Veterans and Trailblazers

Letter from Buck

UAHS Class of 1962 Classmates --

This year’s Upper Arlington Fourth of July Parade has a terrific theme; “Stars, Stripes and Trailblazers”

John Bergmann, who was a codebreaker for the U.S. Army during World War II, will serve as the Grand Marshal of the parade. He is 102 years old and is excited to be honored.

This link explains his service and details of the parade. https://news.yahoo.com/upper-arlington-civic-association-name-221743966.html?fr=yhssrp_catchall

As a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran, I would like to create some history for our website that details our veteran’s service to this great country and publicize our achievements when we served.

Other “Trailblazers” in our class are also worthy of having their history posted on our website. We would like to honor service in elected office or appointment to township, city, state or national offices.

We plan to confirm our UA July 4th theme by publicizing this history in the Fourth of July parade by either in a small float or a few cars meeting the new parade restrictions plus signs/posters and possibly patriotic music.

Class of 1962 Veterans and Civic Leaders: Please email me a couple of short paragraphs describing your military or civic service to be added to our website by May 15, 2022. We also hope you will be able to ride or walk in the parade

Thanks for your help and hope to see you all at our 60th Reunion.

Buck Byrne, UA Class of 1962 Parade Chair
.buck@buckbyrne.com


Military Service by the UAHS Class of 1962

Lois Grinstead                                                           

I joined the American Red Cross (ARC) stationed in three military installations in South Korea during the conflict in Vietnam. My next door neighbor on Berkshire Road lost his life in Vietnam. There were several Vets returning to my college having served and I was moved by them and injuries that they had sustained there. I asked myself what I could do to express my concern. I talked to Air Force recruiters but decided on ARC.  I served as a Program Director and Unit Head in Taegu, was also in Bupyong, a supply depot and Pyongtaek, Camp Casey. We traveled by Jeep, helicopter, boats, and trucks to remote posts where men were stationed to bring a sense of home and recreational events. There is a film that has been made by the son of one of the members. It’s won some awards and presents goals and accomplishments of ARC women, who have now been recognized for their service by including them on the DC monument to women who served over the years.

Here is a Link to Donut Dollies who made a real difference to those serving in foreign lands.

https://youtu.be/Qyb-BkZAVUQ

It’s called The Donut Dolly Documentary and just put it on Google. It shows several links to the film! Not many know about the program. I heard about it in the local news and talked to the local ARC office about it. Told 4 friends about it and Three of us were sent to Korea. The fourth was sent to Vietnam.

John Teichmoeller  Military Service Class of 1962

Thirty-four Months and Twenty-seven Days

I enlisted at Ft. Hayes in August of 1962 after spending the summer doing household projects.  At the time, the deal was that you could pick either your military occupational specialty (“MOS”) or overseas assignment.  I chose Topographic Surveyor, thinking that I might pick up some technical skills that might be useful for future employment and that would also offer something new for me, namely “outdoors experience.”

Basic Training was at Ft. Jackson, SC.  August and early September were dusty and hot but the grandeur of the tall pine woods in which we trained was hard to ignore.  The firing ranges and training courses were named for WWII battles.  I would later visit some of these in person.  My fellow recruits were a diverse group.  The drill sergeants made a big deal out of mocking those with complicated ethnic names.  Teichmoeller didn’t fare too badly.  I bet they don’t allow that now.  In most recruit classes there is a “yardbird,” a person who had been in the military before, left it, then returned with a long enough gap in service that required him to cycle through basic training again.  We had such a guy who was always fun to listen to as he told stories about what NOT to look forward to, such as things like “short arm inspections” and most of all “Korea.”  During basic training that little hiccup called the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted.  A call went out for recruits who possessed truck driver’s licenses to haul troops to Florida.  As far as I know, none of our unit was so conscripted, and I didn’t have a truck license either.  But we took bayonet training more seriously and learned to answer in loud unison the question shouted by the drill sergeant: “What is the spirit of the bayonet?” (TO KILL!).

Technical School was with the Corps of Engineers at Ft. Belvoir, VA, on the Potomac River right next to Mt. Vernon and was a relatively civilized experience. No more getting yelled at during meals. Our training was in the woodlands on the base. One day our instructor said one of the senior base officers had not been pleased by the way we meandered down the road carrying our instruments en-route to the field training areas.  We all thought we’d had enough marching in Basic Training, but we were instructed henceforth to march in military fashion carrying our instruments like weapons.  For some reason I was nominated to be the “platoon leader” and was responsible for calling cadence for the march.  I did the best I could to emulate the spirit, rhythm and tone of our African American sergeants from Ft. Jackson. Several officers from our NATO partner Turkey were in our class.  The Turks did not appreciate being marched by a Private.  And it’s unnatural to carry tripods, rods and theodolites like a rifle.  One other memory of Belvoir: The mess hall would pack bag lunches.  The fare varied. One day it was pork chop sandwiches.  Bone in and no special sauce.  Yes, this was still the Army.  

My overseas assignment was a bonus.  When I selected Topographic Surveyor as an MOS they also asked me for an overseas preference, and I chose Japan.  When technical training ended in early February 1963, I received interim orders taking me as far as Hawaii.  Again, another bad assignment according to the yardbird.  I had plane tickets on the same flight to the west coast with two of my fellow engineer pals.  We were bussed to National Airport in late morning but our flight to San Francisco didn’t leave until early evening.  So, we checked our duffle bags and took a bus into downtown DC which I had visited often during our free weekends at Belvoir.  The Mona Lisa was at the National Gallery so that seemed like a good starter destination.   It had started snowing so we decided to take in a movie—I think it was Elvis Presley in Blue Hawaii.  My two buddies had orders for Korea, and we parted ways after being bussed to Travis Air Force base.   After living out of my duffel bag for two days in transient quarters in the home of the 21st Infantry Division (Tropical Lightning) at Ft. Shafter in Hawaii I was pleased to receive final orders for the 29th Eng. Battalion, based at Camp Oji, Japan.

