On January 10, Army Brigadier General Ted Johnson, recently retired from the South Dakota National Guard, talked about his experiences directing the Guard through the largest call up of SDNG forces since WWII. More than 7,200 troops were deployed to support the War on Terror. He is the only general officer in the SDNG ever to command a combat unit: the 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Kabul, Afghanistan, from 2010 to 2011. Photo above: Brig. Gen. Johnson (right) with Gen. David Patreus in 2010. more video newspaper.
On February 14 Wayne Brewster of Rapid City recounted his US Army experiences fighting across Europe, starting on Omaha Beach (first wave) then into the heavily defended Rhineland. "I was in the invasion of Normandy on June 6th 1944, scheduled to land 20 minutes after H-Hour, who knows the exact time?
"I was in the combat engineers, attached to the 29th Division. Our outfit earned five battle stars. We were on the same route as Gen. LeClerc’s 2nd Army forthe liberation of Paris, in August. We crossed the Rhine on a pontoon bridge near the Remagen railroad bridge about a week after it collapsed." more
(Photo by Duke Doering, who added "Wayne Brewster, WW II veteran who landed with the first wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day and fought in Europe until V-E day, addressed the group on Valentine's Day. Without photos, slides or notes Brewster addressed the spellbound crowd with his excellent recollection of events as they occurred throughout his Army enlisted service against the Nazis.") more
On March 14, Al Glinsmann of Hisega talked about hisexperiences with the 5th Regimental Combat Team in the Korean War, from 1950-1953. His US Army artillery unit started out on the Pusan perimeter and eventually fought next to the Chinese border at the Yalu River in North Korea. After the war, he became a Lutheran minister.Of the wartime 30 photos shown, Ray and Josephine Cowdery said that "There are about 10 rare color slides taken in Korea. We have never seen any original color material like this before." more, photos (Al with folded arms below)
On May 9, Maj. Ed "Eagle Man" McGaa (USMC ret) talked about his latest book, the adventure-filled autobiography Warrior's Odyssey: Spirit of Crazy Horse. McGaa was an F-4 Phantom fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, known for superior performance for Close Air Support and dodging SAMS. more news
On June 13, combat artist and US Army veteran James Pollock talked about his experiences with the
Vietnam Combat Artists Program (CAT Team IV) in Vietnam in 1967. "I had a canteen, camera, sketchbook, some personal items, and a 45 caliber pistol" he says.
“In 1967, I was a postal clerk for APO 96231, a mini post office on Camp Ames, an army base in a remote area north of Taejon, Korea. As a draftee, I was happy to be in Korea instead of Vietnam. At the time I was never sure about the base's mission, but later I learned the base stored nuclear weapons. One day Sergeant Brooks stepped up to mail something. He said, 'Pollock, I hear you are an artist you might be interested in this.' He handed me a copy of Stars and Stripes and pointed out an article about the army looking for artists to participate in the US Army Vietnam Combat Art Program.” more, Wikipedia, audio
On July 11, Mike Birnbaum of Rapid City presented on his Vietnam experiences with the US Army's 9th Infantry Division during 1967 and 1968 and later as only the fifth Command Sergeant Major (ret) in the South Dakota National Guard history. He is currently chairman of the South Dakota Veterans Commission:
......"I was drafted in to the Army in June of 1967. I did basic at Fort Leonard Wood and AIT at Fort Polk. I had about three weeks leave and arrived in Vietnam on Thanksgiving day of 1967. I spent 14 months in Vietnam, serving with the 9th Infantry Division. I served eight months at Bearcat and then six months at Dong Tam in the Delta. My MOS was 11C, Indirect Firecrewman on the 81 mm Mortar. After leaving Vietnam four years later, I joined the South Dakota National Guard and served until retiring in February, 2006." more
On August 8, Ensign Harold Jansen of Rapid City talked about his experiences in the US Navy during World War II as the US sought to retake the Philippines during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Photo shows Jansen in 1944 at the age of 21, as seen on a 200ft LCT (Landing Craft Tank) in the battle of the Philippines....As a LCT vice-commander, Jansen was present at the final dramatic confrontation between a far superior Japanese battleship armada and a lightly defended Leyte beachhead, with a hodgepodge of outgunned small ships bluffing away the enemy with will power and aggression.... more, animated lesson (keep pressing red arrow on bottom to advance).
On September 12, John F. Wilkinson of Spearfish talked about his WWII experiences as a Spitfire pilot in the RAF. He flew Hurricanes too. A US citizen, his daughter was born in Montana.
YouTube video clip: "John on the Hunt" in Spitfire, combat over Germany, April 1945. John Wilkinson flying a Spitfire over Germany in 1945. The video was taken from the wing mounted camera that is only active while firing. At 17 he lived through the bombing of London during the Battle of Britain. In 1949, he boarded a freighter bound for America. more, SDPB Dakota Midday, more audio interview, Spitfires
On October 10, Evelyn Lenton of Rapid City spoke about her childhood memories of the Japanese in Occupied Philippines during World War II, along with her midwife mother and brothers, in Manila. One brother, Arthur age 15, was taken off to harvest crops and was never seen again.
At the same meeting, Black Hills Scale Modelers presented a 1:48 (14”) model of the A-20 attack bomber to Ellsworth and the South Dakota Air and Space Museum in honor of SD native and WWII A-20 pilot Hilary Cole, who summarized his experiences. more
On December 12, USAAF B-17 veteran Maurice Crow reported on his WWII experiences. "Morry and his crew completed 27 missions during eight months of flying combat with the 8th Air Force in the European Theater, and based on the difficulty of the missions, got credit for 30." more KEVN news clip