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
The motto of Company A, 49th Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment
USPS Honors Vietnam era Medal of Honor Recipients
United States Postal Service Honors Vietnam era Medal of Honor Recipients
Over the course of the Vietnam War, Two-Hundred and Fifty-Eight of the several million who served were awarded the Medal of Honor for valor. Awarded by the President of the United States on behalf of the Congress to members of the armed services who distinguish themselves through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States.
The United States Postal Service has issued a new commemorative stamp which features the photographs of Forty-eight of the surviving MOH recipients from that conflict. Pictured below is the Obverse and Reverse of the Commemorative booklet incorporating this issue. On the inside covers are the names of those pictured, as well as all other recipients from that conflict.
This stamp is currently available at United States Post Offices and outlets across the nation; or, further information can be found at USPS.com/stamps.
Guardsmen of the 49th Iowa Honor Guard to the Iowa Military Heritage Society wear many hats. More often than not, those hats have a definite military look and cut to them as we seek to honor those men and women who have served this nation and our state as members of the military forces of these United States. At times, those hats can have three corners.
Probably the first “Europeans” to visit the “Land Between Two Rivers” were early explorers like Father Pierre Marquette and Louis Joliet who are known to have explored the upper reaches of the Mississippi River in 1673. When they landed their boat near what is believed to be the confluence of the Iowa and Mississippi rivers, they claimed the land for France. In 1682, Sieur de La Salle claimed possession of the entire Mississippi River and all lands that touched upon it and named it “Louisiana” in honor of the French King. In 1682, France ceded all of “Louisiana” west of the Mississippi to Spain. The territories would be returned to France in 1800 by Spain and just three short years later, it was purchased by the newly independent United States as part of what has become known as the “Louisiana Purchase.”
Over the next quarter-century, Euro-American settlers began to drift this direction from the Eastern seaboard and the newer states that sprang up west of the Alleghenies and the Ohio River drainages.
Iowa did not become a state until 1846, and the old “Northwest Territories” that would one day include us was not by treaty supposed to have any “Euro-Americans” present within its boundaries before 1836. By 1832, however, it is known that somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 persons of European extraction had entered the territory and taken up residence. By 1840 that number was placed at approximately 43,000. Among these new settlers were veterans of the American War of Independence who were men in the autumns of their lives; and, most came as the patriarchal members of larger family groups. A scant few dozen of these “patriots” of the Revolutionary War would come to rest beneath the loamy sod of Iowa’s cleared forests, as towns and villages began to spring up all along the major river drainages of the new territory. At this writing (October, 2015) the graves of Forty-One (41) Revolutionary War veterans are known to be located within the geographical boundaries of Iowa; but, it is suspected that there may be several more whose final posts will never be known. The 49th Iowa has taken part in ceremonies within the state on several occasions to honor these patriots over the years, and now we have ventured somewhat further afield.
Regimental Color Sergeant Michael J. Rowley is one of those whose Civil War Hardee hat is sometimes exchanged for the tri-cornered hat and “swallow-tailed coat” of the various militia and Continental Line to which some of his own ancestors belonged as he assumes command of the Iowa Honor Guard of the Iowa Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). In that capacity (and representing the Iowa Military Heritage Society), Sergeant Rowley recently took part in the Guard Mount at the Tomb of General of the Armies (and First President of the United States) George Washington at the Burial site of President and Mrs. Washington, on the grounds of their home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
Shown in the accompanying photos, taken on September 19th, is the Honor Guard of the Sons of the American Revolution. The Guard, hail from all corners of the republic; but, Color Sergeant Rowley claims to have anointed them one and all and made them “honorary Iowans” for this event. Good work, Sir!
One of the finite harbingers of the autumn season in Central Iowa is the annual “Tour of Homes” in the “Sherman Hill” residential neighborhood of the capitol city of Des Moines. Hosted each September, on two consecutive weekends, by the local Neighborhood Association of homeowners and the Des Moines Women’s Club, the event features guided tours of renovated properties in this mostly mid-Victorian neighborhood that once served as the place of residence of the captains of industry and commerce for the city, as well as many of the political, and social “elite” of the city.
