“The Very Best Among Us”
No class of people deserves more from the rest of us than our veterans of military service. They have gone to places and endured horror and pain the likes of which few of us will ever know. They have stood firmly between you, me, and the evil forces that would destroy us. They were prepared to give life or limb for us, and many of them did exactly that.
Bob Davey (shown at left in 1944, and today in Warren County) is a real American hero. Bob could have deferred active duty because he was a student and a farmer. Instead, Bob chose to fight for his country in World War II. As a member of the Army Air Corps, Bob served as a tail gunner in a B-17 bomber and flew 20 missions over the hostile skies of Germany, Italy, Austria, and the Yugoslavia. Bob’s plane was riddled with anti-aircraft fire on one occasion, and the pilot barely got the ship back to base. On another occasion, his B-17 was severely damaged by enemy fire over Yugoslavia. Bob parachuted out in horrible weather, with zero visibility, just before the plane crashed into the side of a mountain. It took him ten days to make it back to friendly territory. Thanks, Bob, for your valiant and heroic service to the United States of America!
Veteran’s issues are a big deal around our place for a number of reasons. I have great uncles who served in the union army during the civil war. One of my uncles and my mother’s first cousin were decorated veterans of World War II; one an infantryman in the Western European Theater (whose brother, an airman, was shot down and killed), and another who was a fighter pilot who escaped both death and capture after being shot down three times. My dad’s brother served during the Korean War. Dad and his twin brother served in the Army in the years just following that conflict. My generation endured Vietnam, and I have many contemporaries who are veterans of that terrible struggle. I have many close friends who are returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
My uncle, Don Parkes, during his service in Word War II. He was severely wounded by German machine gun fire at the Battle of the Bulge and spent nearly a year in the hospital. His brother, Elmer Parkes, was an Army airman who was shot down over the pacific. His body was never recovered.
My mom’s brother, Leroy Armstrong, served in the Air Force during the Korean War.
As your state representative I pledge to show our veterans the respect and dignity they deserve by supporting meaningful legislation that honors their service. I will work as hard as I can to see to it our veterans receive the support and services they have so courageously earned.
Another Warren County hero, Danny Aldridge, owner of CNM Equipment in Indianola, during his tour of duty in Vietnam. Dan is pictured top and center; he was the man at the helm of this 155mm mobile gun. His fellow crew members are pictured with him.
Genuine American Heroes – Howard and Ethel Hughes of Norwalk, Iowa. During World War II, Ethel served as a lieutenant assigned to the 139th Evacuation Hospital. She traveled the theater of combat, healing the wounded and helping many a desperate soldier find his way back from the brink. At the end of the war, she was assigned to the concentration camp at Ebansee and began the work of restoring life to 3,000 souls who had suffered the worst of Nazi atrocities. Howard was one of the few American GIs to serve in the infantry and also as a navigator in the Army Air Corps. He was assigned to Patten’s third army, serving behind enemy lines in a forward observation unit. He lived in constant peril of discovery, which would have meant certain death. He fought with valor and distinction at the Battle of the Bulge, and was present at the very first Nazi death camp (Ohrdruf) to be liberated by the Allied Forces.
To every veteran: Thank you for all you have done to protect this great country, our sacred freedoms, and our way of life.