The 29th was part of the U.S. Army Map Service which at the time was headquartered on McArthur Blvd. in D.C.—we visited when we were at Belvoir. There was a field survey company (mine), a drafting company that used our data to draw the maps, a printing company to print the maps and of course an administrative company which among other responsibilities ran a macerator that converted misprinted maps into paper pulp (the maps were classified). I believe Camp Oji was a former Japanese military installation. It was still partially occupied by some Japanese Self Defense Force personnel.  It was a great location, north of central Tokyo. There were two mass transit stations on different lines of the Tokyo commuter system just blocks away from the front gate and side gates of the Post.  Easy to get to shopping and entertainment areas such as Ikebukoro and Shinjuku.  Living quarters were comfortable; initially I lived in semi-private quarters in a building where there were overhead lights in glass globes. We got accustomed to watching them swing from side to side from the regular minor earthquakes.  If the swing was too much, we were ordered to exit the building until the vibrations subsided.

The Army liked to keep us surveyors busy in the field, so I was seldom on base more than 4-8 weeks before being deployed. Once we had gotten our equipment cleaned and repaired and we were waiting for funding for another project to be approved, they might send us over to the printing plant for folding detail of the classified maps since we all had security clearances unlike the Japanese workers on the base.  There were a number of different field survey projects going on at any given time around the Pacific.  Water access to most of the sites was required. Water support was provided by several vessels One such craft was a class that had been built as coastal freighters for the Army during WWII. These were referred to as FS Ships, “Freight Service Survey Vessels.” The map service also contracted with the Military Sea Transport Service for two other vessels that had helipads to allow access to survey sites where marine landings were not practical.   One was a Landing Ship Tank (LST) with the front doors welded shut (ours was the Harris County) and the other was a C1-MAV-1, a   modernized diesel-powered version of a Liberty Ship.  Ours was the Gunner’s Knot (I believe all of this class were named for knots.) There was also a C-54 (DC4) four engine aircraft that we used to airlift gear when airfields were available; I never figured out who owned or operated that but I didn’t care because traveling on the C-54 was always comfortable-- you could make a bed on one of our tents or stretch out on the nylon bench seats along the wall—not quite as good as flying Emirates today.  If our travel scheme involved a connection in Guam or Hawaii, we sometimes took a “quasi commercial” carrier with real seats and flight attendants and restrooms instead of “relief tubes”.  I think it was called World Airways, and it was generally thought to be run by the CIA.

But my first project involved 3 months in Korea. Our 4-man team’s assignment was to produce maps of mountaintop microwave relay stations that ran from the southern end of Korea to the Demilitarized Zone.  Korean Winter was still in force but Spring was gradually arriving as we ended our work, and fortunately that winter was not what we heard it could be like in Korea.  We did discover that short arm inspections were not fictional during our stay at Camp Casey near the Demilitarized Zone.  And as it turned out, our team leader “failed” the inspection.   His family was living in base housing back in Tokyo and I never heard how that all sorted out.   Not long after we arrived in Korea our team leader wanted all of us to have Korean military driver’s license so we had backup drivers for our support vehicle, a black Suburban. (Even today the Suburban seems to be the vehicle of choice for land surveyors.)  I had practiced driving 1 ¾ ton trucks in the motor pool parking lot, but my turn at the wheel of the exam truck was not impressive partially due to the distractions of the pouring rain and oxcarts on the road around “MP Hill.” (Keep in mind that Korea was still emerging from being a 3rd world country.)  So, we sat in the hallway after our test waiting for licenses to be handed out by the examiner and were astounded that I received one too.    At 2:00 AM on the way back from Pusan to Seoul for one project, part of the front suspension on the Suburban fractured and, of course, you couldn’t call AAA. Our crisis happened as we forded a stream because the road bridge at that spot was being rebuilt. We left Korea with a great feeling of gratitude for the roadside assistance provided by a couple night watchmen who were living in a corrugated metal “hooch” at the construction site. Without a word of Korean being spoken, they were able to perform makeshift repairs with some heavy aluminum wire.   We had only nominal currency with us so gave them all of it plus the cartons of C-rations we were carrying.  How they did it with aluminum wire I’ll never know but with gentle driving we made it back to Seoul by daybreak.

Our team next spent 3 months in New South Wales, Australia.  Getting there was half the fun we told ourselves.  We used the FS-392, one of the Army’s 177’ long coastal freighters powered by two 6-cylinder diesel engines.  This was the type of vessel featured in the movie Mr. Roberts. We rode the 392 from Yokoyama to Sydney with a stop in Subic Bay and Cebu City in the Philippines where part of the all-Filipino crew rotated. I wonder if they still ask you to check your firearm upon entering a bar in Cebu City.  By the time we got to the Coral Sea we had the pleasure of experiencing a typhoon and discovering the meaning of real sea sickness.   I suppose I could have learned the niceties of diesel marine engine operations from the Chief Engineer during our trip if I had wanted to, but it was hard to do much in those seas. 

In Sydney we were able to arrange for lodging and dining at an Australian Army base when we were not doing our field observations.  Dining in their mess hall I learned to appreciate Vegemite. (My wife claims she doesn’t care much for it but then steals a bite of my muffin when I’m not looking.)  I was fortunate to be able to make friends with 4 Australian railfans including one Sydney police officer who arranged for a tour of the New South Wales Govt. Ry’s Eveleigh workshops in Sydney.  The NSWGRYS was still running some steam locomotives, and I had a chance to photograph some of those, too, but not ride on or behind them.

After Australia, a stop in Lautoka, Fiji to pick up one of the other survey crews provided an opportunity to tour a marvelous steam-powered sugar mill and its associated 2’ gauge sugar railroad.  I was able to take slides and would have taken more but ran out of film.  Many years later a book was published about that operation, and I was able to connect with the author.  The slides I took are now on some websites dedicated to Pacific sugar mills—you can find them with a search for “John Teichmoeller Fiji Sugar Mill Locomotives” or anything close to that.  Amazingly, as our ship was just about to leave the pier, the locomotive shop manager ran through the gate and threw over a burlap bag.  Everybody on board thought it was…. well, I’m not sure what they thought, but it was two brass builders’ plates from two of the scrapped English-built sugar cane locomotives.  They now hang on the wall in my dining room.

