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America will pause for a moment on Monday, Nov. 11, to say thank you to the 21.2 million military veterans in the United States. Veterans Day began as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance and Nov. 11 became a national holiday in 1938. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation to change the name to Veterans Day to honor those who served in all American wars. By DIANE WETZEL

VETERANS DAY EVENTS

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2013 On Sunday, November 10, there will be a birthday party for all U.S. Marines at the VFW, 2100 E. Fourth Street with the cutting of the cake at 2 p.m.

Also on Monday, Lutheran Family Services in North Platte will celebrate the expansion of the North Platte At Ease program at the business location, 120 E. 12th St.

Local events honoring veterans include a ceremony at American Legion Post No. 163 at 11 a.m, at 2010 E. Fourth St.

Shane Osborn, former Nebraska State Treasurer and candidate for the U.S. Senate, will be a special guest. At Ease provides confidential trauma treatment and therapeutic support for active military, veterans and their loved ones. An open house will be from 2 to 3:30 p.m. with ribbon cutting ceremonies at 3 p.m.

The traditional ham and bean lunch will be at the VFW Post 1504, 2100 E. Fourth St., starting at noon and will go all day. Ceremonies at the 20th Century Veterans Memorial are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. The memorial is located in Iron Horse Park, just south of North Platte where Interstate 80 crosses U.S. Highway 83. It honors the men and women who served in the military. Cal Stratton, quartermaster/adjutant of VFW Post 1504 and president of the 20th Century Veterans Memorial board of directors, will be the featured speaker. Former board president Jim Beckius will be honored during the program. Applications for bricks to be installed in the Walk of Honor at the memorial will be available. Last month 38 honorary bricks, each inscribed with the name of a veteran, were installed. More than 6,000 memorial bricks now line the Walk of Honor, with room for 1,900 more. Bricks are $150, and any U.S. veteran can be honored with a brick.

There will be an appreciation meal for veterans, active duty military members and their supporters from noon to 7 p.m. on Monday at the CG Architects building, 319 E. Francis St. The meal is sponsored by Kevin Kennedy, CG Architects, Scott Steele, Ron Bourne, Jerome Kramer, Duane Deterding, Mike Swain, Dwight Livingston, Dennis Thompson and Dr. Deb’s Express Medical Care. The 20th annual Veterans Parade, hosted by the North Platte Downtown Association, will take place at 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11. The parade route starts at Second and Dewey, travels north on Dewey to Sixth Street, east to Bailey and south back to Second and Dewey. Hershey Legion Hall will host a ham and bean supper at 6 p.m., sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary.


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VETERANS 2013

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2013

THE NORTH PLATTE TELEGRAPH

Patching up the ‘real’ heroes Bourne’s medical team in Vietnam treated roughly 50 soldiers a day

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on’t talk to Ron Bourne about heroism. He understands it more than many people ever will. It was something he witnessed every day while working in a surgical hospital in Vietnam. The bullet holes, the missing limbs, the frightened stares, the panic — all were part of a daily routine. It’s not the kind of job most guidance counselors pitch, and certainly not one Bourne had planned on going into. His intentions were to become an anesthesiologist. “It was something I started thinking about as a freshman in high school,” Bourne said. “My sister was a registered nurse, and there were two physicians who really encouraged me.” After graduating from Lexington High School in 1964, Bourne obtained a nursing degree from Nebraska Methodist College in Omaha. His plans to study anesthesiology were stopped short in 1966. “I got a letter in the mail explaining that I could either go into the military on my own or be drafted,” Bourne said. “I was promised my college would be paid for, and I would come out an officer.” In 1967, Bourne headed off to basics at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. From there, he went to Fort Benning at Columbus, Ga., to learn about trauma and emergency care. In 1968, he was deployed to Vietnam to be the director of the emergency room and trauma unit for the Third Surgical Hospital with the 9th Infantry Division. The base was located in the Mekong Delta, ap-

Courtesy photo

Ron Bourne served in Vietnam from 1968-69. At only 22, he was the director of the emergency room and trauma unit for the Third Surgical Hospital with the 9th Infantry Division.

“The Army charged me with figuring out who wasn’t worth the resources to work on and save. As a young 22-year-old guy, they wanted me to make Godly-type decisions. I refused to play that game. We worked on everyone until they died.”

—Ron Bourne, emergency room and

trauma director during

Vietnam War

By HEATHER JOHNSON | hjohnson@nptelegraph.com

proximately 80-90 miles southwest of Saigon and 8 miles from the Cambodia border. According to Bourne, it had the first fully-bunkered mobile unit self-transport hospital. “We treated an average of 50 soldiers a day, so about 1,500 per month,” Bourne said. “We administered between 2,000-3,000 units of blood a month. Our job was to resuscitate the guys and keep them alive long enough to get them to an operating room.” Bourne was given the task of deciding the order in which people would receive medical care. “The Army charged me with figuring out who wasn’t worth the resources to work on and save,” Bourne said. “As a young 22-year-old guy, they wanted me to make Godly-type decisions. I refused to play that game. We worked on everyone until they died.” Patients were flown in on helicopters, which is where Bourne evaluated them. “I had a great team. We put in a lot of chest tubes and tracheostomies. We opened up chests with no gloves and put sutures in

holes in hearts,” Bourne said. “My corpsmen were priceless.” He went into the job as a rookie with limited trauma training and came out a professional. “I was young and dumb, but with that volume, I learned fast,” Bourne said. “It taught me to realize when you have to move rapidly to save a human life. If something doesn’t work, you have to try something else.” He said military communication and technology has changed a lot since he was in the service. “The helicopters would call us and tell us when they were going to land, but we had no idea as to the number of casualties, the extent of injuries or what we needed to treat the wounds,” Bourne said. “There wasn’t the attention to detail that exists today.” He said resuscitation and bleeding control efforts have also improved. “We could not stop bleeding well. We could pour it in,” Bourne said. “One guy got 52 units of blood before he went into the operating room. He was bleeding from everywhere. Now there are

Courtesy photo

A group of Army corpsmen remove a wounded soldier from a helicopter in Vietnam. The hospital Ron Bourne worked in treated an average of 1,500 injured personnel a month. Bourne leans against the brick wall of a factory in Vietnam. Bourne was in the country from 1968-69, serving as the emergency room director in a surgical hospital.

