Speakers in 2017

HOMEFRONT PRISONERS OF WAR THOMAS K. OLIVER (USAAF)      Tom Oliver in 2009      Oliver photos 2012 PETER DAHLBERG (ARMY)      December 7, 1941      Friends for Life      He Took My Place       Christmas Lights HAROLD TAYLOR (USAAF)      Story of Had Taylor STAN LIEBERMAN (ARMY)     Story of Stan Lieberman LESTER SNYDER (USAAF)       Durkee's Crew WARREN FAGERLAND (ARMY) EJI SUYAMA (ARMY)      My Combat in the 442nd HARRY NOLLSCH (ARMY)        Harry Nollsch       Taps Delayed       The Purple Heart FRANK MORAWA (GERM. ARMY)        Life of Frank Morawa LOYD BRANDT (MARINES)      Reluctant Heroes       Brothers in Arms JERRY TEACHOUT (USAAF)       Leaving Home for WWII CHUCK CHILDS (USAAF)       I Flew the Big One      Combat Mission 15      Riding Rails before WW2 HARRY PUTNAM (NAVY)       Veterans STEVEN WARREN (NAVY) GORDON LEASE (COAST GUARD) CLARENCE CARSNER (ARMY) WALLY DAHLQUIST (USAAF) GEORGE W. LARSON (NAVY) ALAN HERBERT (ARMY) RICHARD PERKINS (MARINES)      Letter home, 1944 RUSSEL FRINK (NAVY) JIM LOCKHART (NAVY) REX ALAN SMITH (ARMY ENG) VINCE FITZGERALD (NAVY) HONOR FLIGHTS CHARLES ANDERSON (USAAF)      Life of Charles Anderson HARLAND HERMANN (ARMY)      Letters during WWII WALTER MARCHAND (ARMY)      D-Day Doctor's Diary JUNO SUNDSTROM (ARMY) KEITH CHRISTENSEN (ARMY) DEAN SHAFFHAUSEN (NAVY) CHARLES GERLACH (NAVY) WAYNE BREWSTER (ARMY) WILLIAM A. SEMLEK (ARMY) KENNETH HALLIGAN (ARMY) WALTER MEHLHAFF (ARMY) EDDIE KODET (ARMY) TOM McDILL (ARMY) PAUL PRIEST (ARMY) VICTOR WEIDENSEE (ARMY)       Weidensee maps OLA CAMPBELL (USAAF) DALLAS BLOMQUIST (Marines) BILL LOFGREN (ARMY) HAROLD JANSEN (Navy)       Personal Summary JOHN W. FULLER (NAVY)      John Fuller Goes to War JOHN WILKINSON (ROYAL AF) MARCELLA LeBEAU (ARMY) HILARY COLE (USAAF) TOM WENN (USAAF) JOHN GASTON (USAAF) MAURICE CROW (USAAF) GEORGE MOLSTAD (USAAF) GEORGE MOE (US ARMY)


On January 14, Ken Delfino of Keystone talked about his combat experiences during the Tet Offensive with the US Navy's River Patrol Force in South Viet Nam.  As he says, "this small segment of my life is dedicated to my brothers-in-arms with whom I patrolled the Long Tau, Soi Rap, Co Chien, My Tho and Ham Luong Rivers for 22 months."

Delfino's memoir is linked below, describing the violent onslaught of the Tet Offensive in the treacherous waters of the Mekong Delta:“WHUMP!…. ah, it’ll stop I thought…. KABAAAAM!!!!!!…the building shook…crap was flying all over the place and that, along with the close sounds of automatic weapons immediately woke me!”

Robert J. Moir, Delfino's executive officer, has written about their experiences: "During the Vietnam War, small U.S. Navy units patrolled Mekong Delta rivers in fiberglass boats armed with machine guns, four men to a boat. By day they stopped Vietnamese junks, sampans and water taxis, checked people's identification, and searched for weapons and contraband. At night, during curfew, they drifted silently with the current, watching and listening for enemy movement. They were often targets for Viet Cong gunners. Boats were hit and men were wounded and killed." moreYouTube

Listen to SDPB's Lori Walsh on the Dakota Midday program interview Ken Delfino on January 9, 2107.  Advance the progress bar to #18:00 (that is, 18 minutes into the show).  It lasts until #32:40.


