................. Pg. 8 Barnes Bud ............................................................................ Pg. 9


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Beach Dave ......................................................................... Pg. 11 Dudley Kurtz ..................................................................... Pg. 12 Fox Roy .................................................................................Pg. 13 Hammel Rick ..................................................................... Pg. 15 Hudspeth Bob .................................................................... Pg. 18

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Lee Peggy ............................................................................. Pg. 19 McCutcheon Jim .............................................................. Pg. 21 Mitchell Jim ....................................................................... Pg. 22 Nelson Kristi ...................................................................... Pg. 23

Ramos Frank ..................................................................... Pg. 25 Rodriguez Willie .............................................................. Pg. 26 Sustello Dennis ................................................................. Pg. 27 Dompier-Victor Stephanie .......................................... Pg. 29 Wallace Arthur ................................................................. Pg. 30 Wilson Paul ........................................................................ Pg. 31


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Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017



Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

counties. I was honored to have the opportunity to speak with so many amazing people.



An honor bestowed

While I am not a veteran myself, I have many family connections to the military. Both my father and fatherin-law proudly served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. I have brothers, cousins, uncles, nieces, nephews and friends who have served or are still serving our great country.


have been in this department at the newspaper since April and one of the things I really was looking forward to was working on the Veterans Day insert. I was ready to roll up my sleeves and get started several months ago but had to wait until the right time.

Spending time getting to know the wonderful men and women featured in this section was a great experience for me. I enjoyed not only learning about their military experiences— President Johnson presented one with his U. S. Naval Academy diploma while another one worked at the Pentagon.

As Veterans Day drew nearer, I began my assignment to interview veterans from Linn and Benton

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Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

I also learned a bit about them both before and after their service. For example, one veteran was born on the Fourth of July, one showed me his amazing woodworking and one liked to crack jokes. All served their country with pride. I spent several afternoons at the Oregon Veterans Home in Lebanon, talked with more than one veteran at a local coffee shop and was invited into private homes. In each place, with each veterans, the patriotism was evident, that military moment in time- for some 70 plus years ago- remained prominent in their memories. Some of the veterans were ready and willing to talk, others didn’t think

they even had a real story to tell. To each and every one of them who shared a moment in their lives, their thoughts and encouragements for future generations, I thank you. You are all heroes, whether you served in peace time or in time of war, whether you spent your entire time in the United States or you went into battle zones. Thank you so much for talking with me and thank you so much for your service. I hope I was able to capture a glimpse of who these 18 men and women are, what they contributed to our country and their thoughts on their service. It was truly an honor. — Kay M Roth

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Call Dr. Dufour @ 541-619-4469

to learn more or make an appointment.

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Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Serving God and Country: Josh Anderson

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


wanted to serve my local community and my nation,” said Josh Anderson as to why he joined the Army National Guard. The 2001 Philomath High School graduate thought about enlisting in the regular Army but decided the Guard would be a better fit for him. The biggest selling point came from the National Guard recruiter he spoke with. He told Anderson that in the regular Army, he would never see the recruiter again. In the Guard, the recruiter was part of the same unit. Following basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Anderson became a chaplain’s assistant. Anderson said he had specific functions both on and off the base, no matter where the base was. “Tending to the needs of others was the biggest part of the job.” On the base, Anderson assisted the chaplain in ministering to the needs of military personnel, including keeping morale up. “I was the unit’s friend.” Outside the base, Anderson said he was assigned to protect the chaplain. Just before Anderson joined the Guard in 2006, the local unit had returned from a deployment overseas. Three years later, the unit’s number was called again. This time, Anderson was among those packing for a flight into Iraq. His tour would last about a year.

Josh Anderson served in the United States Army during the Iraq War. - Photo by: Anibal Ortiz

Anderson was stationed about halfway between Bagdad and the Kuwait border. “We protected water,” he said. The base not only bottled clean drinking water, personnel also distributed it. Anderson said the people living near the base were more sympathetic to the United States due in part because the military brought money to spend. While in Iraq, in addition to protecting the chaplain, Anderson was the sergeant major’s driver. Overall, he said he had it pretty easy during his first deployment. In keeping with one of his objectives, Anderson opened his office every evening to personnel to come in and play games or just talk. Off base, Anderson’s duty of protecting the chaplain was his number one priority. The Geneva Convention does not allow a chaplain to carry a

firearm, meaning it was up to Anderson to do so. “I raised my weapon one time in anger,” he said, quickly adding, “But, I didn’t fire.” “Don’t let it be a regret,” Anderson said about deciding whether or not to serve. “Do it.” Anderson’s lone regret was not being able to stay in longer. He was hampered with a hamstring injury and could not pass the P.T. test. His training from the Guard has helped Anderson get other jobs since his discharge. He said he would probably not have his current job had it not been for his Guard training. His own upbringing made him want to serve both God and his country. Being a chaplain’s assistant in the National Guard allowed him to fulfill that goal.



Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

Veterans eter Day ay 2017

Schedule Saturday, Nov. 11 Optimist Club Annual Pancake Breakfast 6:30 am – 9:30 am - West Albany High School - Cost $7 per person; $4 Veterans/Military and children under the age of 12. Veterans Day Memorial Service 8:30 am - Linn Co. Veterans Memorial, Timber Linn Memorial Park, AlbanyPOW/MIA and Gold Star wreaths will be placed in remembrance, “Oregon’s Own” 234th Army Band will perform and guest speakers will honor all. Oregon Army National Guard Bravo Battery, 2-218 FA - 21 gun salute, Echo taps played. Coffee served on site beginning at 7:30am – provided by Dutch Bros. Coffee Albany Veterans Day Parade 11 am - Historic Downtown Albany. The 66th annual Albany Veterans Day Parade. Largest Veterans Day Parade West of the Mississippi! The theme this year is “Honoring Our Women Veterans”. Parade marches through Historic Downtown Albany. Join with us as we honor all our honored veterans with personal salutes and shouts of Welcome Home!

