Four veterans, one common thread
By Annette Tait
Four different men, four different experiences, one thing in common: they firmly believe everyone should take time to recognize our military members, past and present, each Veterans Day.
Dale Bornemann served in the U.S. Army, 4th Division, based at Ft. Lewis, Wash., first in the infantry and later in tanks.
“We had 90mm guns on the jeep,” Bornemann said. “We had some big firepower.”
Richard Gullickson was also an Army man, serving as a radio operator in the Signal Corps for nearly two years of active duty followed by two years in the active reserves, and another two years in the non-active reserves. Either way, if there had been a need, he could have been recalled to service at any time while serving as a reservist.
“I went in right after high school -- there were five of us, five seniors, and we all went in together on the buddy system,” Gullickson said. “Back then it was a volunteer system, there wasn’t a draft.”
Scott Larson was in the U.S. Navy, serving five years from 1994-1999. He served as a corpsman, the military equivalent of a nurse, working in cardiac care for three years, and the other two years in urology, general medicine and the intensive care unit, spending time both at the Naval Medical Center, San Diego, Calif., and on the U.S.S. Mercy.
“It’s a massive white hospital ship with a red cross on the side—it’s like a floating hospital,” Larson said. “They have everything that a regular hospital has. I’d go out on that ship and do drills, and worked in the triage and ICU.”
Melt Olin was also a Navy man, spending four years, 1970-1974, serving as a machinist, primarily aboard the USS Decatur, DDG-31. He spent most of his tour in the western Pacific – or, in Navy terms, WESTPAC, with the Decatur, a destroyer, assisting aircraft carriers in their joint mission.
Even in peacetime, their work wasn’t easy. It had its perks, such as foreign travel. But serving our nation also had drawbacks, spending long periods of time away from home and family.
To a man, all are proud of their military service -- as they well should be. And to a man, they are humble. Each told of how the work he did was his job, and his responsibility.
Yet, in the next breath, each recognized the sacrifices of other service members and voiced appreciation for the freedoms he enjoys that other veterans have protected.
These four men hold Veterans Day dear to their hearts, and take the time to honor all living veterans, but not wanting nor seeking recognition for themselves.
“Veterans Day is meant to honor those who have served,” Bornemann said. “It’s good to remember them, and what they did for the country.”