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Veterans Day 2018; 13 Quilts Of Valor Presented At FCHS

Fillmore Central High School hosted a special Veterans Day Program on Monday, November 12, for its students and residents of Geneva.
Fillmore County Legion commander and U.S. Navy Vietnam War veteran Tom Ortgies was the speaker and emcee for the program, which also featured special performances by the FCHS band.  The highlight of the program was the presentation of Quilts of Valor (QOV) to 13 area veterans.  
Donna Norrie with the Fillmore County American Legion Riders read the biographies of the veterans as family members presented the veterans their quilts.  Norrie noted that the local Legion Riders have helped over 100 veterans receive a QOV. Phyllis Schoenholz, a member of the QOV Foundation, told the audience about the history of the QOV.  She said over 200,000 QOV have been presented to date.  She noted the quilts are intended to help veterans "who were touched by war." 

***Bios for 13 veterans who received a Quilt of Valor during the Monday, November 12, Veterans Day Program follow.


Doug Cox
Doug enlisted into the United States Navy in December of 1969 and attended boot camp at the Naval Training Center in San Diego, California. He then attended a school for electronics in Memphis, Tennessee and Norfolk, Virginia. Doug was then sent to Quonset Point, Rhode Island for radio operator training. He was attached to the VS27 squadron for 3 years. Doug was stationed aboard the USS Intrepid and traveled the North Atlantic and Mediterranean for two 6 month tours. While stationed in the Gulf of Tonga, they would fly over Vietnam 2 – 3 times per day. While on leave in Japan, he and his buddies headed to partake in refreshments and get tattoos but while standing in line, two Marine began to fight and Doug took a shot to his jaw. He returned to the ship with a broken jaw and no tattoo, he also had the privilege of drinking his meals through a straw for the next 3 weeks. Doug was honorable discharge from active duty in September of 1973 as an E4 Petty Officer 2nd class. Doug remained in the reserves for an additional 4 years.
Presenting Doug’s quilt today is his cousin Roger Carlson and Legion Auxiliary member Deb Carlson.

Jerry Herman
Jerry was drafted into the United States Army in June of 1965 and attended basic training at Fort Leonard wood, Missouri and additional training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky before being shipped to Long Bien, Vietnam. While in Vietnam Jerry drove a 5 ton tractor trailer hauling supplies and ammunition from the Saigon Airport, ships and various locations to other supply posts. Their main concerns were ambushes and road mines. During his 13 months in country, Jerry drove 10,570 miles. His fondest memory was getting to see the Nancy Sinatra show at the Saigon Airport. He was honorably discharged from the Army at the rank of E4 in March of 1967. Jerry received the Vietnam service medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and Ribbon and two safe driving awards.
Presenting his quilt today is: Marie Ortgies – Legion Auxiliary.

Louis Lichti
Lou enlisted into the United States Marines in 1964 and attended basic training at Marine Corp. Training Center in Parris Island, South Carolina. He attending school and training in the electrical field and assisted with building power lines and trained in the use of generators in the field. Lou served 6 years state side and was stationed at several Marine Corp bases throughout the United States. He was honorable discharged in 1970 at the rank of Sergeant E5. Lou received the Rifle marksman Badge.
Presenting his quilt is his daughter Audrie Lichti Bates.

James Kamler
James was drafted into the United States Army in January of 1969 and attended basic training and Advanced Individual training at Fort Lewis, Washington. On June 8th he was transported to Central Highlands, Pleiku, Vietnam and remained there until June 8, 1970. While stationed in Vietnam, Jim was granted two RR weeks to a destination of his choice. The first time he met his parents in Hawaii and the second time, he and fellow solider from Texas went back to Hawaii. On July 1, 1970, Jim was transported back to Fort Carson, Colorado for three months and honorably discharged on January 14, 1971 at the rank of Sergeant E5. Sergeant Kamler received the National Defense Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Army commendation Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal w/60 Device and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w/ Palm.
Presenting his quilt today are his wife Sussy and grandchildren Karson, Hannah and Eli Myers.

