The Royals and Budweiser salute a member of the military at games throughout the 2013 season.
Active duty and retired members of the United States Armed Forces are provided with complimentary tickets in the Budweiser seats above the Royals Bullpen and recognized with a special in-game tribute.
Staff Sergeant Wendell A. Fetters was a tailgunner on a B-26 Marauder when it was shot down over Germany on December 23, 1944. On Christmas day, Wendell was picked up by German military and became a Prisoner of War in a camp where he stayed for 6 months until it was liberated by Russian military.
In 1950, the Purple Heart recipient was called back into action and served in the Korean War for a year and half.
Air Force veteran Wendell Jones, served in the military from 1971-1977. The E-4 was stationed in Northern Europe, then was relocated to Whiteman Air Force Base where he worked as a mechanical technician in the nuclear missile system.
Wendell is now an electrician at the Kansas City Veterans Administration Hospital.
Kym McIntosh, an Air Force veteran, served active duty as a public affairs specialist at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada from 1987-1991, then as the editor of the base paper at Whiteman Air Force Base during Desert Storm. She is joined by her father and Navy veteran, Dan Orr, who served from 1967-1973 and served during the Vietnam War as a flight mechanic from 1968-1970.
Kym and Dan now live in the Kansas City area and are both involved in the American Legion.
Major Leslie Cooper, an Army nurse, enlisted over 20 years ago at Fort McClellan in Alabama. After leaving for 13 years, Leslie returned to the Army in 2003. She was then deployed on three separate occasions, Afghanistan in 2004, Iraq in 2007, and Kuwait in 2011.
Leslie is currently assigned to the 325th Combat Support Hospital in Independence and has worked in the SIC-U at the Veterans Administration Hospital since 1993.
Starting as a cadet in the Army, George Hazel graduated from West Point in New York. Throughout his 30 years of service, George traveled to distant places like Korea, Germany, southwest Asia, and finally had his last tour of duty as the District Engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers here in Kansas City.
Having retired from the Army as a colonel in 2001, George is now on the engineering staff at the Kansas City Veteran's Administration Medical Center.
Petty Officer Kevin George has been in the military over 20 years and, in March, returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. Currently, Kevin is working towards becoming a nurse and will help take care of other veterans.
Born and raised in Kansas City, he now lives in the historic Northeast District with his wife Jennifer and their daughter, Taylor.
Since entering the military in 1989, Staff Sergeant Troy A. Green has served in the U.S. Air Force and the Missouri National Guard. Through his extensive service, Troy has received many promotions and awards, including two Army Commendation Medals, The Army Combat Action Badge, and the Purple Heart for his actions in battle during an attack on his base in Afghanistan.
Currently, Troy is a Security Forces journeyman assigned to the 139th Security Forces Squadron and was recently selected as their Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for 2013.
Sergeant Doug Friend, a Marine veteran, served active duty for six years and civilian service for 14. During his service, Doug received two Meritorious Civilian Service medals: one for his work during Desert Storm and one when he left civilian service in 1997.
Doug is now the CEO of Heroes Coming Home, a local Non-profit charity in Independence, Missouri that provides housing for homeless veterans and their families in the area
Bryan Moore just retired from the Army after 23 years. During his extensive service, Bryan went on 7 separate tours to Afghanistan and was the 1st Sergeant of the 3rd Battalion of the 160th SOAR - a unit that consists of the best-qualified aviators and support soldiers handling helicopter aviation support for both general purpose and special operations forces.
The Kansas City native now acts as a liaison to the non-profit organization, Night Stalker Hero Memorial of Savannah Foundation, Inc.
As a member of the Army National Guard, Staff Sergeant John Wymore served with a small unit in Tikrit, Iraq, assisting other larger units with projects including the conversion of Saddam Hussein's palace into military headquarters. While also serving in Afghanistan, his unit helped Afghans rebuild their agriculture that had been destroyed from years of war.
Hugely successful, the program was recreated across different regions of Afghanistan.
