From left to right, Everett Johnson, Orin Strand, William (Pete) Way, Beecher Daniels, John Scharer, Lloyd Tindall, and Jack Winters, were honored on Saturday, May 21, at the American Legion Post 385 for their service during the Korean War.

The American Legion Mason Lindsay Post 385 held a program on Saturday, May 21, honoring both living and deceased veterans of the Korean War who grew up in the Verona area.

The Korean war began on June 25, 1950 when North Korea invaded the South with 75,000 troops and ended on July 27, 1953 with an armistice, not a permanent peace treaty.

The conflict was a civil war between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). The division of Korea into two halves had come at the end of World War II.

President Harry Truman got involved to combat what his intelligence services called ''the threat of global communism.''

The two countries of North and South Korea are still divided by the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a border barrier that divides the peninsula roughly in half.

Today, the United States still has nearly 30,000 troops in South Korea. The troops remain as a deterrent to the nuclear-armed North Korea.

American Legion Post 385 member Denise Rohan, who was elected as the first female national commander of the two million-member American Legion in 2017, was the guest speaker at the event.

Her husband, Mike Rohan, was stationed near a missile site in Kimpo, South Korea when they got married in 1976, and Denise left the U.S. Army after just two years to relocate to live with him.

After the recent killing of two unarmed U.S. servicemen who were cutting down a tree blocking the view of the DMZ border, the area was on high-alert at the time, and Mike was issued weapons and ammunition just before his newlywed wife arrived in the country.

“Almost 70 years have passed since the treaty between North and South Korea was signed,” she said. “For the last several years the news continues to mention new tension on the Korean peninsula. But, America has never left our South Korean allies. Our brave men and women continue to serve in the country – they continue to monitor and train with our foreign counterparts. They are ready, willing and able to step back into your boots if needed. Today the capital city of Seoul is a sprawling metropolis. I want you to know that it was your service in their time of need that laid the foundation and made this all possible today. You made a difference in the lives of every person in that nation.”

In keeping with the ceremonies of the day, Rohan encouraged the veterans present on May 21 to make sure their stories live on.

“Your job is still not finished; please take the time to tell your children and your grandchildren about your military experience, no matter how small a piece of history you may think that is,” she said. “Help preserve the memories of the men and women who fought and died throughout our history to help create and safeguard our way of life. Give our youth the personal, firsthand knowledge that they will never find in a history book. Help pique their interest so they will open those history books and learn the sacrifices that have been made throughout history so they can have the freedoms we enjoy today.”

Verona area Korean War veterans:

Signalman 2nd Class James T. Anderson

Was born on March 22, 1927. He entered the US Navy in June of 1944 and was discharged in December of 1952. He was stationed aboard the USS Chilton. He was awarded the WWII Victory Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. He died on December 24, 2014.

SSgt. Lyle Baez – US Air Force

Was born on June 5, 1932. He entered the US Air Force as an administrative specialist on April 30, 1951. He was stationed in Albuquerque, NM. SSgt. Baez was awarded the AF Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. He died on January 2, 2022.

Col. Erwin P. Beyer

Was born on September 12, 1901. He entered the US Army on September 19, 1919 in the Cavalry Field Artillery. E.P. Beyer always wanted to be a soldier. He was in line to enlist in 1917 when his father came and pulled him out of the line, he was only 16. But on September 19, 1919 he was old enough to enlist and entered military service in the Wisconsin Army National Guard as a private in Troop A, 1st Cavalry, Wis. NG. He received a commission as a 2nd Lt. on August 1, 1923. He was inducted into Federal Service as a Major of Field Artillery on October 15, 1940 and served with the 32nd Infantry Division throughout their training in Australia (where he survived a plane crash of his artillery liaison aircraft) and during combat operations in the Battle of Buna (Papua, New Guinea) and the recapture of the Philippine Islands. At the end of the war, Col. Beyer served in the Occupation Forces in Japan. He also served as Commander of the Tageu Military District in South Korea where he was instrumental in rebuilding the infrastructure of the area following the destruction of the Korean War. Some of the buildings his forces built in the city were still in use in the 1990s. He later served as the Deputy Commander of Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and as Commander of Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. He retired from the United States Army on September 1, 1959. His decorations include the Bronze Star (w/ Oak leaf cluster), Legion of Merit, Philippine Liberation Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Medal, and the Army Occupation Medal.

