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Ode to Federal Way veterans | Slideshow
The Federal Way Mirror published a special section Nov. 9 to honor local military veterans. Also, throughout the fall, The Mirror has profiled several Federal Way veterans. Click here to see their photos in an online slideshow. Below are some of the veterans featured in the slideshow, including photos from their military service.
As an army helicopter pilot in Vietnam, Gene Krueger had nerves of steel that earned multiple citations for bravery — including two Distinguished Flying Crosses in 1969. In those cases, Krueger held his UH-1H helicopter steady during rescue missions while under enemy fire. In 2006, he went on a four-month tour of duty, piloting helicopters in Afghanistan. The Federal Way resident eventually retired in June 2011 from the National Guard.
Krueger was the keynote speaker at a Veterans Day observance called "Honoring Our Own" on Nov. 12 at Todd Beamer High School.
"Service is not limited to those in uniform," said Krueger, 62. "We all in various ways contribute to the good of the United States."
Ray Stewart served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1955-1985. His distinctions include two tours in Vietnam in 1965-67 and 1969-70 as a tank operator. Now, his mission is to preserve the personal histories of the men who operated the tanks in the Vietnam War. Stewart, a Federal Way resident, is president of the Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation (MCVTHF).
With the tankers foundation, Stewart’s purpose is two-fold. The first is to make sure that these proud warriors are remembered correctly for their service. Stewart, 74, said the “ultimate goal is to write a comprehensive history of Marine armor.” The second, and perhaps more important part, is to make sure the friends and families of these men know what it was their fathers and grandfathers did in Vietnam.
Stewart said the MCVTHF has approximately 800 members spread across the United States at this time. Stewart is always looking for help from those who served, or from anyone who has an interest in U.S. military history. Visit www.mcvthf.org or call (206) 484-0871.
Medal of Honor recipient Col. Joe Jackson was a pilot in Vietnam during a 33-year military career. Jackson, 88, was awarded the medal after he rescued three Air Force personnel from a military camp under intense fire. That act of bravery occurred on Mother's Day 1968. He landed a rather large C-123 plane on a scrubby and damaged runway besieged by thousands of Viet Cong soldiers. He rescued three Air Force special forces troops and flew them and his crew to safety, just in time to miss a big thunderstorm. And not one bullet or missile or grenade made a scratch on that plane.
Jackson stayed in the Air Force until 1973, when he went to teach at the Air War College. After that, he left the military and went to work for Boeing as a training manager. In 2010, he was the keynote speaker at Federal Way's inaugural "Honoring Our Own" event at Todd Beamer High School.
Col. Elwin Hart enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at age 16 in May 1941. He served in combat in World War II (Guadalcanal and Tarawa), Korea and Vietnam. By 1950, he was a Master Sergeant and recommended for Officers Candidate School. Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, he served another 24 years, retiring as a Colonel in May 1974.
Hart, 87, was with U.S. forces in Korea in the demilitarized zone when the truce was signed between the North and South. He was also among the first U.S. Marines to enter Vietnam, he said.
Hart, a resident of Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way, recently published his memoir on life in the Marines. Hart's marriage and family are a thread throughout the nearly 300-page book titled "Did I Do Enough?" The book is packed with photos and covers his 33-year military career as well as service in state and county government. The latter included a stint as Pierce County sheriff in 1979.
To learn more about the book, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 820-9439.
Veterans at Village Green
Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way is filled with residents who served in the U.S. military. The community holds monthly programs for veterans, most recently on Nov. 9 with a POW-MIA commemoration by ROTC cadets from Todd Beamer High School.
"We like our residents to be active and involved," said Kimberly Vickers, an administrator at Village Green. "Most of these guys were in the service. It's part of the culture here."
The retirement campus includes a veterans memorial wall in each building, filled with photos past and present of residents who served in the military. To learn more, call (253) 838-3700.
A sampling of veterans at Village Green:
• Howard Storsteen, 87, grew up in North Dakota. He served from 1944-1946 with the U.S. Navy during World War II in the Pacific theater, attaining the rank of Seaman First Class.
• Charles A. Lindberg, 59, is a Seattle native. He served from 1971-1975 with a U.S. Navy reconnaissance squadron in Vietnam, attaining the rank of E-3.
• Robert Earl, 83, is a New Jersey native. He served from 1945-1946 with the Merchant Marines in World War II, then served in the U.S. Army from 1946-1967, including service in Korea and Vietnam. He attained the rank of Major.
• Roy Dobrowits, 88, is an Illinois native. He served from 1943-1946 with the U.S. Air Corps in World War II in the Pacific. He attained the rank of Tech Sergeant.
• Vance Sutley, 80, is a San Francisco native. He served from 1947-1973 with the U.S. Army and saw combat in Korea (1950-53) and Vietnam (1963 and 1966). He attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
• Winston Banko, 91, is a Yakima native. He served from 1943-1945 with the U.S. Navy in World War II in the Pacific. He attained the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade).
• Ken Crisp, 87, is a native of Rochester, N.Y. He served from 1943-1945 with the U.S. Army in World War II in Europe. He attained the rank of Technician Fourth Grade.
• Art Bender, 73, is a native of Newark, N.J. He served from 1961-1968 as a U.S. Air Force Captain in Europe and the Middle East, including nations such as Libya and Jordan.
• Max Gibson, 85, is originally from Chicago. He served in the U.S. Air Force at the end of World War II and also served in Korea. He attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
• Harold Coleman, 87, grew up in Heard County, Georgia. He served from 1943-1946 with the U.S. Navy as a medical corps pharmacist at a hospital in Norman, Okla. He attained the rank of Pharmacist's Mate Third Class.