The Official Newsmagazine of Dodge City High School •Nov. 11, 2011 • Volume 92 • Issue #1
Veterans Day 2011
www.dchsdodger.com • THE DODGER
02 Veterans Day | Lineup
Erin Finley..............................Editor Austin Ridenour......................Sports Brayden Whitaker...................Sports
Michael Gainer....................Reporter Edith Herrera.......................Reporter
Alex Mueller............ Reporter/Photo Alonso Acevedo...................... Photo Cindy Moore........................ Adviser
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Editorial Policy The Dodger is a publication produced by the Dodge City High School journalism department. The newspaper attempts to inform and entertain its audience in a broad, fair, and accurate manner on all subjects that affect the readers. The publication seeks also to provide a forum for the opinion of students, the staff of the paper, and the faculty to encourage an exchange of ideas on all issues of prominence to readers. The Dodger staff encourages letters to the editors, as they constitute avenue for student opinion. Due to space limitations, not all letters can be published. The editors reserve the right to edit all letters for appropriate placement as long as the meaning and intent remain unchanged. The letter must be signed to be considered for publication. The opinions expressed throughout the publication are not necessarily those of the faculty, the administration, or USD #443. Unsigned articles are a general consensus of the staff, while signed articles are the personal forum of the writer. All letters, columns, stories, photos and art become legal property of The Dodger at the time they are submitted. Old Glory. The American flag flies in the wind. Cover design by Luke Bunker • Photo Flickr: jnn1776
p. 03 | ……………………………………… Honoring Those Who Serve p. 04-05 |…………………………………………………………… Ty Lampe p. 06 | ………………………………………………………………Paul Stoda p. 07 | ……………………………………………………… Charles Holuska p. 08-09 | …………………………………………………………… Joe Finley p. 10-11 | …………………………………………………………Delgar Finley p. 12 | ……………………………………………………… Military Mother p. 13 | …………………………………………………… Military Branches p. 14-15 | ………………………………………………………James Ramsey p. 16 | ……………………………………………………………Don Gunckel
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Veterans Day | Column 03
If anyone has seen my car, they usually come to the conclusion that I am a peace loving person—to some, a hippie. It is very true that I believe in saving the environment and promoting peace. However, while I may not believe that wars are the solution, I do think it is very important to honor Veterans, their families, and those currently serving. Everyday, military personnel put their lives on the line to defend our country. They leave their family and friends behind and sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice. Some of these members of the military are not much older than high school students. In fact, many of us have friends who have enlisted in the military. For this Veterans Day, the
Dodger wanted to honor those who have served/are serving, as well as their family members. This is the second Veterans Day issue of the Dodger. This issue is meant to tell the stories of those who have served, as well as those who are serving. Many of the featured veterans are family members of Dodger staff. Through interviews and pictures, I have learned many things about my father and grandfather that I may never have discovered. Hopefully this issue will encourage you to ask questions and learn the history of your relatives or maybe even your neighbor. Everyone has a story if you are just willing to listen.
A Short History
The first commemoration of Veterans took place on Nov. 11, 1919 when President Wilson declared it to be Armistice Day. It was called Armistice Day because WWI ended with the Treaty of Ver-
sailles and an armistice between Allied Nations and Germany took place. This armistice took place on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month; thus Nov. 11. The original intention was that it was to be a day of parades and meetings. The American flag was to be flown on government buildings during Veterans Day. Nov. 11 became a legal holiday in May 1938. It was orginally called Armistice Day until the Act was amended in 1954 and Armistice was replaced with Veterans. In 1954, President Eisenhower also created a Veterans Day National Committee. After the Uniform Holiday Bill, Veterans Day was moved to a Monday so the date changed every year. The Uniform Holiday Bill created holidays with three-day weekends such as Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. After confusion
and public dislike, President Ford signed a new law moving Veterans Day back to Nov. 11, regardless of the day of the week. Veterans Day is meant to “honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.” (United States Department of Veterans Affairs) Enjoy the stories about bravery and courage located in this Veterans issue. Hopefully you will gain more insight into the life of military personnel and their families. Also, take the time to thank a veteran or someone currently in the military for his/her decision to fight for their country. Without them, we could not enjoy our freedoms. Information taken from:
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Honoring those who serve
04 Veterans Day | Ty Lampe, Class of 2003
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Supporting the decision
9/11 spurs ‘03 alum to enlist