Luncheons after the parade: 12pm - Grand Marshal’s and Distinguished Veteran’s Lunch - Sybris Bistro - W. First Ave. 12pm - Burger’s for Bands - All band members. City Hall Plaza, 4th and SW Broadalbin St. Burgers after the parade presented by First Burger and Coastal, Music by KRKT. 12pm - Free Spaghetti Lunch after the parade. American Legion Post 10, 1215 Pacific Blvd, Albany. Will be offering a Spaghetti lunch to all veterans and parade participants. 12pm - Free Chili lunch after the parade. VFW Post 584, 1469 Timber St., Albany. Will be offering a chili lunch for all veterans and parade participants. Veterans Day Parade Awards Ceremony (following the end of the parade) 2:30 pm - Immediately following the Veterans Day Parade on the steps of the Linn County Courthouse, 4th Ave SW and Broadalbin. Awards for those judged while on the parade route. Source: https://www.albanyveteransdayparade. org/schedule-of-events

Parade Route Albany parade begins at 11am, Saturday, Nov. 11, and finishes at Linn County Courthouse, Fourth Avenue and Broadalbin Street

Veterans Day 2017

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

RiChaRd david Mullins


US Marine Corps

MaSter Sergeant


2009 - Present US Army Sergeant hhC, 364th Civil Affairs Brigade

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thank You Veterans PAUL SChOENING



Cody J. PAtteRSon

1987 - 1991


1953 – 1955

2012 - Kia 2013

US Army

Air Force SergeAnt 1St clASS

Seabees 3rd Class

US Army - Ranger


Patrol leader Navy

US Marine Corp


JameS W. PatterSoN

1944 - Duration US Navy - Seabee

Fireman First Class

1952 - 1976

Nov. 1964 to Jan 1970

US navy



Jerry Lee Goodwin Sr.

Mr2 (Vietnam Veteran)








Navy Baker 2C Tv-6






Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

Dreams of flying: Kenneth Anderson

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


en Anderson had never been out of the state of Minnesota until he joined the Army Air Corps in 1943.

He spent three months in Amarillo, Texas training to be a pilot. “I was in a college trained detachment and we taught navigation and other needed tools,” Anderson said. He then moved on to Missoula, Montana where, in addition to finishing his pilot training, Anderson contracted an ear infection.

When he arrived in California, ready and eager for more training, a doctor discovered the ear infection. “I was done with pilot training.” Anderson became a radio operator and a gunner, which allowed him to continue to fly. Radio school was in Bellville, Illinois. His gunner training took place in Yuma, Arizona. “I was a hunter in Minnesota,” he said with a chuckle. In Arizona, he sat in the back of a truck with a shotgun and shot at flying targets as the truck moved around in a circle. “I was the only one who could hit them.” After six months of gunnery school, Anderson graduated with top honors. “So now, I’m ready for combat.” Instead of seeing combat, Anderson and his unit were shipped to Florida, and then to Lincoln, Nebraska where 10,000 troops waited on assignments. Anderson ended up being transferred to

Kenneth Anderson’s love of flying, which kept him around planes throughout his military service, also shaped his career in the private sector. - Photo by: Amanda Loman

Denver. “Two months later, the war ended.” He was assigned to the office of discharge where he helped others process out of the service. Having already spent three years in the Army Air Corps and anxious to return home, Anderson found his records and added them to the files of those set for discharge. Still interested in airplanes, Anderson used the GI Bill to attend the University of Minnesota to study electrical engineering, eventually moving west to work on the B-36 bomber. “I was sent to Texas to oversee the installation of the radar equipment.” The experience he gained during his service “paid huge dividends” when it came to working in the private sector. He also worked on

several other airplanes during the course of his post military career. One of Anderson’s favorite time during his years of service occurred in Salt Lake City. The train he was on had broken down so he had some time to explore. He went to the Mormon Tabernacle where the organ player was practicing. He asked Anderson what he would like to hear. Anderson’s request was something classical. “The military is great,” Anderson said. He not only learned a trade that became his lifelong profession, he also had the opportunity to earn a college degree. Anderson could have entered the Navy before turning 18 but, he said with a smile, “I wanted to fly.”

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A humble man: Bud Barnes

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


99, Bud Barnes still lives in his home and still remembers his service in World War II like it was yesterday. He also retains his quick wit and sense of humor, while reflecting on his long life. A Lebanon resident since 1956, Barnes was born and raised in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. While in high school, Barnes entered the National Guard. “I was a little younger than the legal age,” the 1936 graduate said with a chuckle. Following graduation, he was working in the mines when his unit was activated. He was sent to Alaska, where he helped build a Naval Station building on Kodiak Island. When that work was completed, Barnes returned to the mines. On November 28, 1942, Barnes signed up for the Army Air Force as a mechanic. “Nobody knew I was in the Guard,” he said of his earlier service. Unfortunately, his father got sick, so Barnes received a discharge and returned to the Coeur d’ Alene area to take care of family. He took a job in a mine, learning how to handle dynamite and giving him the steady hand that would eventually lead him to England. In May 1943, he decided he had to make a choice — either continue to work in the mine or go back into the military. The Army won and

W.E. “Bud” Barnes in his home in Lebanon. - Photo by: Anibal Ortiz

Barnes returned to active duty, this time as a member of the Ordnance Corps. After spending a month on the East Coast, Barnes shipped out to England, where he worked at an ammunition depot. “There was enough to blow England up,” Barnes said of the amount of ammo on the 80 plus acre depot. “We destroyed old World War I ammo,” he said, adding with a smile that it was pretty dangerous work and he liked it. “I spent three years there and I’m still here!” Barnes is very humble when it comes to his time in the Army. “I really didn’t think I did that much.” Barnes explained that in addition to destroying old ammunition, he also delivered supplies to troops.

Barnes, who turned 99 on July 8, went on this fall’s Honor Flight. His son, who is also a veteran, was his chaperone for the flight. Barnes was called up during the Korean War but, with a young family at home, he was released from serving again. During the Vietnam war, Barnes remained a member of the Reserves but, as he noted, his family and his age kept him home. Barnes, who ended his military career in December 1945 as a Staff Sergeant, said he is proud to have served. His only regret when it came to serving was that he should have used his head more. “I have no regrets except for the stupidity of youth,” said Barnes.



Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

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Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Three parts to Veteran’s motto: Dave Beach

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


ave Beach is very proud of his military service. The US Army veteran served a total of just over 25 years, retiring in 1979. With the Korean War raging, Beach was fresh out of high school and trying to plan his future. He knew he wanted to join the military but was unsure what path he wanted to follow. After doing his research, Beach made his decision. He spent two years in the ROTC at Oregon State before transferring to the University of Oregon to obtain his degree in political science, with an emphasis in Far Eastern studies. “It was my choice to go to college,” he said, adding that he chose Oregon State originally because it was a land grant college with a strong ROTC program. University of Oregon had the degree program he sought or he would have remained in Corvallis. Beach was stationed first in Germany for three years before moving on to Africa. “We had World War II rationing in the 1950s,” he recalled. He said he liked both locations and enjoyed being stationed in two so diverse locations. Beach started his Army career as an armored infantry officer. While he liked what he was doing, he decided to make the move when a job in mili-

Dave Beach spent two tours of duty in Viet Nam. - Photo by: Amanda Loman

tary intelligence became available. “I was invited to become a special security officer.”

Army National Guard Brigadier General and West Point graduate.

Assigned to the Saigon port, Beach spent two tours of duty in Vietnam before returning to the states. His final duty station was on a carrier working for military intelligence.

Beach likes living at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon. He said it gives him an opportunity to visit with other veterans on a daily basis.

Much of Beach’s service came during a time in our history when military intelligence worked hard to gain information to protect American military troops. Beach said some of his work would still be considered confidential so he could not say much about it. One thing he did say was that the work was always interesting and important for the security of the troops.

When talking about military service, Beach said there were three things to keep in mind. “Approach your service with sincerity.” This, he explained was easy for him because he was happy to serve his country. Second, “be devoted to it.” His devotion came easy because ROTC had prepared him well to continue his military career. Lastly, he said, “Be bold.” Beach added with a smile, “But not too bold.”

Beach is the father to two daughters and two sons. Steve, one of his sons, is a retired Oregon

Beach said he has no regrets in serving his country. “It was the right thing to do.”


Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

Brothers in arms: Dudley Kurtz

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


espite the fact that his four older brothers were already serving their country during World War II, Dudley Kurtz didn’t think twice about doing the same. The youngest Kurtz brother joined the US Navy, becoming a signalman on a minesweeper. To honor her sons, Dudley’s mother, Edith, like other mothers across the United States, displayed a special flag to show her family’s devotion to their country. With her older sons already serving, Edith had a four star flag. Now, with Dudley somewhere in the Pacific, she needed one with another star. Despite her search, none were found. Being a mother determined to recognize all of her sons, Edith painted a fifth star in the middle. Each Kurtz brother helped the war effort in his own way. Captain Bill Kurtz, the oldest of the boys, was a test pilot in Africa and Italy, flying nearly every type of plane the Army Air Corp, later the Air Force, had to offer. Once he completed 1,000 hours of flying, Bill was discharged, returning stateside and to the parents and little sister left behind. Lieutenant Merle Kurtz was a P51 fighter pilot in Italy. After a forced landing behind enemy lines, Merle was captured and spent almost a year as a POW in Poland. As the Germans retreated, Merle survived a death march before being freed by General George Patton in April 1945, the same month big

Dudley Kurtz of Lebanon shows a frame that includes his four borthers. Capt. Bill Kurtz, was a test pilot in Africa; Lt. Merle Kurtz flew P51 fighters in Italy; Cpl. Bob Kurtz was in the Army landing shortly after D-Day; Lt. Harold Kurtz was a C-47 and glider pilot in Europe and Dudley was a singnalman on a minesweeper in both the European and Pacific fronts. - Photo by: Mark Ylen

brother Bill returned home. Corporal Bob Kurtz was in the US Army, enlisting just nine days after Pearl Harbor was bombed. His service in the 5th Armored Division took him to Normandy Beach, the Battle of the Bulge and the Rhine River Crossing. “He had more battle experience than the rest of us,” Dudley said. “He was a brave guy.” Lieutenant Harold Kurtz, according to his youngest brother, was the smartest of the bunch. Having graduated first in his class, the Army Air Corp wanted to make him an instructor. Harold had other ideas. Dudley chuckled. “He deliberately flunked his instructor’s exam because he wanted to see combat.” Like Bob, Harold was part of the Rhine River Cross-

ing. When the war ended, Harold’s flying skills were put to work flying POWs and Holocaust survivors out of the former war zone. “I didn’t have to go,” said Dudley. Like his brothers however, the youngest Kurtz boy wanted to serve his country. His parents and younger sister, Joyce, tearfully said good-bye to the last Kurtz brother, unsure whether he would return. With her parents, 11 year old Joyce worked the farm, and sent packages and letters, waiting for the brothers’ return. “Dad kept telling Mom that not all of us would come home, but we did,” Dudley said. All five brothers were home for Christmas 1946. “We did our part.”

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Reaching for the stars: Roy Fox

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


was 20 years old when Pearl Harbor happened,” Roy Fox said last week. He remembered back to when he was a young man still trying to decide what to do with his life. That event made a big impact on the South Dakota boy, who suddenly found his country involved in the second world war of the twentieth century. Because of Pearl Harbor, and what happened those thousands of miles away, Fox knew what he needed to do.

