Mr. Russell Hilton, Meade County Veteran of the Month - December 2012
It is my honor to introduce the Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of December - Mr. Russell Hilton from right here in Sturgis. Mr. Hilton served 20 years in the United States Air Force from April 1954 until April 1974.
Mr. Hilton began his service to our great country at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX, where he worked in the radar bomb scoring area. Other assignments throughout his 20-year career included:
Three different combat missions in Vietnam
Keesler AFB, MS
Hill AFB, UT
Maxwell AFB, AL
Fairchild AFB, WA
Austin, TX and
His final assignment was at Ellsworth AFB, SD where he retired in 1974.
Post his retirement from the Air Force, he became the Chief of Police of Sturgis. After that they had owned a parts store in Arizona; and then came back to Sturgis to finally retire.
Mr. Hilton garnered many honors during his time in service of which included the fourth-highest combat and the ninth highest U.S. military award in order of precedence:
The Bronze Star for acts of heroism, merit, or meritorious service in a combat zone.
He was also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. This citation is awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and allies for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy that display gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in the performance of its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions that set it above and apart from other units participating in the same campaign.
His other awards include:
The AF Meritorious Service Medal
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Good Conduct Medal with 2 loops
National defense service medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with 1 Bronze Service Star
Air Force Longevity Service Award with oak leaf cluster
Small arms expert marksmanship ribbon
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
And the Air Force Material Command Badge
We would like to thank Mr. Hilton's granddaughter Kacey for taking the time to contact the VSO office and nominating her grandfather. Kacey, herself, currently an active duty Air Force Captain, was not only inspired by her grandfather, but also her parents who are themselves 20-year Air Force veterans and her brother who is currently in the USMC.
We, the Meade County Commission and the citizens of Meade County, would like to recognize you for your service and give a heartfelt thanks for your service to our great country during the Korean & Vietnam wars.
Mr. Justin Shellhammer, Meade County Veteran of the Month - November 2012
It is my honor to introduce the Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of November - Mr. Justin Shellhammer.
Mr. Shellhammer served in the United States Army from 2000 - 2005 as military police. In 2000, Mr. Shellhammer enlisted in the U.S. Army. In July of that year, he served at Fort Campbell, KY, and he had deployed with the 101st to Kosovo, Bosnia, Africa, and Iraq. In the end of 2003, he went to Ft. Richardson, Alaska, and was in charge of 12 soldiers for field and law enforcement training. Mr. Shellhammer was then sent to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom in March 2005.
On April 5, 2005, while out on a patrol, Justin spotted an IED round on the right side of the dirt sidewalk and realized that the soldiers behind him were walking toward it. He put out his arm to stop them and when he did, one of the soldiers bumped his arm and another one bumped his shoulder, he lost his balance. When he attempted to regain his balance, he stepped on an active land mine with his left foot. The impact shot him forward and he landed on his chest on another land mine. Fortunately this one did not detonate. His soldiers reacted immediately and applied a tourniquet. Justin put his arm around one soldier and actually hopped back to his vehicle and called in the incident himself.
From a hospital in Afghanistan, Justin was flown to Landstul, Germany, and from there, Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. A month after he lost his leg, he received his first prosthetic limb. Remarkably, a month and a week after he lost his leg, he ran 2 miles for the first time. The following September of 2005, he ran in a 4-1/2K race to benefit the families of firefighters and policemen from 9/11. Mr. Shellhammer attributes assistance from the Wounded Warrior Project with helping him regain his sense of humor and determined spirit.
Justin continued to selflessly serve others. Justin was the first amputee to complete the South Dakota Law Enforcement academy, where he received the inspiration award. He is currently serving his fellow veterans as a Police officer at Fort Meade, Veterans Hospital (VA).
He was awarded the Purple Heart, Combat service medal, Commendation medal (3rd award), Achievement medal, good conduct medal, national defense medal, non commissioned officer professional development ribbon, overseas service ribbon, UN medal, NATO medal, air assault badge, driver & mechanic badge, global war on terrorism expeditionary medal and lastly the global war on terrorism service medal.
