Korean War vets from Wash. Co. receive Ambassador for Peace honors
Korean War veterans from Washington County were presented with Ambassador for Peace medals during a special banquet in Seoul, South Korea. The ceremony was held at the Grand Ambassador Hotel.
Medals were presented to Nick Habersetzer, Norbert Carter, Francis ‘Jerry’ Wanty, and Merlin Stockhausen.
There were 123 Korean War veterans from around the world on hand to receive their awards. Each was greeted with a warm round of applause from the Korean ROTC as they entered the banquet hall.
Distinguished guests included the Hon. Park Sung Choon Minister of the Patriots and Veterans Affairs and Lt. General Thomas W. Bergeson, Deputy Commander UNC/USFK.
An interesting side note, Lt. Bergeson took a moment during his speech to say, “Anyone here from Wisconsin? Go Packers!” Turns out Lt. Bergeson hails from Wisconsin Rapids. “I’m a 1981 graduate of Wisconsin Rapid High School,” he said as he posed with veterans from Washington County. “My son is currently enrolled at UW Madison and my parents still live in Wisconsin Rapids.”
Throughout the evening veterans were praised for their “gallantry and sacrifice.”
Korean War veteran Norbert Carter
Norbert Carter, 85, of West Bend is one of the Korean War veterans on tour this week in South Korea. The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs is hosting a Revisit Korea Program where they express appreciation and respect for Korean War veterans who sacrificed themselves to defend Korea’s democracy and peace.
Carter was 20 years old and married for a couple years when he was drafted in 1951 into the Army. He entered service in 1952.
“I never got to go to high school,” said Carter. “I was put on the farm to help my uncle because he couldn’t get a hired man during the war.” Carter was one of 7 boys in the family; four of his siblings were also in the service. “My dad was in World War I; my oldest brother was in the Navy during Pearl Harbor. Two of my brothers were in Germany, two of us were in Korea and my youngest son was in Desert Storm.”
Carter went to Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania for basic training. That was followed by a stint in Washington and later he spent 17 days on a ship to Japan. “We spent one night in Japan, got back on the boat and I spent the next 15 months and 22 days in Korea,” Carter said.
Immediately stationed on the front line, Carter recalls his orders.
“We were on night patrol and walked up to one area and were handed a steel vest and they said ‘put it on — this is the area where you need it’ and we walked some more and pretty soon we were up on Old Baldy,” he said referencing the site of five engagements during a 10-month span of the Korean War.
“For 32 days I helped build bridges while we were under fire,” Carter said. “There were some Army tanks on a couple mountains up there and we had to get them back for service work.
“The biggest bridge we had was 280-feet long and it was all steel tread way. We couldn’t work during the day because the enemy could see us and every day for the first five days the bridge was knocked out by artillery, so each day we had to tear it out and start over.”
Carter was discharged in 1953 as a staff sergeant Section B in the Second Division Combat Engineers. Carter, 85, is well-known in the local military circle; he is Veterans of Foreign Wars chairman in West Bend and has been commander for 15.5 years.
Carter has been active for 57 years in the local post honor guard and military squad.
Korean War veteran Merlin Stockhausen
Merlin Stockhausen, 86, of West Bend is one of the Korean War veterans on tour this week in South Korea. The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs is hosting a Revisit Korea Program where they express appreciation and respect for Korean War veterans who sacrificed themselves to defend Korea’s democracy and peace.
Stockhausen was drafted when he was 20; he was part of the 933rd Field Artillery.
Stockhausen went to basic training in Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Bliss, Texas, before being shipped to Japan and then Korea. “I was part of an anti-aircraft unit,” Stockhausen said.
“We laddered at night over at Inchon, Korea, and they put us into these LST boats and we went on shore with water up to our waist and we got loaded into little box cars and headed up to the front line from there,” Stockhausen said. “We had a lot of gun positions dug in around petroleum centers.”
An acting corporal, Stockhausen was awarded a number of medals including a Bronze Star and the Korean Campaign Medal. Returning to West Bend, Stockhausen went into construction. Stockhausen was part of the Stars & Stripes Honor Flight in 2013.
Korean War veteran Nick Habersetzer
Nick Habersetzer of West Bend is one of the Korean War veterans on tour this week in South Korea.
Habersetzer was 18 and a half years old when he enlisted in service on Sept. 26, 1955. “I graduated West Bend High School in 1954 and got a job at the Gehl Company,” said Habersetzer. “They gave me three years of service time.”
