Shell Rock Servicemen



~ adapted from Chapter 12 of the Shell Rock 150th Anniversary Book, contributed by Linda McCann


“Patriotism calls for all this. Look at that beautiful flag - those stars and stripes! Our Revolutionary fathers chose this for our national banner. They dedicated it to freedom - baptized it in their blood, and dying, bequeathed it as a rich inheritance to us, their children and posterity. Patriotism is a noble virtue. Above all - except your God - love your country.”

It seems as though every generation has had to go to war in support of the United States. From Shell Rock’s founding, the young men have answered the call to service. Men served in the Civil War, and each succeeding war. Six have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country: their lives. Information on those six follows.

Dee Avery, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Avery, died October 10, 1918, at Roisel, France. The local American Legion post organized and named itself the Dee Avery post.



The World War II "Gold Star Boys" were service men who lost their lives during WWII. The term began during WWII when the families would place a Gold Star in their window after they lost their son.

‘Boys’ of both wars and our late conflict of Korea and Viet-Nam did not die in vain. Their task was to make this a better country for heroes to live in.

Russell M. Slight, son of Mrs. Eva Lebeck and M. A. Slight, entered the service in the Maine Corps at Des Moines, Iowa on September 22, 1942. He attended camps at San Diego, Camp Elliott and Camp Pendleton, California. He served as a U.S. Marine Gunner in the 14th Marines, 4th Marine Division, 2nd Bn. Battery F in the Pacific Islands participating in the Battles of the Marshall Islands and Saipan. He was killed in Action on Saipan June 16, 1944, after serving 21 months. He was awarded a Purple Heart posthumously.

He was the first Shell Rock boy killed in action and was honored by the American Legion as such. The Legion Post hereafter being known as the Averly-Slight post in honor of the first two killed in World Wars I and II.

Willard Van Alst, son of Clint Ogden and Mrs. Guy Scoles, entered service at San Diego, Cal., in the Marines in 1940. He took his training in Dan Diego and served in the Phillipines. He was in service two years and died in a prison camp in the Philippines November 10, 1942.

Raymond Gersema, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Gersema, entered service October 8, 1941, at Des Moines, Iowa. He took his basic training at Camp Wolters, Texas in the 106th Infantry. He was then sent to the Hawaiian Islands for further training. He was sent to the Marshall Islands, back to Hawaii, and then to Saipan, where he lost his life August 17, 1945. He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.

Richard Eggleston, son of Mr. and Mrs. D. Eggleston, entered service at Cedar Falls, Iowa February 10, 1941, after serving in the National Guard for six years. He attended Camp Claiborne, LA; Fort Dix, NJ; and then went to Ireland in the First Convoy. He served in communications of the Headquarters Co., of the 133rd Infantry in England, Scotland, and North Africa. He was Chief of Communications with the Eisenhower security Command. S-Sgt. Eggleston arrived at Camp Patrick, Va., December 6, 1943, and Ft. Sheridan, IL, on January 6, 1944. He died at Camp Shelby, MI on January 16, 1944. He received the Good Conduct and Pre-Pearl Harbor medals and European Theater and African Campaign ribbons.



Laverne N. Smith, son of Mrs. Nellie Smith, received a Silver Star for his actions in Korea. Private Smith was a member of the Second Platoon, Heavy Mortar Company, 19th Infantry Regiment, of the U.S. Army. He died July 16, 1950, when he volunteered to remain in the platoon position and hold off the enemy while the rest of the platoon withdrew. Defying the odds of about thirty to one, these soldiers enabled the main body of the platoon to withdraw and to take their wounded with them. He also received the Purple Heart posthumously.


The Shell Rock community was fortunate in that no servicemen died during the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War, or thus far, in the Iraq War. However, one young man from Shell Rock died, not during war time, but on active duty in the military.

Bradley Beem was the son of Carol Heckman and Jack Beem. He was born in 1967, and grew up in the Shell Rock community. He graduated from the Waverly-Shell Rock High School and enlisted in the U.S.Army. He was stationed for a tour in Korea and Panama. He was an aircrew member on the CH-47 Chinook helicopters. While training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Brad was killed in a helicopter crash caused by failure of one of the components of the navigation system, on March 7, 1996.

Brad received the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Parachutist Badge.

Brad was married to Yvonne Henkle of Waverly, and they had a son, TJ.

The Shell Rock American Legion dedicated a flag and flag pole on October 6, 1996 to Bradley Beem, in Hoyt Elliot Park, north of the Old Mill.

Patriotism can be expressed in many forms. Some may fly the flag every day, rain or shine, and make sure it is lit at night. Others wear their label pins. Still others visit or make things for veterans in the hospital. Young people are learning that the red, white and blue is special> they need to stand in respect for the flag, uncover their heads and cover their hearts. Still others show it by small acts for others: driving people to vote on election days, visiting people or checking on them in their homes, delivering ‘meals on wheels’ without benefit of compensation. Each of these acts occurs in Shell Rock and demonstrates the American spirit; which is helps others and encourages the good of the group.