After a month or so stay back in Tokyo at the end of 1963 (during annual cold and flu season most Japanese chose to wear face masks without government mandate) new teams were formed for other projects which took us to islands in the Marianas, Marshalls and Gilbert chains. Many of these had been scenes of heavy WWII battles.  On Tinian I was able to get a photo of myself standing next to a plaque identifying the (after 19 years by then overgrown) parking pad of Enola Gay.  Too bad the roll of film got lost.

 There was very little left over wartime wreckage in most places between the post-war scrappers and the salt air, but I was able to salvage a wheel, some rail and spikes and a 60mm gauge wheelset that had been used on the ammunition supply tramway for Japanese gun emplacements on Tarawa.  The whole assortment probably weighed over 150 lbs. On one of the survey sites a previous team had somehow acquired and left behind a kerosene powered refrigerator that had a freezer compartment.   On Nukunau we treated the village chief to iced drinks to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday.  We weren’t going to leave that refrigerator behind, so it came along with us to the next site having been lashed to the stern of the motor launch we had to use to haul our gear from the island our site was on to the other island in the atoll with the airstrip where we met the C-54

Some of our survey sites were on populated islands, and we were able to trade our C-rations for varieties of local food.  The going rate was $25 per case. For some reason none of the teams I was with did any surf casting although we did have a “crabbing adventure” on Yap.  The Filipino crew on the 392 always had a hook and line trolling from the stern, and I think they did catch some sizeable fish.  Again, I was too young to recognize the opportunity to learn the skill of dressing a game fish from what I’m sure were masters.

For most of our survey locations, the campsite was typically in or near a waterfront location while the actual survey site was on the highest point on the island. On a few they were very close to each other, while on some it required a climb through the jungle to access the survey site or a careful trek along a treacherous coral pathway.   Whatever the circumstances we had decent size tents we used if we could not find acceptable existing housing arrangements and were able to establish satisfactorily comfortable arrangements.  In a couple situations we even were able to use government facilities that had hot and cold water.  During my tenure we never had to sit out a serious tropic storm in tents, but an earthquake in Alaska in 1963 caused some anxiety about a potential Tsunami when we were 5’ above sea level on Ennylabegan Island in Kwajalein atoll. Two of our associates unfortunately were unable to find comfort comparable to home and had nervous breakdowns entitling them to some time off in the Army Hospital in Guam.   Periodically we would receive a carton of paperback books courtesy of the USO.  After finishing off the science fiction titles, I discovered a new genre not covered at UAHS, the pleasures of Nero Wolfe stories.

1964 was essentially more of the same except I managed to be in Tokyo for the outfit’s annual field training.  Having been assigned M-1 rifles in basic training and originally at Oji, we now had M-1 carbines which I had always thought were cool firearms.  They were also lighter that their predecessor. I hadn’t looked forward to this because “group camping” is quite unlike the “personal camping” I had been used to.  However, since the training camp was in the foothills of Mt. Fuji, the view made up for the military annoyances.

By the middle of 1965 I was working with a team on Eniwetok and looking forward to starting college in September.  Plus, Viet Nam was starting to heat up and looked most unpleasant.  There were rumors that we might possibly get our tours of duty extended or at the very least we could get stuck getting shipped back to the states on a slow and cramped troop ship that they were still using.  I was able to cut a deal with our site commander to help him with his typing and he would get me an early flight out of Eniwetok which worked well.  My First Sergeant back in Tokyo, who for some reason was very cordial to me, arranged orders for me to return to the US in about two weeks and told me to “disappear” until then.  By that time, I had my own quarters which was essentially a loft apartment on one of the upper floors of the base headquarters which had previously been a warehouse building.  I went on a couple sight-seeing and railroad adventures.  I had read an article a couple years previously in Trains Magazine about the Kiso Forest Railway, and an overnight open-window coach trip in a steam powered passenger train to visit the KFR in Western Japan was a magical experience.  

One of my friends once asked me if we ever saw or experienced anything strange or weird as we worked under those intense Pacific night skies.   Sorry, no “twilight zone” experiences to relate.  The intergalactic visitors may be out there but they stayed hidden from us.  But I guess there was one experience that was just a little spooky.   One project site was near the end of the runway of Anderson AFB in Guam. It was covered with dense scrub brush.  There were known to be some Japanese soldiers who were still hiding out in loyalty to the Emperor. Local people had pinned to the bushes hundreds of plastic bags with messages urging surrender.  We always wondered if we were being watched, and I think our team leader requested and carried a firearm to be prepared for a Banzai charge.  I took one of the bags as a souvenir.  I do recall reading in the papers that at least one warrior came home in the years after our visit.     And while I don’t consider it strange phenomena, spending a couple weeks on Iwo Jima with its smoking sulfur pits was just a spooky place. Plus, cockroaches were slowly eating the books in the base library.

A few days before I left Tokyo the movers came to pack up my “household goods.”  My E5 rank entitled me to 2000 pounds, but I just had a few pieces of furniture.  For some reason I never purchased one or more of those antique Japanese chests, “tansu.”  Of course, my artillery wheels and rails were packed too.  I was a bit of a whistleblower during my tour, so they wouldn’t let me hand carry my personnel file back with me.  Accordingly, I had to wait in the Oakland Army Terminal for a couple days until the file arrived.  Fortunately, there were trains running nearby to photograph.  A year later I finally had to write Army Personnel somewhere to get my pro forma Good Conduct Medal.

In reflection I am guessing probably everything we did could be done now with satellites.  But I tried to do my part.

 

Lois Grinstead                                                            Jun. 20, 22

I joined the American Red Cross (ARC) stationed in three military installations in South Korea during the conflict in Vietnam. My next door neighbor on Berkshire Road lost his life in Vietnam. There were several Vets returning to my college having served and I was moved by them and injuries that they had sustained there. I asked myself what I could do to express my concern. I talked to Air Force recruiters but decided on ARC.  I served as a Program Director and Unit Head in Taegu, was also in Bupyong, a supply depot and Pyongtaek, Camp Casey. We traveled by Jeep, helicopter, boats, and trucks to remote posts where men were stationed to bring a sense of home and recreational events. There is a film that has been made by the son of one of the members. It’s won some awards and presents goals and accomplishments of ARC women, who have now been recognized for their service by including them on the DC monument to women who served over the years.