8 days after his high school graduation, Sergeant Micheal Peters left for Infantry Basic Training and was quickly sent to Korea to act as a team leader with the 503 air assault unit, where he served for three years. Coming off of Inactive Ready Reserve, Micheal was sent to Iraq in 2008 as a squad leader for a 12 month tour.
Retiring from the military in 2009, the Grandview, Missouri native now works as an outside sales manager for 84 Lumber and coaches his son's baseball team.
Recently retired Senior Master Sergeant, Frank Guido, spent his last 33 years serving in the United States Air Force. Frank toured Southwest Asia three times, and while there, he worked in the Chaplain Corps and ensured the free practice of religion to personnel assigned there.
During his most recent deployment, the Atchison, Kansas native represented the Chaplain Corps at over 100 Fallen Warriors transfers.
Sergeant Jeff Beaton is an Iraq war veteran who has served in both the United States Marine Corps and Army. During Jeff's 13 years of service, he worked in Civil Affairs in California and Belton, Missouri.
Currently, the Raymore, Missouri native is a maintenance craft director for the American Postal Workers Union in Kansas City, Missouri.
Sergeant First Class Marcelino Benitez joined the Army 13 years ago in helicopter electronics and is now an administrator coordinating flights and in charge of 82 soldiers. Already having deployed on 14 separate occasions, including 7 tours to Iraq, 6 to South America, and 1 to Afghanistan, the Fort Riley based Sergeant will be deploying a 15th time and returning to Afghanistan this August.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Marcelino moved to the United States to provide a better life for his family and be a role model and mentor to his sons and other soldiers.
Chief Warrant Officer Michael Baldwin has been serving in the United States Army for 9 years. Currently stationed at Fort Riley, Michael was deployed to Iraq twice, where he was in charge of training Iraqi police in technical and investigative techniques. Two years ago, Michael became a Pilot, and will soon be flying Black Hawks in Afghanistan when he deploys in August.
From 2006 to 2007, Specialist Marci Perez served as an Army combat medic with a security force team in Iraq. During her deployment, Marci went on 157 convoy missions and was involved in numerous Improvised Explosive Device attacks. Due to her bravery and injuries she suffered during her service in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Marci received the Purple Heart.
Now back home in Topeka, Kansas, Marci sings the National Anthem for local teams and events and, after 20 years with the Army National Guard, will be medically retiring.
Sergeant Harold Miller served in the Army for five years at different posts around the United States and in Germany during the Cold War Era. While in the military, Harold played trombone in the military band for many parades and change of commands at different posts around the country. He also earned his wings as a paratrooper and is proud to say he took off in more planes than he landed in.
Currently, Harold is the current pastor of Covenant Reformed Church in Kansas City, Missouri and has served as a minister for 12 years.
Currently stationed at Fort Riley, Sergeant Michael H. Moret has served in the United States Army for five years. Working as an information technology specialist, Sergeant Moret has served in Afghanistan twice, first with the 82nd Airborne Division in 2009 to 2010, then with the 1st infantry Division from 2012 to early this year.
On May 31st, Sergeant Moret will be permanently changing stations to Camp Smith, Hawaii, where he will be working on an airborne assignment.
A lieutenant commander in the Nurse Corps, Ellen Jantzen has been an officer in the United States Navy since 1993. A trauma and intensive care unit nurse, Ellen has been stationed in hospitals in California, Florida, and now Kansas City, and has cared for many active duty members, reservists, retirees, and veterans. After 20 years of active duty and reserve service, Ellen will retire from the Navy on June 1st.
A 36-year veteran of the Army and Army Reserves, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Berg has served overseas in Korea, Panama, and Norway. During these tours, Tom worked on war-type and support missions, earning many medals and ribbons for his service and bravery. Currently a specialized trainer for soldiers, Tom trains them in weaponry and logistical techniques for situations that may arise while overseas.
Wednesday, May 29th will be the end of Lieutenant Colonel Berg's active duty, and he will retire from the United States Army in July of 2014.