Courtesy photo

pressure tourniquets.” Further complicating medical efforts was the fact that the base was constantly targeted by the Viet Cong. It was attacked 95 times while Bourne was there — three were ground assaults and the rest were mortars and rockets. “About 134 projectiles landed in our compound,” Bourne said. “One night I heard a thunk and saw a projectile had landed 100 feet

behind me. Right then, I started believing in God and I haven’t wavered since.” Bourne’s chaplain was struck by a mortar in Vietnam, and one of Bourne’s friends committed suicide. Another friend he pulled off a helicopter. “I didn’t recognize him at first,” Bourne said. “When I did, some of those professional things went out the window. He was barely conscious

and died two days later. He had been shot in the chest with an AK-47, and it nicked the bottom of both lungs.” At the end of his service in 1969, Bourne was offered a double promotion to stay in the Army. He turned it down. “As far as medals go, sure I’ve got them,” Bourne said. “But, I never disclose what they are. Those guys laying there — they were the real heroes.”


THE NORTH PLATTE TELEGRAPH

VETERANS 2013

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2013

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Vivid memories of WWII Centennial Park residents tell stories of sneaking in, picking up, moving on

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he memories are fading. World War II veterans are in their 90s, the youngest of them born in 1922. And those are the ones with two birth certificates.

“I had two birth certificates,” Bob Winchell admits. His son, John, said it was a little interesting 30 years after the war when Bob retired, convincing his employer which certificate was real. Winchell was born in 1922, but when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II, his birth certificate said he was born in 1921. Winchell wasn’t alone. “There were a lot of them,” he said, referring to World War II veterans who forged birth certificates to enlist early. Once Winchell reached the Pacific Theatre, he was assigned to a supply boat, which loaded in San Francisco and took off for the south Pacific. Winchell, and five other veterans of World War II, who now live at Centennial Park, sat down with the Telegraph last week to recount some of their memories from the war. Milo Darling was a member of the 77th Infantry Division in the Pacific Theatre of the war. However, he only saw seven days of combat. His regiment was held back as replacement soldiers during the invasion of Okinawa in 1945. Once Okinawa was taken,

Darling said it was his job to clear out grenade fields left as traps by the Japanese. “I and another fellow were told to pick up the grenades and take them back to a jeep,” he said. “One partially exploded and hit me in the face. I call it my million-dollar wound.” Darling was given the Purple Heart for being injured in the line of duty and was shipped home shortly before the war ended in late 1945. When Darling enlisted he was given an M-1 carbine, a rifle developed for U.S. military efforts in the 1930s. When they hit Okinawa, however, Darling was given a much bigger weapon. “I don’t know if you’d call it technology,” he laughed. “I had a flamethrower strapped to my back.” Darling’s partner was to throw gasoline down in foxholes and then Darling would use the flamethrower to ignite it. “I saw the same thing happen in the Philippines,” Winchell said. American troops were clearing out Japanese railroad tunnels by this method. That would clear out the supply tunnels from the base of the mountain to the parapet on top, he said. The Japanese also used smaller planes to dive bomb American ships in port. Darling said he remembers the sounds of the machine guns from the ships when the surprise attacks would come. “They’d ring like the dickens,” Darling said. While stationed on land, Darling remembers the only showers they were able to get were in salt water, which he said was not a pleasant experience.

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Bob Winchell in uniform during World War Bob Winchell, third from left, with fellow enlisted U.S. II. Winchell served in the Navy personnel during World War II on Leyte, an island Pacific theatre, spending in the Philippines. much of his deployment in the Philippines. By ANDREW BOTTRELL | abottrell@nptelegraph.com Life might have been a little easier in the Navy, Winchell admits. “I had some place to sleep and eat as long as that ship was afloat,” Winchell said, though he said he does remember the salt water showers. “I don’t care what type of soap you got, you never got any suds.” Albert Grasz, who was stationed in northern Africa and later Italy, received the Purple Heart after he was hit with shrapnel in his left thigh, as his regiment worked its way up the Italian peninsula. By the time Earl Eshle-

man was drafted, the war was nearly over. “The war ended when I was in basic,” he said. “We just replaced the veterans so they could go home.” He still spent a year after the armistice in Munich and the surrounding areas of Germany, where he was assigned to a motorcade. “[Germany] was all blown to hell,” he said. Walt Hosick’s experience was similar to Eshleman’s. He was sent to Italy after the war was over and assigned to a supply unit. The veterans also

remember their trips overseas on liberty ships. They were the large container boats that shipped supplies and troops from the U.S. to the war in both the Pacific and the Atlantic. “I’d never seen the ocean or a ship or anything else,” Winchell said. Darling remembers the transport ship store running out of his favorite candies on the way to the south Pacific. “I was kind of used to my sweets,” he said. “I had a mess cup. I’d fill it half full with sugar and the other half with tea. That was sweets.”

Bunks were stacked five high and there wasn’t a whole lot of space for the troops to move around. For Eshleman, his first time at sea was pretty rough. “I was on that ship 10 days and I was sick all 10 days,” he said. After several days of being stricken in bed, he said it was time for him to venture up to the mess hall for food. “I started down the galley,” he said. “I walked by the [bathroom] and the sewer was stopped up. It smelled pretty bad. I turned right back around [and went back to bed.]” Eating was an adventure at sea, especially in rough waters. “When the ship went [sideways], then you had to grab your tray and bring it back over to you,” Winchell said. The tables also had lips on the edge so trays wouldn’t slide completely off, Darling said. Hosick’s first trip overseas came on an aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Randolph, which had just been repaired from a Japanese kamikaze strike. “As soon as I got my bunk, I started running around it,” he said. “I went up to the bridge and there was a [military policeman] there. He said, ‘You can’t be here.’ I told him, ‘I’m from Nebraska,’ and he said, ‘Oh, that’s OK,” and let me stay up there.”

Six veterans of World War II who all live at the Centennial Park Retirement Village, from left, Albert Grasz, Walter Hosick, Bob Winchell, Noah Nutter, Earl Eshleman and Milo Darling.