Here is a Link to Donut Dollies who made a real difference to those serving in foreign lands.

https://youtu.be/Qyb-BkZAVUQ

It’s called The Donut Dolly Documentary and just put it on Google. It shows several links to the film! Not many know about the program. I heard about it in the local news and talked to the local ARC office about it. Told 4 friends about it and Three of us were sent to Korea. The fourth was sent to Vietnam.

 

Dick Van Meter                                              Jun. 13, 22

Here is my military story.

When I graduated from UAHS in 1962, I decided not to go to college.  My girlfriend Ann Kaltenbach suggested that I get my military obligation out of the way so I wouldn't get drafted later.  So, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in July.  I was sent to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas for eight weeks of basic training.  I remember there was a snafu getting our new uniforms which included new underwear until the second week.  So we had to march to class, the physical training field, and the chow hall in the clothes we were wearing when we arrived.  Passers-by called us rainbows because of all the different colors of clothes.  The heat was in the 80s and 90s, boy did we sweat.  We had canteens to carry with us.  Most of us were from up North so we weren't used to the Texas heat. Some of us passed out in the heat.  By the way, there was no air conditioning in the barracks just a couple of big fans.  The barracks were built in the forties.  

At the end of eight weeks of basic, the Air Force decided which way our career path was going to take.  I put in for Photography when I joined, but the Air Force thought I would like to be trained as a medical corpsman.  Off to medical training in Greenville, Mississippi.  In Greenville, my fellow airmen and I discovered segregation was alive and thriving.  There was a local theater we tried out.  Going in the black men in our group could not enter through the front entrance.  They were directed around the corner to the colored entrance.   They could buy popcorn and soda pop and then sit in the balcony with the other colored folks.  This was our first exposure to segregation.

After medical training, a buddy and I decided to go overseas.  When they got to us our only choice was Thule, Greenland.  Thule was 800 miles inside the arctic circle and part of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System during the cold war.  There were missile silos and giant antennas monitoring what Russia was up to over the North pole.  There was a B-52 bomber circling overhead carrying nuclear warheads in case Russia wanted to start something.  The B-52s spent 12hr shifts and rotated shifts flying out of the US.   I was told when I arrived that there is a woman behind every tree.  The tallest vegetation was flowers and cotton grass in the summer.  The only animals we saw were arctic foxes.  We would treat Eskimos from a nearby village in our base hospital.  The employees on the base were Danish men who worked in maintenance, the BX, and the dining halls.  Greenland is Danish territory. 

I stayed there for a whole year and it was an interesting duty in the hospital and clinic.  There were 20,000 men and four female nurses in support of the base.  There were officers, NCOs, and airmen clubs for entertainment.  The USO would send musical bands who would stay for a month and entertain in each club.   

 

This was the land of the midnight sun.  The sun made a full circle 24hrs a day during the summer.  During the winter there were three months of 24hr darkness.  After my year in Greenland, I was transferred back to Lackland AFB, Texas, and spent the rest of my four-year tour working in the ambulance service in the Air Force's largest 1000-bed hospital.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my story with unique experiences.

 

 

David Fontana – Military Service                              Jun. 3, 22

U S Air Force Officer Candidate School November 1967 – March 1968

Assigned as 2nd Lieutenant to – 321 Strategic Missile Wing Grand Forks, ND in March 1968

ICBM Minuteman II Missile Crew Member working 3-4 40 hour tours per month at various missile sites in North Dakota

First 1st Lieutenant in 321st Missile Wing history to be assigned to a Standardization Evaluation Crew – evaluating missile crews on site and in a training module

Launched a test Minuteman II missile from Vandenburg AFB in California into the Pacific Ocean in 1971

Promoted to the rank of Captain in 1971 and left active duty in March 1972

All Minuteman II missiles were deactivated and removed from silos starting in 1991

 

Bill Keim                                                                     Jun. 3, 22

My military experience was very mild and very lucky compared to some of the others. I graduated from Miami University in the Spring of 1966. I had my orders to report (Army). A couple of weeks before going I had a call from Paul Hoover, a family friend. He was also an Air Force General and head of the Ohio Air National Guard. Within weeks I was headed for basic training at Lackland. I spent August and Sept there and it was probably the hottest I have ever been. I returned to Lockbourne AF base for active duty. I was assigned to the 121st Tactical Fighter Wing Headquarters to work for Col. Ron Huey who was in charge of material for the 121st Tactical Fighter Group with 20 plus F-100 Fighter jets. I worked hard and we became good friends. He made my time very enjoyable - all of this was my first good luck story. Our headquarters had 30 people, 15 officers and 15 enlisted. The 121st Tactical Fighter Group had the planes and several hundred personnel. I did not know it at the time but Larry Addison and David Bowerman we’re in the Group.  My second bit of luck - during the Pueblo crisis everyone reported for active duty. Three groups of F-100’s and two Wing Headquarters in the US. All 3 Groups and one Headquarters unit were sent to Korea for 13 months of freezing weather. Yes, we did not go, all 30 of us stayed in the US. I was lucky again. It was sad, UA pilot Doug Thorne was killed in an F-100 when his left wing extra fuel tank fell off (not attached correctly). Not good for his ground crew. After four years they asked me to go to pilots’ school. I would have had to extend for two years, and they were way to active. I voted to remain a little ol’ SSGT. Did get to see a lot of nice places with summer training. That’s my story, not very exciting but safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larry Addison by Denise

Good morning Buck! 

I do have access to the class website.  I think this is a wonderful thing you are doing. 

After Larry’s parents’ divorce, his mother moved to Columbus.  Larry signed up for the Air National Guard because of the draft.  He didn’t talk a lot about details other than when the Tet Offensive happened, his guard unit was called up to replace a unit that was sent to Viet Nam and his unit went to South Korea.  He was in weapons load division.  He was pretty close with the men because they were all from the Columbus area and were in basic training together.  His close friend Tom was a pilot and as I understood it, on take off, the bomb dislodged from the jet. Tom tried to eject but ended up crashing into the canopy and was killed.  It was hard on his entire unit because no one knew who loaded the bomb that day.  They all asked for transfers to another division.  Most of them stayed together but Larry finished his time working for the base commander.  He was kind of like Radar in MASH.  After his 2 years in South Korea he came in the late 60’s.  He loved the travel part, especially going to Australia and Japan.  He had a great love for the Korean people also.