Sergeant West Bard served in the United States Army for 9 years and was stationed at Fort Bragg and Fort Benning. During his service, West was deployed to Iraq three times where he served in the Airborne Infantry as a sniper, door kicker for his security patrol, and performed area searches.
Currently, Sgt. Bard is living in Liberty, Missouri with his wife Brandi, sons Austin and Blake, and works as a custom cabinet maker.
Stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Sergeant David Kloberdanz has served five years of active duty, including three years in Korea. Highly decorated, his military occupational specialty is as a health physicist, helping evaluate and control health hazards to permit the safe use of ionizing radiation, and promote the practice of radiation protection and safety.
Originally from Cedar Falls, Iowa, he is currently pursuing his masters of science from Central Michigan University.
Chief Warrant Officer Timothy Sifuentes has served in the Army for 18 years, and has been to Iraq on 3 separate tours. A Kiowa Warrior Helicopter Pilot, Tim spent most of his time in Baghdad, providing air support to ground troops to ensure missions are completed safely.
Tim is currently stationed at Fort Riley where he lives with his wife, Heidi, and their five kids.
A decorated Iraqi Freedom veteran, Gerardo "Tony" Mena spent six years in Special Ops with the Reconnaissance Marines. Tony was awarded a Navy Achievement Medal with a V for Valor for multiple acts of bravery under fire while deployed in Iraq.
A husband and father, Tony is now an award-winning writer and a high school English teacher.
World War II veteran, Claude Rieschick served in the Army as an automatic rifleman. While advancing in a motor convoy in Italy, his unit was attacked. Claude was shot in the cheek, but still took part in the battle and helped evacuate casualties while under enemy fire. The Private First Class was awarded a Purple Heart for his courage and bravery during combat.
Immediately after graduating from high school, William Agnor joined the United States Army and became a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic and Crewchief in a Medevac Unit. Active duty for 8 years, William was deployed to Iraq on 3 separate occasions, assisting in all aspects of medical air transport of wounded service members off of the battlefield.
Now a member of the Kansas National Guard, Tim traveled to Kuwait for a year, and currently works on Blackhawks.
From 1943 to 1945, during World War II, Corporal Owen Bruce fought for the United States Army in a cavalry division with a unit known as Merrill's Marauders. While with the Marauders, which was a long range special operations unit that sent him to China, Burma, and India, he was in charge of a pack mule that carried ammunition for Browning Automatic Rifles.
The 93-year old was married to his wife for 66 years before she passed away in 2006, but is here today with his children and grandchildren who both love and respect him.
A tank commander in the United States Army, Staff Sergeant Jamie Weaver has served for over 8 years. Throughout this time, Jamie served one tour in Korea, a year in Iraq, and a year in Afghanistan, and was awarded many medals and badges, including the Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal.
A husband for 6 years and father of two, Jamie spends his extra time volunteering in the communities in which he resides.
Private First Class Robert DeVaughn served two years in the Korean War as a machine gunner. As part of his duties, he was sent on special missions to different parts of the country and even fought in the Battle on Pork Chop Hill.
After retiring from the military, Robert worked for Amoco Oil Company for 28 years, whom he transferred with around the country and finally ended up in Kansas City, where he now lives with his wife Carol.
First Sergeant Clayton LaVine has served 16 years in the United State military. A tank driver in the Army, Clayton joined the National Guard after 4 years of active duty. During his 12 years with the Guard, he was deployed to Kosovo to support a NATO peacekeeping mission, and Djibouti (jee-BOO-tee) as a Platoon Sergeant on a Joint Combat Search and Rescue Platoon.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Clayton is currently a First Sergeant of a unit based out of Emporia, Kansas.
In 2006, Josh Wolfe joined the Army National Guard and now specializes as a UH-60 Medevac Crew Chief. He was deployed to Iraq in the summer of 2010 and then to Afghanistan for a 10-month deployment in 2012. Josh returned to United States soil on Tuesday, June 18, just 4 days ago!
Within the next few weeks, Josh will move to Nebraska to continue his career with John Deere.