For eight weeks Habersetzer went through basic training at Fort Carson, Colorado and then went to jump school at Fort Bragg for three weeks. “We jumped out of C-19s,” he said. “My older brother went so I had to go and then my next brother also went. I was actually the scaredy cat of the three.”
Habersetzer served shortly after the Korean War ended and was part of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. “We went to Korea by ship and I was very sick,” he said.
While in Korea, Habersetzer worked in the 120 MEDEVAC hospital just outside Incheon, Korea. Ranked a Spec-4 Army corporal, Habersetzer worked as a diet cook in the kitchen at the hospital until his discharge in 1958.
“I hitchhiked home from Fort Sheridan, Illinois and got to about this side of Chicago and got another ride,” said Habersetzer. “Then a guy gave me a ride within a mile of my house. He bought me a beer in St. Anthony and then I walked to Kohlsville where my parents lived.
“I was carrying a duffel bag and didn’t have much in it; only two sets of clothes because I had to leave the rest in Korea because of disease.”
Habersetzer returned to the Gehl Company and worked in tool and die for 46 years. This is his first time back to Korea.
Amazing food in South Korea
Veterans from Washington County are staying at the Grand Ambassador Hotel in Seoul while on tour in South Korea and the food is amazingly diverse.
Baby octopus for breakfast anyone? I took the plunge in a tapas sort of way. A tentacle of this a dime-sized portion of that. My plate looks like a colorful chess board and I secretly wonder if my stomach will welcome it home.
The chef at the Grand Ambassador puts out an eye-appealing display of hearty breads, freshly diced fruits, carved meats including steak and pork chops and there’s a wealth of seafood including sea eel, seaweed, and salted and fermented squid.
The rich colors of the food are brilliant. It’s a vista of choices and I’m glad there are labels to help decipher what’s for dinner. This is not your mother’s Hamburger Helper.
A salt-free diet would be difficult. Many of the fish dishes, including the cellophane like square of seaweed, is salty… and that’s being nice. Bottled water should be close at hand.
The octopus comes with visible suction cups on tentacles. “Is that considered fish or meat,” asked veteran Nick Habersetzer as he digs into his safe plate of fruit.
“It’s a cephalopod; like a snail or a slug,” I said. (actually I had to Google it)
The tentacle, by the way, is not moving. I’m a little disappointed because that would have made for a better story and more of a pull-back reaction.
The octopus has a rubbery consistency, kind of like a bicycle tire and just as flavorful. (My aspirations as a regular on The Food Network I’m sure have been dashed by this review.)
In South Korea the foods are flat out raw and presented as art or they’re prepared with colorful spices and mixed with vegetables. (To all moms – did you see what they did there?)
The food strategy is much different than the good ole’ American way of drowning things in ketchup.
Tidbits from the tour in South Korea
-On our way to the DMZ students from Korea are interviewing veterans on the bus ride. The students are fluent in English. The bus is zipping through rush-hour traffic with a police motorcycle escort.
-At Chicago O’Hare my troop got hung up at security. One vet had metal in both knees and an ankle. Years of hard work also took a toll on his mobility. While maneuvering the full body scanner, Merlin Stockhausen had to lift one arm with the other to get it to extend to the TSA directed height. Finally the guy at security scrubbed the idea and said, “Please step out sir; we’ll just pat you down.”
-Another vet was told to empty his pockets and take off his belt. A hand full of loose change clattered on the metal table. It was accompanied by a pocket full of peppermints and a rosary.
-The stewardesses for Korean Air arrived at our gate in a wave of high-fashion. The fellas stared and commented how “they all look the same.” The airline obviously has a very strict dress code and cookie-cutter appearance: short khaki skirt, light blue button down blouse, scarf that resembled a starched piece of Origami caught in a brisk wind capped by an overall loveliness.
Isabelle Muckerheide funeral is Tuesday
Isabelle Muckerheide, formerly of Kewaskum, has died.
Muckerheide, 98, was part of the fabric of the community in Kewaskum. She’d been a staple at several farmers’ markets in Kewaskum and at the VFW in West Bend where she was noted for her card table and sales of homemade jam, ground cherries and $1 loaves of banana bread.
In May 2015 Mike Paul from Paul Auction Co. in Kewaskum officially retired Isabelle’s bid card No. 1 after she sold her home and moved in with her kid sister, 94.
How Isabelle became the official holder of card No. 1, is best told by Paul.