It’s not a lot but I hope this helps.  He loved our country and was grateful for the opportunity to serve but also saw a lot of lies told to the American people.  That was hard for him.   Thank you Buck!!

Here is what I found going through Larry’s Air Force paperwork.  It was hard to read as much had faded.  It looks like he served from 1966-72.  And he ended his career as a Sargent.  He started out of Lockbourne Air Force Base in the 121st Tactical Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard.  With the Tet Offensive his unit was activated to replace a South Korea unit sent to Viet Nam.  He spent his entire active duty time in South Korea.  And of course, all the other things I wrote earlier Buck.  I hope this helps you and I do look forward to reading about all the class veterans.  For many, it was a chunk of their young lives.  Love you and grateful for you.  I wish I could be there to celebrate this reunion with you all!  You are an amazing group of outstanding people!

 

Steve Mirick

 

I was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force Medical Service Corps (Medical Administration) in 1968 after receiving my MBA degree from Ohio State. I had every intention of returning to Columbus following my initial 3-year commitment. However, during that first tour I found I enjoyed the work, the military atmosphere, and the dedication of the people with whom I served. I ended my career after 26 years, retiring as a Colonel.

I served at AF base medical facilities in addition to headquarters-level assignments. I was stationed at Air Force bases in Michigan, Texas, New York, with one assignment in Ramstein Germany. I was fortunate enough to serve in the highest levels of the AF Medical Service relatively early in my career. One of my mentors was the Air Force Surgeon General who helped guide my career. I served as his executive assistant during his term in that position, which gave me the opportunity to travel throughout the US and Europe on official visits and to meet high level military and civilian executives.  Nearly half my assignments were in the Washington DC area, which resulted in my post AF career being in that area. I worked as the COO at a non-profit military medical association for 17 years following my retirement from the Air Force and fully retired in 2012.  

 

Dan Armel

I went through Army ROTC at Ohio State and graduated in December 1966. As a DMG, I elected to go into the Finance Corps. After a deferral for graduate school at the University of Michigan, a summer job in New York and getting married to Jane, I -- I should say "we" -- went on active duty in June 1968.

Following the Finance Officers' and Advanced Military Accounting Courses at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, we were assigned to the General Staff at 1st US Army headquarters at Ft. George G. Meade in Maryland. I worked in the Deputy Chief of Staff - Comptroller's office and dealt with consolidating the financial and payroll systems of the combined 1st and 2nd Army headquarters, which had recently merged. We were responsible for the various Finance Offices throughout 1st US Army's jurisdiction (from Ft. Knox, Kentucky to Ft. Devens, Massachusetts). Without any legal training, I was also the final say on whether or not to hold military members responsible for damages to property (such as the ROTC building at Kent State).

So, while the war in Vietnam raged on, we had it easy. We lived in comfortable housing on post and enjoyed elegant meals and 50cent drinks at the officers' club. As required PT, I played golf a couple times a week. Jane volunteered in the Army Community Service (distributing virtually anything needed to enlisted personnel) and was "taken under the wing" by a couple of General's wives. One highlight was an enjoyable evening with Rita and Dick Springer and Suzie and Joe Ray at the officers' club. 

Both Jane and I realize that we were truly fortunate -- even blessed -- in our military experience and know there were some in our class (and others we knew) that didn't have the same luck. If this description of our time during the height of Vietnam doesn't strike the right chord, you needn't included it with the others.

 

 

Bob Apel

I took advanced ROTC and took my commission in July 1967. I served two years teaching the entire time at the Army Corp of Engineers School at Ft. Belvoir Va. Being a graduate in architecture, the natural fit was Demolitions and Mine Warfare. I taught OCS candidates.  We blow up about 200 to 300 lbs. of explosive/ week. I was also charged with the demolition of two chimneys next to working power plants at two Army facilities. 

William E. “Bill” Berry

Colonel William E. Berry, Jr completed his 30 year Air Force career retiring in 1997. His Vietnam tour of duty was from June 1969 to June 1970 at Bien Hoa Air Base. During this tour, he was a counterintelligence officer working with other U.S. military and civilian agencies along with South Vietnamese counterparts collecting intelligence in the effort to prevent or limit Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army attacks on the critical fighter flight operations originating from Bien Hoa. As an East Asian regional specialist, his other overseas assignments included the Philippines (1973-75), the Republic of Korea (1984-86), and Malaysia where he was the air attache in the U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur (1990-93). Colonel Berry's awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star Medal.

 In the academic part of his career, Colonel Berry completed his PhD at Cornell University sponsored by the Department of Political Science at the Air Force Academy. He taught in the department from 1976-77, 1980-84, and 1993-97 when he was the department chair. He also taught at the National War College in Washington, DC and the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu. He continues to participate in academic discussions on U.S. national security topics in Colorado Springs. Colonel Berry is the author of two books:  The U.S. Bases in the Philippines: The Evolution of the Special Relationship and Global Security Watch Korea. 

Colonel William E. Berry, Jr completed his 30 year Air Force career retiring in 1997. His Vietnam tour of duty was from June 1969 to June 1970 at Bien Hoa Air Base. During this tour, he was a counterintelligence officer working with other U.S. military and civilian agencies along with South Vietnamese counterparts collecting intelligence in the effort to prevent or limit Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army attacks on the critical fighter flight operations originating from Bien Hoa. As an East Asian regional specialist, his other overseas assignments included the Philippines (1973-75), the Republic of Korea (1984-86), and Malaysia where he was the air attache in the U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur(1990-93). Colonel Berry's awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star Medal.

