Mr. Roger Heller, Meade County Veteran of the Month - December 2013
The Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of December is Mr. Roger Heller from Sturgis.
Mr. Heller enlisted in the United States Army in 1953, in Milwaukee, WI. After 20 years of service, he retired in 1973. Mr. Heller was part of the 77th Army Band where he played the French horn until he went into aviation for the Vietnam War where he was a door gunner on the UH1. Mr. Heller served three Vietnam tours.
Mr. Heller was presented the Air Medal for heroism while engaged in flight operations against hostile forces. He was flying as a gunner on a UH-1B helicopter when they engaged in a combat heliborne troop lift in the vicinity of Khai Quang, Vietnam, where he had conducted under continuous enemy fire posed himself at the door of the helicopter to place accurate and intensive fire into the insurgent positions. He had done this for five successive lifts. The helicopter was hit multiple times by insurgent ground fire. He never wavered and continued to provide timely and effective fire support for the air landed Vietnamese forces.
Mr. Heller has done a lot of travels throughout the US as well as Foreign service to include:
- Vicenza, Italy
- Washington, DC
- New York
Mr. Heller has been awarded:
- National Defense Service Medal,
- Letter of Appreciation,
- Army Good Conduct Medal with 2 loops,
- Vietnam Service Medal,
- Air Medal with ‘V’ device,
- Presidential Unit Citation,
- and the Expert Marksmen (rifle)
After retiring he continued work as a plumber, then fully retired and his hobby was fishing.
We, the Meade County Commission and the people of Meade County, would like to recognize and give a heartfelt thanks to Mr. Heller for his service to his country during the Vietnam War and beyond.
Mr. Jan Masden, Meade County Veteran of the Month - November 2013
Mr. Masden enlisted in the U.S. Army when he was 18 and right after high school in 1973. Mr. Masden was a helicopter pilot for many different commanders throughout Germany. He would fly the small helicopters for certain missions of observation as well as helicopters that were large and carried cargo.
In November of 1974, he was driving and left the road and hit a tree. Hitting the tree put him into a coma for over six months with little to no chance of survival. In 1975, he was transferred to Fort Meade. In March of 1975, he started to come out of the coma but could not speak. His family was there for him every step of the way. When Easter came around that year, his family elected to have him moved home. Mr. Masden has had to re-learn everything down to the simplest of bodily functions. Since then, he has given many hours of volunteer work to Fort Meade. He has volunteered over 15,000 hours of his time.
His primary career field was in the Rotary Wing, the Pilot Observation, and the Utility Light Cargo.
He has been awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Army Aviator Badge, and the Expert Badge with Rifle Bar (M-16).
We, the Meade County Commission and the people of Meade County, would like to recognize and give a heartfelt thanks to Mr. Masden for his service to his country during the Vietnam War.
Mr. Bernard Leick, Meade County Veteran of the Month - October 2013
Mr. Leick served in the United States Navy from 1958 until 1973. His titles have included Hospital Corpsman, Medical Assistant, Medical Technician, and Combat Medic.
He enlisted in California and was stationed at San Diego where he was a Hospital Corpsman. Next, he was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, and also Long Beach, California, on the USS Haven where he encountered a male that had been hit with a butcher knife in the face by his sister after a disagreement over a record. Mr. Leick was the individual responsible for taking care of this patient that night by cleaning up his face and stitching him up.
After that, he decided he wanted to become a surgeon. Soon thereafter, Mr. Leick was in a tragic car accident where the local police pronounced him dead. After arriving at the hospital, they worked on him and brought him back to life. He was then crippled and confined to the hospital for two years. The military tried to medically discharge him, but Mr. Leick fought his way back to walking again as well as staying in the military.
By 1963, he was running races on the track. He determined he wanted his dream to be fulfilled in the medical field. He was accepted into the Fleet Marine Force. He then completed the Marines boot camp and field combat medical school. Mr. Leick was stationed at Cherry Point, North Carolina, where he worked in the Emergency Room.