He enlisted in 1942 and served 20 years in the Naval Reserves. He was able to finish college and midshipman school and was active until 1946. Fox went to the South Dakota Military State School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, becoming a civil engineer. Basic training was in Camp Perry, Virginia. Midshipman school was at Notre Dame. Fox was then sent east to Rhode Island, where he was attached to the SeaBees, doing naval construction. After spending six weeks in California, Fox shipped out to Guam as an ensign. He quickly learned that Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet, Admiral Chester Nimitz, would soon be arriving in Guam and needed headquarters built. He said

Roy Fox, 96, at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon on Wednesday, October 11, 2017. Fox enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve in 1942 - Photo by: Anibal Ortiz

his battalion worked long hours to prepare for the Admiral Nimitz arrival. “He was a nice person,” Fox said of Nimitz. “He walked a lot and, when he did, he never wore a hat,” he said, meaning he did not expect the SeaBees or other military personnel to salute. “We only had to salute when he was wearing his cap.” Fox said he ended up in the Navy despite coming from such a landlocked state because of small town politics. “I was a town kid and the farmers ran everything,” he said. When asked if he had any words of wisdom to impart on young men and women today who

are contemplating a military career, Fox thought long and hard. “Think of your future goals,” he said, adding that knowing where you are heading is important. As for regrets, he smiled. “Not really.” After giving it a bit more thought, he added, “I guess one thing: I wonder what it would have been like if I had stayed in.” Fox served a total of 20 years in the reserves before retiring from military service. Following his years of service, a job with the Soil Conservation Service brought Fox to Oregon. He found that he liked it here and decided to stay.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

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Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Still searching: Rick Hammel

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


ick Hammel grew up in Albany and wasn’t really considering enlisting in the military until his parents told him they could not afford to send him to college. “My options were limited.” After visiting with several recruiters, Hammel decided to join the US Navy. Since he was only 17, his mother had to sign for him. The 1984 West Albany graduate didn’t take long to get started. “Six weeks after graduation, I was on my way to Great Lakes, Illinois.” Much of his first year was spent learning — about the Navy and, more specifically, about nuclear power. Boot camp was followed by Technical A school then Nuclear Power School.

He then spent the next four years aboard the USS John F. Kennedy as a Machinist Mate. “I worked in the engine room, maintaining and checking readings on $6 million worth of equipment.” Hammel was part of two Mediterranean Sea cruises. They visited many countries, including Italy, Turkey, Israel and France. Hammel and his Navy buddies even saw the Pope. “You can’t imagine, you have to experience it,” he said of being on an aircraft carrier that houses 5,000 sailors. At times, it was almost overwhelming. During Hammel’s tenure on the USS John F.

Rick Hammel, a 1984 West Albany graduate, joined the navy at 17 and served as a machinist mate. - Photo by: Anibal Ortiz

Kennedy, the carrier participated in operations off the coast of Libya when Muammar Gaddafi created what he called the Line of Death 100 miles off shore. “International waters are 12 miles offshore,” Hammel explained. The standoff ended when the US refused to back down. “There was a lot of tension,” Hammel said. Because of his job, Hammel spent a lot of time deep inside the ship. And, because the Mediterranean was such a hot area, shifts were limited to only four hours, which meant four hours on, then four hours off, which made a good night’s sleep difficult. Hammel said he still falls asleep quickly because when he was in the Navy, he didn’t have a choice. After leaving the Navy, Hammel returned to the mid-valley and enrolled in Oregon State. After his

first year, he decided biochemistry was not for him. He married, moved to Wisconsin and took on several jobs as an estimator for HVAC units. Due to his training in the military in so many different positions in the Navy, he has been able to adapt to working conditions in several fields. Hammel stays busy volunteering as a carousel operator and at the Majestic and Albany Civic Theater. He has also been part of a hot air balloon crew, takes his 1966 Mustang to area car shows and is an active Mason. His advice to young men and women considering a life in the military. “Stay in school and find out what you want to do.” Hammel said figuring it out when you are 14 or 15 will pay dividends in the end.



Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017



Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

Memories of service remain fresh: Bob Hudspeth

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


rowing up in Lubbock, Texas, Bob Hudspeth was a very smart young man who knew he wanted to make a name for himself. He just wasn’t quite sure what direction he wanted to go.

When it came time to think of life after high school, Hudspeth reached for the stars. He landed at the US Naval Academy. He was also accepted by the US Air Force Academy. He chose Navy because, he said with a smile, “it was further away from home.” He entered the US Naval Academy in 1959 and graduated in 1963. Very proud of his military service, Hudspeth pointed to a photo on the wall of his room at the veterans’ home. “President Johnson handed me my diploma.” He entered active duty as an ensign, working up to captain before his retirement in 1971. Hudspeth spent a great deal of time on the West Coast - from a submarine base on the Kitsap Penninsula- “Some of the buildings were from World War II.”- to the Sandpoint Naval Air Station, where he spent six months. He attended graduate school at the University of Washington before heading to Viet Nam for two tours of duty. Hudspeth was attached to the SeaBees, a construction battalion. While in country, Hudspeth

Richard Hudspeth serving in the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone during the Tet Offensive. - Photo by: Amanda Loman

said they mostly did what was refered to as horizontal construction because of the need for roads. “We didn’t do any vertical construction,” he said. “Too dangerous.”

“It’s been 50 years.” Hudspeth said he has stayed in touch with several people he served with, including a doctor who treated his injuries. “He came and stayed with me during the eclipse.”

He was in two separate camps in the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone during the Tet Offensive, one of the largest military campaigns during the Vietnam War. “There was lots of Agent Orange dropped,” he said, adding that is the main reason he suffers from so many medical problems.

“Know what you’re doing and talk to those who have served,” Hudspeth said he would advise any young people considering a career in the military.

His last day in that area, the officer of the day was walking up a small hill that was bombed. Hudspeth says that surviving two tours of Vietnam was not easy, adding that his second tour was the hardest. “That was really dicey.”

He said he has no regrets about his service. He received three separate degrees during his naval service including a civil engineering degree for the Univeristy of Washington. He also received three separate PHD’s from the University of Florida. Hudspeth has lived in Lebanon at the Oregon Veterans’ Home for a little over a year. He likes the staff and enjoys visiting with his fellow veterans.

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Proud to be a female Marine: Peggy Lee

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


eggy Lee doesn’t think of herself as a pioneer, yet she was a US Marine before most women even considered that branch of the service. Peggy served from 1958 until 1961.