Nicholas Kamler
Nick enlisted in the United States Navy in May of 2001 and attended Basic training at the Naval Training Center in Chicago Illinois. He spent 3 1⁄2 years of sea service aboard the USS Denver – LPD9 stationed out of San Diego, California. Nick’s amphibious transport dock was deployed twice to Kuwait, twice to the Persian Gulf, Singapore and the Hawaiian Islands. On October 1, 2002 just 10 miles off the shores of Kuwait in the Persian Gulf their ship was dropping off Marines for a military exercise where they were surprised by an attack, one marine was killed and another one wounded. The assailants then drove to another group of Marines but fortunately the word had spread and both the assailants were killed. Nick served during the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He received the National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon – twice, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal and the Armed Forces Medal. Nick was honorable discharge in May of 2005 at the rank of Seaman E3.
Presenting Nick’s quilt today are his stepmother Sussy and nieces and nephew Karson, Hannah and Eli Myers.

Gary Kudlacek
Gary was drafted into the United States Army in 1967 and attended Basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas. He received Advanced Infantry training at Fort Polk, Louis. before receiving his order in October of 1967 for Cu Chi, Vietnam. Shortly after arriving in Vietnam Gary was injured for the first time, he received treatment and was returned to his base unit. 30 men of Company B 4th of the 9th Infantry 25th Division found themselves surrounded by 250 Vietnamese soldiers during the Tet offensive attack by North Vietnam, 7 men were killed and 12 wounded. Gary was among the wounded when a rocket launching grenade hit between his left side and arm. He had extensive damage to his left arm and additional shots to his back. He remembers his commanding officer going from soldier to soldier during the attack, they finally received a helicopter for the wounded and he managed to get himself to the helicopter that was under heavy enemy fire. To him, it seems that it took forever for the helicopter to lift them to safety but they were trying to wait for all the wounded to be load before taking off. Gary was transported to an underground hospital in Cu chi for 10 days and then flown to Japan where he spent the next 90 days in the hospital for recovery. Gary was reassigned to clerk duty in Japan for the remainder of his tour of duty. He was honorably discharge from the Army in 1969 at the rank of Specialist E5. Gary received the Good Conduct Medal, the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. The fond memories that he has of his deployment were seeing the Connie Francis field show, only being an hour away from his cousin while stationed in Japan and meeting his wife Marilyn in Lincoln at his coming home party.
Presenting Gary’s quilt today is WWII veteran and father, Al Kudlacek.

Rodney Kudlacek
Rod enlisted into the United States Navy in March of 1968 and attended Basic training at the Navy Training Center in Chicago, Illinois. Petty Officer Kudlacek was aboard an armed forces courier with top secret clearance, they wrapped, handled and delivered classified materials to various locations in Vietnam as well as routed to Washington, D.C. National Security Agency at the Pentagon. Locations that he traveled where San Miguel and Subic Bay Philippines, Me Kong Delta Vietnam, Sasebo, Japan, Yokosuka, Japan and the Naval Security Station in Washington DC. Rod was honorably discharged from the Navy in November of 1970 at the rank of 3rd Class Petty Officer CTA3. He received the Vietnam service medal and the National Defense Medal.
Presenting his quilt today is his son Perry Kudlacek.

Ervin Ochsner
Ervin joined the Army reserves on June 22, 1964 and took basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas. His unit was called to active duty in 1968 and joined the 295th division. They were transported to Fort Carson, Colorado for more training and then deployed to Chu lai, Vietnam in July of 1968. Ervin spent 11 months in Vietnam at the Ammunition Depot running a fork lift stacking ammo and loading trucks. He returned home and remained in the Army reserves until honorably discharged on April 19, 1970. Ervin and Nadine were newlyweds when he was deployed and instead of writing letters back and forth, they would tape record their message and send the tapes back and forth. He was the first veteran that I have interviewed that used tapes instead of letters. Ervin said that mail call was the best part of his deployment. Ammo Specialist Ochsner was discharged at the rank of E4. He received the Vietnam service medal, National Defense Metal and Vietnam Campaign Ribbon.
Presenting his quilt are his grandchildren Taylor and Tyson.