During the Vietnam War, Mr. Leick served on the USS San Diego. In 1967, he was sent to Vietnam for one year as a combat medic with the 1st Battalion 12th Marines. During that time, he was struck by lightning. The USS Denver was his next duty station where he worked the flying Helo missions for Vietnam for another six months. Mr. Leick served a total of one and half years during Vietnam.
Mr. Leick has been awarded the following:
- National Defense Service Medal x 2
- Vietnam Service Medal
- Presidential Unit Citation
- Good Conduct Medal x 2
- Vietnamese Cross-of Gallantry
- Vietnam Service Medal with FMF Combat Insignia
- Vietnam Campaign Service Medal with two bronze stars
After separating from the Navy, Mr. Leick worked and finally decided to retire here in Sturgis.
We, the Meade County Commission and the people of Meade County, would like to recognize and give a heartfelt thanks to Mr. Leick for his service to his country during and peace time and the Vietnam War.
Mr. Jerry Lolley, Meade County Veteran of the Month - September 2013
Mr. Lolley enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1968, in Nebraska, and is an Air Force Vietnam-era Veteran. He served as an aircraft maintenance airman working on the T-39 aircraft, the T-33, and the F-16. He also worked logistics with the aircraft for repair during combat.
Mr. Lolley has done a lot of travels throughout the U.S. as well as foreign service to include:
• Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska
• Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico • Clark Air Base, Philippines
• Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho • Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany
• Hill Air Force Base, Utah
• Homestead Air Force Base, Florida
• Langley Air Force Base, Virginia
• Hahn Air Base, Germany
Mr. Lolley has been awarded the following:
• Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
• Air Force Good Conduct Medal X5
• National Defense Service Medal X3
• Vietnam Service Medal X1
• Air Force Overseas Short Tour Ribbon
• Air Force Overseas Long Tour Ribbon
• Air Force Longevity Service Award X 4
• NCO PME (Professional Military Education) Graduation Ribbon X1 • Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
• Air Force Training Ribbon
• Air Force Commendation Medal
Mr. Lolley retired from the Air Force in 1988 after 20 years of service. He then went to work for the airport in general aviation maintenance. In 1992, he came to work for Meade County as the Veteran’s Service Officer and retired from Meade County in December 2011.
Mr. Lolley is an active member of the Sturgis Veteran’s Club, the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans, and the Veteran’s Cemetery Council. Mr. Lolley is married with two children, as well as, one grand child that is going to be leaving for basic training soon.
We, the Meade County Commission and the people of Meade County, would like to recognize and give a heartfelt thanks to Mr. Lolley for his service to his country during the Vietnam War and beyond.
Mr. Roy Gerry, Meade County Veteran of the Month - August 2013
I would like to introduce the Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of August - Mr. Roy Gerry (Scott) from Sturgis.
Mr. Gerry served in the United States Navy Seals from 1982 until 1998. Mr. Gerry was part of Seal Team 1, Special Delivery Vehicle 1, Special Boat Unit 2, Red Cell, and Seal Team 6. His titles have included Special Vehicle Delivery Pilot, Navigator, and DDS Operator. He was also a Special Warfare Combatant Swimmer and a Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crew Member.
Some of the duty stations Mr. Gerry has served at include:
- Keflavik, Iceland;
- Lakehurst, NJ;
- Coronado, CA;
- Little Creek, VA;
- Dam Neck, VA;
- Mare Island, CA;
- San Francisco, CA;
- and Guam.
Mr. Gerry has been awarded the following medals and awards:
- Navy Commendation Medal X4,
- Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal,
- Navy Achievement Medal X3,
- Letter of Commendation X2,
- SECNAV Letters of Commendation,
- Letter of Commendation,
- Congressional Letter of Commendation,
- Letter of Appreciation X2,
- and was also selected as Special Boat Squadron One Sailor of the Year.
After retiring from the Navy Seals, Mr. Gerry owned a construction company in Sioux Falls for three years before moving to Florida. He then owned a mobile marine mechanics business for nine years before moving home to assist his mother after his father passed away. Mr. Gerry has three grown daughters.