TSgt (E6) Beecher Daniels

Was born on June 7, 1933. He entered the US Air Force on April 15, 1952 as a Weapons Control System Technician. He attended basic training at Lackland AFB, TX. He was transferred to Lowry AFB, Denver CO for his technical training and was further assigned to Truax AFB, Madison WI; Ramstein AB, Germany; Seymour Johnson AFB, Goldsboro NC; Wurtsmith AFB Oscoda, MI; Ramstein AB Germany and Chanute AFB, Rantoul IL. TSgt. Daniels retired from the Air Force on August 31, 1972. His decorations include the AF Good Conduct Medal, Longevity Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Sgt. Salvatore (Sam) DiMaggio

Was born on August 22, 1934. He joined the US Marine Corps in March 1953 as a basic infantry and military police specialist. During his 3 years of service he was stationed at M.C.R.D. San Diego, CA. I.T.R Camp Pendleton, CA. Pearl Harbor, HI – guarding ammunition depot (NAD Navy Ammunition Depot). Camp Lejeune, NC. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Sharp Shooter Medal and the Army Good Conduct Medal. Sgt. DiMaggio was discharged from the army in June 1956.

Charles J. Disch

Born August 5, 1933. He served in the US Army during the Korean War.

1st Lt. John T. Erickson

Was born on September 4, 1930. He was drafted into the US Army in September 1951. He attended basic armor training in 1951 and OCS armor training in 1952. He was stationed at Fort Knox KY, and Fort Bragg NC and was discharged in September 1953. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal

Seaman 3rd Class Alan R Freitag

Was born on August 10, 1932. Alan entered the US Navy on June 3, 1950 as a sonar specialist. His claim to fame was that he served on the Honor Guard for President Harry S. Truman while stationed in Key West, FL. Seaman Freitag was discharged on April 16, 1953. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal. He died on August 12, 2017.

Sgt. Don Frye

Was born on September 21, 1933. He entered the US Marine Corps on February 16, 1953 as a tank and truck mechanic. He served with the 3rd Tank Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. His tour of duty took him through U.S.M.C. Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA; Camp Pendleton, CA; South Camp Fuji, Japan and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He was discharged on February 16, 1956 with the U.S.M.C. Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal and Korean Service Medal.

PFC. (E3) Everett E. Johnson

Everett was born on December 19, 1930. He entered the US Army in October 1951 and was trained as a Missile and Radar Technician/Instructor. He attended 42 weeks of schooling at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama on electronic guided missiles and radar. After he graduated, he was assigned as an instructor on these systems. He remained an instructor at Redstone Arsenal until he was discharged in October 1953. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal.

AIC John F. McKinley

AIC McKinley was born on April 2, 1937. He joined the Air National Guard on October 24, 1954 as a Motor Pool Dispatcher. Summer camps were at Volk Field. During the time of his basic training, Volk Field was in the process of changing from an Army BME to an Air Force Base. He served the next seven years at Volk Field and then was transferred to Truax Field in Madison. He served in the 128th Defense Wing, 115th Material Squadron until his discharge on October 26, 1963. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

SSgt. Douglas W. Morrissette

SSgt. Morrissette was born on February 25, 1935. He entered the US Air Force on November 5, 1953 as an Electric Countermeasures Technician. He serviced Recon Bombers that were monitoring Russian installations around the world. His assignments included Sampson AFB, NY; Kessler AFB, MS; Briggs AFB, El Paso, TX and RAF Lakenheath, England. He was discharged on September 8, 1957. His decorations include the AF Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Ribbon and the Outstanding Unit Award. He passed away on October 16, 2019.