“One time, for reasons no one remembers, Isabelle and her husband were late to the sale and No. 1 was issued to somebody else. It was not well received,” he said. “A hasty discussion between mom and dad established that the Muckerheides would permanently be No. 1 and they have been, for the last 46 years.”
Paul said “Al and Izzy” were regulars back in 1969. “Izzy has been a fixture for so long we always just assume she’ll be there,” he said. “If she can’t make it she calls ahead to let us know.”
Every year Muckerheide can be found sitting in a wood rocker in the entryway of the old log cabin, knitting during Kewaskum’s Early Farm Days. Under her frock is her trademark brooch, it’s something she’s worn since she was 6 years old.
Born in 1918 when Woodrow Wilson was president, Muckerheide remained sharp telling stories of seeing Liberace in concert in Appleton. “He played after dinner and had dancing water with colored lights,” she recalled.
She also cooked for Hollywood actor Spencer Tracy in 1941. “He was receiving an honorary degree from Ripon College and the dinner was held at a private home. My boss brought him back into the kitchen and Spencer Tracy shook my hand. I didn’t wash it for a week,” grinned Muckerheide.
Muckerheide had been living in West Allis with her sister. She would often say, “We haven’t had to call the cops on each other yet.”
The funeral for Isabelle Muckerheide will be Tuesday, Sept. 27 at Holy Trinity Church in Kewaskum. Mass will start at 11:30 a.m. Burial will follow in the parish cemetery. Isabelle’s family will greet relatives and friends at the church on Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of Mass.
New memorial underway at American Legion Post 36
The American Legion Post 36 in West Bend is offering neighbors an opportunity to recognize veterans who have served honorably in the armed forces as a new memorial is constructed. The centerpiece features a 30-foot aluminum flag pole donated by a member of Post 36. Money raised from the sale of granite engraved stones will help defer the construction costs of the memorial and the main granite stone. The honored veteran does not need to be a member of the American Legion. To launch the project, from now until Oct. 1, 2016 the granite stones can be purchased for half price. A 16 x 8 engraved stone can be purchased for $200 to honor organizations or specific military actions, conflicts or wars. Contact Mike Hartwell at 262-305-4036 for more details.
Wet down in Allenton is Wednesday
On Wednesday, Sept. 28, the Slinger and Kohlsville Fire Departments will hold a wet down ceremony at 6:30 p.m. at Zuern Building Products, 426 Railroad Street, for Allenton Volunteer Fire Department’s Engine 1361. A wet down is when neighboring fire departments come with a rig to spray water over the new unit. A similar ceremony is held for ships and aircraft as they enter service to help others when they can no longer help themselves. Fifteen or more fire departments will be on hand to help with the christening. An interesting side note: this ceremony is for a unit which is replacing the apparatus  that had the first wet down in Wisconsin.
Updates & tidbits
-A note has been posted on the front door of Benders Sports Pub, 1102 E. Paradise Dive in West Bend. The note read: To all of Benders loyal patrons, thank you for your past business. Unfortunately the time has come to close our doors. The note is signed Tim and Donna Pruett. Tim took over the restaurant in 2013.
-Today’s Dentistry, 2675 E. Washington Street in West Bend, will host an open house Sept. 25 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
-Rummage-A-Rama is October 15 – 16 at the Washington County Fair Park.
-The Walk for Diabetes is Saturday, Oct. 15 at Ridge Run Park in West Bend. The goal is to promote community awareness of diabetes and raise $2,900 for diabetes research. Contact David Reed for more information 630-862-2711.
-Baylor Cain Golf Outing for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is Sunday, Oct. 9 at Hon-E-Kor Golf Course in Kewaskum.
– Jobs at Spaulding Clinical in West Bend. A new study is underway that pays up to $2,525. Spaulding Clinical will cover an Uber ride so you can schedule a screening and receive up to $250. Call today 800-597-4507 or visit spauldingpays.com.
-West Bend School District Superintendent Erik Olson will be the guest speaker Sept. 28 at the Common Sense Citizens meeting held 7 p.m. at the West Bend Moose Lodge on 18th Avenue. The meetings are free and open to the public.
– Golf marathon for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County is Friday, Sept. 30 at Kettle Hills Golf Course in Richfield. Golf 100 holes in one day all for a great cause in Washington Co.
-Sixth graders from Holy Angels School in West Bend recently participated in the Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) at Camp Gray near Wisconsin Dells. The annual overnight retreat provides students with many opportunities to experience and learn about the wonders of God’s creation.