Friday, February 24, 2017

Bruce Moore

Born in 1945 in Topeka, Kansas
Grew-up in and is currently living in Fairmont, MN
U.S. Army Vietnam War Veteran
Purple Heart Recipient

The year was 1967. Bruce Moore had just graduated from Mankato State University with big plans of what he would do with his life now that he had his degree. But the Vietnam war was raging and by 1968, the 23-year-old Moore was drafted into the United States Army. 
Following basic training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Advanced Infantry Training (AIT) at Fort Polk, Louisiana and additional training at Fort Benning, Georgia, Moore was shipped to Southeast Asia in April, 1969, to fight in Vietnam.

Moore quickly worked his way up the combat ranks, becoming a squad leader for a seven-to-eight-man infantry rifle platoon to later becoming a platoon Sargent in a 24-man reconnaissance platoon as part of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade AMERICAL Division.

  He and his men were encamped at forward firebases at Chu Lia and near Duc Pho. “The responsibility of being a squad leader or platoon Sargent caused me a lot of anxiety,” Moore recalled, “even though you couldn’t control what happened, it still felt that way. It was real tough seeing friends wounded or killed.”

Moore himself was wounded in action in Vietnam, but doesn’t openly share the story behind his war injury that resulted in receiving a Purple Heart medal. “I don’t regret being in the service, but I wouldn’t want to do it again,” he admitted.

Moore was brought home from Vietnam and honorably discharged from the Army in 1970. Once back in Minnesota, he worked for a concrete construction business before being hired on at 3M in Fairmont. He retired from 3M after 33 years with the company serving in management and engineering positions.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Darrel D. Bunkofske

Born June 7, 1935 in the family home in Swea City, Iowa.
Currently lives in Swea City, IA
U.S. Army Veteran

Darrell Bunkofske was born into a family of 11 children, five girls and six boys. He says he had two older brothers, Cecil and Donald who fought in World War II. As a young man, Bunkofske worked as a hired hand then landed a job at the Stokley-Van Camp plant in Fairmont in 1957, before going on to the Farmers Co-Op Creamery in Fairmont.
A letter arrived for the U.S. Army informing Bunkofske he had been drafted. “I went in on April 23rd, 1958,“ he remembered. “It was in between the Korean War and Vietnam.” He was first inducted at Fort Snelling, MN, then shipped to Fort Carson, Colorado, before ending up at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. “After basic training I trained for 16 to 18 weeks to become an Army medic,” he said. “I was scheduled to go to Italy, but they peeled 22 of us off and sent us to Hawaii!”

Bunkofske was stationed Schofield Army Barracks on the Island of Oahu, attached to the 25th Infantry Division, nicknamed the “Tropic Lightning” and the 69th Armored Regiment tank battalion. “We were trained to work in the hospital and assist the surgeons and to be ready for field medical work,” he said. “You had to be able to improvise in the field to make the injury triages.” Bunkofske recalled rotating into shifts as a medical supply clerk, helping order all the supplies.

“I had less than a year to go,” Bunkofske said, “when they asked me if I wanted to go to Okinawa Island, Japan to train seeing-eye dogs. But I let another guy take it. That move would have caused me to pull up roots.” After a two-year stint, Bunkofske was honorably discharged April 5th, 1960, and the soldier returned home to northern Iowa.

“There wasn’t anyone hiring,” he said. He eventually found work at a “fillin’ station” operated by the Priebe Oil Company in Waterloo, Iowa, working there until 1963. “Dad had retired and I went into farming,” Bunkofske said. “He sold me his equipment, then eventually I bought the land from him. We had milk cows, raised hogs and livestock and planted corn and beans.”

Bunkofske and his wife Lois M. (Heidt) celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this past July live at the Swea City Assisted Living facility. They have one daughter.

Story and Image © 2017 JKP Images