Today we salute chief warrant officer Matthew lambert. Matthew joined the United States Army eight years ago. During Matthew's first six years, he served as an aircraft electrician, but last year, he graduated from flight school and is now a Chinook helicopter pilot. Soon to be deploying for his third time, Matthew will spend nine months in Afghanistan, packing up gear and equipment at bases and helping with the military's overall departure from Afghanistan.
Combat veteran George Johnson served in the United States Army from 1986 to 2008. While in the service, he served in elite military units such as the 2nd Infantry Division, 82nd Airborne, and US Army Special Forces. George retired from the US Army at the rank of Master Sergeant and as an Army Master Parachutist.
The Kansas City native is currently working part-time on the staff of the Veterans of Foreign Wars at the Kansas City Veterans Administration Medical Center.
Petty Officer Second Class Matthew Stewart served in the United States Navy from 1993 to 1997. As a 2nd Class Electricians Mate, Matthew served on the USS Peleliu and completed two Western Pacific Cruises during Operation Southern Watch, an operation that monitored and controlled airspace over southern Iraq.
After leaving the Navy, Matthew continued to work for military related services, including the Kansas City Veterans Administration Hospital, where he now works as the Safety and Health Manager.
Drafted by the Army in 1967, Ronald Ellis served in the military for two years. As a communications chief, Ronald led the communications unit of the 196th Light Infantry in the Viet Nam war. During his service, Ron received the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in ground operations against hostile forces.
After leaving the military, Ron worked in commercial laundry sales and services until he retired in 2011. He now works part time for Excel Laundry and sponsors a co-ed softball team in his spare time.
After enlisting in the Navy in 1979, Admiral Scott Jerabek became a missile technician and was assigned aboard the USS Gray and USS Missouri in various officer positions. Throughout his career, Admiral Jerabek has served in high posts, including serving as a commanding officer of a unit supporting Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Iraqi Freedom, led port security teams in Kuwait, and was commodore of a squadron supporting operational requirements and exercises all over the world.
The highly decorated Admiral holds a Master of Military Arts and Science degree and has been awarded many medals, including the Defense Superior Service Medal and Bronze Star Medal.
Feeling it was his duty to protect the country, Private First Class Dalton Smith joined the Army National Guard last year. Currently stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, Dalton specializes as an Apache Mechanic. On July 19th of this year, Dalton will be deploying for the first time to Afghanistan to go into the field and repair and recover Apaches as they break down.
A 2007 Graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy, Lieutenant Thomas Gibson returned yesterday from a yearlong deployment as the Executive Officer for the Redeployment Assistance and Inspection Detachment in Afghanistan. As the manager of the unit, Lieutenant Gibson and his team conducted more than 30,000 container inspections and successfully assisted with the redeployment of more than 150 military units back to the United States.
Sitting with him for the first full day since his return is his family, including his father Scott, who is a retired Army Major and veteran of five operational deployments including multiple tours in Iraq and Kosovo.
A United States Air Force veteran, Margaret Lottman served from 1952 until 1954. Her military career started at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and was later stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Utah where she met and married her husband who was also in the Air Force. After leaving the military as an Airman 3rd Class, Margaret raised 7 children, 5 of which are veterans and one is married to a veteran, while her husband continued in the Air Force until he retired in 1971.
In April of 2007, Corporal Christopher Bruggeman joined the Army as military police. During his service, Christopher has been deployed twice, once to Iraq and once to Afghanistan, and spent both missions embedded with the locals, training their police and armies in technical and procedural skills.
Upon Christopher's return, he joined the Army Reserves and now works as a carpet installer and will begin school at Johnson County Community College this fall.
Staff Sergeant Thomas Yount served in the United States Army for 20-and-a-half-years. From February of 1969 to October of 1970, he served in the Vietnam War as a helicopter mechanic repairing helicopters when they returned from camps and battles to drop off the wounded. For his bravery and heroism, Thomas received the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal.
Since his retirement in 1986, Thomas has continued to serve his country by volunteering at the Kansas City Veterans Administration Hospital.