PFC Frederick Walter Pulver

Born September 23, 1931. He entered the US Army on December 2, 1952 as part of the 43d T Trk Co. He was stationed at Fort Sheridan, IL, Korea and Camp Atterbury, IN. Originally from Elgin, IL, his family moved to the Town of Montrose and later the Town of Oregon. He met his future wife, Lorlene Kahl of Verona. They were married January 26, 1951 and were later blessed with six children. Fred was discharged on October 22, 1954. He was a proud member of American Legion Post #385, Past Commanders Club and the Forty & 8 Society. Freddie was always willing to support the traditions of the American Legion, whether it be parades, or Ceremonial Services for comrades. He was honored to be asked to volunteer with the expansion of Camp American Legion, helping with numerous projects especially the building of the “Waterfall” that utilized many of his skills. Fred passed away on October 31, 2012. His decorations include the Korean Service Medal w/one Bronze Star, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation and the Korean War Service Medal.

Sgt. Julian O. Rhiner – US Army

Was born on September 11, 1928. He graduated high school in 1946 and went into the US Army on April 26, 1951. After graduation he had received a deferral but he realized that either he or his brother would eventually be drafted, so he decided to join. He was trained as a bulldozer operator. After training he was sent to Busan, Korea and then on to Chun Chon (the 38th parallel) by train with an artillery outfit. He was one of the combat engineers. Korea had roads only wide enough for maybe an ox cart so that winter he ran a road grader constructing roads so the US could use them for larger equipment. In 1952 President Truman began to eliminate segregation in the military and he was combined with a colored unit that was closer to the front. That summer they were putting in roads in some rough country which required them to cut into the side of mountains. Three shells hit nearby, but that was the only time anything came that close. He spent a total of 12 months in the combat area of Korea. Julian was discharged on July 3, 1952. His decorations include the Korean Service Medal w/two Bronze Stars, United Nations Service Medal for Korea (UNKM), Republic of Korea War Service Medal (ROKWSM) and the National Defense Service Medal.

Frank Sarles

Born on June 13, 1931. He served in the US Army during the Korean War.

SSgt. John W. Scharer

Was born on July 24, 1931. He was drafted into the US Army on March 29, 1951. After basic and advanced basic training at Fort Hook, TX, he was sent to Mortar school in Aberdeen MD. He was then sent to North Korea with the 3rd Infantry, 7th Regiment for 11 months. Five weeks of that in a Swedish hospital in Busan, South Korea. He was discharged on March 21, 1953. John was awarded the Purple Heart, United Nations Service Medal, Korean War Service Medal (South Korea), Korean Service Medal (USA) with 1 Bronze Star, Republic of Korea Presidential Combat Unit Citation Badge, National Defense Service Medal, and the Army Good Conduct Medal.

Warren Sime

Served in the US Air Force during the Korean War.

SSgt (E5) Maynard G. Stoehr

Was born on May 21, 1930. He entered the US Air Force on October 14, 1950. He attended basic training at Lackland AFB, TX and then was reassigned to Scott AFB, IL to become a Radio Communications Maintenance Specialist. After his training he was sent to Seoul AB (K-16) Seoul, South Korea. He also spent time at Wadena AFS in MN. Maynard was discharged on October 13, 1954. His decorations include the Korean War Service Medal w/2 service stars, United Nations Service Medal for Korea, Republic of Korea War Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the AF Good Conduct Medal. Maynard passed away on December 18, 2021.

AD3 Orin Richard Strand – US Navy

Was born on January 14, 1934. Orin enlisted in the US Navy on November 15, 1951. He went to boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois. After boot camp he was off to Jacksonville, Florida for airman school and then onto Memphis, Tennessee for machinist school. Once he completed his schooling he was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Bairoko. He worked as an aircraft refueler and on a crash crew. The ship’s travels included Hawaii, Guam, Hong Kong, San Diego and San Francisco. The carrier was involved in many combat air patrols over Korea during his time aboard in 1953. His crash crew was also responsible in placing fuel in napalm bombs. The ship’s logistic movements on the enemy ended on July 27, 1953 with the Korean Armistice. The carrier returned to San Diego and was overhauled. Once the overhaul was complete, the ship participated in nuclear bomb test at Bikini Atoll in the Marshal Islands. Upon completion of these tests, the carrier was sent to San Francisco Naval Shipyard. Orin was discharged on December 8, 1954. The ship was decommissioned on February 18, 1955 and sold for scrap on August 10, 1960. His decorations include the Korean Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