We, the Meade County Commission, and the citizens of Meade County would like to recognize you for your service and give a heartfelt thanks for your service to our great country.
Mr. Charles Boswell, Meade County Veteran of the Month - October 2012
It is my honor to introduce the Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of October - Mr. Charles Boswell.
Mr. Boswell served in the United States Navy from 1943 - 1946. He has been part of the Naval Training Center at San Diego, the Lion 4, Cub 12 US Naval Advance Base, San Bruno, CA, Company A Med Br., 5th Amphib Corps FMF, 4th Division 25th Marines 2nd Marine Division, 17th AA BN F1 Marines Forces Pacific.
He participated in numerous operations against the Japanese in the South Pacific including Marshall and Mariana Islands. Among the various campaigns, he experienced enemy action on numerous occasions while performing first as a pharmacist mate and then as a combat medic. He was awarded the Asiatic Pacific (1star), American Area, Victory Ribbon, and the Good Conduct medal.
We, the Meade County commission, and the citizens of Meade County would like to recognize you for your service and give a heartfelt thanks for your service to our great country during World War II.
Mr. James Foley, Meade County Veteran of the Month - September 2012
On September 4, 2012, at 8:30 a.m., the Board of Commissioners will honor Mr. James Foley for his service to our country. Anyone interested in attending this presentation is welcome to join us at the Erskine Building at 1300 Sherman Street, 2nd Floor.
It is my honor to introduce the Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of September - Mr. James Foley from Sturgis.
Mr. Foley served in the United States Marine Corps from 1968 - 1997. Over his 30 years of service he performed duties as an Infantry Unit Leader, the most hated person in training - a Drill Instructor, and a Motor Transport Maintenance Chief.
He had numerous assignments during his service that included:
Kilo Company 3/4 - Republic of Vietnam
Headquarters and Service Company 3rd Force Service Regiment, Okinawa, Japan
Marine Barracks, Great Lakes Illinois
Hotel Company 2/2, deployed to Mediterranean
“A” Company 1/4
Back to the Republic of Vietnam where he complete two more deployments with Golf Company 2/9
Mr. Foley was then “short toured” from performing duties as a Chief Drill Instructor to being assigned to the American Embassy in Pretoria – the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa, the American Embassies in Athens, Greece and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
He was then assigned to the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, as Operations Chief.
He was deployed to Persian Gulf and then redeployed to Okinawa, Japan.
After returning Mr. Foley was the Staff Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the Career Course and the Advanced Course until he was offered the position of Deputy Director, Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy.
Mr. Foley was our Marine Instructor here in Sturgis, SD for 7 years where many of the students still keep in contact with him.
His sons serve or have served in the military.
He has been awarded the:
Combat Action Ribbon x2
Marine Corps Good conduct medals x9
National Defense Service Medal x2
Vietnam Service Medal x2
Three Letters of Appreciations
Meritorious Mast x3
Three Sea Service Deployment Medals
Four Navy Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbons
A Meritorious Unit Commendation
2 Navy Unit Commendations
2 Southwest Asia Service medals
The Kuwait Liberation Medal
The Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
9 Rifle Expert Badges
4 pistol expert badges
The Kuwait Liberation Medal from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
And…he also had the extension of service at the request of the government.
We, the Meade County commission, and the citizens of Meade County enjoy taking this opportunity to recognize you for your service and willingly give our heartfelt thanks to you for your service to our great country for more than 30 years.
Mr. John Fleming, Meade County Veteran of the Month - August 2012
The Board of Commissioners honored John Fleming for his service to our country.
It is my honor and privilege to introduce the Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of August - Mr. John Fleming from Sturgis.
Mr. Fleming served in the United States Navy from 1962 - 1963 as a gunner's mate on the USS John Hood (DD-655) - a Fletcher-class destroyer.