After joining the United States Air Force in 1992, Lt. Colonel Chris Kass served in active duty for several years before joining the 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base that flies the A10 Thunderbolts II. Lt. Col. Kass has conducted several deployments in his more than 20 years with the Air Force, including a tour to support the ground troops in Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2011. In addition, Lt. Kass served a mission with a special operation command in Qatar in 2010.
Lt. Kass lives in Overland Park, Kans., with his wife, Gertie, and sons Grant and Reece who are experiencing their first Royals game tonight.
Sergeant First Class Roger Schneider began his career in the National Guard, and then joined the Army where he has served active duty since 1990. Throughout this time, Roger has served as an 11B Infantryman and has been deployed to Iraq, Haiti, and twice to Afghanistan. A Platoon Sergeant, he is in charge of a unit that fires weapons during drills and combat, aids in the transportation of troops and weapons, and assists in reconnaissance missions.
Currently stationed at Fort Riley, Sergeant First Class Schneider will retire after 26 years of military service this December.
Sergeant First Class Tom Tavtigian joined the Army in May of 1985 and served as a cavalry scout. After 9/11, he was deployed multiple times, including his final deployment to Iraq in 2008 when his vehicle ran over an Improvised Explosive Device and was seriously injured, resulting in 17 surgeries.
To help others deal with similar injuries from combat, Tom started Wounded Warriors United which helps soldiers cope with their changes by spending time doing various activities outdoors.
Twin brothers Anthony and Ehren Schmiedeler joined the Marine Corps together in 2005 after graduating from high school in Kansas City, Kan The brothers were both a part of the 2nd Marine Division out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and served two deployments in Iraq. Both are now students at the University of Kansas. Ehren is graduating in December with a degree in Civil Engineering. Anthony will start his senior year in Graphic Design.
Anthony received the first ever University of Kansas Wounded Warriors Scholarship this year. He is planning a career in public interest design and has created a set of award-winning advocacy posters that aim to help Veterans with the process of receiving their benefits.
Sergeant First Class Rich Myers joined the United States Army National Guard and has been deployed to Iraq and Africa. Serving as a platoon sergeant in an Armor Company, Rich commands and M1A1 Main Battle Tank and is responsible for the health and welfare of his tank platoon.
Rich has also received many medals for his service including four Army Commendation Medals, five Achievement Medals, and an Outstanding Service Medal for his volunteer work at an orphanage during his deployment in Liberia, Africa.
Throughout his 24 years of service, Master Sergeant Ronald Davis worked as an Aircraft Fuel Systems Craftsman and maintained fuel systems for many different planes and bombers. While on various deployments to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan, Ronald maintained the readiness of aircraft and volunteered at local organizations including the post office and Red Cross.
After retiring from the military in 2011, Ronald still performs maintenance on B-2 Bombers and is active in the American Legion.
Boatswain Mate 2nd Class Matthew Brooks served in the United States Coast Guard for 8 years. During that time, Matthew was stationed at Daytona Beach, Florida and Kenosha, Wisconsin, and put in over 4,000 hours of safety patrol and rescue missions, saving many lives at sea.
Currently, Matthew works as a custodial supervisor for Blue Valley School District and is also a Children's Pastor.
A nurse in the Missouri Army National Guard for 19 years, Major Brian Komar served in Afghanistan in 2006 as an embedded trainer. While there, his unit taught the Afghan National Army American tactics and served as the sole medical support of an entire infantry battalion. During that same deployment, Brian also set up a medical facility that provided care to over 14,000 local civilians, and because of this, received the Army Nurse Corps Award of Excellence in 2007.
A true military family, Brian's wife and 4 of his 6 children all serve active guard, with his son, Brian, currently serving in Afghanistan.
A member of the United States Navy, Boatswain's Mate Dougald Thrutchley served during World War 2 on the USS Guadalcanal. In 1944, the aircraft carrier captured the German submarine U-5-0-5, which had decoding devices for the German military, and proved to be a turning point for the war. During the capture, Doug was a member of a motor whaleboat crew which aided operations by making several trips to the German submarine.