We, the Meade County Commission and the people of Meade County, would like to recognize and give a heartfelt thanks to Mr. Gerry for his service to his country during Desert Storm and the first Gulf War.
Dr. Dennis Edwards, Meade County Veteran of the Month - July 2013
I would like to introduce the Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of July - Dr. Dennis Edwards from Rapid City.
Dr. Edwards enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1963, in Texas and is an Air Force Vietnam-era Veteran in aircraft maintenance and then communications. After serving 22 years he retired in 1985.
Dr. Edwards has done a lot of travels throughout the US as well as Foreign service to include:
- Lackland AFB, TX
- Nellis AFB, NV
- Forbes Field AFB, KA
- Luke AFB, AZ
- Kadena AFB, Japan
- Shaw AFB, SC
- Yokota AFB, Japan
- McCullen AFB, CA
- Osan AFB, Korea
- & Misawa AFB in Japan multiple times through out his career.
After retiring he went to work for the Department of Defense, Air Force Family Matters and retired from there after 20 years.
Dr. Edwards has his Business Degree from National American University and also received his Ph.D.
Dr. Edwards served as 2nd Vice-President of the Alfonza W. Davis Tuskegee chapter in Omaha, NE. He is currently an Honorary Ambassador of the Chapter. He has served as the Chairperson of the Mayors Rapid City Human Relations Commission. Dr. Edwards is an active member of the American Legion Post 22 and the Past District 2 Commander and was selected this month as the Department of South Dakota American Legion Chaplain.
Dr. Edwards implemented and is the Past Director of the American Legion Riders for Post 22. He and the riders have escorted three of the Honor Flights for WWII veterans and escorts. He helped start the POW/MIA ceremony for the American Legion Riders. Dr. Edwards, as the director, implemented the Christmas in July program for the veterans at Fort Meade, Hot Springs and the WOW program for female veterans and more just to name a few.
We, the Meade County commission and the people of Meade County, would like to recognize and give a heartfelt thanks to Dr. Edwards for his service to his country during the Vietnam War and during peace time.
Mr. Marvin Sharp, Meade County Veteran of the Month - June 2013
I would like to introduce the Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of June. It is Mr. Marvin Sharp from Sturgis.
Mr. Sharp served in the United States military from 1948 to 1952 as a gunner on the Boeing B-29 Superfortress in the Air Force.
Mr. Sharp was part of the 32nd bombardment squadron where he worked his way through tail gunner, left gunner, right gunner, and then to central fire control. He had done a lot of travels throughout the US as well as foreign service to include:
- Lackland AFB, TX
- Lowry AFB, CO
- Smoky Hill AFB, KA
- Barksdale AFB, LA
- Davis Mothan AFB, AZ
- McDill AFB, FL
- Kirkland AFB, NM
- Bermuda Island
- Goose Bay Labrador
He has been awarded the Good Conduct medal as well as the Korean War Medal. After separating from the military, Mr. Sharp moved to Murdo where he drove bulk oil and gas truck for 30 years. Later he owned a laundry mat for 15 years before moving to Sturgis where he worked for the community center before retiring.
We, the Meade County Commission and the people of Meade County, would like to recognize and give a heartfelt thanks to Mr. Sharp for his service to his country during the Korean War.
Mr. Roger Niederwerder, Meade County Veteran of the Month - May 2013
The Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of May -- Mr. Roger Niederwerder from Sturgis.
Mr. Niederwerder served in the United States military for a total of 41 years, 11 months, and 15 days ending in the rank of Command Sergeant Major and his career field an Engineer.
Mr. Niederwerder started off in the Army National Guard and was active duty for 7 years and a technician for 34 years. While serving in the South Dakota National Guard, he has served during the times of the Flood of 1972, the Westbury Trails fire, and multiple other fires in the Black Hills. After that, Mr. Niederwerder was an instructor at the South Dakota Military Academy for 12.5 years.