 Buck Byrne

 

 

 

Dick Van Meter

When I graduated from UAHS in 1962, I decided not to go to college.  My girlfriend Ann Kaltenbach suggested that I get my military obligation out of the way so I wouldn't get drafted later on.  So I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in July.  I was sent to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas for eight weeks of basic training.  I remember there was a snafu getting our new uniforms which included new underwear until the second week.  So we had to march to class, the physical training field, and the chow hall in the clothes we were wearing when we arrived.  Passers-by called us rainbows because of all the different colors of clothes.  The heat was in the 80s and 90s, boy did we sweat.  We had canteens to carry with us.  Most of us were from up North so we weren't used to the Texas heat. Some of us passed out in the heat.  By the way, there was no air conditioning in the barracks just a couple of big fans.  The barracks were built in the forties.  

At the end of eight weeks of basic, the Air Force decided which way our career path was going to take.  I put in for Photography when I joined, but the Air Force thought I would like to be trained as a medical corpsman.  Off to medical training in Greenville, Mississippi.  In Greenville, my fellow airmen and I discovered segregation was alive and thriving.  There was a local theater we tried out.  Going in, the black men in our group could not enter through the front entrance.  They were directed around the corner to the colored entrance.   They could buy popcorn and soda pop and then sit in the balcony with the other colored folks.  This was our first exposure to segregation.

After medical training, a buddy and I decided to go overseas.  When they got to us our only choice was Thule, Greenland.  Thule was 800 miles inside the arctic circle and part of the Ballistic Missle Early Warning System during the cold war.  There were missile silos and giant antennas monitoring what Russia was up to over the North pole.  There was a B-52 bomber circling overhead carrying nuclear warheads in case Russia wanted to start something.  The B-52s spent 12hr shifts and rotated shifts flying out of the US.   I was told when I arrived that there is a woman behind every tree.  The tallest vegetation was flowers and cotton grass in the summer.  The only animals we saw were arctic foxes.  We would treat Eskimos from a nearby village in our base hospital.  The employees on the base were Danish men who worked in maintenance, the BX, and the dining halls.  Greenland is Danish territory. 

I stayed there for a whole year and it was an interesting duty in the hospital and clinic.  There were 20,000 men and four female nurses in support of the base.  There were officers, NCOs, and airmen clubs for entertainment.  The USO would send musical bands who would stay for a month and entertain in each club.   

This was the land of the midnight sun.  The sun made a full circle 24hrs a day during the summer.  During the winter there were three months of 24hr darkness.  After my year in Greenland, I was transferred back to Lackland AFB, Texas, and spent the rest of my four-year tour working in the ambulance service in the Air Force's largest 1000-bed hospital.

I hope you enjoyed reading my story with unique experiences.

 

Dick Springer

Dick graduated from The Ohio State University in June,1969 from the College of Veterinary Medicine.  He had been in the advanced ROTC program, and at his graduation was commissioned as a Captain in the Army.  After basic training at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, and, further instruction for Veterinary medical personnel at Ft. Sheridan north of Chicago, Illinois, he finally went to his post assignment November, 1969 at Ft. Meade in Laurel, Md. 

As one of several veterinarians assigned to that post, his duties involved clinics at Ft. Holabird in Baltimore and Ft. Ritchie in northern Maryland.  However, most of his time was spent in the Baltimore City field office conducting inspections of Civil Defense Shelters, and food companies throughout Maryland and the Eastern Shore that had government contracts with the Army.  He stayed in Maryland for the full 2 years of his commitment, and was honorably discharged in the summer of 1971. 

He contemplated staying in the Army, but because he also had been  working in local veterinary hospitals in the area during any vacation time or off hours from his service commitment,  he was anxious to get back full time to his profession.  By that time, he had licenses not only in Ohio, but also in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, so it was an easy decision to stay on the East Coast.  It was quite an experience for the 2 years he was in the military, with many invaluable lessons learned, and many friendships made. 

 

David Fontana                              

U S Air Force Officer Candidate School November 1967 – March 1968

Assigned as 2nd Lieutenant to – 321 Strategic Missile Wing Grand Forks, ND in March 1968

ICBM Minuteman II Missile Crew Member working 3-4 40 hour tours per month at various missile sites in North Dakota

First 1st Lieutenant in 321st Missile Wing history to be assigned to a Standardization Evaluation Crew – evaluating missile crews on site and in a training module

Launched a test Minuteman II missile from Vandenburg AFB in California into the Pacific Ocean in 1971

Promoted to the rank of Captain in 1971 and left active duty in March 1972

All Minuteman II missiles were deactivated and removed from silos starting in 1991

 

Bill Keim                                                                     

My military experience was very mild and very lucky compared to some of the others. I graduated from Miami University in the Spring of 1966. I had my orders to report (Army). A couple of weeks before going I had a call from Paul Hoover, a family friend. He was also an Air Force General and head of the Ohio Air National Guard. Within weeks I was headed for basic training at Lackland. I spent August and Sept there and it was probably the hottest I have ever been.

I returned to Lockbourne AF base for active duty. I was assigned to the 121st Tactical Fighter Wing Headquarters to work for Col. Ron Huey who was in charge of material for the 121st Tactical Fighter Group with 20 plus F-100 Fighter jets. I worked hard and we became good friends. He made my time very enjoyable - all of this was my first good luck story.

Our headquarters had 30 people, 15 officers and 15 enlisted. The 121st Tactical Fighter Group had the planes and several hundred personnel. I did not know it at the time but Larry Addison and David Bowerman we’re in the Group.  My second bit of luck - during the Pueblo crisis everyone reported for active duty. Three groups of F-100’s and two Wing Headquarters in the US. All 3 Groups and one Headquarters unit were sent to Korea for 13 months of freezing weather. Yes, we did not go, all 30 of us stayed in the US. I was lucky again.

It was sad, UA pilot Doug Thorne was killed in an F-100 when his left wing extra fuel tank fell off (not attached correctly). Not good for his ground crew. After four years they asked me to go to pilots’ school. I would have had to extend for two years, and they were way to active. I voted to remain a little ol’ SSGT. Did get to see a lot of nice places with summer training. That’s my story, not very exciting but safe.

 

Buck Byrne

I graduated from The Ohio State University in December 1966. For four years I studied ROTC military science and received my commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves.