Among these leaders of the business community was the family of Hoyt Sherman, attorney, banker, entrepreneur, and brother of Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, Commander of the Armies of the Tennessee during the American Civil War (and later Lieutenant-General of the Army, 1869-1883). Affectionately known as “Uncle Billy” to those whom he commanded during the war, General Sherman was a guest in his brother Hoyt’s home on at least three occasions following the Civil War.
Hoyt Sherman, served as a direct appointee of President Lincoln as Paymaster-General of the Union Armies during the war, at the rank of Major. When the war ended, Major Sherman returned to Des Moines, where he resumed his legal practice and various business and real-estate endeavors, and served in the Iowa legislature from 1866-1870. He was one of the founding partners in the Equitable Life Insurance Association; helped to establish both the first street-car service in Des Moines, as well as the first water company bringing fresh drinking water to private homes and businesses in the growing city.
Major Sherman died in 1904 and is buried, along with his wife Sarah Moulton Sherman, in nearby Woodland Cemetery.
The home became the property of the City of Des Moines in the years following; and was eventually sold to the Des Moines Women’s Club, who maintain the facility as an art gallery and venue for performing arts following the addition of large wings to the original home.
The Sherman home served as the starting point for the tour on this glorious fall day. Major Sherman’s home was often used in the years following his return to Des Moines after the war as the meeting place for at least two local Grand Army of the Republic Posts; and, served as the venue for the 2010 State Encampment of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
As we have done on three prior occasions, members of the 49th Iowa took part in the walking tour of homes by welcoming visitors to the beautifully appointed and restored Italianate-style home of Major Sherman on Saturday.
Participating in the event on behalf of the Iowa Military Heritage Society, were First-Sergeant James Braden, Color Sergeant and Mrs. Richard Grim, and 1/Lt. and Mrs. Dana Lamb.
One of the duties members of the Iowa Military Heritage Society members do to honor veterans is to see that their final resting place is properly marked and maintained.
In 2003 the grave of Revolutionary War Veteran Philip Stech was re-discovered in Franklin County, PA by his great-great-great-great-grandson. Cleaning of the small family farm cemetery began with the removal of over 40 trees and much mostly untouched overgrowth accumulated over the decades.
By 2009 octogenarian brothers Chuck and Robert Stech had meticulously rebuilt the surrounding stone wall and gate entrance. More dead and dieing tress would be removed by other volunteers. New trees would be planted inside the walls in each of the four corners. Many other descendants both local and from around the country contributed both labor and funds to make this one of the most beautiful family cemeteries in the country.
In September of 2015 descendants of Pvt Stech and Iowa Military Heritage Society member Mike Rowley would add a military style stone to supplement the original stone and insure that the information engraved in granite would exist for another century and beyond.
Time and distance of descendants from the original cemetery quickly turns to tall grass, weeds and overgrowth. Perhaps this is in someways a picturesque reminder to all of us that work on remembering the sacrifices of all veterans of all era's must always be re-taught to each generation and that this work never really is done.
An excerpt from Ron Rittel's coverage of the end of World War II observance is printed above the .pdf link. The complete article may be read by opening the .pdf below:
...A presentation of the sword and a painting of a P-40 to the staff of the Gold Star Museum was the final event on the program. It had been presented to Bill Reed by a Chinese leader that said it was taken from a Japanese prisoner who claimed it was a gift from his emperor. The nearly two hour long program listening to heroes and relatives of the “Greatest Generation” seemed to be over too soon for Marilyn Rittel (who took the photos) and me.
Public Relations and Media Committee Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center 7105 NW 70th Ave, Johnston IA 50131 515-252-4582
For Immediate Release
August 25, 2015
IOWA GOLD STAR MILITARY MUSEUM TO COMMEMORATE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE END OF WORLD WAR II ON SEPT. 2
The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum will host a commemoration ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 2, at 6:30 p.m. in honor of the 70th anniversary of the signing of the unconditional surrender by Japan, officially ending WWII. The public and media are cordially invited to attend this event.