Jerry Otte
Enlisted into the Army Reserves in 1959 and attended basic training at Fort Leonard wood, Missouri. He took additional training at Fort Eustis, Virginia. His unit was called up to the 5th Army during the Berlin and Cuban Missile Crisis and was stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado for one year. He attended summer camps in Camp Ripley, Minnesota. While serving Jerry’s unit took jumping off ship training off a high board, several of the men couldn’t swim and they found out what the long pole with a hook on it was for. They stayed in wooden barracks in Missouri with coal furnaces and you would wake up in the morning covered in soot. President John F. Kennedy was shot while he was in service. Jerry was honorable discharged in 1964 at the Rank of Specialist H.
Presenting his quilt today are his wife Peggy and daughter Shari.

Dennis Schmidt
Dennis was drafted into the United States Army and attended basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington and Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He served for two years; with one year in Vietnam has a gun chief with the field artillery unit. His main goal was to “just stay alive”. Dennis received the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign ribbon, Army Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star. He was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant.
 Presenting his quilt today are his wife Linda and daughter Jamie.

Norman (Hoot) Tesar
Toot was drafted into the United States Army in April of 1965 and attending basic training at Fort Leonard wood, Missouri. He received additional training at Fort Rucker, Alabama, Fort Benning, Georgia and Fort Carson, Colorado before receiving his order for Vietnam. Hoot was a Gunner and Crew Chief on a UH-1 Huey Helicopter while stationed in Vietnam. Their main mission was to transport troops from one landing zone to the next. While transporting an Infantry Troop he discovered that one of his passengers was Bill Rut, a school friend from Tobias, Nebraska (population 240). It truly is a small world. One day while Hoot was on latrine duty his helicopter that he was normally on was shot down, thankfully no one was injured but Hoot remembers thinking that sometimes it pays to be stuck with a ”not so nice job.” Norm was honorably discharge from the Army in April of 1967 at the Rank of E4.
Presenting his quilt today is: Cindy Carrigan.

Richard (Dick) Trapp
One of the documents was his Induction papers dated April 6, 1964, it stated that he was ordered for induction into the Armed Forces of the United States and to report at the Bus Depot located at the Geneva Hotel, Geneva, Nebraska at 3:15 p.m. on May 26, 1964. Dick, Richard Reinsch and Tom Biegert were all headed to Fort Leonard wood, Missouri for basic training. They spent the three day holiday weekend dodging details, standing in long chow lines and being miserable in their long sleeve green fatigues. After basic training he was sent to the 509 Engineer Company Panel Bridge in Fort Riley, Kansas and assigned to the motor pool. Three officers and 120 soldiers boarded the USNS General William H Gordon carrier on Aug. 16, 1965 in route to Qui Nhon, South Vietnam, which was approximately. 200 miles north of Saigon and 80 miles south of the DMZ. Their mission as a dump truck company was to furnish support to Battalions to construct roads and heliports in the area. He was discharged from active duty on May 26, 1966 at the rank of Specialist E4 and transferred to the Army Reserves in St. Louis, Missouri until April 24, 1970. Dick received the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Sharp Shooter Medal and Expert Medal. Presenting his quilt today is his daughter Brenda.

Thomas Trapp
Tom enlisted into the United States Marine Corp on February 28, 1968 and attended basic training at the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Diego, California. He was also stationed at Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California and the Marine Corps Air Station at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Tom was part of the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362, known as “the Ugly Angels” , they were retitled to the Marine Aircraft Group 26 (MAG26) and then the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (2nd MAW) at the Marine Corps Air Station in New River, North Carolina. Tom was appointed Sergeant on March 1, 1970 and received the Meritorious Mast Achievement Devotion on April 15, 1970. He also received the National Defense Service Medal, Rifle Sharp Shooter and Good Conduct Medal. Marine Sergeant E5 Thomas Trapp was discharged from active duty on February 26, 1971 and transferred to the Marine Corps reserves until January 25, 1974.
Presenting his quilt today is his son Ryan Trapp.