When soldiers enlist in the military, priorities change and sacrifices are made. The decision is not made lightly without a lot of soul searching and questioning. Shawn Lampe, DCHS assistant principal, and his wife Monica supported their son’s decision to enlist in the military. Lampe’s son, Ty, enlisted in the USMC, or United States Marine Corps “between his junior and senior year” in what the Marines call “inactive duty.” “When you enlist in the Marine Corps, you enlist four years of active duty, and four years of inactive duty. Basically it means that if the U.S. would go to war, he would be called before a draft,” Lampe said. Because he enlisted early, Ty has completed one year of inactive duty. “Because he had four years of inactive duty and he enlisted between his junior and senior year, his senior year was an inactive duty year. So when he leaves the Marines, he will have three years of inactive duty still to do,” Lampe said. When Ty first told his dad that he wanted
Armored Vehicle. Tyler Lampe, Class of 2003, sits in an armored vehicle during one of his tours of duty in Afghanistan. • Photo Courtesy
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Veterans Day| Ty Lampe, Class of 2003 05
to enlist in the Marine Corps during his junior year, his dad had mixed feelings about his decision. “He had opportunities to go to college to play football or basketball, and I really wanted him to do that, but I also knew how interested he was in the Marines. We were proud of him, but we were also scared for him because after 9/11, there was a possibility of war,” Lampe said. Ty’s breakthrough decision to enlist in the Marines happened when 9/11 came about. “When 9/11 happened, he decided that he wanted to enter the Marine Corps,” Lampe said. Of Ty’s three siblings who are all sisters, he is the second one in the family. Crystal, the eldest, currently resides in Wellington, KS. Morgan, who is Ty’s younger sister, is currently a FHSU student. Ciera is a junior at DCHS. After graduating from DCHS in 2003, Ty left for basic training in San Diego. Lampe’s most memorable moment with Ty since he enlisted was when he graduated from boot camp. “He graduated boot camp as a ‘guide.’ There were more than 900 Marines who graduated in that session. The guides were in the top nine. It was really cool that they stood out because they wore their dress blues instead of their khakis,” Lampe said. In addition, “Ty was a top marksman in shooting school,” Lampe said. After boot camp, Lampe was sent to Camp Pendleton, where he received additional training as an intelligence analyst. Following that, he was sent to 29 Palms, Calif. Lampe’s other previous postings were Yuma, Ariz., Camp Lejuene in Jacksonville, N.C., Iraq, and Afghanistan. Because Ty is an intelligence analyst, he is prohibited from revealing what he has done and where he has been. “Often he can’t tell us what he’s doing or where he is because of his intelligence position,” Lampe said. As part of Ty’s job description, Ty has to blend with the “villagers” to be able to get information. “The first thing they told him when he got to Afghanistan was to grow his beard to fit in with the villagers because that’s part of what he does -- he goes into the villages and tries to get information,” Lampe said. Since Afghanistan, Ty has been working for MARSOC. MARSOC, or Marines Special Operations Command, is a prestigious group in
the Marines. Today, Ty is a staff sergeant working as an intelligence analyst at Camp Lejeune. In addition, since Feb. 24, 2006, MARSOC established their military unit near Camp Lejeune. The things Lampe misses the most are the simple father-son moments that most fathers and sons take for granted these days. “I just miss having him around where I can talk to him everyday and see him. Going hunting and fishing, playing basketball and things like that,” Lampe said. Generally speaking, the military tends to change peoples’ personalities. Having that said, even though Lampe only sees his son once a year, he believes Ty is still the same Ty he knows. “He hasn’t changed at all. He is still a wild man. When he comes back, he is normal Ty,” Lampe said. Lampe feels just like any father who has a child in the military. “I am very proud of him and his choice to join the military and stay in the military,” Lampe said. “I’m very nervous every time he gets deployed because he’s going to war and it’s a dangerous job,” Lampe said. “I have more of an appreciation of the military and the sacrifices that they make,” he said.
Graduation. Tyler Lampe graduated from boot camp as a ‘Guide,’ one of nine in a group of 900 who earned this honor. • Photo Courtesy
Lampe Siblings. Morgan, Crystal, Ty and Cierra pose for family photo on one of his rare visits home. Lampe is currently stationed at Camp Lejuene in Jacksonville, N.C. • Photo Courtesy
in U.S. Marine Corps
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06 Veterans Day | Paul Stoda
“It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure”
Continuing a military tradition
-Edith Herrera Paul Stoda, DCHS math teacher, served in the Navy as a reactor operator from 1983-1989, starting at age 22. He enlisted after attending Sterling College, a private college in Sterling, Kan. Serving in the military was a family tradition. “On my mom’s side, I had a grandfather, uncle and cousin in the Navy. My dad’s brothers were in the Army.” Enlisting in the Navy was something Stoda always considered. “I wanted to enlist on and off for most of my life,” Stoda said. Stoda enlisted despite objections from his mother and girlfriend at that time. “My mom seemed to be okay with it. She didn’t like that I was in nuclear power, especially because of what they always say about nuclear radiation,” Stoda said. Stoda attended boot camp at the Recruit Training Command in the U.S. Navy at Great Lakes, Ill., for six months. “Basically a large part of boot camp was to learn water-tight integrity or ship safety,” Stoda said. After boot camp, Stoda attended the Electronics “A” School to become a reactor operator. Three months later, he was assigned to the nuclear power school in Orlando, Fla., for six months before going to Alameda, Calif. After completing his training, Stoda was assigned to the 7th Fleet in the USS Carol Vinson CVN70 in a prototype in Idaho Falls, Idaho. “The ship was stationed in Alamada, Calif. near Oakland and San Fransico,” Stoda said. “The prototype is an actual nuclear plant, but on land. I then lived on a floating city for the next four years,” Stoda said Stoda did not work as a reactor operator immediately. He had to work his way up from a log recorder before being promoted to a reactor operator. Stoda’s job description as a
