Cpl Stahr 22 Jul : 09:53
NOTE: The Last Soldier link in our site's menu will now direct you to its own Last Soldier web address, which is outside this site.
Cpl Stahr 20 Jul : 12:18
NOTE: Special Order #38 has been published on the Front & Center page of this web site.
Cpl Stahr 10 Jun : 10:06
The Clayton County Monument project was completed with great personal effort in time and money by the members of the 49th! This is another tangible example of our stated mission…we are NOT a paper unit, but an active, hard-working, committed group of men. I am a proud member of an organization who remembers those who have served & are serving today. 1/Cpl. Stahr
Cpl Stahr 31 May : 12:06
Full Military Honors rendered to Sgt. Isaac Ford; no better way to spend Decoration Day!
Cpl Stahr 28 Apr : 07:29
The new Rules & Regulations are published and may be viewed by clicking the R & R link in the top menu.
Cpl Stahr 04 Mar : 09:44
"...With malice toward none, with charity for all..." Remembering Father Abraham's Second Inaugural Address, 150 years ago today, on March 4, 1865.
Cpl Stahr 12 Feb : 07:47
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Father Abraham!
Cpl Stahr 01 Jan : 13:45
Happy New Year, Brother Riflemen and to all our visitors! 1/Cpl Stahr
Faces of Agent Orange Symposium to be Held in Des Moines
(Johnston, Iowa) Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs Executive Director Colonel Robert King (Ret) announces Vietnam Veterans of America will hold a symposium to address the birth defects, diseases, and learning disabilities affecting the children and grandchildren of our nation’s veterans. The Faces of Agent Orange Symposium will be held Saturday, 23rd April 2016, at Hy-Vee Hall, Iowa Events Center, 730 3rd Street, Des Moines, Iowa. There will be two sessions - the first from 9:00 am to noon, and the second from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
“Our American soldiers returned from Vietnam and associated areas with a number of issues that they have had to contend with since their return years ago. Evidence is now connecting their battlefield exposures to Agent Orange with many diseases and birth defects that are afflicting their children and future generations. It is important that we make the families and communities more aware of the lingering effects of their exposure,” said Colonel King.
The goal of the symposium is to bring attention to the hidden cost of our service and to encourage the government to assist our doctors in finding ways to diagnose and treat these birth defects. Veterans of all wars are subjected to many contaminates, and most were not aware of what was being used or what effects these would have on their health.
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. is a national non-profit corporation founded in 1978 in the United States that is committed to serving the needs of all veterans. It is funded without any contribution from any branch of government.
In keeping with Vietnam Veterans of America’s (VVA) founding principle, “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another,” Vietnam veterans throughout the state of Iowa and across the nation continue to fight for the welfare of our nation’s veterans from all wars.
On this blustery December day, eight guardsmen of the 49th Iowa once again participated in the annual Wreaths across America event at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery located at rural Van Meter, Iowa.
This was our seventh year of organized participation in this event. Our “official” duties this year were to break the detail into halves and position ourselves within the confines of the Committal Building so as to form a cordon for the Airbase Color Guard of the USAF’as132nd Fighter Wing, headquartered on the grounds of the Des Moines International Airport.
We also had a guardsman stationed in attendance the Medal of Honor of Pvt. Albert Power, 3rd Iowa Cavalry that was awarded him for his actions in saving the life of a comrade at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, on March 7th, 1862. The Medal has been on loan to the 49th Iowa from the Davis County Historical Society so that it could put it on public display at various venues throughout the Sesquicentennial Observances of the Civil War. It will soon be returned to the descendants of Pvt. Power from whence it came.
Col. Robert King, Executive Director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs, and Superintendent of the Iowa Veterans Cemetery, opened the ceremonies precisely at 1100hrs (as is done all across the nation on this second Saturday in December) by calling upon the Airbase Color Guard of the 132nd Tactical Fighter Wing of the USAF Iowa Air National Guard to post the National and state colors. The crowd of several hundred present were led in the singing of the National Anthem by vocalists Amanda Thompson, Craig Ferguson, and Wendy Musgrave. Col. King then led all present in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, before the Rev. Ray Mc Henry called for the Invocation on the activities of the day.
