November 13, 2008

In both war and peace, VFW Post commander has served

By Kathy Tandberg

More than 23 million American veterans were honored during Veterans Day Tuesday. Many more have already left this earth for the final home. The numbers remaining decreases each year.

War by today’s numbers, according to 2007 U.S. census records:

• 4, (unverified by the Veterans Department) World War I veterans

•2.9 million, the number that served in World War II (1941-1945)

• 3 million, the number that served in the Korean War (1950-1953)

7.9 million, the number that served in the Vietnam War era (1964-1975)

5 million, the number that served the Gulf War (1990-present)

6.1 million, the number of peacetime veterans

9.3 million, the number of veterans age 65 and older

Of these, 263,000 served in World War II and the Korean War; 315,000 served during both the Korean and Vietnam wars; 69,000 served during in all three wars.

A further look shows 9.3 million, the number of veterans age 65 or older in 2007.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Herman Schmidt Post 7759 Commander Ron Harmon knows these numbers well, though less than 1,000 veterans reside in Mercer County.

A Vietnam War veteran, Harmon is humble about his service that earned him the privilege to be called a veteran.

"My service in Vietnam wasn’t like that of others. I was pretty much safe over there," he said.

Harmon served in what he considers a more secure location in Vietnam with a medical supply company, but his service to the United States was vital as part of the 32nd Medical Supply Headquarters.

Harmon landed in Vietnam, the end of one journey, before beginning another. When he joined the service he was a 17-year-old who struggled with high school and was looking for a way to secure his future.


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