In Uniform. Paul Stoda poses for a picture in his military uniform. • Photo Courtesy
reactor operator was to ensure sure nothing out of the ordinary was going on. “There’s a panel in front of the reactor control. It said what the temperatures were, the speed of the cooling pumps and the pressure of the pressurizer. On each side of the panel were guys who controlled the propeller shafts in the water,” Stoda said. Basically if something was going on with the nuclear plant, Stoda’s crew were the ones who dealt with the situation. Even though Stoda was never in the front lines during his six years of active duty, the USS Stark was sunk not too far from his location during the “Iran-Iraq crisis” that lasted from September 1980 to 1988. During this crisis, Iran and Iraq were disputing over the Shatt al Arab, a waterway that empties into the Persian Gulf and forms the boundary between Iran and Iraq. “The USS Stark was sunk just about 40 miles from me. This was during the Iraq-Iran crisis. I was just a short distance away when the USS Vincennes shot down a passenger plane from the Iranian crew,” Stoda said. A typical day for Stoda consisted of 20-hour daily shifts. “You get up for what you call ‘morning muster.’ The reactor officer reviewed the maintenance needs for the week and what was going on politically throughout the ship. Then we would go to
preventive maintenance,” Stoda said. “After that was done, if our watch was coming up, we did that. The rest of us then had a little free time. We had two to three hours of maintenance per day and six to eight hour watches per day. If we had time, we could watch airplanes take off, go to the weight room or read. That’s all the entertainment we had,” Stoda said. Stoda’s most “powerful” moment in the military was when he saw someone die. “I saw a guy crushed by a door on the ship. We had doors that weighed 1,500 pounds. It went from the hanger to the deck. It cut off the bottom half of his body. I remember they brought up a phone so that he could talk to his wife because they knew he would die when the door was opened,” Stoda said. Even though Stoda is not a reactor operator in the civilian
world, he still applies skills that he learned in the military. “I would say it’s helping me with applications. It surprised me how much it can be applied in the real world. For example, in radiation, we used point sounders and line sounders which were similar to point and line perspective as well as being able to draw quick pictures of locations and problems in the power plant,” Stoda said. Stoda believes that anyone interested in the military would benefit. “I can see any type of person in the Navy. It’s a good place to learn discipline and tech training and have it paid for,” Stoda said. He also advised people to go into the military with a little more education than just a diploma. “The more education you have when you go in, the more options you have,” Stoda said.
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Veterans Day | Charles Holuska 07
-Michael Gainer Charles Holuska enlisted in the Navy in 1949 when he was 19years-old. Holuska’s family and friends supported his decision to join the Navy. If he had not joined the Navy, he would have had to to join the Army. During his time in the Navy, Holuska was stationed on a ship as quartermaster. The quartermaster’s duties included being responsible for steering the ship and applying the helm orders given by the Captain or watch officers. At the time he would be at sea for most of his tour. He spent eight months at sea on his first tour. He then transferred to the USS Talladega. On the Talladega he traveled to Pusan, South Korea, and was stationed on the ship for two years. Holuska remembers picking up a group of Korean prisoners who had to be transported to Hong Kong. The prisoners were accompanied by Marines who was
guarded them. They were taking the prisoners to a military prison in Hong Kong. The sailors only had a few times where they stopped at docks and had shore leave. They always were together on the ship so being able to have a bit of freedom was good. “We went swimming and just relaxed when he anchored in Hong Kong. It was a blast,” Holuska said.
Once the fun was done, it was back to the ship. They disembarked from Hong Kong to return the Marines to Korea. His next posting was to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Their ship was anchored 200 yards away from where the Arizona was sunk by the Japanese during World War II taking 1,177 lives. When Holuska left Hawaii, he was stationed at an air base in Adak, Alasks. There his duties
included monitoring ship and plane positions and reporting them to the main station. He was in Adak for 13 months. After another year there, Holuska was back at sea. Even though he served his time during the Korean War, Holuska never faced any hardships. Planes or submarines never attacked his crew ship. Often times they would watch battleships fight in the distance. “They would just light up the night,” he said. Holuska was discharged in 1953 at a naval base in San Diego. Holuska went back to his parents’ home in Holly, Colo., where he returned to farming for about two or three years before moving to Dodge City. He met his wife Pat in Dodge City, and they’ve been married for 35 years. “I don’t regret joining the Navy. I enjoyed my time in the Navy. “I’ve had a good life (smiles),” Holuska said.