Doug, along with other members of his task group, received a Presidential Citation for his service on the carrier, and was honorably discharged in April of 1947.
While in the Army for twenty years, Major Jeffrey Brown spent his first six years in the Infantry as an enlisted soldier, then spent his last fourteen years as a field artillery officer. A graduate of the Ranger School and Jumpmaster Course, Major Brown was deployed on numerous occasions, including trips to Iraq, Ukraine, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Due to his bravery and service, Jeff has been honored with many awards including the Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal.
A resident of Trenton, Missouri, Jeff currently owns and operates a computer business.
A paramedic by trade, Petty Officer First Class Rick Adams served as a reservist in the United States Navy for 21 years. In his early years, Rick served in a military hospital helping deliver babies, but eventually became a combat corpsman. While serving in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Rick went out on missions with the Marines as a medic and helped soldiers when they were hurt in the field.
Now a disabled veteran, Rick continues to serve by helping with the young people in his church.
A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Major Abel Ramos spent eleven years active duty and has been a full-time reservist for over five years. The pilot of an A-10 Thunderbold II, Abel was deployed once to Iraq and three times to Afghanistan, where he flew over 100 combat sorties. Due to his bravery and leadership, Abel has received numerous military awards including Meritorious Service Medal and an Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters.
Currently, Abel is the Assistant Director of Operations for the 303-D Fighter Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, and volunteers at local community organizations and retirement homes.
An active duty Master Sergeant in the United States Marines Corps, Adam Criswell has served for over 20 years. Throughout this time, Adam has been in charge of units all over the world and was the First Company Sergeant of his unit during his deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom. For his service and bravery, Adam has received many awards and medals including two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and three Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
Currently serving as the assistant Marine Officer Instructor as the University of Nebraska, Adam teaches and trains the future officers of the United State Marine Corps.
A former World War 2 Marine veteran, Corporal Bill Baldauf served in the Pacific in the 4th Marine Division's Fire Control and Artillery Division. As a scout sniper, his main job was to land on the islands before the artillery, and map the best locations for the artillery placements for firing. His unit played an instrumental role in the amphibious assault and liberation of the Marshall Islands, Marianas, Saipan and Tinnian islands, and finally, fought the battle of Iwo Jima.
After his military career ended, Bill was a pitcher for a semi-pro team in Joplin, Missouri, and even started a baseball program in rural Kansas where he coached a team.
From 1952 to 1956, Airman First Class Bob Johnson served Active Duty in the United States Air Force, then in the Ready Reserve from 1957 to 1960. During his time in the military, Bob was a crew chief on a C-47, where he guided and trained junior airmen performing various missions in many locations. He also served on F-86D's as an Aircraft Maintenance Supply Sergeant for the 326 Fighter Interceptor Squadron and for the Central Air Defense Force Fighter Interceptor Team.
The Kansas City, Missouri resident now enjoys spending time coaching and teaching children different outdoor sports.
Serving in the military for 24 years, Lieutenant Colonel David Strange spent his first six years in the Kansas Army National Guard, then as an officer on Active Duty for the last eighteen years. An infantry officer, David was sent on five deployments to Egypt, Kuwait, Djibouti, Iraq, and finally, Afghanistan, where he served with the 1st Infantry Division as the Regional Command East Liaison Officer from April of 2012 to March of this year.
Currently, David serves as an instructor at the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.
After getting his father's permission to leave high school, Staff Sergeant Ed Wise joined the Coast Guard as a fireman when he was seventeen years old. Ed later joined the Air Force where he served in Japan and then Korea, where worked as an aircraft technician at Kempo airfield during the Korean War.
After being honorably discharged, Ed returned to the United States where he ran an auto mechanic shop for 6 years, then worked for Trans World Airlines and Frontier Airlines as an aircraft mechanic.