I spent several months at the Quartermaster School in Fort Lee, Virginia and received orders for the Post Exchange at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. I married Nancy Weyrich in June 1967 and we both traveled to Missouri to begin a new chapter in our lives. She taught elementary school on base for six months before I received my orders to go to Vietnam. We drove to San Francisco from Columbus so she could live with her sister whose husband, a Marine, was already in country.

I flew from Travis Air Force Base on January 31st and arrived at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon, Vietnam on February 2. I was delayed in Guam due to the initial Tet offensive attacks throughout Vietnam on February 1. Due to the great loss of life from the Tet attacks I was ordered to the U.S. Army Mortuary at Tan Son Nhut where I spent three weeks before being assigned to the U.S. Army Personal Property Depot. I was joined by another First Lieutenant and a Chief Warrant Officer Four. We were responsible for communicating with and returning the personal effects of deceased Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine personnel.

I returned to Oakland Army Air Terminal in California where I out processed from the Army on January 23, 1969.

 

Jerry Johnson

United States Air Force 1967-1971

I enlisted in and entered the Air Force on a Friday the 13th in October 1967.  It was anything but bad luck, it was the beginning of the rest of my life. I flew to Texas with a guy who was from Lancaster, Ohio, and we were in the same basic training flight. After basic training, I was stationed at Sky Top, an Air Force part of Syracuse University, for a nine month crash course in Russian language. One of my fellow classmates was that guy from Lancaster, Oh.

We, as a class, then attended our security tech school in San Angelo TX. Within a few weeks of us completing our schooling a total of 13 months we were then spread around the world.  Poof!  I was stationed in Turkey for 18 months. I became an analyst, so I did not sit and liste; I worked with the teletype guys and the “ditty boppers” morse code guys. I enjoyed the analyst job, did not like the first couple months sitting and listening.

Turkey was fascinating, such a different culture. We were close to Istanbul, and I was able to visit there a number of times and traveled a number of other places in Turkey during my time there. On my way back to the states, I took a 30 day leave in Europe, stopped to see Jim Browning, our classmate and his wife Judy class 1963, in Germany. He was there as an Army Officer. I then was stationed at Castle AFB in Central California, cross trained in office work, for my last 12 months.

I have been able to maintain contact with my buddy from Lancaster and his wife who are in still in Lancaster, also my roommate from Syracuse. I reconnected with a couple guys from my Syracuse class 3 years ago, if it were not for COVID, I would have reunited with them and their families in Iowa, in 2020. I have maintained contact with several guys from my base in Turkey, and several guys from my base in California. In the end, it is those friendships that keep those years serving this nation alive. I feel very privileged to have served this nation. I served during Viet Nam, but I was not in that part of the world like others in our class. The pic of Bill Howe, in his profile on our website with the Vietnamese boy on his lap is a "Classic Picture" of an American GI ~ interacting with the locals! 

God Bless everyone, it would appear we are headed for some difficult times in the next few years!

 

James N. Cannell

Military service and duties …1965-1972

I joined the U.S. Army Reserves in August of 1965. The unit was based out of Fort Hayes in Columbus, Ohio.

After Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky and Advanced Individual Training, again, at

Fort Knox, I returned home to Columbus where I assumed the organizational and training duties for 2147th Augmentation Unit maintaining military records and overseeing the general operation of our Company Headquarters under the jurisdiction of the Adjutant General Office.

Although our Unit was never called to active duty overseas, we did experience active

duty service in the US. Focusing on company training activities, maintaining equipment and the occasional processing of AWOL personnel, the 2147th stood ready to assume active-duty service if called. I was granted an Honorable Discharge from the Army as a specialist E5 (3-stripe sergeant)

Many of my military “brothers in arms” served in Viet Nam and suffered for the service they offered. I salute them and all who served in the United States Military and will forever be in debt to them and their families.

 

Kent Underwood

I went through the NROTC program at Ohio State, receiving my commission in June of 1967.  I spent the summer of 67 in Philadelphia at Damage Control School. Took leave in September to marry Jane, my wife of 54 years.  I was assigned to a destroyer, USS Bordelon, DD-881.  I reported to my ship in Charleston, South Carolina and one month after my wedding my ship set sail for Viet Nam. We sailed through the Panama Canal, up to San Diego, over to Hawaii, stopped at Guam and Midway Island, on to the Philippines and finally to the war in the Tonkin Gulf.  Our ship was assigned to plane guard duties chasing aircraft carriers, gun fire support for troops in I Corp and patrolling the shores of North Viet Nam, shooting up supply routes to the south.  We actually wore out a set of gun barrels during our time there.  Our ship was awarded a meritorious unit citation for our service.

Now understand, I joined the Navy to see the world. and during our time in the Western Pacific, I was able to visit Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tokyo, Manilla, and Singapore.  Upon our return to Charleston, Jane moved down and joined me as we set up our first apartment.  She had some difficulty adjusting to the slow, laid back, southern lifestyle, especially at the hospital where she worked.  The old saying goes that "sailors are made to go on ships and ships are made to go to sea". So, for our first anniversary, I sailed to the North Atlantic for a NATO exercise.  Now imagine this, many ships from NATO countries rendezvousing above the arctic circle in thick fog, with all kinds of radio chatter in many languages and accents.  It was total chaos. But on that trip, I got to go to Amsterdam, one of my favorite places.

The following January, my ship left for the Mediterranean Sea.  A much different routine than the Viet Nam cruise.  But I got to visit Rome, Naples, Venice, Athens, Istanbul, Malta, Tunisia and Spain.  With new orders, I flew back to the states to help Jane pack up for our move to Norfolk, VA for a year of shore duty, at the Fleet Work Study Group, the efficiency experts of the Navy.  I really valued my experience and exposure to vastly different cultures and backgrounds.  But a career in architecture was calling, and I departed the Navy leaving my sea legs behind for stability permanent shore duty.

 

Ed Van Cleef

After getting my Masters degree at the University of Michigan, I was drafted into the United States Army.(July 1968) Following basic training in Georgia, I was assigned to the Army hospital at Fort Carson, Colorado Springs to help run a closed circuit radio station broadcasting to the patient wards. While there I learned to ski at Breckenridge before being shipped off to Vietnam (July 1969). I worked with PSYOPS in Saigon supervising a local staff developing propaganda materials which were distributed via posters, leaflet air drops and loud speaker broadcasts from river boats. Being in Vietnam also gave the chance to enjoy R & R in Japan and Australia. A year later (June 1970)I was discharged with the rank of sergeant.