On February 11, Jim Dugan (USAF ret) of Rapid City talked about his Vietnam war experiences as a dog handler, especially at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. It is estimated that combat dogs like Nemo of Tan Son Nhut saved the lives of 10,000 US military.  Walking point, dogs can see, hear, smell, and understand far beyond human capability. Dugan was later assigned within the nuclear weapons and missle industry at the Nevada Test site. film, SDPB interview.









On March 11, Alan B. Walker spoke about his combat experiences as a Marine on Foxtrot Ridge in Vietnam, two miles from the Khe Sanh Combat Base, described in his memoir Every Warrior Has His Own Song. He was born and brought up on the Winnebago Indian Reservation in Winnebago, Nebraska.  His father was an Omaha Indian.  His mother was a great granddaughter of "one of the original seventy-five braves who volunteered to scout for the U.S. Army in 1863."

From his book about the Battle of Foxtrot Ridge: "I hit the plunger on the claymore, and nothing happens.  I do it again and still nothing.  I start to pull the wire in, and I find it has been cut.  My heart falls out of my chest.  I know we will all die tonight.  Death is just a few feet from our mortar pit.  I pray to God to let us live until morning.  That's when help will be here.  I pray again and again." more

On April 8, Ray and Josephine Cowdery of Rapid City presented on their new book Jensen's War about Wasta rancher Leonel Jensen.  As the senior Red Cross official in the US 75th Infantry Division in Europe in 1944 and 1945, he witnessed combat campaigns in the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of the Colmar Pocket and across the Rhine into Germany. more

On May 13 “How to Speak Communist.” MAJ Bob Liebman (USAF ret)--with Iron Curtain defector and author of Journey for Freedom Peter Vodenka--talked about how the Soviets weaponized language in pursuit of a global socialist state, which is still a little-known but key player in today’s geopolitical world. Common among nations then and now, the Soviets shared a pride in military defense.  But do the words ("World Famous Armed Forces CCCR") on the poster imply something else?



On June 10, Soviet defector Peter Vodenka talked about his book Journey for Freedom, escaping with his wife and two small children from "Iron Curtain" Czechoslovakia during the Cold War. Peter and family now own a home in Piedmont along Erickson Ranch Road.

On July 8, USMC Maj Ed McGaa(Vietnam, F-4 Phantom pilot) talked about the prolific military novelist WEB Griffin.  As McGaa says, "Re-reading W E B Griffin’s Marine saga

beginning in Shanghai with pre-WW II Marines.   A must read for all old Marines. Good supernumerary material. Sweeps us up into WW II with developing characters based on actual historic figures, unaltered real ones cast within, MacArthur, FDR, Marshall, Nimitz. etc. Pearl Harbor, Wake, Australia Coast Watchers, Guadalcanal, on into Korea. Extremely accurate history.  My oldest brother, 2nd Marine Division Saipan, Marianas, Tarawa. I had Griffin’s full library. Sent them to my old Nam squadron based on Truman’s Iraq War.  The grateful CO replied with set of leather gold wings tags for flight jackets I wear. Griff's books are the best reads for any era vet."  more, listen to Ed now (at the site, be sure to click on underlined text)

 

Josephine Cowdery created a new SDVF Facebook page and poster for the August 12 presentation.  A front-page newspaper article attracted many readers from the community who knew Mrs. Moe over the years.



Wartime generals are part of the big picture.  They have a god's-eye view that is quite different from soldiers on the front lines.  Writers trying to make sense

of long-ago experiences can read books, but they can also listen to speakers who once played key roles, such as BGEN Bob Benson who fought in Desert Storm.  He spoke to the South Dakota Veterans Forum on September 9.