The museum, located on Camp Dodge, 7105 NW 70th Ave., Johnston, Iowa, will feature four guest speakers for the event: Jim Vermeer, the son of Elmer “Dutch” Vermeer, a former Iowa state representative and U.S. Army Ranger who fought in Europe; Jerry Yellin, a fighter pilot who fought in the Pacific theater; Ed Reed, whose uncle and cousin from eastern Iowa were fighter pilots in the European and China-Burma-India theaters; and Wayne Brown, a Marshall County farmer who fought in multiple battles during the European campaign.
Vermeer’s father served four and-a-half years with the U.S. Army’s 2nd Ranger Infantry Battalion, V Corps, in the European Theatre of Operations. An engineer from Pella, Dutch Vermeer scaled the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, France, to destroy an enemy gun emplacement as part of the D-Day invasion in June 1944.
Yellin, 91, a Fairfield, Iowa resident, fought in the Pacific and at Iwo Jima with the 78th Fighter Squadron as a P-51 “Mustang” fighter pilot. He went on to fly 19 missions over Japan, including the last combat mission there during WWII. He is author of four books and national spokesperson for the “Spirit of ’45 Day.”
Reed, a Marion, Iowa native who lives in Omaha, will talk about the service of his uncle, William “Bill” N. Reed, and cousin, William R. “Dick” Reed, both from Marion, who flew P-40 Tomahawk fighter aircraft during WWII.
Brown, 92, of Marshalltown, an infantryman during the European campaign, fought during the Normandy invasion, the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest, the Battle of the Bulge, and other engagements during WWII.
President Harry S. Truman appointed Gen. Douglas MacArthur to head the Allied occupation of Japan as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. For the site of Japan’s formal surrender, Truman chose the USS Missouri, a battleship that had seen considerable action in the Pacific and was named after Truman’s native state. MacArthur, instructed to preside over the surrender, delayed the ceremony until September 2 in order to allow time for representatives of all the major Allied nations to arrive.
On Sunday, Sept. 2, 1945 more than 250 Allied warships lay at anchor in Japan’s Tokyo Bay. As the flags of the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and China fluttered above the deck of the USS Missouri, just after 9 a.m. Tokyo time, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed the peace treaty on behalf of the Japanese government, followed by Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu, who signed for the Japanese armed forces. MacArthur next signed on behalf of the Allied Powers as the Supreme Commander, Adm. Chester W. Nimitz signed the treaty for the United States, and representatives from all of the Allied nations signed the surrender document. As the 23-minute ceremony ended, the most devastating war in human history, costing more than 60 million lives, was over.
Established in 1985, the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is the only federally-recognized repository for military artifacts in the state of Iowa. The mission of the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is twofold: to preserve Iowa’s military history and honor the military service of all Iowans.
The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum’s permanent exhibits tell the stories of Iowans who have served in defense of their state and nation, beginning in the early settlement of the state in the 1830s, through the Global War on Terror. The museum recently completed new exhibits detailing the service of Iowans in the Civil War and Vietnam War. An extensive exhibit honors the 34th Infantry Division (“Red Bull” Division), which holds the distinction of serving the most continuous days in combat of any division in the European Theater of Operation during World War II. The museum also contains one of the finest military small arms collections in the Midwest. Additionally, an exhibit about the history of the Iowa State Patrol is also on display.
The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is located on Camp Dodge, 7105 NW 70th Avenue, Johnston, Iowa. Admission is free to the public. Museum hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The museum is closed on Sundays. Please use the NW 70th Ave. entrance, which is open 24 hours a day. Photo identification is required for adults to gain admittance to Camp Dodge (a driver’s license is acceptable).
Note that ALL motorcyclists (drivers and passengers) on Camp Dodge are required by Dept. of Defense policy to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) consisting of helmet, eye protection (full-face shield or goggles or sunglasses), gloves, long pants, long-sleeved shirt or jacket, and over-the-ankle footwear while traveling on Camp Dodge.
Group tours are welcome and available by appointment. For additional information or questions about the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum, contact the museum at (515) 252-4531 or visit the museum website at www.iowanationalguard.com/Museum/Museum.htm
At the appointed hour of 1:00pm today public gatherings were held at venues all across the nation to mark the 70th anniversary of the ending of World War II. Iowa’s took place at the Iowa Veteran’s Cemetery located just west of Des Moines near the town of Van Meter.