Enlisting when he was seventeen, Private First Class Ed Boswell served in the 3rd Marine Division in Guam and Iwo Jima as a rifleman during World War II. A member of the "B" Company, 9th Marines that fought in the battle of Iwo Jima, Ed was the only member of his platoon that was not injured or killed. At the end of the war, Ed served in the 1st Marine Division in China until he was discharged in June of 1946.
A Navy World War II veteran, Yeoman First Class Bill McCune served aboard the USS Anacapa for three years as a yeoman for all officers and the captain's writer. While onboard Bill and his mates fought in numerous island invasions in the Pacific and during the battles, he served on the bridge with the captain and gunnery officer relaying orders to various guns.
After the war, the Prairie Village native returned home and worked for the Union Pacific Railroad.
Sergeant First Class Dennis Kelley served in the military for more than twenty-one years and was deployed to Bosnia once and Iraq three times. While in Iraq, he was in charge of an artillery battery and a mortar platoon, and was also responsible for millions of dollars used to rebuild schools and wells. His unit also conducted over 250 combat patrols and over 200 artillery missions.
In December of 2012, Dennis retired from the Army.
An intelligence analyst, Sergeant First Class William Freund has served in the United States Army for 12 years. Recently, William returned from his fifth deployment in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and was personally involved in the planning and execution of numerous combat operations. Due to his exceptional meritorious service in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, William was awarded two Bronze Stars.
Proudly serving in the Air Force during World War II and the Korean War, Major Jake Simonitsch served in the military for 20 years. A B-17 navigator during World War II, Jake was shot down over Germany on his 18th mission and was a prisoner of war for fourteen months until liberated by the Russians. Recalled to active duty during the Korean War, Jake flew 8 combat missions as a B-29 navigator.
A Purple Heart recipient, Jake recently turned ninety-five on August 20th, and currently lives in Independence, Missouri, with his wife of sixty-two years.
Serving more than 25 years, Command Sergeant Major Gabriel Espinosa has been deployed to Iraq twice, first being a part of the invasion with his unit entering on the 7th day of the war. During Gabriel's second deployment to Iraq, his unit was responsible for turning the city of Kirkuk back to 100 percent Iraqi control and convoyed from Northern Iraq to Kuwait.
Gabriel is now serving the nation in the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery as a Senior Artillery Sergeant at Fort Riley, Kansas.
Enlisting as an infantryman in the Army, Sergeant Jose Pacheco has held many positions of responsibility, from Training Room N-C-O-I-C to Team Leader. Throughout his career, he has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and has won many awards including the Army Commendation Medal 4th award and Army Achievement Medal 2nd award.
Currently, Jose is serving as a member of the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard for the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kans., and is working towards his Bachelor's Degree in Business.
Enlisting when he was seventeen, Signalman First Class Albert Lee Caudle joined the United States Navy in 1942 and served in both World War II and the Korean War. Specializing in visual communication, Albert served aboard the USS Mobile and participated in many operations and raids in the Pacific during World War II. Reassigned active reserve during the Korean War, Albert served on the USS Bunker Hill and at Naval Bases in Washington and Alaska.
Honorably discharged in July of 1954, Albert received many awards and medals throughout his service, including the 13 Stars Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal and American Area Campaign Medal.
As a child, Ensign Samuel Lieber had dreams of becoming a "sailorman" and made that a reality when he joined the Marine Junior ROTC in high school. Sam was accepted into the Corps of Cadets Class of 2013 at Norwich University in Vermont where he served in many leadership roles including the Company Commander his senior year.
After graduating in May with a degree in International Studies, Sam is now on his way to the San Diego Naval Station where he will join the USS Higgins as a Surface Warfare Officer.
Joining the Army National Guard in 2000, Captain Brandon Heimericks now is a Platoon Leader and Pilot of a MEDEVAC Air Ambulance Company. Stationed in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan as the casualty officer in charge, Brandon oversaw the emergency evacuation of the sick or wounded and the overall readiness of more than 30 soldiers and Marines.
After flying in over fifty MEDEVAC missions, Brandon is now living in Lone Jack, Missouri with his wife and daughter.