Born in Vernonia, she lived in Portland for the first six or seven years of her life and was one of 10 sisters. Her mother died giving birth to her younger sister. When it no longer became possible for the girls to all stay together, the older sisters went into foster care while Peggy and her younger sister were adopted by a cousin. “He was in the Air Force,” she said of her adoptive father, meaning the family moved a lot. “He’s the reason I went into the service.” He was also the reason why Lee chose the Marines over the Air Force. She went through her basic training at Paris Island, South Carolina. “It wasn’t difficult for me.” Approximately 120 women started boot camp. “There were about 80 of us who graduated.” She went to Camp Pendleton in California from boot camp and trained at a naval base in San Diego because, as Lee explained it, “The Marines didn’t have any place to send me!”Her assignment after six months of training was the Pentagon. She acted as secretary for two generals for almost a year.

A U.S. Marine Corps Veteran hat sits on a shelf in Peggy Lee’s room at the Oregon Veterans Home.. - Photos by: Amanda Loman

She recalled going home on furlough in her Marine uniform. “I was proud of that uniform and proud to be a Marine.” She also stated, “You didn’t have to be a man to serve your country.” Lee suggests that young people thinking about joining the military should think about it before taking the leap. “What are you looking for?” She also suggested completing their education first so they can enter as officers. She has no regrets about her years of service. After being discharged, Lee ended up in New York City with a couple of friends. She found work in CPA offices as a statistical typist. “Those jobs were all about numbers.” While exploring New York, Lee visited the

northern part of the state and found it to be similar to Oregon. She bought a piece of land south of Kingston, New York and worked in Poughkeepsie at the Vassar Brothers Hospital. She lived in a mobile home for six years while she cleared the land to build a home. After cutting down some trees, she returned the next day only to find copperhead snakes curled up on each stump. “I had somebody come and take them away.” She stayed on the job at the hospital for 28 years before selling her home and moving back to Oregon, settling in Florence. She has been at the Oregon Veterans’ Home for just over two months. She likes everything about it so far and is happy to be surrounded by fellow veterans.


Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

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1979 – 1982 in the United States Navy. He started at Norfolk Navel Air Station in Virginia where he worked on numerous planes before becoming a plane captain where he directed planes and performed daily maintenance. During his time he trained in Puerto Rico, Spain and Iceland.

Daniel Ruby started his military career in the United States Navy in 2000, between 20002004 he was stationed on the USS Carl Vinson CVN 70, during his time in the Navy he did two tours in Iraq. Upon completion of his 4 years in the Navy, Daniel transferred to the U.S. Army with the 164th Maintenance Division where he also did two tours in Iraq. He is currently serving with the 396th CSH. (Combat Support Hospital)

Brandon Diller served in the United States Army and Army National Guard from 1996 – 2004 as a member of F Troop 82nd Calvary out of Lebanon Oregon. During his time he was able to train in different areas around the country including Kentucky, Louisiana, and Hawaii to name a few. He was also activated on multiple occasions for wildland firefighting around the state of Oregon. His favovrite part of serving was meeting and serving with so many great soldiers from around the country.

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Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Learning to be a man: Jim McCutcheon

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


im McCutcheon and three high school buddies joined the Marine Reserves to serve their country. “They were going to send me to 29 Palms — in August,” he said. The Eugene/ Springfield native, realizing how hot it would be in the desert, decided to see what else was out there. At 17, he joined the Air Force instead and shipped off to boot camp four days prior to that trip to 29 Palms. “In August.” McCutcheon wanted to be a pilot. “That never happened.” Instead, he ended up as a wire maintenanceman and served from August 1956 until July 31, 1961. After boot camp at Parks Air Force Base in California, McCutcheon found himself stationed in Cheyanne, Wyoming for six months. His next rotation took him to McCord Air Force Base in Washington for about a year. “I took care of communications by the radar equipment.” At 17, McCutcheon said, “I wanted to see the world.” He never left North America. Only one person in his original unit went to Korea. “Everyone else stayed stateside.” McCutcheon worked for a time in Beaver Lodge, Alberta, Canada at a radar installation. He explained that during that time, the United States and Canada each manned the installation on a rotating basis.

Jim McCutcheon joined the Air Force in hopes of being a pilot. - Photo by: Amanda Loman

While at Beaver Lodge, McCutcheon worked on two old fashioned switchboards. “That was quite an experience,” he said with a chuckle.

Charleston with one day to spare.

When he had an opportunity to transfer, he took it. Along with two of his good friends, he put in for Camp Lejune. While the other two got their request, McCutcheon was sent to Charleston, South Carolina. He left Beaver Lodge when it was 60 degrees below zero and with plenty of time to make the 2,500 mile trip.

He was an Airman Second Class when he was discharged.

He was a 19-year-old headed to the Southern United States on a bus when he left his jacket in his seat. When he came back, it was gone. “I was devastated.” Eventually, he met up with an Air Patrolman who gave him a ride to “someplace in Tennessee.” He got back on a bus and ended up in

“I liked it there — except for the heat and the hurricanes!”

Following his time in the Air Force, McCutcheon held a variety of jobs. His father got him a job at a mill when he was barely 21 years old before he moved on to other jobs. “I even shined shoes.” In 1972, he made use of the peacetime GI Bill to go to school, quickly returning to driving trucks. McCutcheon has lived in Lebanon at the Oregon’s Veterans’ Home for almost two years. He has no regrets about his years of service. “I was a snot nose kid. It taught me to be a man.”


Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

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They call me Doc: Jim Mitchell

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


im Mitchell graduated from Lebanon Union High School. As a 17 year old, he joined the US Navy. “I wasn’t drafted. I volunteered,” Mitchell said. He had a friend who was a Navy Corpsman, so Mitchell decided to follow that path. After basic training, Mitchell entered the Hospital Corps School. After four and a half months of intense training, Mitchell shipped out to the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, where he stayed for two and a half years. Then the Marines came calling. They needed trained medical corpsmen. Mitchell was within a few months of being discharged but decided to extend his time. That extension took him half way around the world to a country called Vietnam. The year was 1966. For this young Navy Corpsman, it meant being one of only two corpsmen in the 40 man unit he was attached to. It meant a lot of waiting and a lot of worrying. “It was a lot of boredom interspersed with intense terror.” After acclimating to the hot, humid weather in Okinawa, Mitchell’s unit landed on the beach in northern Vietnam. Immediately, the unit went on a three week patrol. After 12 hours at their base, the unit went back out for a week and a half. “We were involved in a number of firefights,” Mitchell said.