Andrew Bottrell / The North Platte Telegraph

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SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2013

VETERANS 2013

THE NORTH PLATTE TELEGRAPH

A long, life-changing career Decorated female Air Force colonel retires after 27 years of service

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long and decorated Air Force career came to an end in October for a St. Patrick’s High School graduate. Col. Pennie G. (Gunn) Pavlisin retired from the Air Force on Oct. 1, after serving since October 1986. Afterward, she headed home from Ohio to Illinois to be with her husband, retired Air Force Col. James Pavlisin, and their two daughters, Sarah and Hannah. “I’m so blessed and fortunate that our family has not only made it through all the challenges we’ve gone through, but we’ve thrived,” she said from the family home in O’Fallon, Ill. “We’ve overcome adversity and the challenges of separation and being apart.” Pavlisin leaves behind a long and decorated career as a flight nurse, element chief, flight commander and commander, among many other hats she’s worn in her career. After graduating from St. Patrick’s High School in North Platte in 1980,

she went off to Kearney State College, earning a bachelor of science degree in nursing. It was there that she was first opened to the idea of joining the military. Coming from a family that moved a lot as a child, she said she couldn’t see herself wanting to do that as an adult. The Air Force would give her that opportunity, as well as the opportunity to serve her country. “I don’t know if I would have ever had the opportunity to leave the country,” she said. “It was one of my first opportunities to ever get on an airplane 27 years ago.” On top of the traveling, however, she said her military career was highlighted by the people she met and worked with. “It’s a team sport, really,” she said. “You can’t do anything alone. You rely on the finest enlisted force in the world to help do your job as an officer.” In 1986, she received a direct commission to the U.S. Air Force and began her career training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. In 1989, she took a flight nurse course at the School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base in Texas and in March 1989 she was assigned as a staff nurse at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma. While in Oklahoma,

Pavlisin met her husband, James, who was also an officer in the Air Force. It was at her next assignment as a flight nurse at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in Germany, that Pavlisin became a part of history, and what she said was her greatest opportunity. Pavlisin was the staff nurse on the flight that picked up Thomas Sutherland, who was held hostage in Syria for more than six years. Her flight brought him from Damascus back to American soil at the German base. “It was quite an experience to see the smile on his face as he got on that airplane,” she said. “The proudest moment I had was he gave me a big hug and kissed me on the cheek and told me, ‘You’re the first woman I’ve kissed in six and a half years.’” In July 1999, she was stationed at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, where she had the opportunity to be a flight commander for the first time, overseeing four clinics and 120 personnel. “I was overseeing the nurse managers and the doctors in those clinics,” she said, “and providing outstanding patient care and good customer service.” In July 2003, Pavlisin was deployed as the ele-

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silient with the multiple places we’ve lived,” she said. “They were both born in Washington, D.C., at Andrews Air Force Base. They have traveled through many states and gone through multiple schools. They enjoy the kids and the people they meet.” After returning from Iraq in 2004, Pavlisin was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base for a second time, this time as flight commander. In September 2005, Pavlisin was named the Chief Health Care Integration and Director of Population Health at Travis Air Force Base in California. After reaching the rank of colonel in 2007, she was the commander for the 75th Medical Operations Squadron at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, the 375th Medical Operations Squadron at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois Courtesy photo and the 88th Inpatient Operations Squadron Col. Pennie Pavlisin, a 1980 graduate of St. Patrick’s at Wright-Patterson Air School in North Platte, retired from the Air Force on Oct. Force Base in Ohio. 1 after 27 years of service. And now, after her official retirement in OcBy ANDREW BOTTRELL | abottrell@nptelegraph.com tober, she has returned to O’Fallon. “Our plan is to get our of the week,” she said, ment chief at Kirkuk Air children through school,” “How to do pony tails in Base in Iraq during the hair, what was important she said. “Jim has been Iraq War. For her family working since his first to them. We had a reand her, it was the exact source book for where he retirement. He’s working opposite of what they on the base as a defense experienced in 1991 when needed to call.” contractor. I’m looking With the demands of James was deployed to for an opportunity to his job shortly after the Kuwait. get back into the work“It was a big difference. attacks of Sept. 11, 2011, force that allows me the the couple also hired a I remember putting a flexibility to not travel as nanny to look after their book together, a binder, much. I will work after kids. for what happens with taking a little time off.” “Our kids are so rethe girls every single day

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Courtesy photo

Pennie G. (Gunn) Pavlisin, retired Air Force colonel, is shown with her family when her daughters were younger. Pavlisin’s husband, James, also a retired Air Force officer, had to follow what Pennie calls a resource book of how-tos and when-tos to keep everything straight with their girls while Pennie was deployed in Iraq.


THE NORTH PLATTE TELEGRAPH

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2013

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Charles John Tilford

Phil K. Martin

U.S. Navy March 1949 - November 1953 Korea Conflict Ship: Destroyer

Cpl. Charles “Ed” Saulsbury

Robert H. Olson Cpl. (T)

U.S. Marines July 1939 - Aug 1945 Iceland, New Zealand, Guadacanal, Saipan, Tenian MEDALS & HONORS: Good Conduct, 3 Presidential Citations

U.S. Army June 1953 - April 1955 Salzburg Austria, Germany National Defense Army of Occupation

U.S. Army 1963-1967 Korea

Eugene Horst

U.S. Army 7th Engineer Battalion 1953 - 1955 Germany MEDALS & HONORS: Good Conduct National Defense Service Medal Army of Occupation

John Bates

Thomas K. Rayburn

Oliver K. Rayburn

Thomas K. Rayburn, Jr.

United States Navy 1967-1972 USS Proteus USS Westchester County LST Guam, San Diego, Coronado

United States Navy 1942-1947 San Diego, Hawaii, New Hebrides, Corpus Christi

United States Marine Corps 1996-2001 Air Framer-Sgt. KC-130 Ft. Worth, TX, Pensacola

U.S. Army MEDALS & HONORS: Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, USN “E” Ribbon, Army Good Conduct Medal, Navy Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal,Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Nebraska National Guard Emergency Service Ribbon, Nebraska National Guard Service Ribbon, California Counter Drug Ribbon

James Ivan Miller U.S. Army Served 1918 - 1919 WWI

Vernon M. Rayburn United States Army World War I

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Lloyd C. Farmer U.S. Army 1950-1952 MEDALS & HONORS: Purple Heart, UN Service Medal, Korean SVC Medal, and three Bronze Campstars, Combat Infantry Badge

★ ★ ★

Sgt. Levi Gibbs United States Marine Corps 2001-2005 Iraq, Japan & South Korea MEDALS & HONORS: Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Metal with Combat V

★ ★ ★ ★

William Kenneth (Kenny) McKean U.S. Army 1943-1946 Europe 1950-1951 Korea

Wilbert L. Agler

Daniel H. Agler

Daniel V. Agler

James C. Agler

John A. Agler

U.S. Army 1917-1919 - Germany 34 Div. WWI Signal Battalion 34th Division

1st LT U.S. Air Force 1942-1947- Philippines WWII 1952-Korea

U.S. Marines 1968-1972 Airwings Iwakuni, Japan and Cubic Point Philippines

U.S. Marines 1972-1976 Aviation VM203 North Carolina, US

LT Col U.S. Army 1980-2008 Germany, US,Afghanistan Bronze Star for NATO-US Coalition