Col. King then introduced Mr. Patrick Palmersheim, who has been the Coordinator of the Wreaths across America Program since its inception, eight years ago. Mr. Palmersheim welcomed all present and gave a brief history of the growth of the event from its humble beginning in 2007 when five persons gathered together to place seven wreaths on graves. Mr. Palmersheim then introduced Miyoko Hikiji, journalist and Iraq War Veteran, who addressed the crowd on the importance of events like todays to the veterans of the Global War on Terrorism who are currently serving both here and at far-flung duty stations around the planet.
Ceremonial Wreaths were then given out to representative family members of each branch of the military services as well as the United States Merchant Marine for first placement onto selected graves.
Rev. McHenry then gave the Benediction before bugler Gloria Doyle played “Taps” and the Color Guard then retired the colors, bringing the ceremonies to their close.
Following that, Guardsmen of the 49th deployed to a section of the cemetery to assist in the placement of wreaths and to accommodate the many requests for photographs with families and at selected headstones.
As has become our “custom” these past few years, several members of today’s detail then retired to a local restaurant to enjoy lunch and fellowship.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Inf., Commanding 49th Iowa V.V.I Iowa Military Heritage Society
Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs Camp Dodge, Johnston, Iowa 7 December 2015
Remember our Heroes, Honor Their Service and Teach the Value of Freedom
Wreaths across America Day to Honor Veterans at Iowa Veterans Cemetery and Over 1,000+ Participating Locations Nationwide.
On Saturday December, 12th, 2015, family members and volunteers of the central Iowa community will gather at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery to honor veterans during the holiday season as part of the annual Wreaths across America Day.
The local Iowa ceremony will be conducted at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery on Saturday December 12, 2015. The ceremony will begin at 11:00 a.m. The 11:00 a.m. time coordinates with ceremonies at over 1,000 cemeteries and other locations across the nation. The Iowa Veterans Cemetery is located 10 miles west of Des Moines along Interstate 80 at the Mile marker 113 (Van Meter).
Patrick Palmersheim has volunteered to coordinate the WAA ceremony for the 8th consecutive year. Colonel Robert King, Executive Director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs and Director of the Iowa Veterans Cemetery will be the master of ceremonies.
Seven specially designated ceremonial wreaths will be placed on the graves of selected veterans who represent the members of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines buried at the cemetery, and also recognizing our POW/MIA’s.
Following the placement of the seven ceremonial wreaths, families of the veterans and family members who are interred at the cemetery will place wreaths on their loved one’s graves. The remainder of the graves will then be decorated by volunteers and others attending the ceremony. Over 2,000 wreaths will decorate the graves and columbaria plazas at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery.
Yes, we have Veterans Day in the fall, and Memorial Day in the spring. But our service men and women sacrifice their time and safety every single day of the year to preserve our freedom. We believe there is no better time to express our appreciation for their service and sacrifices than during the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season to demonstrate to our veterans and their families that we will not forget. We will never forget!
It is estimated that one million wreaths will be placed nationwide on this 2015 Wreaths across America by over 600,000 family members and volunteers as part of the Wreaths across America mission: Remember, Honor, and Teach.
Wreaths across America TM (WAA) is a national nonprofit organization founded in 2007 to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine business man, Morrill Worcester, in 1992.
Two guardsmen of the 49th Iowa participated in the Veterans Administration Medical Center’s “Veterans Appreciation Ceremonies” at the Central Iowa Health Services Facility in Des Moines on November 10th, as escorts for the Civil War Medal of Honor of Private Albert Power, Company “D”, 3rd Iowa Cavalry. The citation and medal was presented to Power in the years following the war for his actions in saving the life of a comrade at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas on March 7th, 1862.
Bruce Thome, Contract Specialist at the Veterans Administration (and member of Urbandale American Legion Post 663, where both this writer and Sgt. Ronald Rittel belong) arranged for us to take part in today’s program at the facility that included Des Moines’ Mayor Frank Cownie, and Ms. Susan Martin, Acting Director of the VAMC and members of her staff. Corporal Jeff Rasmussen (49th Iowa) who works as a Benefits Specialist at the VAMC, joined us briefly just prior to the beginning of the formal program, but had to return to his duties at the appointments center.
Following the brief ceremonial activities, several dozens of veterans and their families stopped by to read the citation and ask questions about Iowa’s involvement in the “war between the states”. Not surprisingly, many told of their own familial connections to that war and of long lineages of service to the nation and state of Iowa.
Mr. Thome (himself a retired US Navy veteran) oversees the permanent “Hall of Honor” at the VAMC that outlines the stories of many Iowans who received the Medal of Honor for their actions in wars of the twentieth century. He is interested in expanding that to include those from the nineteenth century conflicts and will be actively pursuing that possibility over the coming winter months.