Mr. Niederwerder was part of the 842nd Engineer Company in Sturgis, and his career field was an Engineer. His foreign service includes Nicaragua, Panama, Kuwait, and Iraq.
He has been awarded the following:
- Legion of Merit Award
- Bronze Star Medal, which was awarded for meritorious service while assigned as the
- Command Sergeant Major for the 109th Engineer Battalion deployed in support of
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Meritorious Service Medal with 2 devices
- Army Commendation Medal with 4 devices
- Army Achievement Medal with 4 devices
- National Defense Service Medal with 3 devices
- Armed Forces Reserve Medal with 4 devices
- Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with 12 devices
- Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with 4 devices • Army Service Ribbon
- Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon with 2 devices
- Multi-National Force and Observers Medal
- IRAQ Campaign Medal
- Humanitarian Service Medal
- Overseas Service Medal
- Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal
- South Dakota Service Medal with 8 devices
- SD Distinguished Unit Award with 2 devices
- Initial Active Duty for training
After retiring from the military, Mr. Niederwerder has been enjoying his free time with working on cars, hunting, and enjoying the grandchildren.
Mr. Edwin Petranek, Meade County Veteran of the Month - April 2013
I would like to introduce the Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of April -- Mr. Edwin Petranek from here at Fort Meade. Mr Petranek was born in in White River, SD. Mr Petranek attended college at the University of SD, Vermillion, and received his BS degree in 1942. At graduation he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant with the R.O.T.C. program. He was then assigned to the 34th Infantry Division. His first assignment was at Oran, Algeria, in Africa for about a month. Then on to Bizerte, Tunisia, and then on to Naples, Italy where he was assigned to the 36th division as a platoon leader.
The 36th pushed to San Pietro with full combat against the Germans. In January 1944, Ed was fighting with General Mark Clark's 5th Army. He was with Company B of the 143rd Regiment on January 20th and 21st. Those were two terror-packed days of bloody attempts to cross the treacherous Rapido River. This fight decimated the 141st and the 143rd Infantry Regiments. On February 10th, 1944, near Monte Cassino, Ed was hit by mortar fragments in his left shoulder and returned to Naples for hospitalization.
After three weeks, he returned to his same unit and reorganized for the Anzio Beachhead assault. May 18th, 1944, was the break-out attack where they engaged in artillery, tank, and infantry warfare at the last German defense before Rome.
Rome fell to our forces the day before D-Day, June 5th,1944, and Ed was among those who marched into the city. After that, they pushed northward to Grosseto where they were relieved and they moved back to Naples to prepare for the invasion of France.
Early in 1945, the 36th Division began to move again, with Ed now a First Lieutenant and Company Commander of CO. B. Ed could see the Rhine River near Oberhoffen, when he was wounded for the fourth time on February 10th,1945. His right hip was shattered, his hearing permanently impaired from close cannon fire. He was at Barnes until October 12th,1945. He was then assigned to limited active duty as a company executive officer at Camp Roberts, CA, from October 1945 to July 1946 when Ed received a medical discharge. Medals received include:
- The Silver Star
- The Purple Heart with 3 oak leaf clusters
- The Bronze Star with cluster for meritorious service
- Infantry Combat Badge
- The Victory Medal
- European Theater Combat Ribbon with 4 stars
- Invasion Arrowhead
- American Campaign Medal
- Infantry Combat Medal
- He also received the French Legion of Honor medal on behalf of the government of France in recognition for his "valorous action during World War II."
After his honorable discharge, he went home to White River and Vermillion for a time, then was hired as a high school principal and coach at Colome, SD. He and his wife then moved to Vermillion where Mr. Petranek worked toward his Master's degree at the University of South Dakota, and their son Rodney was born there in 1950. Mr Petranek taught until retirement in 1979.
We, the Meade County Commission and the people of Meade County, would like to recognize and give a heartfelt thanks to Mr. Petranek for his service to his country during WW II.
Mr. Edmund Baye, Meade County Veteran of the Month - March 2013
I would like to introduce the Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of February. It is Mr. Edmund Baye from Faith.