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


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THE NORTH PLATTE TELEGRAPH

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2013

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U.S. Army Private Island of Oahu, HI AWARDS: Purple Heart

Robert Brannan U.S. Navy USS Bradford DD-545 1946-1954 Pearl Harbor Okinawa, Japan Korea & China MEDALS: Korean - China Service Medal United Nations Medal

U.S. Army 1966-1986 MEDALS & HONORS: Vietnamese Campaign Medal, National Defense Medal AWARDS: Good Conduct 6, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation Medal, Korean Presidental Unit Citation, Vietnamese Service Medal, 2 Meritous Service Medals

Richard F. Peterson

44th Infantry Division 1943-1946 France MEDALS & HONORS Combat Infantry Badge AWARDS: Purple Heart

Robert L. Shanahan Chief Petty Officer U.S. Coast Guard Long Range Navigation 1939-1946 Marshall Islands (South Pacific), Curtis Bay, MD, Westport, WA, Port Stevens, OR, New London, CT

Jerry “Buzz” Goedert

U.S. Marine Corp First Sargeant 1985-2007 Worldwide

U.S. Navy 1981-1985 Norfok, VA, Cuba, Mediterranean MEDALS & AWARDS Navy Marine Corps. Expeditionary Medal AWARDS: Meritorious Unit Command., Battle “E” (four times), Four Years Good Service Award

U.S. Air Force 1942-1945 Guam MEDALS & HONORS: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal

Thomas Williams

Mark K. Cowan

U.S. Navy 1950-1954 Korean War MEDALS & HONORS: Korean War Medal, Good Conduct Medal AWARDS: Maximum Rifleman Award Hometown of Hayes Center

U.S. Army PV2 Currently Serving 3 Years in Hawaii

U.S. Navy May 1948-May 1952 Korean War Aviation Bosunmate 3rd Class 3 years voluntary 1 year extended “One for Harry” Served aboard USS Block Island CVE 109, USS Valley Forge CVE 45, USS Antietam CV 39

James Ruffing

Dwight L. Larson

Jack Edwin Creel

Ignacio G. Moreno

Roy C. Hild

Katrina Merlee Hudson

U.S. Army 1959-1962 Korea

Grant L. Remus

Ronald L. Bourne

CPL INF U.S. Army 232nd Infantry, 42nd Division 1944-1946 2 years Rhineland, Central Europe MEDALS & HONORS: WWII Medal, POW Medal, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Good Conduct Meitorious Unit Award American Theater, Victory Ribbon, EAMET Ribbon Combat Infantry Badge

Captain U.S. Army 1966-1969 Vietnam April 1968 - April 1969 3rd Surgical Hospital Must Unit - Dong Tam 9th Infantry Division

Steven R. Shanahan Patrick T. Shanahan Lt. Colonel U.S. Air Force 1973-1994 Judge Advocate General Plattsburgh Air Force Base, NY Clark Air Base, Philippines FE Warren Air Force Bace, WY USAFA, Co Son of Robert L. Shanahan

Captain U.S. Air Force 2004 - Present Currently at Fort Riley, KS A-10 Fighter Stangdahlem Air Force Base, Germany Son of Retired USAF LT. Col. Steven R. & Lynne Shanahan Grandson of Robert L. Shanahan

Sean M. Shanahan 2nd Lt. U.S. Air Force 2010 - Present Currently at Minot Airforce Base Minot, ND B-52 Bomber Barksdale Air Force Base Shreveport, LA Son of Lynn & Tracy Shanahan, NP Grandson of Robert L. Shanahan

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


THE NORTH PLATTE TELEGRAPH

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2013

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Gy. SGT Tony Bergner

Jacob Lee Bear U.S. Marine Corps 2000 - 2008

U.S. Marine Corps 20 Years Served 1988 - 2008 Gulf War

John R. Feeney

SGT Alex M. Feeney

U.S. Army 1951-1953 Korea

U.S. Army 230th Military Police Company 2009-Present Sembach, Germany Afghanistan, Ft. Cambell Kentucky MEDALS & HONORS: Army Commendation Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Achievment Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campain Medal with Campain Star, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, NATO Medal, Air Assault Badge, Drivers Mechanic Badge, Expert Marksmanship Badge

★ ★ ★

Roger E. Donner

Ernest Mohr

U.S. Navy 1964-1969 Virginia Beach

U.S. Army 1951-1952 Korea MEDALS & AWARDS Bronze Star

Jeffrey Miller

Dennis Miller

U.S. Marines 1997-2001 Camp Lejuene, North Carolina MEDALS & HONORS: National Defense; Navy Achievement; Good Conduct & Meritorious Service

U.S. Navy 1966 - 1968 USS Franklin D. Roosevelt 1968 - 1970 Taipei,Taiwan MEDALS & HONORS: National Defense; Vietnam Service & Republic of Vietnam

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

William H. Friesell

Ernest H. Friesell

SSGT-USAF United States Air Force 1969-1973 S. Korea, S. Vietnam, Thailand MEDALS & HONORS: National Defense Service Medal Vietnam Camps Good Conduct Crew Chief of the month NCO Leadership Academy

SPC. 4th Class U.S. Army Infantry 2007 - 2010 Ft. Sill, Ft. Benning, Ft. Drum Kabul, Afghanistan MEDALS & HONORS: Marksman - Rifle Expeditionary Forces Good Conduct Medal

Jason L. Burkholder 2002-2008 Nebraska Army National Guard Iraq 2003-2004 Transportation. Nebraska Air National Guard 2009-2011 Security Forces

★ ★ ★

Robert E. Winchell

David Leighton

U.S. Navy 1961-1964

U.S. Army 82nd Airborne 1999-2002

U.S. Navy April 1948 - March 1953 PT Tender UPT8 ‘Wachapreague’ Pacific

Dennis Leighton

Robert L. Hanneman S-SGT

Ira W. Chesley

Dustin B. Schrag

U.S. Army July 1944-1946 World War II: Europe Helped secure the Ludendorff RR Bridge at Remagen on March 7, 1945 MEDALS & HONORS: EAMET Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Victory Ribbon

U.S. Navy SeaBee 2004, Iraq 2004 - Present, San Diego, Afghanistan, Korea Petty Officer 2nd class MEDALS & HONORS: Navy achievement medal X3 Army achievement medal Afghanistan campaign medal Korean defense medal Iraq campaign medal.

