Monday, January 28, 2019

Randy Childers

Born in Worthington, MN in 1947
U.S. Army Vietnam War Veteran

Randy Childers was 20 years-old when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967. His first year in the military was spent in Denver, Colorado, training for his Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) in medical equipment repair. From the Rocky Mountains, Childers was shipped to the Army’s Landstuhl Field Hospital in Germany where he worked his same MOS.

In June of 1969, Childers left Germany for Vietnam and was assigned to the 45th Portable Surgical Hospital. The Army medical facility was in a Forward Combat Area in Tay Ninh Base Camp in South Vietnam. “I did repairs to the medical equipment and I also ordered medical supplies,” he remembered. “I would help carry the wounded soldiers from the in-coming choppers.”
Childers recalls the base camp where the field hospital was located was quite large, “about the size of Truman, MN,” he said. “Because we were near the frontlines, we drew a lot of attention for the V.C. (Viet Cong). The base was subject to frequent attacks by enemy rockets and mortar fire,” he added.
By June of 1970, Childers had completed his war duty and headed back to the States to be discharged. He returned to the area and in 1974 moved to Fairmont to start his career with 3M. He retired from 3M after 27 years of employment.

Portrait of a Veteran Photo and Story © 2019 Joseph Kreiss Photography

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Cade Hartwig
Fairmont, MN
U.S. Army National Guard
Global War on Terrorism Veteran

To get the needed financial help during college years at South Dakota State and University of Mankato, 1993 Fairmont High School graduate Cade Hartwig made the decision to join the U.S. Army National Guard. Hartwig did his basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, then onto 13 weeks of training with track-mounted, Vietnam-era 4.2-inch mortars.

Receiving benefits from the G.I. Bill wasn’t the only reason Hartwig became a soldier. His dad is a military veteran, having served in the U.S. Navy in submarine duty.
“I was loving what I was doing,” Hartwig admitted. “After college was done in 2002, I re-enlisted in the Guard.” More training stateside included combat training with simulated weapons and ammo.

Hartwig had been working as funeral director in Hutchinson, MN when his Guard unit got called up and deployed to Kosovo in the Spring of 2004 for two tours of duty with the HHC2/135 Infantry during the Global War on Terrorism. Hartwig also spent time at Fort Polk, Louisiana, helping train soldiers going to Afghanistan.

Hartwig was appointed Mortuary Affairs NCO at the Kosovo Battalion Operations Center. “I also was the Battle NCO, communicating with combat squads in the field,” he said.
By 2006, he eventually went back home and to the regular routine of work, summer guard training and drills. “I was offered to go back to Kosovo with the Guard, but we were so short-staffed at my regular job that I didn’t want to put my employer through that again,” Hartwig recalled.

He moved to Fairmont in 2008 when he accepted a job with Lakeview Funeral Home. Hartwig is married with four children. He is also a volunteer firefighter with the City of Fairmont Fire Department.

Story and Photo © 2019 Joseph Kreiss Photography

Richard Adams
Born 1933 in Sioux Rapids, Iowa
U.S. Army Korean War-Era Veteran

The Korean War had just ended when Richard Adams joined the Army in the fall of 1953. “They sent me to Fort Lewis for basic training then I shipped out,” he remembered. He headed to Japan where he spent more than a year in the country doing schooling and training along with his regular job working on heavy equipment for the U.S. Army.  “I was a mechanic and helped repair ‘Cats,’ road graders and skidders,” he said.

When his tour of duty with the Army was up in 1955, he got his discharge papers and headed back to Iowa. Adams was able to go back to college, supporting himself with odd jobs. “I worked for a church and taught school for a while,” he explained. “I also worked for a mobile home manufacturer, too.” He moved to Fairmont in 1966.

One of life’s biggest achievements for Adams didn’t have to do with the military or traveling the world. He said it’s being a Boy Scout. “I’m a 40-year Scouter,” he said. The Army veteran joined scouts in 1978 when his son joined the Cub Scouts. “I became a Scout Master and worked many years at Boy Scout camps,” Adams said. He still wears his Boy Scout uniform to special events.

William Goche

Born 1934 in Bancroft, IA
U.S. Navy Veteran

William Goche was born 
in 1934 in Bancroft, Iowa into a farming family. After high school, he joined the U.S. Naval Reserves. In 1956, the Korean War had been over for a few years, but Goche was called up by the Navy to do a tour of duty in the Pacific Theater.

He was assigned to the USS Hornet aircraft carrier and flew missions as a radar man aboard a Navy AD5W Skyraider three-seat single engine aircraft with “early warning” radar installed.

“Those were amazing planes,” Goche remembered. “They could carry more armament than the World War II-vintage B-29 bomber.”

After about two years of duty in the Pacific, his tour was up. Goche said the Navy wanted him to head to Vietnam as a gunner on a helicopter. “My wife Mary said she didn’t want any part of that for me,” he said.

After he got out of the service, Goche went back to school to finish his education. “Dad gave me a good deal on the farm,” he said. “So, I did pretty good (at farming).”
S©2019 Joseph Kreiss Photography