Mr. Baye served in the United States Air Force from 1956 until 1968. Mr Baye was part of the 305 Supply Squadron, 441st, and 3750th squadron. His career field was a Fuels, POL. He would maintain, operate petroleum, missile, and alternateand cryogenic facilities and equipment. He would also perform maintenance on fuels handling equipment and facilities. During the Vietnam War, Mr. Baye was part of the company that built and provided security to 4 miles of pipeline. He spent a total of 3 different tours in Vietnam. The first two were in 3-month increments. The last tour was for one year.
Mr. Baye has been stationed at:
- Sheppard AFB, TX for two tours
- Yokota AFB, Japan
- Bunker Hill AFB, IN
- Parks AFB, CA
He has been deployed to
- Okinawa, Japan
After separating out of the military, Mr. Baye went to work for the family business with the John Deere dealer in Phillip, SD, for 25 years. After that he worked in the mail trucking business for 17 years in Pierre and Sioux Falls. After he retired, they wanted to move back West River where they love the prairie and the people.
Mr Baye has been awarded the following medals:
- National Defense Service Medal
- Vietnam Service Medal
- Republic of Vietnam Service Medal
- Army Good Conduct Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster
- Air Force Good Conduct Medal
- Air Force Longevity Medal with one cluster
We, the Meade County commission and the people of Meade County, would like to recognize and give a heartfelt thanks to Mr. Baye for his service to his country during the Vietnam War.
Mr. Dallas Blomquist, Meade County Veteran of the Month - February 2013
Anonymous Soldiers, Veteran of the Month - January 2013
The "Veteran of the Month" was initiated to remember the scarifies made by all veterans - while at the same time honoring our own for their respective service and commitment to our community and country.
"Man does not die until he is forgotten"
Our January "Veteran of the Month" wishes to remain anonymous, as he felt he did not deserve the acknowledgment for doing his "duty". This individual is from an era when one did what it takes to get the mission accomplished; without a lot of fanfare. Not surprising to our staff, this particular veteran was thankful for the acknowledgment, however, he wanted to redirect the praise to honor his fellow veterans - past, present, and future.
- Excerpt from speech (Veteran's Day 2007) given by Coulby Dunn, a Vietnam veteran.
We recognize that all our veterans have given something of themselves to this country...... and some have given all- laying down their lives to defend the freedoms we hold so dear.
Today, as we reflect on the blessings of our liberty... we ask our Heavenly Father..... that we may be faithful stewards of the freedom we have been granted.... Let us never forget... that we cannot rightfully celebrate the joy of our freedom... without remembering the great price paid for that freedom.
We stagger.... at the eternal debt we owe... to the untold number of American Veterans...who chose to set aside...their personal ambitions and dreams... to assure the well being of our great nation. We, the living....are indeed... the beneficiaries... of those who made tremendous sacrifices for the advancement and surety of our liberty.
May we always be humbly grateful.... to those brave American patriots...who suffered and sacrificed for the glory of God and for the freedom of all Americans.
For those soldiers who have stood guard in peacetime... and to those who have seen the terror, the horror and inhumanity of combat -- and to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice - Let it be said that our soldiers have been there for America.... defending the Constitution of the United States.....
To all our veterans.... we have a simple yet heartfelt message -- thank you - Thank you for your unwavering service in peacetime and war, here in this nation... and throughout the world.
For all veterans, regardless of their service and the era in which they have served, they have paid the price time and time again..... They have defended America through both the best and worst of times.... and they have performed their duties tirelessly, with little recognition or fanfare.
They have sought neither fortune nor fame. It was merely a simple love of America and the freedoms we all cherish so much.
Solders know what it is like.... to stand guard... in the chill of the night while others sleep. They understand the meaning of hardship.... standing watch at freedom's frontier far from their loved ones. It is this devotion to duty that gives us all strength......
Looking out on the world... we see our Soldiers serving in over 100 countries throughout the world, and the legacy of our veterans continues to inspire our American soldiers today to answer the call to duty.