On Wednesday morning, November 11th, several members of the 49th Iowa will join Brother Tom Gaard for an early morning “Veterans Day Breakfast” provided by the Hy-Vee Store at the 86th and Hickman before attending the Urbandale Veterans Recognition Ceremonies at the Memorial Park located just South of the Public Library Building. Following that event, some of the 49th will remove to the Community Choice Credit Union-Veterans Memorial Hall to join Col. Robert King from the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs as well as state and national politicians at the official State of Iowa Veterans Day Program. I will be attending the first annual Veterans Day Program at East Norwalk Middle School as part of the veteran’s delegation from the Vietnam War, Korean War, and WWII.
In ceremonies that were held in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, October 24th, 2015, during the Iowa Society’s annual luncheon and business meeting of the Sons of the American Revolution and the General Society of the War of 1812; the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution presented it’s Bronze Good Citizenship Medal to Sgt. Ronald F. Rittel of the 49th Iowa V.V.I., Iowa Military Heritage Society.
GSW1812 President Michael J. Rowley (Past President of the Iowa S.A.R.; and, Regimental Color Sergeant of the 49th Iowa V.V.I.) presented the medal for outstanding achievement in historic preservation for the years of work that Sgt. Rittel has put into his “Last Soldier Project” chronicling the last surviving Civil War veteran in each of Iowa’s ninety-nine counties (a direct link to this wonderful resource for genealogists and historians can be found on this website). Sgt. Rittel previously was awarded the Cornelius Whitehouse “Outstanding Brother” Award in 2014 at the National Encampment of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for this outstanding work in honoring the last surviving members of the Union Armies.
As a side-note to Sgt. Rittel’ research efforts over the past several years while looking for the final resting places of Civil War veterans in Iowa (and surrounding states) he also was able to document the gravesites of over 400 veterans of the War of 1812, which added to the known number of veterans of that war by a factor of several hundred who had gone previously unrecorded in the annals of Iowa’s military history.
Sgt. Rittel, a Des Moines native, retired USPS worker; and, U.S. Air Force veteran of the Vietnam era, is a long time member of the SUVCW, and is also a member of the Iowa Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. He is one of the fourteen Charter Members of the Iowa Society of the General Society of the War of 1812. He and his wife, Marilyn (who has held practically every office in the ASUVCW and the Grenville M. Dodge Camp #75 of the Auxiliary to the SUVCW) share their love of history and their new-found avocation as active “birders” by monitoring a City of Des Moines “Bluebird Trail” in Glendale Cemetery that succeeded in adding over three-score on new Eastern Bluebirds (L. Sialia sialis) to the Iowa population.
Brother Ron was also a member of the First Muster of the 49th Iowa when the unit was founded in 2009 as a part of the Sons of Veterans Reserve of the SUVCW, to perform the ceremonial duties mandated in that organizations charter during the Sesquicentennial Observances of the American Civil War. Over the course of those observances, Sgt. Rittel was a constant presence during this unit’s long and distinguished record of fulfilling its stated goals and missions to remember those who served and perished during the bloodiest years of this nation’s history. He remains a vital and active member of the regiment since it dissolved its association with the SVR/SUVCW and became the Honor Guard to the Iowa Military Heritage Society in the spring of this year.
Sgt. Rittel is to be congratulated for his on-going efforts to preserve the stories of Iowa’s veterans. Respectfully Submitted,
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Iowa Military Heritage Society
Second Iowa “Veterans Fair” to be held in Western Iowa
Due to the exceptional response to the event held in Des Moines on October 24th, 2015, Iowa Congressman David Young has announced that he will host another “Veterans Fair” to connect veterans and their families with services available to them as a result of their service to our nation.
The event will take place on Saturday, November 14th, 2015, from 9:00am until 1:00pm at Abraham Lincoln High School (in the cafeteria), 1205 Bonham Street, in Council Bluffs. No RSVP is needed to attend the fairs, and feel free to let your friends and family know too.
Further information can be found by visiting Congressman Young’s website at:
There are nearly 232,000 living veterans in Iowa who served in every armed conflict from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan and it is a top priority of Congressman Young to, “look out and provide for those who have honorably served America, defending her citizens and the cause of Freedom”.
Posted as a Public Service to our Veteran Community Iowa Military Heritage Society