U.S. Army 21st Ord Direct Support Company 1950 - 1953 Korea and Ready Reserves to 1959 MEDALS & HONORS: Good Conduct Medal, United Nations National Defense Korean Service Medal Republic of Korea War Badge, Sharpshooter M-1 Rifle Badge, Freedom Team Salute Award, 14 wks Wheel Automotive School, Atlanta Depot, GA Basic Training Aberdeen, MD

Dwight Livingston Sr.

Dwight Livingston Jr.

U.S. Navy/Seabees Sept 1944 - Oct 1947 WWII Asiatic Pacific Campaign

U.S. Air Force Sgt., Military Police 1968-1972 Vietnam 1970-1971 Gunfighters of Da Nang, 366th Tactical Fighter Wing 1971-1972 Colorado Springs: NORAD

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


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THE NORTH PLATTE TELEGRAPH

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2013

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Raymond E. Lunkwitz

Crystal L. Lunkwitz

U.S. Naval 1966-1970

U.S. Naval Academy 2010-2014 Annapolis, MD

Dean Walter Dailey

Leonard L. Pelster

Les Weil

U.S. Army 134th Infantry Company D 1940-1945 France, Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg Numerous Awards

U.S. Army 1945-1946 Fort Bragg, Fort Sill, Fort Knox AWARDS: Preparing for the Invation of Japan Saved by the bomb!

U.S. Army Supply Sergeant 64th Engineer TOPO Battalion 3 Years MEDALS & HONORS: Asiatic Service, World War II Victory

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Alvin Cooper U.S. Army Air Corp 26 Years WW2, Korea & Vietnam AWARDS: Sikorsky Award Cooper was a Career Military Man, serving 26 years including action in three wars; WW2, Korean & Vietnam. Cooper is a North Platte native He flew a helicopter and was also involved in the rescue of many civilians while serving in placetime

★ ★ ★ ★

William L. Cooper U.S. Army 1953-1955 William entered service in 1953 March 17th trained Fort Leonard Wood, MO Ranked Corporal Engineer Training Served in England and repaired Landing Air Strips from WW2. That were destroyed by German Air. Discharged 1955-Bishop Stoffer England

John H. Caudillo

James Caudillo

U.S. Army Ord Tec 5 1944-1946 MEDALS & AWARDS: American Theater of Operation Asiatic Pacific Victory Medal Japanese Occupation Medal

U.S. Navy Commisary Man Third Class 1963-1967 Jacksonville, FL Charleston, SC MEDALS & AWARDS: Armed Foces Expeditionary Medal National Defense Medal Dominican Crisis

U.S. Army PFC 1st Class 1975-1977 Germany

U.S. Navy 1989-1996 Petty Officer 2nd Class Naval Air Station Alameda Pearl Harbor, HI

Gregory Johnson

U.S. Army Brief stay due to illness Discharged with honors

U.S. Army National Guard 1957-1965 Grand Island, NE MEDALS & HONORS: Soldier of the year 134 Infantry 1959

Joseph Caudillo

Gerald Johnson

★ Johnnie L. Caudillo

Beckley L. Rickett U.S. Army Captain Pilot Vietnam 1967

Myron D. Maxwell

Russell E. Maxwell

Marvin G. Maxwell

Raymond W. Maxwell

U.S. Navy August 1966 - August 1968 Vietnam Big T Aircraft Carrier

U.S. Navy 1951-1955 Korea USS Brush

U.S. Navy 1954-1957 Korea USS Brush

U.S. Navy 1946-1950 Guam Mary Anna Islands

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


THE NORTH PLATTE TELEGRAPH

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2013

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

★ ★ ★

★ ★ ★

Clifford Paul Polk

Peggy Polk Cawthra

U.S. Marine Corps 1944-1945 Pacific/Phillipines

U.S. Army Captain Medical Specialist 1961-1966 Brook Hospital, San Antonio, TX Fitzsimmons General Hospital, Aurora, CO

James Cawthra U.S. Air Force Major 1963-1999 Germany, Thailand, Albuqurque, NM Denver, CO

William George Polk

Patrick Dennis Polk

John Michael Polk

Thomas Joseph Polk

U.S. Army PFC 1965-1966 Vietnam

U.S. Marine Corps Captain 1966-1969 Vietnam, Quantico, Officer Training School MEDALS & AWARDS: Purple Heart, Bronze Star

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal 1966-1967 DaNang, Vietnam

U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sargeant 1967-1968 Vietnam

★ ★ ★

★ ★ ★

This Veteran’s Day we honor the heroes we have lost, and rededicate ourselves to the next generation of veterans by supporting our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen as they return home from duty and continue to serve our nation. Whether they are our fathers, husbands, uncles, mothers, wives, or our friends, we must keep our solemn promises to these brave men and women and their families to remember their unwavering devotion to the American people that has preserved our freedom and protected our country. Whether serving in times of peace or war, they have shown indomitable courage and spirit. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


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VETERANS 2013

THE NORTH PLATTE TELEGRAPH

‘... The honorable thing to do’ Though tense at times, Gibbs says he would go back to Marine service, regrets getting out

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evi Gibbs always knew he wanted to be in the military. As a kid, he had looked up to an uncle in the Army and imagined what it would be like to follow in his footsteps.