Navy veteran Jim Mitchell served as a corpsman with the Marines in Vietnam coming home in 1966. - Photo by: Mark Ylen

Mitchell’s job was to help wounded Marines so they could be sent for further treatment. Usually, that moment when he was providing aid was the last time Mitchell saw a particular Marine. “One guy did come back to our unit.” “His nickname was Howdy Doody because of his red hair,” Mitchell said of the other corpsman in the unit. His real name was Garold Hann and he was from Aumsville. As Mitchell held a rubbing from the traveling Wall in his hands, he talked about his fellow corpsman. The unit was on a three day patrol. “We landed outside a village and took some heavy fire.” Once there was a break in the shooting, Mitchell responded to the calls for a corpsman. Four Marines were dead. “I reached Gary first,” Mitchell said, recalling that time some

50 years ago. His fellow corpsman had been hit twice, once in the chest and once in the head. “He didn’t even make it to the helicopter.” Years later, Mitchell would spend time with Hann’s brother and sister, letting them know how their brother had died. Mitchell served in Vietnam about seven months before being shipped stateside and discharged. He returned to Lebanon and to his parents and brother. There was no fanfare but there was also no protest. “I didn’t get the hate,” he said referring to those who faced protesters upon their return home. As for his time in the Navy and in Vietnam, Mitchell has no regrets. “None at all.”

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Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Continuing a family tradition: Kristi Nelson

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


remerton, Washington is well known for the mark it has left in operations of the US Navy. Not surprisingly, a girl born there, whose father and grandfathers were all Navy men, didn’t look far when deciding which branch of the service she wanted to join. Nelson also knew the Navy would provide her with the schooling she desired. “The Navy has a good program.” She chose the Navy because “my parents couldn’t really support a college education,” she explained. Despite her military background, Nelson said it was a shock to her during basic training when they first had to stand in a line. “I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that.” The other shock came at the end of her training. It happened the night before she went home. “I was going back to the same situation but not as the same person.” After boot camp in Orlando, Florida, the Albany resident headed to Great Lakes, Illinois for corpsman training. That was in 1994. Nelson was stationed in the Portland Reserve Center and then she was attached to the Fleet Hospital in Salt Lake City. She served a total of eight years in the reserves, with five and a half of those as an active reserve. Nelson’s only regret about her military service

Veteran Kristi Nelson displays her dog tags she wore during her years in the Navy. - Photo by: Mark Ylen

is that she did not become an officer. As a woman, she said, the military was “an especially interesting experience.” She said she firmly believes that woman can fight and protect. She also appreciates all of the new advancements that women have today. “It’s exciting.” The most worrisome time for her during her military service was right after 9/11. Nelson was on inactive reserve with a young child at home. She was a month from her discharge date. “I didn’t know if I would be reactivated.” She said she sat with her baby on her lap worried that she would have to leave him, but she was prepared to serve her country. The waiting during that almost two month span was very hard on Nelson, especially as she tried to keep things normal for her child.

Luckily, for Nelson and her young son, she was not called up and ended her military career a month following 9/11. Her suggestion to those considering a career in the military is to learn from everything and to remember, being in the military will help define who you are. “My story is what it is. It’s mine and that’s okay.” Nelson, like so many others who have served, loves meeting other veterans. She said there is a special connection that just doesn’t happen in other walks of life. “There is a camaraderie you don’t find anywhere else.” Nelson served from 1994 until 2001. She lives in Albany with her husband and her two sons.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

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Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Where were you: Frank Ramos

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


was trying to stay up to watch the Patriots play,” Frank Ramos recalled. The Air Force ground radio maintenance specialist was in Korea. Not able to stay awake, Ramos went to bed. A sudden banging at the door woke him up. “They were yelling, ‘Recall!’ so I grabbed my bag and headed downstairs”. They were quickly transported to the Air Force compound and were on high security for the next two weeks. It was September 2001 and the twin towers in faraway New York had just had two airplanes flown into them. Ramos, who grew up in Massachusetts, enlisted in the Air Force in 1998. After basic training in San Antonio and tech school in Biloxi, Mississippi, Ramos moved on to Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, the home of the stealth bomber. Ramos’ main job was to make sure radio communications worked between the ground crew and the bombers. “We were activated for Kosovo,” he said. “We fought from home.” The bombers took off from Missouri, flew to Kosovo, dropped their bombs and returned to base without ever landing. While in Missouri, Ramos received his first of several presidential coins. He spent all night setting up for then President Bill Clinton to visit and was rewarded with the special coin. He also received coins from several other government and military officers.

United States Air Force veteran Frank Ramos was stationed in Korea on 9/11. - Photo by: Andy Cripe

One of their communications method was the teletype. “I taught myself.” Ramos also built a communications program from the ground up in two weeks because the department he was in was being audited. “Any job I did, I tried to do it well,” he said. Next up for Ramos was a deployment overseas. After being activated, he had 72 hours to prepare to leave. A week in South Dakota followed before Ramos and his unit headed to Charleston, then Portugal and Sicily before landing in Oman at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. It was in Oman that Ramos saw his first female combat pilot. He also watched many planes take off at night. “It looked like four Roman Candles when the planes took off.”

Back in the United States by December, Ramos surprised his mother at Christmas before moving on to his next assignment. After leaving the Air Force in 2008, Ramos spent three years in the Massachusetts Air National Guard. Ramos said he always wanted to join the military. “I wanted to serve.” He said he chose the Air Force because he felt he could learn a usable trade. His only regret was that a situation with a supervisor drove him to not re-enlist. Ramos said being stationed in Korea was the highlight of his military career. He saw his first ballet and his first opera and enjoyed a variety of outdoor sports despite the fear of the unknown while he was in Korea and the world was reacting to the twin towers falling.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

Albany Democrat-Herald/Corvallis Gazette-Times/Lebanon Express/Philomath Express

Serving his country: Willie Rodriguez

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


wanted to be the best,” said Willie Rodriguez as to why he became a Marine. The Antioch, California native served from 1988 until 1994.