Today, Mr. Fleming remains very active assisting fellow veterans. Specifically, Mr. Fleming volunteers with the "No Veteran Dies Alone" - a new program of the Veterans Affairs, Black Hills Health Care System where specially-trained volunteers provide companionship and assistance to veterans who are entering the final states of life by providing constant bedside comfort when family and friends are unable to be near their loved ones - ensuring that no veteran should ever have to face the challenge of death alone.
Mr. Fleming is also an active participant in the Patriot Guard Riders - rendering honor as an escort for 12 funerals and 3 WWII honor flight escorts.
He also serves as the assistant director for the Black Hills American Legion, and participates on the Black Hills National Cemetery Committee.
As part of the Christmas in July through the VA, Mr. Fleming helped get a total of 80 gifts to people in local VA hospitals and assists with the building of POW/MIA kits for businesses that have the ceremony table to remember our nation's heroes.
We, the Meade County commission, and the people of Meade County are honored to recognize Mr. Fleming and give a heartfelt "thanks" not only for his service to our great country, but the continuance of his service to our veterans.
Mr. Maynard Briggs, Meade County Veteran of the Month - July 2012
The Board of Commissioners honored Maynard Briggs for his service to our country.
It is my honor to introduce the Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of July - Mr. Maynard Briggs from Piedmont, SD. Mr. Briggs served in the United States Marine Corps from 1942-1945 and again in 1945-1950. He was a member of the 10th Marines, 22nd Marines, and the 7th Defense Battalion. He participated in numerous operations against the Japanese in the American Samoa, the South Pacific, and the Central Pacific area. Among the various campaigns, he experienced enemy action on numerous occasions while performing as a heavy anti-aircraft gun crewman and a military policeman.
We, the Meade County commission and the citizens of Meade County, would like to recognize Mr. Maynard Briggs for his service to our country during World War II and beyond.
Mr. Dormus Vaughn, Meade County Veteran of the Month - June 2012
The Board of Commissioners honored Dormus Vaughn for his service to our country.
I would like to introduce the Meade County Veteran of the Month for the month of June. It is Mr. Dormus Vaughn from here in Sturgis.
Mr. Vaughn served in the United States Marine Corps from March 1966 until March 1968. As a member of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Division, he participated in numerous operations against insurgent communist Viet Cong forces, such as Operations "Union" in Tam Ky Providence, Operations "Adair", "Calhoun", "Yazoo", and "Swift", in the Quang Na Province, Operation "Cochise" in the Quang Tin Province.
He was awarded the Vietnam Campaign with devices, the Vietnam Service Metal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Marksmen badge. Additionally, he received the Purple Heart for shrapnel wounds received during his service.
We, the Meade County commission and the people of Meade County, would like to recognize and give a heartfelt thanks to Mr. Vaughn for his service to his country during the Vietnam War.
Lieutenant Colonel Donald Smith, Meade County Veteran of the Month - May 2012
The Board of Commissioners honored Lieutenant Colonel Donald Smith for his service to our country.
Lieutenant Colonel Donald Smith (retired)
Served 1944-1947 in the U.S. Arm Air Corps and again 1951 to 1974 in the U.S. Air Force.
Flew 34 missions over Germany as a copilot in a B-17 bomber as a member of the 303rd Bombardment Group out of bases in England; to include an infamous raid over the heavily defended cities of Murshberg and Luishaven, Germany.
After returing to the states, he was assigned as a Maintenance Officer on numerous aircraft types and also flew with the Hurricane Hunters out of Keesler, Mississippi.
Currently resides in Blackhawk, SD.
Mr. David Bald Eagle, Meade County Veteran of the Month - May 2012
The Board of Commissioners honored Mr. David Bald Eagle for his service to our country.
Mr. David Bald Eagle
Served 1940 to 1945 in the U.S. Army as a Combat Infantryman for the 82nd Airborne Paratroopers in the European Theater
Invasion of Normandy
Son served in the active duty army for 8 years and is currently serving in the Army National Guard in Afghanistan