In the Air Force during Viet Nam, Chief Master Sergeant James Rash served as a radioman in a medical evacuation squadron, air-lifting wounded soldiers from the battlefield to triage areas. Later assigned with the Secret Service, James provided communication support for the presidential candidates and both national conventions in the 1970's.
After retiring, James worked with Hughes Aircraft for nineteen years and currently coached athletes with the Special Olympics in Missouri.
In the Army when Pearl Harbor was attacked, Buck Sergeant Raymond Stephenson jumped at the chance to protect his country. A member of the 635th Tank Destroyer Battalion, Raymond spent time with General Patton and the Third Army, and served in many parts of Europe during World War II in which he fought in five major battles including the Invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.
After serving four and a half years in the military, Raymond was honorably discharged.
Drafted into the Army in World War II, Corporal Ralph Fox served in the 72nd Tank Battalion as a Technician Fifth Grade. Serving in the European Theater of Operations for five and a half months, the Tech 5 was an M1 Rifle Marksman and drove the Army Jeep for the battalion carrying personnel and classified documents.
Awarded two Bronze Stars for his service overseas, Ralph came home after the war and played baseball for many local teams.
Due to his love for America, Major Glenn Hayden joined the Kansas National Guard in 1947 when he was nineteen. A month before the start of the Korean War in 1950, Glenn joined the Air Force and was sent to England where he served as Military Police for three years. Eventually stateside, Glenn spent his remaining service working in airbase defense, long-range radar, and computer maintenance.
After twenty-seven years in the military, between both active and reserve, Glenn retired in 1976.
A proud member of the 34th Infantry Division, first-generation American Private First Class Roque Riojas fought in North Africa and the Italian Campaign in World War II. As a rifleman and communications coordinator, Roque's division, nicknamed the Red Bull Division, was the first to land at Anzio Beach in Italy, participated in over 600 days of combat, and captured over 40,000 prisoners of war.
Due to his bravery and acts of merit while serving, the Kansas Citian was awarded, among other medals, the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Joining the United States Army in 1944, Private Alfred Delay served in the "Screaming Eagles" 101st Airborne Division during World War II. A paratrooper and bazooka man, Alfred fought on the front lines in Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. The Private also was a member of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Honor Guard in France following the end of the war.
After leaving the military, Alfred returned home and was a teacher, coach, and principal in Stratford, Iowa.
Joining the United States Army in 1995, Technical Sergeant Chad McGraw later enlisted in the Missouri Army National Guard in 1999 before switching to the Missouri Air National Guard in 2000. Serving in various roles including Security Forces Craftsman, he was deployed to Japan, Africa, and Southwest Asia and was responsible for Air Force property and safety of their personnel.
After retiring in 2009, Chad is working hard to help disabled veterans by changing the way the Veterans Administration processes medical benefits.
Sergeant Lionel M. Bailey enlisted in the Army as a Signal Soldier, 25-Q, providing maintenance on many different types of equipment, and has held many positions of responsibility. Deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, Lionel has received many military decorations including the Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal.
Currently, Lionel is serving as a member of the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard for the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley and is working towards his Bachelor's Degree in Cyber Security.
Drafted in 1941, Sergeant Arthur Kroenke served in the cavalry and tank crew during World War II. Stationed out of Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas, he drove Sherman tanks on the front-lines of battles and served part of his time overseas under General Patton. Due to his bravery and service in a combat zone, Arthur received the Bronze Star.
After leaving the Army in 1945, he returned home where he worked as a welder for General Motors until he retired in 1980.
Serving in the Army for the last two and a half years, Specialist Robert Richardson serves as a 15-N Avionics Mechanic, performing maintenance on communication, navigation, and flight control equipment. Nominated for his actions while on a flight last year, a two-year old child began having seizures and Robert, who had military standard, first responder medical training, took charge of the situation and was able to stabilize the child before medical professionals took over.
Currently at Fort Riley, Robert is in the avionics mechanic section of the 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, maintaining Blackhawk helicopters.
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