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08 Veterans Day| Joe Finley
Across the Ocean Growing up in Okinawa his family followed. “Because of his rank in the Marines, he was allowed to have his family accompany him,” said Finley. Moving to a new country always presents many changes children must adapt to ranging from climate to food to dealing with discrimination. “For the most part, the weather was mild except during the rainy season. We did not have any snow,” said Finley. “We did not have a source of fresh drinking water. Rainwater was collected and treated and then used for drinking. During typhoon season, we would have to stay inside our house and wait for the storm to pass. Sometimes we would be out of water for several days. Before
2 -Erin Finley According to the Government Executive website, over 1 million children have parents who are serving in the military. Children can be greatly affected by their parent’s deployment whether they must cope with having their parent away from them for long periods of time or they must adjust to a new environment because of a move due to military deployment. Joe Finley spent most of his childhood traveling around to military bases and overseas while his dad was in the Marines. “I moved to Okinawa when I was eight years old and went to the third, fourth, and fifth grades there,” said Finley. “Before moving to Okinawa, I had lived in Oceanside Calif., Quantico, Va., and Sharon Springs, Kan.” Finley’s father served as a Marine in Vietnam. After Vietnam, he was transferred to Okinawa and
we left Okinawa, there was a water shortage and water was rationed. We had to go to a water truck and get our daily allowance of five gallons. Some types of food were not readily available either; such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. Everything had to be shipped in from the United States.” Although the family was in a different country, they didnt eat much local food because they stayed on base. “We really did not eat off base very often as we could go to the enlisted men’s club and eat,” said Finley. “There were no fast food restaurants then so we ate at home
most of the time. Eating out was a special treat. I did eat the local food as part of my culture class that was required in the fourth or fifth grade. We learned how to use chopsticks and we also learned about some of the local history and culture when we went to a local restaurant. The food consisted of noodles, vegetables, and squid. I did not eat the squid because it was not cut up like we cut our meat; it was the whole squid. We were not encouraged to eat the local food, as you could not be sure how it was grown (what chemicals, etc, were used).” Most people that move to new countries eventually experience a culture shock. Discrimination and bad feelings toward the newcomer can be a difficult obstacle to defeat as well. “Okinawa was occupied by the United States as a result of its capture during World War II,” said Finley. “As a result, some of the local people were not very fond or friendly towards Americans. Military personnel were a minority and sometimes we experienced discrimination.” Military base life differs from that of a regular community and although Finley had lived on a base for most of his life, moving to an overseas military presented new challenges as well as opportunities. “The base was secured from the local Japanese. We had to have an ID card to leave and re-enter the base,” said Finley. “We only had one car and to get to different bases, go to the grocery store, the movies, or anything else, required that we use the military bus if Dad was not available since he had the only car.”
The school system on the Okinawa base was also different than the United States school system. “Sports were not a part of the school system and buses were not provided so all students had to walk to school. It was not uncommon to walk over a mile to school,” said Finley. “The first year I went to school, the school was so crowded that we went half days so all of us could attend. The second year a new school was built, but the cafeteria did not serve meals, so we either walked home or brought our lunch.” During his time in Okinawa, Finley played on a baseball team for military children. His team found great success. “My baseball team won the base championship so we got to participate in the island championship tournament,” said Finley. “If we had won we would have gone to the Little League World Championship.” Although living on a military base had its challenges it also allowed Finley and his family to experience activities and events they would have otherwise not had
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Veterans Day | Joe Finley 09
the opportunity to see. “We sometimes left the base to explore Okinawa although we were not allowed to go anywhere that was more than two hours away,” said Finley. “We would visit some of the temples and shrines and monuments to WWII. We would also shop off base if possible and visit the beach.” Being a child in a military family provided Finley with unique insight, and although he had to sacrifice some normal childhood experiences, the insight has benefited him in his adult life. “Because we moved every two to three years and I lost a lot of my friends, I think it made me a little apprehensive to make long lasting friendships,” said Finley. “As an adult it made me want to provide my family with a home base and not move around.” Because of the time period of the war, Finley also experienced discrimination at home. “My father was in the Marines during the Vietnam War and because Veterans were not very popular during that time, I experienced a little discrimination and was made to feel ashamed that my father was serving his country,” said Finley. “Serving in the military during the Vietnam war was very different from now. People protested the war and military personnel were not very popular. It was almost more
hostility than discrimination. It just wasn’t military personnel. Our country as a whole experienced this hostility. As a military child, we always said the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem opened every ceremony (movies, ball games, school functions). We would never have thought of bad mouthing the President of the United States. Having people show disrespect for the flag and our county was something new and disturbing for me and still effects me today when I see or hear someone show disrespect to our country and leader.”
1. Snow Day. Joe Finley in Quantico, Va. • 1966 2. All Grown Up. Finley and his family at Heceta Head State Park in Oregon. • 2010
3. Home Run. Finley gets ready for his baseball game in Okinawa. • August 1970
4. Merry Christmas. Finley participates in Christmas traditions while in Okinawa • December 1968
5. Cousins. Finley and his cousin Susan in Sharon Springs, Kan. •1965
6. Oceans Away. The island of Okinawa is south of Japan and a little north of Taiwan. It is circled on the map. •Wikimedia
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10 Veterans Day | Delgar Finley
By Sea and by Land Semper Fidelis: The Story of a Marine
-Erin Finley For many U.S. citizens, the 1930s through the 1970s was a scary time. With the depression, civil unrest and many wars, the nation was full of uncertainty. During this time of uncertainty, many young adults were drafted. Delgar Finley was one of those young adults drafted in 1951. “I was drafted but then I decided to join the Marine Corps,” said Finley. “I took my basic training in Recruit Depot in San Diego, Calif. from July 10, 1951 to Sept. 1951.” Finley had a variety of assignments throughout his career in the military. He started his career in the United States serving at El Toro, Calif., where he worked as an Aviation Engineering Clerk “keeping log books on aircraft.” In May of 1952, he was stationed in Korea. While he was there he made sergeant and “was transferred from the states on the USS General Pope to Japan and then flew to Korea.” He was immediately forced to adjust to military life.