After basic training in San Diego, Rodriguez attended training in 29 Palms to become a ground radio repairman. Camp Del Mar, located on the Camp Pendleton Base, was the young marine’s first base. Rodriguez was soon preparing for a deployment to Okinawa. He was newly married and headed to the other side of the world. After a month there, Rodriguez’s world changed dramatically. The year was 1990, the event that changed the world at that time was known as Operation Desert Shield and Rodriguez was headed right into the heart of it. He called his wife of four months to tell her he would not be in Okinawa but that was all he could tell her. Later, when he did return to her, she barely recognized him because he had been gone for such a long time. The day after Iraq invaded Kuwait, “we were flying in,” Rodriguez said. He ended up in country for 13 months. “We were the first ones in and almost the last ones out.” Their main duty was to guard the border between Iraq and Kuwait. He wrote a letter home every day he was deployed. Overhead, 2,000 pound bombs were being dropped. When they hit, Rodriguez said, “They

Willie Rodriguez followed mine sweepers through Kuwait and into Iraq in Operation Desert Shield. - Photo by: Mark Ylen

shook the ground a mile away.” The unit he was in entered Iraq in track vehicles pulling trailers. The front vehicle’s trailer had a launcher that would hurl a projectile attached to a rope. As the rope was pulled back, it would set off small explosions. “That’s how we cleared mine fields.” Rodriguez said the battalion he was in did not suffer any wartime fatalities. One senior enlisted man suffered a heart attack. Rodriguez has no regrets in joining the military ranks. “I was a good Marine.” A piece of advice he readily shares is that you have to want to go in order to make it. “You have to be 100% sure.” Rodriguez was able to transfer his knowledge

from the Marines to civilian life, procuring a job with Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. Currently, Rodriguez travels throughout the state working on blood chemistry analyzers. “I’m very proud of serving my country,” Rodriguez said recently. He explained that he has many family members who have served or who are serving. “We’re very passionate about our service.” As for the current protests going on in our country, Rodriguez is torn. “I’m glad I’ve given them the right to do it,” he said of the protesters. “In the same breath, I’m mad about the way they are doing it.” Overall, the military has taught Rodriguez a lot of good life skills. “It taught me how to be a leader and how to communicate. It taught me how to work under stress.”

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Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Vietnam Vet speaks out about draft: Dennis Sustello

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


ennis Sustello is originally from Eugene and only recently moved into the Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon. “It’s given me time to reflect,” the Vietnam War Veteran said. Sustello worked the summer after high school and eventually enrolled for classes at the University of Oregon. Then, he was drafted into the Army in 1966. “I didn’t have a choice of which branch.” He became an Infantryman and shipped out to Vietnam after training at Fort Lewis in Washington and Fort Polk in Louisiana. He was stationed in Li Cay, in southern Vietnam, near Bien Hoa. Almost immediately, the young Sustello was sent out on patrol. “We had a couple of days at our base camp before going out.” Sustello was on search and destroy missions during his time in Vietnam. “It was either listening post or ambush patrol every night and search and destroy every day,” he said. When they were on listening post duty, Sustello sat back to back with another soldier, listening and watching for the enemy. Despite the rain, the soldiers could not wear raingear because it made too much noise whenever they moved. “We were always wet.” “We were scared, hungry and tired,” he said of his time in Vietnam. He said he felt like his country was sending him out as an early warning system for the rest of the unit. Five men he served with in

Dennis Sustello was wounded twice while losing five close friends in his 14 months in Viet Nam. - Photo by: Amanda Loman

Vietnam are on The Wall. The Wall Sustello was talking about was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. The Wall contains the names of those who were killed or missing in action during the Vietnam War. When he was wounded for the second time, Sustello was sent to Tokyo to recover before being shipped home. He was in Vietnam ten months and 14 days. The Purple Heart recipient said that while he heard about the protests at home, he never saw them. His parents picked him up at the airport and he returned home to continue his recovery. “I was trying to step back into another world,” he said of his homecoming. “I didn’t have a chance to talk.” He went to work in the woods when he was strong enough and then worked in a machine shop. “I

didn’t like that.” He then took up carpentry, eventually becoming a foreman.”I liked the challenge of doing something not everybody could do.” “I resented not having a choice,” Sustello said of his service, adding he was scared from having served in Vietnam. That said, he retained his sense of patriotism. “I served my country.” Sustello said he would not have chosen the Army. “Go join the Navy,” he said when asked what he would say to someone considering military service. “That’s where the jobs are.” Sustello reflected on his service during that volitile time in our country’s history. “I remember the people who died for this country.” As for sharing his own story, Sustello paused and shook his head. “Nobody understands.”


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

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Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

I love helping people: Stephanie Dompier-Victor

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


love helping people,” said Stephanie Dompier-Victor as to why she decided to join the Army National Guard.

The 2005 Sweet Home High School graduate served in the National Guard from 2006 through 2012. It was a natural disaster that made her decide on that path. “I saw people in the Guard helping during Hurricane Katrina. I wanted to help.” She said that she kept hearing about Guard units helping their fellow citizens. Her first summer out of high school, she worked with a man who was a First Seargent in the Guard. “He helped me figure it out.” Dompier-Victor went through her basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, followed by a crash course in her specialty-heavy equipment operator. Her reason behind chosing that carrer path was quite simple. “I didn’t want to just sit around.” In addition to learning how to work bulldozers, bucket loaders, scrapers and graders, DompierVictor also had to learn how to drive semis. “I had to move my own equipment,” she explained. The work, she said, “was trying but fun.” During her last week of her specialized training, she got wind that her unit was going to be deployed. She was right. After arriving home in April, her unit shipped out in mid June. Due to the ill health of her father, Dompier-Victor recieved

Stephanie Dompier served with the Army National Guard during Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2007-2008.- Photos by: Amanda Loman

some extra time off. Her father died the day before she was originally supposed to ship out.

rat, temple and archways created during Abraham’s times.

