lest we forget 2014

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  • LEST WE FORGET

    By David Hayesdhayes@isspress.com

    Randy Harrison is fascinated by history.

    The well-read, 69-year-old Squak Mountain resident is especially inter-ested in Homers The Iliad.

    Everybody knows about Achilles, Ajax, Agamemnon and Paris. All the characters you hear about, Harrison said. Every now and then, if you read Homer, theres one guy mentioned, one soldier who did something, not the big characters.

    I thought maybe if I kept a good record of this, maybe in 500 years someone will stumble across this, in a safe somewhere, and say, Wow, heres a daily firsthand thing, by this guy.

    So, Harrison kept a journal during the Vietnam War. Never mind that was verboten for an intelligence offi-cer in the U.S. Armys Special Opera-tions Group.

    It wasnt the first time the brash, young man that Harrison was skirted the Armys regulations. The son of a career Air Force pilot, growing up in a military culture, Harrison had always wanted to follow his fathers path.

    He was my role model, my hero, Harrison said.

    Unfortunately, the Air Force Acad-emy required perfect vision for pilots. Harrisons hovered around 2,400

    uncorrected.The tip of the spear

    After years adrift taking college courses, Harrison decided to steer his life right and enlist in the Army infantry.

    If I cant be on the tip of the spear, I dont want anything else, he said. The tip of the spear for the Army is the infantry.

    He didnt tell his parents until after he enlisted and he didnt tell the sec-

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    Fortunate son

    By DaviD HayesRandy Harrison hugs his dog Burfoot inside his Squak Mountain home. Over his shoul-der is a print commemorating one of Harrisons missions that went wrong yet garnered a Congressional Medal of Honor for helicopter pilot James Fleming, who evacuated Harrisons squad under heavy fire from North Vietnamese. See HARRISON, Page B8

    ContriButeDRandy Harris goes on patrol through the jungles of Vietnam.

    Randy Harrison emerged from the Vietnam War unscathed, but with a new appreciation for life

    By Peter Clark pclark@isspress.com

    Col. William Geil has a great memory though he says its hard to forget getting captured by Germans behind enemy lines.

    The 89-year-old Squak Mountain resident has seen his fair share of service in a career spanning more than three decades. He served over-

    seas in World War II and two tours in Vietnam. His time in the United States Air Force is only made more impres-sive by the three degrees he earned outside the military. Still, he plays it humble.

    I dont like bragging, Geil said about his time as a prisoner of war. Speaking plainly, he said he didnt find it anything worth bragging about. I had a cousin that finished 25 mis-

    sions, while I finished my time in the war in a prison camp.

    Now comfortably retired, Geil and his wife Fran split their time between an Is-saquah residence and one in Phoenix, Ariz. Geil first

    German POW earned freedom, three degreesThe whole damn town was coming out. When I saw their eyes, I knew I was in deep kimchi. I figured Id had it. William GeilWorld War II and Vietnam veteran William Geil

    By Neil Piersonnpierson@sammamishreview.com

    In a small box thats usu-ally tucked away in his home library, Issaquah attorney Jerry Pearson has several keepsakes from his three-year stint in the U.S. Marine Corps.

    Among the items are a set of dog tags made to com-memorate three of his fellow Marines; a brass dragon head he found in a village; and the two Purple Hearts he was awarded for combat-related wounds in Vietnam.

    The dragon head, in par-ticular, brings back a flood of memories for Pearson, who was born in Seattle before moving to Issaquah as a small child in 1951. He associates it with Ron Dexter and Lester Bell, two members of the Fifth Marine Division who were shipped to the jungles of Southeast Asia and never came home.

    In some ways, you feel really proud of having served, and in other ways you feel all of these losses and confu-sions, Pearson said.

    He graduated from Is-saquah High School in 1964, when the Vietnam War was gaining traction in America,

    and his modest 2.6 grade-point average reflected his disinterest in school. He dropped out of the University of Washington after one quar-ter, and didnt last long at The Boeing Co.

    Thats when he found the Marines and a chance to con-nect with his family heritage, which has military connec-tions dating to the Civil War. Pearsons father was in the Army Air Corps during World

    War II.The veteran thing, to

    me, is almost like a connec-tive tissue kind of issue, he explained.

    Among his memorabilia is a 1965 article from the Hono-lulu Advertiser. Pearsons unit arrived in Hawaii aboard the USS Iwo Jima, and he and several Marines were walk-

    Marine Corps, Vietnam shaped Jerry Pearsons servant nature

    By Christina Corrales-Toynewcastle@isspress.com

    Dag Garrett knew he wanted to fly.

    Its why during the tail end of World War II, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps as a fresh-faced 18-year-old.