Bob Peltier

Served in the Army from Sept 1966 to September 1969. Went to Transportation Officer Candidate School, was stationed at Ft. Louis Washington and was discharged as a 1st Lt.

Larry Addison by Denise

After Larry’s parents’ divorce, his mother moved to Columbus.  Larry signed up for the Air National Guard because of the draft.  He didn’t talk a lot about details other than when the Tet Offensive happened, his guard unit was called up to replace a unit that was sent to Viet Nam and his unit went to South Korea.  He was in weapons load division.  He was pretty close with the men because they were all from the Columbus area and were in basic training together.  His close friend Tom was a pilot and as I understood it, on take off, the bomb dislodged from the jet. Tom tried to eject but ended up crashing into the canopy and was killed.  It was hard on his entire unit because no one knew who loaded the bomb that day.  They all asked for transfers to another division.  Most of them stayed together but Larry finished his time working for the base commander.  He was kind of like Radar in MASH.  After his 2 years in South Korea he came in the late 60’s.  He loved the travel part, especially going to Australia and Japan.  He had a great love for the Korean people also.

It’s not a lot but I hope this helps.  He loved our country and was grateful for the opportunity to serve but also saw a lot of lies told to the American people.  That was hard for him.   Thank you Buck!!

Here is what I found going through Larry’s Air Force paperwork.  It was hard to read as much had faded.  It looks like he served from 1966-72.  And he ended his career as a Sargent.  He started out of Lockbourne Air Force Base in the 121st Tactical Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard.  With the Tet Offensive his unit was activated to replace a South Korea unit sent to Viet Nam.  He spent his entire active duty time in South Korea.  And of course, all the other things I wrote earlier Buck.  I hope this helps you and I do look forward to reading about all the class veterans.  For many, it was a chunk of their young lives.  Love you and grateful for you.  I wish I could be there to celebrate this reunion with you all!  You are an amazing group of outstanding people!

Steve Mirick

I was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force Medical Service Corps (Medical Administration) in 1968 after receiving my MBA degree from Ohio State. I had every intention of returning to Columbus following my initial 3-year commitment. However, during that first tour I found I enjoyed the work, the military atmosphere, and the dedication of the people with whom I served. I ended my career after 26 years, retiring as a Colonel.

I served at AF base medical facilities in addition to headquarters-level assignments. I was stationed at Air Force bases in Michigan, Texas, New York, with one assignment in Ramstein Germany. I was fortunate enough to serve in the highest levels of the AF Medical Service relatively early in my career. One of my mentors was the Air Force Surgeon General who helped guide my career. I served as his executive assistant during his term in that position, which gave me the opportunity to travel throughout the US and Europe on official visits and to meet high level military and civilian executives.  Nearly half my assignments were in the Washington DC area, which resulted in my post AF career being in that area. I worked as the COO at a non-profit military medical association for 17 years following my retirement from the Air Force and fully retired in 2012.  

Dan Armel

I went through Army ROTC at Ohio State and graduated in December 1966. As a DMG, I elected to go into the Finance Corps. After a deferral for graduate school at the University of Michigan, a summer job in New York and getting married to Jane, I -- I should say "we" -- went on active duty in June 1968.

Following the Finance Officers' and Advanced Military Accounting Courses at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, we were assigned to the General Staff at 1st US Army headquarters at Ft. George G. Meade in Maryland. I worked in the Deputy Chief of Staff - Comptroller's office and dealt with consolidating the financial and payroll systems of the combined 1st and 2nd Army headquarters, which had recently merged. We were responsible for the various Finance Offices throughout 1st US Army's jurisdiction (from Ft. Knox, Kentucky to Ft. Devens, Massachusetts). Without any legal training, I was also the final say on whether or not to hold military members responsible for damages to property (such as the ROTC building at Kent State).

So, while the war in Vietnam raged on, we had it easy. We lived in comfortable housing on post and enjoyed elegant meals and 50cent drinks at the officers' club. As required PT, I played golf a couple times a week. Jane volunteered in the Army Community Service (distributing virtually anything needed to enlisted personnel) and was "taken under the wing" by a couple of General's wives. One highlight was an enjoyable evening with Rita and Dick Springer and Suzie and Joe Ray at the officers' club. 

Both Jane and I realize that we were truly fortunate -- even blessed -- in our military experience and know there were some in our class (and others we knew) that didn't have the same luck. If this description of our time during the height of Vietnam doesn't strike the right chord, you needn't included it with the others.

Bob Apel

I took advanced ROTC and took my commission in July 1967. I served two years teaching the entire time at the Army Corp of Engineers School at Ft. Belvoir, Va. Being a graduate in architecture, the natural fit was Demolitions and Mine Warfare. I taught OCS candidates.  We blow up about 200 to 300 lbs. of explosive/ week. I was also charged with the demolition of two chimneys next to working power plants at two Army facilities. 

William E. “Bill” Berry

Colonel William E. Berry, Jr completed his 30 year Air Force career retiring in 1997. His Vietnam tour of duty was from June 1969 to June 1970 at Bien Hoa Air Base. During this tour, he was a counterintelligence officer working with other U.S. military and civilian agencies along with South Vietnamese counterparts collecting intelligence in the effort to prevent or limit Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army attacks on the critical fighter flight operations originating from Bien Hoa. As an East Asian regional specialist, his other overseas assignments included the Philippines (1973-75), the Republic of Korea (1984-86), and Malaysia where he was the air attache in the U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur (1990-93). Colonel Berry's awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star Medal.

In the academic part of his career, Colonel Berry completed his PhD at Cornell University sponsored by the Department of Political Science at the Air Force Academy. He taught in the department from 1976-77, 1980-84, and 1993-97 when he was the department chair. He also taught at the National War College in Washington, DC and the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu. He continues to participate in academic discussions on U.S. national security topics in Colorado Springs. Colonel Berry is the author of two books:  The U.S. Bases in the Philippines: The Evolution of the Special Relationship and Global Security Watch Korea.