With her unit, she spent about three months at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, preparing for their time overseas. After a week in Kuwait to acclimate to the weather and other conditions, the unit was off to Iraq where they would remain for nine months.

At the end of their tour, the unit spent a few weeks in Texas to, as Dompier-Victor put it, “recivilianize.” Despite that time, “It was a real culture shock coming home.” Even after several months, she said she had trouble trying to get others her age to understand where she had been.

The unit bounced around in several locations, including Bagdad. One of her treasured memories of her time in Iraq was giving milk to the local children. “We would load up our cargo pockets with little cartons of milk and give them to the kids.” Another highlight for her was in the area where Abraham from the Bible grew up. The unit was on a humanitarian mission and got to see a ziggu-

A couple of pieces of advice she has for anyone thinking about joining the military are pretty straightforward. First, she said, “Take someone who understands the language,” when you go to talk to the recruiter. Also, she stressed, “Choose a field that is fulfilling,” and lastly, “Don’t do it to escape.”



Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

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Memories remain: Arthur Wallace

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


he year was 1936. The Green Hornet Radio Show debuted. Hoover Dam is completed. Italy annexes Ethiopia. Hitler mandates all German boys between ten and 18 must join Hitler’s Youth and the teen aged Arthur Wallace moves from Kansas to Oregon.

Wallace settles into life in Oregon until 1943 when, as World War II rages, he gets a draft notice. Instead of letting the draft board choose his fate, Wallace takes it into his own hands and decides to join the US Navy, a move he said he has never regretted. In preparing for boot camp, Wallace thought of all of the places he could be sent. He was in for his first big military surprise. “My basic training was in Astoria,” the North Albany resident said with a chuckle. Following boot camp, Wallace remained in Astoria for about a year, learning his specialty, which included repairing airplanes, and enjoying the quiet coastal town. Once his training was complete, Wallace was prepared to go abroad. “I was an aviation machinist mate in the Pacific,” Wallace said, adding that his main duties were to change engines and wings on aircraft. “I got pretty good at it,” he said. When he arrived in Hawaii, the attack on Pearl Harbor was still fresh on people’s minds. The young Wallace suddenly found himself thousands

Arthur Wallace, 95, served in the United States Navy during World War II. Photo taken at Wallace’s home on Thursday, October 5, 2017. - Photo by: Anibal Ortiz

of miles from home and in the jump-off point for those heading to the South Pacific. The bombing of Pearl Harbor had left many scars throughout the lush island. Wallace’s view of the destruction that first day and daily for almost six months remains a strong memory. A moment of silence followed. “The Arizona was still partly above water,” he said solemnly. “I could see the damage that was done.”

ed approaching the military with sincerity. “And”, he added, “with devotion.”

After spending six months on land in Hawaii, he put in for sea duty, which ended up with him being stationed at Hickam Field in Hawaii.

Next to his television sits a bocce set. He smiled and nodded. “I made that too.” He held one of the balls and explained that he continues playing the lawn game, using the set he built from scratch.

One of Wallace’s mantra regarding joining the military was, “Be bold.” He said that asking questions and getting the right answers helped make him into the man who he became. He also suggest-

In his North Albany apartment, Wallace proudly shows off some of the woodworking has done since the war. In addition to cabinets — one which held his mother’s egg holder collection— Wallace also has a number of wooden cars and trucks which he built over the years.

One of Wallace’s sons’ lives in Hawaii and Wallace has visited many times. He said he usually goes to Pearl Harbor — to remember, to reflect.

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Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Navy a natural fit for Alsea boy: Paul Wilson

By Kay M Roth, Albany Democrat-Herald


was a natural fit,” Veteran Paul Wilson said of his enlistment in the US Navy in 1948. “I liked the ocean.” Wilson’s naval career lasted until 1957. Born in Alsea, Wilson followed his older brother into the Navy. After boot camp and diesel school in San Diego, Wilson spent two months on his first ship before being transferred to the US Navy’s destroyer Courier, where he spent four years, working on diesel engines as a Second Class Engineman.

The Courier patrolled off the coast of Japan and Hong Kong. The destroyer would stay at sea for 30 days and then dock for repairs and supplies. “When we came into port, we were told not to say anything to the locals about what they were doing and how long they would be in port. Wilson chuckled as he recalled that the locals already seemed to have that knowledge so they rarely asked. “Then, they sent me out into the middle of the desert.” While in El Centro, California, Wilson worked on the base fire department. He chuckled. “I had asked for shore duty.” Throughout his time in the Navy, Wilson said he never worried about seasickness or typhoons. “I never got seasick and the storms never bothered me.” Last year, Wilson, who has been at the Lebanon Veterans’ Home about three months, was lucky

Paul Wilson spent four years on the US Navy’s destroyer Courier. - Photo by: Amanda Loman

enough to go on the Honor Flight, where veterans have the opportunity to visit Washington, DC for a whirlwind tour of the memorials.

Wilson stays busy as a crossing guard for the nearby Pioneer School during the afternoons. He said he likes seeing and talking with the students.

“It is indescribable,” he said of the trip. “It really showed me that people care about veterans.” The trip included stops at the World War II, Korea and Vietnam Memorials. Wilson and the other veterans also visited Arlington National Cemetery, where they witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown.

Another thing that keeps Wilson busy is visiting with his brother, who also lives at the Veterans’ Home. The two had lost touch but thanks to their children, and now their home, they have reconnected.

Wilson reflected on his own interest in why the soldiers guarding the tomb clicked their heels when they made their turns. He received the answer from one of the guides. “The guards can’t salute because they are carrying weapons. Clicking their heels is their way of saluting.”

The hardest part of his Naval experience was when a shipmate was killed. “They didn’t tell the guy checking the cables,” he said of the accident that occurred when the Courier was trying to do a rescue of another ship. Wilson’s advice to young men and women considering a career in the military was very simple. “Attitude is the whole thing.”


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

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