the filling of infantry units in preparation for war. Gibbs was of more use there than on a drill team, so that’s where he went — to the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines. He was assigned to the boat division and spent weeks practicing amphibious raids before being transferred from California to Japan to train in jungles. It was supposed to be a sixmonth deployment. Gibbs stayed for a year. “Toward the end of the six months in 2003, they were getting ready to kick-off Iraq,” Gibbs said. “The Army issued ‘stop-loss’ orders, which He signed up when meant wherever we were, he was a junior in high we were staying. There school. Because of his were a lot of unknowns history of fighting, the during that time. We Army wasn’t sure it were hoping to go to wanted Gibbs. The MaIraq, but wanted to go rine Corps welcomed him home and see our famiwith open arms. lies first.” In 2001, five days after After his 12 months in graduating from North Japan, Gibbs returned Platte High School, Gibbs to Camp Pendleton to was on his way to the Ma- start training for milirine Corps Recruit Depot tary operations in urban in San Diego for three terrains. The jungles he months of basic training. had learned on were a After that, he headed far cry from the deserts to Marine Corps Base and cities of Iraq. Camp Pendleton, also in Gibbs deployed to RaCalifornia, for infantry madi, Iraq, in January training. It was there he 2004, arriving in time was selected to be part of to be part of Operation the “8th & I” drill team. Iraqi Freedom II. He Plans changed Sept. stayed until October. 11, 2001. Gibbs had just “That was a crazy wrapped up a break in time,” Gibbs said. “It Nebraska and was in the was a very pro-Saddam process of flying back Hussein town, which to California when the made things a lot harder. Twin Towers went down The people there didn’t in New York. like us at all. They were With planes grounded, pro-military and not Gibbs ended up stuck at friendly whatsoever.” the Denver International Gibbs was 20 years old, Airport. From there he a corporal squad leader was sent to the Buckley in charge of 12 other Air Force Base at Aurora, Marines and a Navy Colo., to guard Air Force corpsman. “Most of them were captains for two weeks. kids too,” Gibbs said. “I The attacks prompted

Levi Gibbs poses with kids in Ramadi. He was in Iraq from January to October 2004. A group of soldiers from his unit went house to house in the city of 500,000 searching for the enemy and securing any hidden bombs or weapons.

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

“All hell broke loose. People came from everywhere to fight for their cause. We had truckloads of terrorist fighters rolling in. A person would come over the PA system and tell the town to turn against Americans. Bodies piled up on bodies. Ten Marines died in one incident.”

—Levi Gibbs, M arine who served in Iraq, about a 2004 battle in Fallujah Courtesy photo

Levi Gibbs and his team, above, were dropped into the Pacific Ocean 25 miles from a beach. The goal was to practice amphibious raids. Gibbs, of North Platte, trained in the jungle while stationed in Japan. Shortly thereafter, he was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq, where he was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. had a lot of responsibility on my shoulders.” Every day, the group did patrols to make sure there were no bombs on the road that convoys traveled to transport supplies. Roadside bombs

were only one of the concerns. The group was also shot at and targeted with grenades. “I tried to always stay on foot,” Gibbs said. “It was safer. There’s more control than when you’re in a pickup or Humvee and can’t see what’s around you. The Iraqis liked to kill Marines on foot, but they could get farther by taking out a fuel or supply truck.” The group went house to house in the city of 500,000, searching for what Gibbs called bad guys and making sure there were no hidden bombs or weapons. “We had a team ready to go with five Humvees,” Gibbs said. “They

backed us up during fire fights.” Conflict in the nearby town of Fallujah in April 2004 spilled over into Ramadi while Gibbs was there. “All hell broke loose,” Gibbs said. “People came from everywhere to fight for their cause. We had truckloads of terrorist fighters rolling in. A person would come on over the PA system and tell the town to turn against Americans. Bodies piled up on bodies. Ten Marines died in one incident.” Gibbs lost a lot of friends in Iraq and watched many others be permanently crippled. He was never wounded,

By HEATHER JOHNSON hjohnson@ nptelegraph.com

although he came close many times. “Bullets hit inches from my head,” Gibbs said. “Snipers would sit on rooftops and shoot my buddies in the face.” He left Iraq in October 2004, and was discharged as a sergeant in 2005. During the interim, he worked as a military police officer at Camp Pendleton. “I loved it,” Gibbs said. “I do regret getting out. If they called me up tomorrow, I’d be gone — one, because it’s the honorable thing to do and two, because of the adrenaline. There’s nothing like it. Once you get a taste of it, you can’t get enough.”


VETERANS 2013

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Korean War, 60 years later ‘Only courage and sacrifice keep freedom alive upon the earth’

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he Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean People’s Army invaded South Korea. The United States secured a resolution from the United Nations calling for the military defense of South Korea and by July, U.S. land, air and sea forces joined the fight. “If the best minds in the world had set out to find us the worst possible location in the world to fight this damnable war,” U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson once said, “the unanimous choice would have been Korea.” For American officials, it was a war against the international forces of Communism. “It was a dirty game,” said Ernie Fiene Jr. of Johnson Lake. “We knew it was.” Fiene served in the 2nd Infantry for two years in Korea, including six months as a covert observer, moving ahead of the front line of battle to send information back to the troops. From the beginning of the 20th Century, Korea had been part of the Japanese empire. After World War II, it was up to America and the Soviet Union to determine the fate of Japanese imperial territories. The country was divided in half along the 38th parallel. Russia occupied the north and the U.S. had the south.

By the end of the 1940s, two new governments had formed. In the south, anti-communist dictator Syngman Rhee had the hesitant support of the U.S. Communist dictator Kim II Sung was supported by the Soviet Union. “If we let Korea down,” President Harry Truman said at the time, “the Soviets will keep right on going and swallow up one place after another.” It started as a defensive war, one to get Communists out of South Korea. Soon, it became an offensive one, a war to liberate North Korea from the Communists. The U.S Congress never declared war in Korea. “If a burglar breaks into your house, you can shoot him without going down to the police station and getting permission,” Senator Tom Connally told President Truman when asked if Congressional approval was necessary. After three years of bloody fighting that led to 33,651 American battle deaths and 3,262 other deaths, North and South Korea agreed to an armistice. Unlike World War II and the Vietnam War, Korean did not receive much media attention in the U.S. But the unpopularity of the war played a part in the presidential campaign of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had promised to go to Korea. President-elect Eisenhower went to Korea on Dec. 2, 1952. After visiting the troops, their commanders and South Korean leaders and receiving briefings on the military situation in Korea, Eisenhower conclud-

We Salute Our

Veterans Shrake Body Shop, Inc. David Refior, Owner

102 W. Front St. North Platte, NE 308-532-1053 Fax 308-532-2283

Diane Wetzel / The North Platte Telegraph

The Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., was dedicated on July 27, 1995. It features 16 stainless-steel statues representing an ethic cross section of America. The dedication stone, located at the point of the triangle leading to the American flag, reads: “Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.”

By DIANE WETZEL | dwetzell@nptelegraph.com

ed, “We could not stand forever on a static front and continue to accept casualties without any visible results. Small attacks on small hills would not end this war.”