“When I got there, the unit I was to join had moved to another base and I had to find my way there. I hopped a plane to where they were. We lived in tents until they built some Quonsets for living quarters. I never fired a shot while in Korea.” After leaving Korea, Finley went back to El Toro, Calif., where he switched his field to the intelligence field. After a brief stay in California, Finley was transferred to the naval air station in Denver, Colo. Finley liked this base the best because it was about 200 miles from his hometown of Sharon Springs, Kan. and he could visit more often. The military provided a steady income for Finley and he soon started a family. “I was stationed in Colorado from 1953 to 1957. SGT pay was about $170 a month plus a living allowance, which made my pay around $225. I got married to Phyllis Nadine on Nov. 1, 1953 and our first child; Pamela Nadine Finley was born on Aug. 6, 1955.” Finley met his wife, Phyllis, in their hometown of Sharon Springs, Kan. He hung out with her older brother and that is how he got to
know her. “The hardest part of having a husband in the military was the family separation,” said Phyllis. “We couldn’t communicate, except through letter, which took a long time to reach its destination.” A few years later, Finley was transferred to Camp Pendleton, Calif. in a Tank Battalion. While
here, Finley was assigned a new task. “One day the SGT Major came in and asked if there were three people who had Top Secret Clearances and I, of course, gave them my name. I was then sent to Cryptographer (a cryptographer is someone who decodes codes) school in San Diego and changed my field again to the communications field.” While at Camp Pendleton, Finley and his wife welcomed their first son, Joseph Eugene on July 13, 1960. One year later, Finley was transferred to Marine Corps Supply Depot in Barstow, Calif. The following years proved to be full of moves; the aspect Finley liked least about the military. •1964-1965: transferred to Okinawa to Marine Air Facility Futena •1965-1967: transferred to Quantico, Va. •1967-1968: transferred to Vietnam. Worked as the NCO of the biggest communication center in Vietnam.
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1971 until Aug. 1, 1971 and then moved with my family to Sharon Springs, Kan.” Finley spent 20 years and 20 days in the military and was happy with his decision to remain in the military because “the jobs in Sharon Springs did not pay very much.” He retired as a Master Gunnery Sgt-E-9: the highest enlisted. Being in the military provided Finley with the unique opportunity to enjoy new experiences. “If I hadn’t been in the military, I probably would not have flown on an aircraft or gone on a ship ride or lived in a foreign country.”
I Pledge Allegiance… Important Things to Remember
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
And according to Finley, the best thing about being in the military is the “retirement check he receives each month.” After returning from duty, Finley attended vocation school in Goodland, Kan. and graduated in 1973. He then worked for Van Allen Implement in Sharon Springs as a mechanic. He then taught for two years (1975-1977) at the vocation school in Goodland. In 1977 he returned to Van Allen Implement and worked there until retirement in 1995. After retiring, Finley served on the Sharon Springs Township board. He worked to bring the
In 1968, Finley was again transferred to Okinawa; however, this time his wife and children could join him. They lived together in government housing on base. “I enjoyed the warm climate and the typhoons were an interesting experience,” said Phyllis. “However, it was hard to not be able to eat the local fruits and vegetables.” In 1971, Finley was at the age of retirement and transferred from Okinawa to Camp Pendleton. “You could only retire on the first day of the month so I had to wait about 20 days until the first of Aug. 1971. I served from July 10,
Veterans Day| Delgar Finley 11
• The pledge should said by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. • Remove your hat with the right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, with the hand over the heart. • Display the U.S. flag everyday, but especially on national and state holidays. • The U.S. flag should be displayed on or near the main building of every public institution, in or near every school on school days, and in or near every polling place on election day. • Always raise the flag briskly; lower it slowly and ceremoniously.
cemetery records up to date. He is currently the treasurer to the board and the president of the Historical Society.
1. Ready for Action. Delgar Finley poses outside his tent while stationed in Korea.. • 1952
2. At Work. Finley on base in Okinawa. •1958 3. Working Hard. Finley sits at his desk while stationed in Okinawa. • 1959
4. On Base. Finley at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Finley’s first son, Joe, (his second child) was born at Camp Pendleton. • 1959