On hand to mark the occasion were surviving veterans of World War II and their families; as well as veterans from every other conflict that this nation has been involved in since, political figures and community leaders, Veterans Service groups, and members of the Iowa Military Heritage Society in the persons of Color Sergeant Michael Rowley and Sgt. Ronald Rittel and his wife, Sister Marilyn Rittel.
Col. Robert King (IANG Ret’d) presided over the event, and remarks were made by Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad (himself a “Cold War” military police veteran); Congressman David Young; Van Meter Mayor Allan Adams; and, Mr. James Herman, USPS District Manager all made welcoming remarks to all attending.
WWII veteran Capt. Jerry Yellin, United States Army Air Corps fighter pilot who is widely credited as being one (if not the) last combat airman to engage the enemy on the day the war ended (August 14th, 1945) while flying a mission over Japanese held territory, was the keynote speaker.
Captain Yellin, shown in photos below dating from the war era and more recently with Governor Branstad, specifically reminded the young people in attendance of their need to be ready if called upon to step forward and defend the nation and the principles of democracy that it stands for is called upon to do so.
Shown also is CS Rowley in the uniform of the Continental Army of 1776-83 with Mr. Calvin Beam of Nevada, Iowa. Mr. Beam enlisted in the military straight out of High School for the “Free, See the World Tour” that included participation in over twenty armed engagements across the European Theater before the war’s end.
The Iowa Veteran’s Cemetery at Van Meter was opened in July, 2008, as a final resting place for eligible veterans and their spouses. Since that time, interments have totaled 2,595. The cemetery will ultimately provide accommodation for 80,000.
The Iowa Veterans Cemetery has participated in the annual Wreaths across America Project in December of each year since it opened. The 49th Iowa V.V.I., Iowa Military Heritage Society has participated in these ceremonial wreath laying at all graves sites every year since the cemetery opened, and has provided the official Honor Guard for the posting of the colors at several of those events.
Most recently, the Honor Guard of the 49th Iowa contributed an original 1930’s era bronze tableau with President Lincoln’s immortal “Gettysburg Address” to the committal building at the cemetery in honor of the more than 13,000 Iowans who perished during the American Civil War.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Inf., Commanding The Governor’s Own 49th Iowa
Late July Saturdays in Iowa can be excruciatingly hot. Especially after a few light showers have added just enough moisture to the air to bring the humidity level and the air temperature to within a couple of clicks of each other on their respective scales. By 9:00am, the temperature was hovering just above eighty degrees Fahrenheit; and, the humidity level was pretty close behind at 78%. “Good for the corn”, is the rationalization that one hears most often.
Perfect day for a bonfire….or, most accurately a “Flag Melting Exercise.” Which is precisely what one detail of guardsmen from the 49th Iowa engaged in this morning as they consigned just over 1,400 unserviceable flags to the healing flames of the U.S.S. Zenti in a more or less shady grove at Des Moines’ Glendale Cemetery. Color Sergeant Jake Grim headed the detail, ably assisted by Color Sergeant Louie Zenti (of U.S.S. Zenti fame) who was in turn assisted by Louie, Jr. when he was not engaged in keeping a couple of rainwater puddles from going to waste. Sgt. Ron “Bluebird” Rittel, and Corporal Frank Hanna completed the consignment detail that steadily stoked the fires with worn and faded “Old Glories” for the better part of one and one-half hours.
About two hundred yards due West of the spot upon which these guardsmen labored, myself, 1/Sgt. Jim Braden, Regimental Color Sergeant Mike Rowley, Color Sergeant Henry Krecklow, and Corporal Ricky Stewart busied ourselves in both the G.A.R. and WWI sections of Glendale Cemetery applying D-2 bio-cleaning solvent, and applying scrub brushes to government issue gravestones.
Not altogether certain which of the two details turned out to be the “hottest” events of the day. Sound arguments might be made for both, I’m certain. But more certain is the warmth from the feeling of jobs honorably undertaken, and well done; and, the camaraderie shared with our brothers will likely supplant the physical discomfitures of the day.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Inf., Commanding Co. “A’ 49th Regiment Iowa V.V.I. “The Governor’s Own” Iowa Military Heritage Society