(Eisenhower archives — eisenhower.com.) President Eisenhower sought an end to the fighting in Korea through a combination of diplomacy and military

muscle-flexing. On July 27, 1953, seven months after President Eisenhower’s inauguration as the 34th President of the United States, an armistice was signed

ending organized combat operations and leaving the Korean Peninsula divided, much as it had been since the close of World War II, at the 38th parallel. In his speech to Americans on the signing of the armistice, Eisenhower said, “With special feelings of sorrow and of solemn gratitude, we think of those who were called upon to lay down their lives in that far-off land to prove once again that only courage and sacrifice keep freedom alive upon the earth. “To the widows and orphans of this war, and to those veterans who bear disabling wounds, America renews tonight her pledge of lasting devotion and care ... each of us devoutly prays that all nations may come to see the wisdom of composing differences in this fashion before, rather than after, there is resort to brutal and futile battle.”


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VETERANS 2013

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2013

THE NORTH PLATTE TELEGRAPH

These veterans will never forget

iles Simmons, of Wallace, was battling the flu on the day of the Korean War Honor Flight, but he was determined not to miss the chance to visit Washington, D.C., in the company of other veterans. Simmons flew to Washington with his daughter and grandchildren, joining the other Nebraska veterans for the day’s events. A total of 135 combat veterans went on the one-day trip to the nation’s capital on Oct. 29. “It was pretty nice,” Simmons said. “I think it is something everybody should have a chance to do, go to Washington and see all the monuments. We were treated pretty royally.” Simmons, who enlisted in the Army rather than be drafted — “It cost me an extra year in the service” — fought with the 2nd Division on the front lines for six months. “I was never wounded, but I had a lot of close calls,” he said. “The first morning I was there, I was in a bunker and they started shelling us and one landed right on top of the bunker. Luckily, none of us got hurt.” Other members of his unit were not so lucky. Simmons found himself transferred to a heavy weapons platoon, where he fired 60mm mortars. Simmons also served for six weeks at Koje-Do Island prisoner of war camp, where more than 170,000 Communist and non-Communist prisoners were held. In May 1952, prisoners rioted and took Brigadier General Francis T. Dodd captive. “A lot of the ant-Communists tried to escape,” Simmons said. “A lot of them were murdered while they were in there.” Simmons was selected to serve for the 8th Army Honor Guard in Seoul. “I was down there until I came home,” he said. “Whenever some dignitaries would come to Korea to see how the war was going, they would land at Seoul. We would stand in formation to greet them.” Very early one morning, Simmons was on duty, when a man wearing a nightgown wandered down the hall and asked where he could find a cup of coffee. It was President Dwight D. Eisenhower. “He shook my hand and visited with us for about 15 minutes,” Simmons said. “He was just a regular Joe.” More than 60 years later, Simmons still gets a little emotional, talking about his time in Korea. “I had a real soft spot in my heart for the Korean people,” he said. “They were good people, honest, hardworking people. There were so many little orphan kids. That was

Fred Purdum — Valentine

Rodney, left, and Roger Aden, of Gothenburg, stand in front of a restored Korean War jeep with a World War II-era flag during pre-flight activities at the first Korean War Veterans Honor Flight.

Niles Simmons — Wallace

Orville Schmidt, left, of Cozad, shares memories of Korea with Don Stoural, of Verdigre, center, and Burt Brazee, of Columbus, during the pre-flight activities in Omaha before the Korean Veterans Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., on Oct. 29. By DIANE WETZEL | dwetzell@nptelegraph.com

always sad.” Going on the Honor Flight for his first trip to Washington, D.C., was a very good experience, he said. “I was surprised to see so many of the veterans in wheelchairs and using walkers,” he said with a laugh. “I didn’t realize they were all that old.” n

Lee Isom, of Mullen, was among the combat veterans who went on the trip to Washington. During the Korean War, Isom was assigned to the 8th Fighter Bomber Wing and served in Korean in 1951 and 1952. “This was something I really wanted to do,” Isom said, talking about the Honor Flight. “I didn’t think I would have a chance, but I was tickled to death to get on this flight.” n

Identical twins Rodney and

Roger Aden, of Gothenburg, served in the military together from basic training to combat medic service in Korean. They also traveled to Washington, D.C., together. After reading about the Korean War Honor Flight in the North Platte Telegraph, they applied and were chosen out of the 550 Korean War veterans who submitted applications. “This has been an amazing day,” Rodney said. n

Ernest “Ernie” Fiene Jr., of Johnson Lake, served in the 2nd Infantry in Korea for two years, spending six months on the front lines before becoming a covert observer. A CO moves ahead of the front lines to observe. “It was a dirty game,” he said. “We knew it was. We could have won the war several times but were pulled back.”

n

Fred Purdum, of Valentine, was among the troops who took part in the landing at Inchon in September 1950. He fought at the Chosin Reservoir and was wounded in action on Dec. 3, 1950. Like many of the veterans, Purdum reminisced about the extreme cold he experienced while fighting in Korea. “It would be 30 or 40 degrees below zero and the snow would be hub deep,” he said. After being wounded, he spent months in the hospital. “I was in the hospital from December to April,” he said. “I left the hospital on April Fool’s Day and arrived back in San Fransisco on Friday the 13th. Those are lucky days for me.” Leaning against a wall at the U.S. Air Force Memorial late in the day, Purdum said he was really enjoying the trip.

Lee Isom — Mullen “Some guy told me that if I ever had the chance to come on one of these trips, I should take it,” he said. “I’m really glad I did.” If there was a theme to the day, it was perhaps bewilderment from the veterans about all the fuss all these years later. “I couldn’t get over how total strangers would walk up and say thank you for your service,” Simmons said. “Korea was kind of the forgotten war. I know I appreciate folks saying thanks.”

A Nebraska Korean War veteran snaps photos at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C. The first Korean War Honor Flight took 135 veterans to the nation’s capital on Oct. 29.


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Smiles and salutes for a successful day in Washington, D.C. Nebraska Korean War veterans enjoy the sunshine at the U.S. Air Force Memorial during the recent Nebraska Korean War Veterans Honor Flight.

Nebraska Korean War veterans pay their respects at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Korean War veterans share stories at the U.S. Air Force Memorial.

Nebraska Korean War veterans watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery during the recent Korean War Honor Flight. The 135 participants in the Honor Flight were treated to trips not only to the Korean War Memorial, but also the World War II Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Marine and U.S. Air Force Memorials, as well as the national cemetery.

Nebraska Korean War veterans arrived at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Nebraska Korean War veterans pose for a photograph beneath the Nebraska pillar at the World War II memorial. Arlington National Cemetery for the changing of the guard.