1st Lt. Leo E. Sweeney – US Army

Leo entered the US Army on May 9, 1954 as a Combat Engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers. He was stationed at Fort Riley, KS and Fort Belvior, VA. He was discharged on March 20, 1956. He received the National Defense Service Medal.

PFC Lloyd W. Tindall

Was born on October 4, 1931. He entered the US Army on September 2, 1954 and became a Company Clerk and Freight Planner after he completed basic training at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas and clerk typist/Army administration training. He was then transferred to Chofu Hydroponic Farm at Chofu, Japan where he practiced hydroponic farming practices. After 4 months Lloyd was relocated to the US Army Depot at Camp Drew, Japan where he served as a freight planner. He was discharged on August 22, 1956. He was awarded the Army Good Conduct Medal.

Seaman William K. (Pete) Way

Was born on September 5, 1933. He entered the US Navy on October 14, 1952 and became a Boatswain’s Mate. He was stationed aboard the USS Oriskany (CVA-34) at Alameda, CA. Aboard the ship, Pete was in the O.R. Division and was part of a lifeboat crew and was the first loader for both a 3” and 50” cannon. While in port he was a #5 motor launch coxen. Pete was discharged on October 6, 1956. His decorations include the Korean Service Medal w/2 battle stars, the Navy Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Richard L. Wentland

Was born on July 10, 1934. He proudly served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and a highlight of his life was participating in the Badger Honor Flight. He passed away on October 28, 2021

AG3 Jack Winters

Was born on May 24, 1931. He enlisted in the US Navy on October 5, 1948 in Andover, Massachusetts. He went to boot camp at Great Lakes, IL. After boot camp he attended school in Corpus Christi, Texas, Millington, Tennessee and Lake Hurst, New Jersey in 1949. When all was said and done, he was an Aerographer (Weatherman). He was assigned to Fleet Weather Central Norfolk, VA. Served 3 months aboard the USS Cadmus (AR14) in 1950. Then assigned to Naval Air Station Argentia in Newfoundland from 1950 to 1951. His last 6 months of service was at Fleet Weather Central, Washington DC where he was discharged on October 3, 1952. He was awarded the American Defense Service Medal.

Pvt. 1st Class Robert P. Wipperfurth – US Army

Was born on November 1, 1929. He attended St. James Catholic School and graduated in 1948 from Edgewood High School. He married Donna Jean Strassman on January 6, 1951. He was drafted into the US Army due to the Korean War twelve days later on January 18, 1951. He was assigned to the 194th Field Artillery Battalion as a supply truck driver. In August of 1951, the 194th was alerted for overseas movement, and arrived in Germany in September of that year. The first duty station in Europe was in Northern Kaserne, at Wurzburg, Germany, where the unit became a member of the combined arms team, organized to prevent further spread of Communism in the European family of nations. In September of 1952, the 194th was moved to Wertheim, Germany, with no change in its primary mission. He was discharged on December 17, 1952. He received the National Defense Service Medal.

PFC Richard (Mercy) G. Zurbuchen

Was born on May 23, 1932. Mercy entered the US Marine Corps in October 1951 as a motor transportation specialist. He was sent to Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, CA and then to Santa Anna, CA. After a short leave, he was assigned to Quantico, VA. On August 28, 1955 he was discharged and returned home with his wife and son. . In May 2013 Mercy was honored for his military service with a flight to Washington DC on the Badger Honor Flight out of Madison, WI. His decorations included the National Defense Service Ribbon, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and the Good Driving Record. Mercy passed away on October 2, 2020.

Reporter Neal Patten can be reached at npatten@wisconsinmediagroup.com

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