5. Time Flies. Delgar and his wife of 58 years, Phyllis. Visit our website!
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12 Veterans Day| Military Mother
Life as a military mother
Pair of brothers hear the ‘Call of Duty’
-Austin Ridenour Teri McPhaul is a typical ELL (English Language Learner) teacher here at Dodge City High School. She likes to read, talk with fellow teachers and hang out with friends. Yet many people may not be aware that Ms. McPhaul has two sons currently serving in the Marine Corp. McPhaul’s oldest son Sean Whalen is currently a Marine recruiter stationed in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Whalen enlisted in the Marines after his junior year. He left for basic training on Father’s Day just after graduating from DCHS. “I remember the day Sean left, because he left on Father’s Day so that was pretty ironic that he would leave for basic training on that day,” said McPhaul. Whalen began his basic training in 1999, in San Diego, Calif. Whalen has been stationed in various places around the world. He has been stationed in California, North Carolina and Michigan as well as Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan. Turkey was special for Whalen because he met his wife Mirihi there. Sean and Mirihi married in 2007 in Turkey. Whalen and Mirihi have two sons. “It’s unique that Sean and Mirihi met and married because they both come from different cultures which is pretty neat,” said McPhaul. “It was pretty funny because when they began to spend time together, they both carried Turkish translated to English books so they could communicate
with each other.” Whalen has been deployed to Iraq twice and was deployed to Afghanistan after serving as a Marine Security Officer. Whalen spent two six-month tours in southern Iraq and was there during the invasion of Baghdad. “Sean wasn’t in southern Iraq during the invasion, which was good for me to know because I knew he was a little safer, but I think he wishes that he had been in the invasion helping out his fellow soldiers.” During his tour overseas Whalen wasn’t the Marine you see on television who goes around kicking doors in and fighting on the front lines, but was a chapel’s assistant. Now Whalen is stationed in Michigan where McPahul knows he is safe and can keep in constant contact with him. Also serving in the Marines is McPhaul’s youngest son, Brenton. Brenton joined the Marines in 2008 just after graduation from DCHS, like his older brother Sean. “When Sean signed to join [the Marines] in 1999, there was no war going on and he knew that he wouldn’t have to be fighting, but Brenton knew what he was getting himself into. But he made the decision to join, and I supported him because I knew that it was his choice and that he wanted to do it,” McPhaul said. Brenton is currently stationed in Hawaii where he is a helicopter mechanic. Brenton has been deployed to Afghanistan three times twice on six-month tours and once on a two-week tour.
Family Tradition. Brothers Brenton McPhaul and Sean Whalen both serve in the United States Marine Corps. Their mother, Teri McPhaul, is a teacher at Dodge City High School. • Photo Courtesy
“Brenton went to Afghanistan for two weeks when he was asked to go over and fix a helicopter,” said McPhaul. “I told him that I thought it was a compliment that he was chosen, because out of all the mechanics who could have been chosen, they picked him.” Brenton recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan and is set to deploy again at the end of 2012. Brenton married his wife Aubrie, and they are expecting their first child in November. But the military family doesn’t stop there for McPhaul. McPhaul’s daughter, Shannon Holt, also has a husband also served in the Army Reserve and spent a 13-month tour in Iraq. He is now out of the military. Holt also has
two sons. “It’s kind of ironic that all of my kids are either in the military or have husbands or family members in the military. And all my kids either have boys or are going to have a boy, so we’re just a family full of boys,” joked McPhaul. As a military mother, McPhaul has had to deal with a lot, especially when it came to her sons’ safety. McPhaul says that she rarely got to talk to her sons while they were on tour overseas, but she said she would be able to see how they were doing through the e-mails their wives received from them. “Sean called me on Mother’s Day while he was on duty, which was really special for me and that made my day.”
Another struggle that McPhaul has faced as a military mother was trying to keep up with the news. She is always watching the news and trying to keep upto-date when her sons are deployed. “As a mom, it’s hard not to worry about your sons when they’re at war. I used to watch the news everyday to see what was going on over there, and when I wasn’t watching the news, I was on MSNBC. com trying to find whatever news I could about the war.” It is important to remember how much military families sacrifice when husbands, fathers, mothers, and children make the decision to serve in the military.
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Veterans Day |Military Organizations 13 Issue #2
Serving the nation…
Military branches active around the world -Austin Ridenour The United States Air Force (USAF) was founded Sept. 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of 1947. It is the most recent branch to be formed in the U.S. military. As of 2009, the USAF operates over 5,500 manned aircraft. There is approximately 330,159 personnel on active duty in the USAF. The USAF has many bases located in the United States. Most of these bases are located in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Texas because of the amount of open space that they provide. Wichita is home to the McConnell Air Force Base (AFB), which was transformed from an airport to an Air Force base in 1953. The McConnell AFB houses about 16,000 Air Force members. In addition to the large number of bases located in the U.S., there are also many bases located in countries around the world ranging from Germany to Japan. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is another major military wing that is part of the military in the United States. The Marines
Practice Makes Perfect. Military personnel practice medical evacuations using a helicopter. • Photo Flickr: DVIDSHUB
were founded in 1775, in an effort to help fight in wars. They have helped fight in every war since then that America has taken part of. As of October 2010, there were 203,000 active duty Marines and 40,000 reserve Marines. The USMC is the second smallest armed forces in the U.S. Department of Defense only in front of the Coast Guard. As one
of the smallest military branches, it is the lowest funded major military branch. An average Marine soldier costs about $20,000 for the soldier, equipment, supplies, etc. Marine bases are mostly located on the West Coast of the United States with a majority of them stationed in California and Hawaii. The United States Navy was founded in 1775 and
has operated continuously to this day. The Navy is one of the largest military branches, and it has a large number of active duty personnel with 333,642 and 101,689 people in the Navy Reserve. The Navy is also home to the world’s largest carrier fleet with 11 carrier ships in service. Perhaps, the most famously known Naval base is Pearl Harbor, for
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the attacks by Japan in WWII. There are also many other Naval bases around the U.S. coast lines with bases in California, Texas, Florida and Maine. Finally there is the Army. The United States Army was also created in 1775 along with with the Navy and Marine Corps, and is the main military branch for the United States. The Army is home to 561,984 active personnel. With the inclusion of the the Army Reserve and the National Guard, the United States Army is the largest military branch with 1,129,275 total soldiers. The Army has many bases throughout the United States along with many in other countries around the world. Army bases are located in Germany, Italy, South Korea, Iraq and many other places as well. There are also smaller branches like the Army Reserve, United States Coast Guard and the National Guard.
