As a way of commemorating Veteran's Day on Nov. 11, and of sharing in the country's gratitude for the military service of veterans everywhere, the DCI accepted an invitation from Horizons' Care Center last week to meet some veterans who are living in the VoA facility at Eckert. Their individual stories came from those direct interviews.
Richard Fischer entered the service in 1948 and soon found himself attending the Army's code school in New Jersey. He served with the 8th Army code center in Korea.
He told the DCI that he was the only member of his unit who was allowed to decode and distribute the "top secret" dispatches that came through.
Even though it has been well over half a century since he was handling the nation's ultra-sensitive military and diplomatic cable traffic, its contents are still top secret as far as Richard is concerned. Richard carries on in the tradition of duty and service to country and to this day won't reveal the secrets that were entrusted to him.
"I took an oath and to this day I've kept my mouth shut," Richard said.
His five-year tour was serious, important work, but was also "enjoyable and it was fun. But I vowed I would never disclose anything," he said, and he is still every bit the young patriot serving his country.
Dollar MacKendrick's parents moved to Hotchkiss when he was a year old, his daughter explained. He grew up in the town and returned there after he served in World War II.
Dollar got the nickname that everyone knows him by as a youth delivering the Denver Post in the area. Every month he would make the round to subscribers and collect their dollar for the paper.
Dollar entered the service in 1942 "and I stayed until it ended." His job was providing key support for the missions of America's heavy bombers operating off of Guam.
Dollar served with the 501st Bomb Group stationed on Guam. Among his duties he had to make sure that the right crews got to the right planes at the right times with all the right equipment and ordinance on board for assigned bombing missions.
A history of the 501st Bomb Group can be found online.
Dollar had worked for Hotchkiss Ranches before his tour of duty in service to America's freedoms. After the war, he returned home and his job was there, waiting for him.
Ed Douglass lives in his Eckert home and comes to Horizons often to visit his wife, Pat. He is an active participant in the daily routines and social life of the care center.
Ed was drafted and then trained at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver to be a medic.
He served as a medic in the Army during WWII. His unit was the first into the city of Osaka, Japan, after the atomic attack on Nagasaki. Osaka is in southern Japan about 140 miles west of Nagasaki.
Ed especially remembers the Japanese children who came to the hospital set up by the Americans. Sometimes they came for care. Sometimes they came for comfort and friendship where American GIs were always ready to be the strong big brothers they sought.
Ed was employed in the transportation industry after discharge, working for Meadow Gold and also for Safeway where he was a driving instructor and manager. He was active establishing the local senior transportation system now operated by All Points.
Richard Miklich enlisted in 1942 and became a navy flier. He was stationed in Florida and later in the Pacific theater on the island of Saipan.
He and the four other crew members of their Catalina PBY flying boat hunted enemy submarines on missions that lasted up to 20 hours each.
A fine art sketch of the Consolidated Aircraft Crop's famous PBY hangs in Dick's room above the bed where it's always visible to him. The multi-role PBY is credited as one of the most versatile sea planes of WWII. The graceful and durable PBY served the nation's military until the 1980s. Since then they have continued to see service as air tankers.
After the war, Dick had a successful career in law enforcement with the Denver Police Department. Afterward he came to Delta County and served from 1979 to 1989 as Delta County Sheriff.
Cecil Roast was in the Army and he told the DCI his job involved infantry training duties.
Warren Ledger was in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He describes his job as loading heavy ordinance into the under-wing armament pods of America's awesome fighter bombers from that era including F4s, A6s, and A7s.
"We fought for them (the Vietnamese) and we didn't worry about what we had to do for them," Warren said. "But we prayed about it a lot," he added with a reflective and resolute pride in his voice.
John Mead, a current resident of Horizons for physical rehab, is one of the people who supported America's readiness and its war fighters by performing in medical service roles. During his 21 years in the Air Force, John worked as a dentist in various duty postings around the States. He retired at age 52 with the rank of colonel.
His first wife passed away and he later married a lady from Paonia, which has brought him to live in Delta County.
Jack Hibbert told the DCI that he served in the Air Force and is proud of his service to his country.
Pauline Monger served in the Army as a nurse. And another Horizon's resident, Iris Marconnett, served in the Army.blog comments powered by Disqus