    Over the course of a year, Garrett transformed into a well-versed navigator, more than eager to hit the skies in support of his country.

    He would have to wait though, because just as he was about to deploy, the war

    came to an end.They gave up. They heard

    we were coming, he joked.Garrett was rather disap-

    pointed he missed the bulk of the war, but the Timber Ridge at Talus resident would see his fair share of action during a 23-year military career.

    The aftermathHe initially remained

    grounded, serving as an in-structor in Louisiana, before

    By neil PiersonIssaquah native Jerry Pearson, surrounded by legal texts at his Pearson Law Firm office, is more than 40 years removed from his duties as a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

    By CHristina Corrales-toyDag Garrett holds a poster of newspaper clippings and photo-graphs from his stranded-at-sea ordeal in 1947.

    Issaquah veteran recalls the sacrifices

    Flintofts Funeral Home and Crematory is proud to honor our communitys veterans.

    See GEIL, Page B8

    See PEARSON, Page B8 See GARRETT, Page B7

    The Issaquah PressThe Issaquah PressThe Issaquah Press

  • B2 Wednesday, May 21, 2014 The Issaquah Press

    Robert Watson

    Staff sergeant, U.S. Army Air Force, 375th Bomber Squadron, 308th Bomber Group, Heavy; reported MIA between January and April 1944; crew of plane was never found. Tablets of the missing are at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines.

    John Raymond SmartSecond lieuten-ant, U.S. Army Air Force,443rd Bomb Squadron, 320th Bomb GroupMIA Oct. 23, 1943, over the Tyrrhenian Sea near Giannuitri Island. The crew of the downed B-26 was seen in life rafts but Air-Sea Rescue boats could not locate them, and no one from the crew was ever seen again. Tablets of the missing are at Florence American Cemetery in Florence, Italy.

    Robert Philp

    Staff sergeant, U.S. Army Air Force, 589th Bomb Squadron, 387th Bomb GroupShot down near Mayan, Germany, where his crew was attacking a railroad viaduct, on Dec. 23, 1944.

    Jack McQuade

    Private, U.S. Army Air Force, 481st Service Squadron, 46th Air Service GroupBorn: Nov. 28, 1920 Killed April 18, 1945, in acciden-tal bomb explo-sion. Buried in Hillside Cemetery.

    Emmett R. McDonald

    Captain, U.S. Air ForceBorn: July 27, 1939,MIA May 31, 1966, Declared dead: Feb. 11, 1975Missing in air loss/crash in North Vietnam. (Remains never recovered.)

    Laurence J. Lortie

    Second lieutenantU.S. Army Air Force45th Fighter Squadron, 15th Fighter GroupMIA June 1, 1945, some-where between Iwo Jima and Osaka, Japan; weather may have been the reason for the loss.

    George C. Larsen

    Private first class, U.S. Army,infantry,Born: Feb. 17, 1926 Died: June 14, 1945184th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. KIA by a grenade attacking Hill 181 in Ryuku, Okinawa, Japan. Buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

    Peter Erickson

    Private, U.S. Army, 18th Engineer RegimentDied: Aug. 10, 1918Buried in Suresnes American Cemetery, in Suresnes, France. From the Sept. 27, 1918, Press: A large congregation attended the memo-rial service Sunday afternoon at Issaquah in honor of Peter Erickson, the first of the boys from Issaquah to die in the service of his country. The oration delivered by the Rev. S. V. Warren touched a high note of patriotism.

    Elizabeth Erickson

    Woman Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs)Died in a train-ing exercise over Sweetwater, Texas, in May 1944. Buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Seattle.Because WASPs were considered civilians, she never received a military burial. She was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by President Obama.

    James Patrick Brady

    Corporal, U.S. Army, Scotch Platoon, C Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry DivisionBorn: March 7, 1949Died: June 18, 1969KIA in Tay Ninh, South Vietnam. Buried in Greenwood Memorial Park, Renton.

    Robert BaskettSergeant, U.S. Army, 8th InfantryApril 7, 1925 July 15, 1944Graduated from Issaquah High School in 1943.KIA in Normandy, France. Buried in Hillside Cemetery.

    Paul Alfred Ambrose

    Private, U.S. Army,701 T.D. BattalionJuly 9, 1924 May 31, 1944Graduated from Issaquah High School in 1942. KIA in Anzio, Italy. Buried in Hillside Cemetery.

    Robert Arndt

    Corporal,U.S. Army,C Company, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry DivisionDied at age 21.Born: May 6, 1946 Died: July 29, 1967 He was shot in early 1967, but recovered; was back in action only a few days when he was killed in Dinh Tuong Province, South Vietnam. Buried in Hillside Cemetery.

    Freedom isnt free. Since the birth of this country, men and women have been wil

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