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14 Veterans Day | James Ramsey
Following in the family footsteps
Life as a Military Family -Alex Mueller Serving in the military is one of the most important jobs in this country. Protecting the freedoms enjoyed by millions of Americans is one of their primary duties. One man who served for the United States for many years is James Ramsey. As a young boy, Ramsey always wanted to join the Navy. “With the Cold War looming, I felt it was my patriotic duty to serve in the Armed Forces and told my father when I was around 10 years old that I wanted to be in the Navy when I grew up. My father and older brother were a big influence as they both were Naval aviators,” Ramsey said. After dreaming for eight years about serving for his country, he finally enlisted when he was 18, one month after graduating from high school. “The date was June 27, 1955. I was sworn into the US Navy as a Midshipman 4th Class at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. On June 8, 1960, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree and became a commissioned officer with the rank of Ensign, USN,” Ramsey said. “All midshipmen are eligible for a commission in either the U.S. Marine Corps or the U.S. Navy. From Annapolis I went directly to the Naval Air Training Command in Pensacola, Fla. About 14 months later, I became a designated naval aviator, receiving my father’s wings from my brother (who was also a Naval aviator) on Navy Day, Oct. 27, 1961,” Ramsey said. Training for the Navy was both difficult and enjoyable at the same time. Ramsey loved flight training, but felt differently about SERE training. “Flight training in Pensacola,
Christmas Time. LCDR James Ramsey is home for Christmas in 1968 while he was stationed at a naval air station in Corpus Christi, TX. He is with his children, Paul Ramsey, 4, and Kirstin Bangerter, 2. •Photo Mueller
Fla, and New Iberia, La, was a lot of fun. The most fun was formation flying. The hardest part was learning how to land on an aircraft carrier. Once I was carrierqualified, I received my wings; I was now a designated naval aviator,” Ramsey said. “Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) training in the desert at Warner Springs, Calif., prepared us for combat in the event we had to bailout over Vietnam and survive in the jungle. I didn’t like eating off the land,” he said. During flight training Ramsey realized that a career in the military was what he wanted. “Carrier-qualifying (landing an aircraft on a carrier deck safely) impacted me greatly. The day after that I was to be designated a naval aviator. From that day forward I knew that I wanted to have a career as a Naval aviator,” Ramsey said. Shortly after enlisting, Ramsey married Mary Lee. They have
three children, Paul, Kirstin, and Courtney. As the oldest children, Paul and Kirstin remember the most about this time period. There were definitely quite a few advantages of growing up in a military family. Some advantages included discounts everywherelike passes to theme parks. They were also able travel extensively and live near beautiful oceans. Because military families move around a lot, the children and spouses often have the opportunity to make new friends wherever they go. However, moving around a lot also had its disadvantages. When you move around a lot, it can be very difficult, because there can be gaps in your education. Also, you have to experience being the “new kid” over and over again. Leaving the people and places that you love is never an easy task, especially when your father is not often present to help with the
moving in and adjusting process. “I think it was the hardest on our mom; she was a single mother even though she was married. She didn’t work outside of the home because her job was to be a mother. She was very lonely,” Kirstin Bangerter, James Ramsey’s daughter, said. Because children in military families move around a lot, they never had the issue of having to explain what their father did or why he wasn’t at home. “We lived on Naval air stations, and every other kid there was in the same boat, so it wasn’t that big a deal. We didn’t get asked, ‘What does your dad do?’ but instead, ‘Where is your dad?’” Bangerter said. One of the hardest things for military personnel then was that there were few opportunities to make phone calls home, unlike today. “During sea operations we didn’t have phones to use, so we had to wait until the ship pulled into port to get a land-line phone, but the cost of a call home was too expensive…around $43 for three minutes, so actual conversations were few and far between,” Ramsey said. “The phone center was also usually the first place ashore where all shipboard personnel went after the carrier tied up to the pier, so you can imagine racing 5,000 other guys to get to the phones. We all wanted to call home,” Ramsey said. Although he couldn’t make long phone calls, Ramsey could send letters home to his family, and did so frequently. “When he was gone for long periods of time, we received huge packets of letters, and we would lay them all out on the table and sort them,” Bangerter said.