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Honor Flights give back to vets

heir service and their sacrifice will not be forgotten. Although it has been six decades since the armistice ending the Korean conflict was signed, the veterans who served remember their time fighting in Korean in vivid detail. On Oct. 29, 2013, 136 Nebraska Korean War veterans traveled on the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., where they visited their memorial and other sites. The one-day trip was organized by Bill and Evonne Williams, of Omaha. The Williamses were responsible for organizing seven Heartland Honor Flights that took more than 1,500 Nebraska and western Iowa World War II veterans to Washington in 2008 and 2009. Since then, the Williamses created “Remembering the Fallen,” a traveling photo exhibit to honor members of the military who died in war zones since Sept. 11, 2001. The exhibit now includes 11 states. They also created Patriotic Productions, which brings special events to the Omaha area. “People often ask us why we do it,” Evonne Williams said. “Neither one of us were in the military, but all four of our sons are. We were not sitting in a foxhole or lying wounded under a jeep like some of our Korean veterans were. Most of us can’t appreciate what our Korean veterans went through.” The couple’s commitment to honoring veterans is absolute. They devote endless hours to raising money, organizing volunteers and getting to know the veterans who apply to go on the trips. Bill Williams announced plans for a Korean War veterans Honor Flight in July 2013. With the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, now was the time, he said. The

Nebraska U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns visits with a Nebraska Korean War veteran at the Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C. during October 29 Honor Flight.

Diane Wetzel / The North Platte Telegraph

Lee Terry, were on hand to greet the veterans. The volunteers, referred to as “guardians,” helped get the veterans on and off the buses and to the memorials. During the day-long event, they visited the Korean Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial and the Marine and U.S. Air Force Memorials. Then they watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Audie Murphy’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery was a popular destination for many of the veterans. Murphy was the most decorated combat soldier of World War II. Diane Wetzel / The North Platte Telegraph “All those decorations Nebraska Korean War veterans gather for a group photograph at the Korean Memorial in Washington, D.C., were thrust on people,” said William McNichols, during their recent trip on the Korean War Honor Flight. standing at Murphy’s grave. “Nobody went lookcouple received more than By DIANE WETZEL | dwetzell@nptelegraph.com these veterans to see their ing for them.” 550 applications but could memorial, share their The day concluded with only take 135 on the trip. stories and honor their a twilight stop back at the 28, when veterans and When the applications Money was needed to comrades is very special.” Korean Memorial, where their families arrived in were processed, the list charter an airplane and The banquet ended the group gathered in Omaha. Checking in at included veterans from pay for coach transporaround 8 p.m., but many the darkness for a group the Ramada Plaza, each Scottsbluff to Omaha. All tation in Washington, of the veterans stayed photo. U.S. Congressman received an embroidered had spent time in combat as well as paying for the to dance to the big band Adrian Smith joined the blue polo shirt and jacket, zones in Korea. It was a special send-off banquet sounds of the Greg Spevak group for a brief visit to along with a book about medaled crowd, with one the evening before and Orchestra. thank the veterans for the Korean War complied Distinguished Service other costs. Then at 3 a.m., they their service. Fundraising was a chal- Cross recipient, two Silver by the Omaha World-Hergathered for coffee before Everyone in the group ald. Each veteran had the Stars, 16 Purple Hearts lenge. The WWII Honor boarding buses to travel was tired and foot-weary and seven Bronze medals. opportunity to have his Flights drew big donors, to Eppley Airport to get but remained happy as picture taken standing in “The hard part was like Dan Whitney (Larry on the plane to Washingthey gathered at Dulles front of a restored Korean disappointing those who the Cable Guy) and the ton, D.C. Airport for the flight War era jeep, holding a didn’t get to go,” Bill WilPeter Kiewit Foundation. “What unit were you home. On the return trip, World War II era Ameriliams said. The Williamses raised with?” was the most-asked the plane was filled with can flag. Among the Purple Heart $1.2 million, administered question. conversations about what “Oh, that looks really recipients on the trip was through the Nebraska On their way to secuthey had seen and what familiar,” said Roger VFW, for the WWII flights. Bob Wallman, of Friend. rity, the Brass in Blues they had experienced in Aden, of Gothenburg, as Wallman served in the “The Korean War vets band from Offutt Air Korea so long ago. 1st Calvary, 7th Regiment. he walked up to pose in are the little brothers of Force Base played lively The arrival back in A mortar shell blew off his front of the jeep with his the WWII guys and they songs to put some pep in Omaha was punctuated twin brother, Rodney. right leg on Oct. 4, 1951. got the short end of the the early morning. with hugs and enthusiasFormer U.S. Congress“We were taking some deal,” Williams said. Once the airplane tic thank yous for those man Hal Daub, who is little hill in Korea,” he “They know it. The least arrived in Washington, who had made the trip possaid. “I started up the hill, also a veteran, was host we can do is try.” D.C., the veterans were sible. More than 200 people at the banquet, introducbut didn’t get very far.” Money to pay for the separated into groups and were waiting to greet the ing speakers Gov. Dave Wallman was evacuthey boarded tour buses. Korean War Honor Flights veterans as they arrived Heineman and Dr. George Each bus had a volunteer ated to a MASH unit by came in mostly through home, with signs welcomChang from the Nebraska helicopter. captain to keep track of smaller donations. Mike ing them home again. Korea Association. Daub “Those chopper pilots the veterans, and severJacobson, president and If Bill and Evonne Wilpraised the efforts of the were the real heroes,” he al volunteers on board. CEO of NebraskaLand liams have their way, each Williamses in putting tosaid. There were medical National Bank in North one of the 550-plus Korean gether the Honor Flights. After a long hospital personnel along in case of War veterans who applied Platte, stepped up and “It has been a Herculean any health issues. stay in Kentucky, Walldonated $20,000. The Wilto go on the trip will eventask to make Nebraska man returned to Lincoln, The Korean Memorial liamses were pleased to tually get to Washington. Honor Flights the model where he sold cars for 30 was the first stop on the have a major donor from It’s a matter of raising the for all states,” Daub said. years. tour. U.S. Senators Mike the western part of the money to pay for it. “They have accomplished The 2013 Honor Flight Johanns and Deb Fisher, state, pushing the project “We will try to do anthis with volunteer supalong with Representafor Korean War veterans rather than focusing on other flight in the spring,” tives Jeff Fortenberry and Bill Williams said. port, time and love. For began on Monday, Oct. the east.

A Salute to Our Heroes: Our Veterans  

Publication dedicated to the sacrifices of veterans in Nebraska.

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