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Veterans Day| James Ramsey 15 Issue #2
Moving around was also very difficult for military personnel themselves. They never really knew exactly where they would be next, so they always had to be prepared to pick up and go. “I was stationed wherever my aircraft squadrons were based. The base was usually on land, but often times the squadron was deployed aboard an aircraft carrier. I joined my first squadron on the USS WASP (CVS-18) in Scotland. When the ship returned to Boston, our squadron flew off to our home base in Quonset Point, R.I.,” Ramsey said. “My next station was in a multiengine prop training squadron in Corpus Christi, Texas, and a jet training squadron in Kingsville, All in the Family. Vice Admiral Paul H. Ramsey, about 60, Commander William Ramsey, 30, LCDR James Ramsey, 26, and the wife of Vice Admiral Paul H. Ramsey, Isabelle Turton Ramsey, about 52, pose for a family picture in the Connecticut House at the Norfolk VA naval base. This picture was taken in 1963. •Photo Mueller
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Texas. From there, I was stationed in Oak Harbor, Wash., in an attack squadron,” he said. Ramsey also spent time in the South China Sea during the Vietnam War. “Our squadron then embarked in USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63) and departed for a nine-month combat tour to Vietnam ‘Yankee Station’ in the South China Sea.” Upon returning from Vietnam, Ramsey was stationed stateside. “My next station was in an instrument training fighter squadron in NAS Miramar, San Diego, Calif., followed by a ship’s company tour in the Combat Information Center (CIC) aboard USS RANGER (CV-61). A station tour followed at NAS Miramar,” he said. “My final station was a tactical air control squadron at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, with deployments to Buckner Bay,
Okinawa, aboard USS DENVER, USS TARAWA, and USS BLUE RIDGE as Officer in Charge of a tactical air control unit,” Ramsey said. Although he had to move around a lot, Ramsey had the support of his family. His wife and children were very pro-military, even though it was difficult at times. “I was too little to have an opinion about the war, but there was no question that our house was very pro-military and pro- United States. We supported the president without question,” Bangerter said. Knowing that his family was supportive made the long absence a little easier to bear. Ramsey loved serving his country, and his children definitely enjoyed the perks of military life. “I look back on that time with 90 percent happy memories,” Bangerter said.
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16 Veterans Day|Don Gunckel
“I was born to be a soldier” Transition to civilian life was difficult after Vietnam War -Mike Gainer Serving in the Army is not easy and some are either too afraid or don’t see the need to enlist. It takes courage and pride to make that committment. Later making the transition to civilian life sometimes is even harder. Sometimes going to college before enlisting is a better alternative than joining the military immediately after high school graduation. Don Gunckel, who enlisted in the Army in 1973, attended Garden City Community College for two years. Gunckel was in the United States Army for two years before he was wounded. When Gunckel left college, he knew the Army was in need of soldiers so he chose to enlist. Gunckel’s family supported his enlistment. Gunckel was stationed at Fort Ord, Calif. Fort Ord was one of the biggest training centers during the Vietnam Era. At age 27 everyone thought he had been there before because he was one of the oldest soldiers at Fort Ord. Gunckel’s daily routine was to wake up, get dressed and line up for inspection. The drill instructor examined each soldier to make sure he looked like a soldier. After inspection, the rigor of basic training continued. Gunckel was part of the infantry that went to Vietnam. Direct involvement in the Vietnam War
officially ended with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords Jan. 27, 1973. The last diplomatic, military and civilian personnel were evacuated by helicopter April 29, 1975. President Ford declared
an end to the Vietnam War on April 23, 1975 thus ending the unpopular war. In Vietnam, Gunckel injured his arm in combat. Because of his disability, he was unable to fight so he was given medical discharge. Gunckel was in the Army for two years. When he left, the Army said he could come back when he was fully recovered. He was never able to return because he reinjured his arm. Transition to civilian life was difficult. Gunckel was forced to live on the streets after his brother kicked him out of his house.
Gunckel’s brother called him ‘a dope boy’ because his clothes were baggy and he had long hair. He struggled to find a job after he left his brother’s and was homeless for 30 years. During his time on the streets, he rode the trains and traveled to a lot of places. “I went to Kansas City to St. Louis. That was my most common route.” Gunckel wanted to get off the streets; he just never told anybody. He believed that living on the streets was the only option available to him. Because he was unable to work, he finally signed himself into a nursing home using his military benefits. Gunckel grew up learning how to be a soldier. He lived on a farm with 2,000 acre yards where he
could run and hunt. “I was born to be a soldier. My parents taught me how to be a soldier at a young age.” “I remember my mom always telling me to go play cowboys with the other kids.” Even though he wasn’t in the Army that long, the Army made him grow up. The Army definitely made him a survivor. “The Army changed me. It made me a man.” Gunckel now lives at the Kansas Soldiers Home in Ft. Dodge and has lived there for some time now. He has ten great grandchildren. He spends his time studying psychology and reading the Bible.
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