During World War II, women enlisted and served in large numbers for the first time. Nine young ladies from Shell Rock enlisted and served the war effort in any way they could.

Florence Chambers Martin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Chambers, entered cadet nurse’s corps on January, 1943, and graduated February, 1946.

Cpl. Luella Arns, daughter of Clint Ogden and Mrs. Elizabeth Scoles entered the Army Air Corp. at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, on May 31, 1944. She took her basic training at Fort Des Moines and Bakersfield, California. After serving 19 months she was discharged at Fort Des Moines, December 1, 1945, with the Victory Ribbon, American Theater and Good Conduct Medal.

Dorothy Clouse Brandt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Clouse, entered the Navy on August 3, 1943, at Des Moines, Iowa. She attended Hunter College N. Y. Yeoman School, Cedar Falls, Iowa, Navy Dry Dock, San Francisco, California, and was hospitalized on account of illness at Treasure Island, Long Beach Naval Hospital, and Oakland, California. She was discharged on January 10, 1945, at Oakland.

Joyce Wilma Lahr, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Will Lahr, entered Cadet Nurse training at Sibley Memorial Hospital, St. Elizabeth Hospital, Gallenger Hospital, and the Children’s Hospital, all in Washington, D. C. She was a patient in the Gallenger Hospital and later in the Children’s Hospital for a mastoid operation.

Cora Belle Busman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Busma, entered Cadet Nurse training at Clinton, September 1, 1944, and is still in service.

Sgt. Ila Mae Austin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Austin, entered the Army Air Corps on April 24, 1945, at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. She took her training at Fort Des Moines and Orlando, Florida. She received her discharge on October 24, 1946, at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

Anna Marcella Kitzmiller, Specialist 3-c M., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Van Hauen, entered the service as a WAVE in the Navy, June 19, 1944, at Cedar Falls, Iowa. She attended Hunter College, New York. She was discharged January 22, 1946, at Miami, Florida, after serving one year and six months.

Nelle Thompson, daughter of Mrs. Rosa Thompson, entered the service February 15, 1945, at Minneapolis, Minnesota, as Medical Dept. Dietitian. She attended Camp Carson, Colorado and Fort Benning, Georgia. She was discharged January 15, 1946.

Cpl. Mildred Scoles, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Guy Scoles, entered the Army Air corps at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, on March 7, 1944. She took her basic training at Fort Des Moines and was transferred to Waco Army Air Field, later to Midland Army Air Field, serving 21 months. She was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign and Victory Ribbon. She was discharged at Fort Des Moines on December 7, 1945.




Capt. John H. Smith
Ebenezer Walter
John Wilcox


George Adair Sanford G. Lewis Elias D. Albright
Orlando Loper Steven Barkelew William S. Matteson
George G. Blake 1st. Lt. Levi H. Mead Michael Brannen
Alexander W. Meyers Anson Blackman Lucius F. Bristol
Campbell T. Meyers Elbert W. Blackman Mordecai B. Brogue
Uriah D. Meyers John W. Bass A. H. Bullen
Orlando S. Newcomb Fred Carter Isaac Bunn
John R. Niblack William R. Champlin Henry Burkholder
Jacob B. Olney John R. Cummins John B. Burroughs
Fletcher L. Orvis Stephen DeWitt D. C. Chamberlain
Franklin E. Orvis Willard Leverich Fernando C. Chittenden
Henry D. Overaker George Mason Josiah R. Clawson
Brinkley Pierce Ashael P. Mcallister Luther Couch
Conrad Pohl Lt. Col. Edward H. Mix H. C. Crandall
Charles Point John M. Meyers Levi G. Cunningham
Sanford W. Remington Robert L. Olmstead Rueben A. DeWitt
Benjamin J. Robbins George W. Parks C. D. Eastwood
Benjamin Roberts Julius A. Waters Louis Echart
A. A. Robinson Ezra S. Wilson William E. Fague
John F. Root John H. Wiltse Francis G. Foster
1st Lt. Joen W. Stewart J. C. Foster W. H. Stewart Jr.
Joseph R. Gibson John Stoddard Theophilus T. Gibson
Allison G. Stonebreaker James A. Graham Washington Tharp
Colonel Huston Green Harrison Thompson Robert W. Hannant
Willis A. Tippey Samuel M. Harding James A. Trotter
Gustavus C. Hawley Lemuel J. Trotter Casper T. Husband
Charles E. Turner James A. Jerolaman Daniel Wahl
Capt. John R. Jones Theodore S. Walter Nathan B. Jones
William W. West James B. Kelsey James T. Wetsel
Sylvester A. Kinney Jeremiah Whirehead Charles H. Knapp
William H. Williams Levi B. Knapp 2nd Lt. Don A. Winchell
Edward Lantz Lyford H. Winchell James P. Leverich
Ezera D. Winship Louis Leverich William H. Windship
2nd Lt. John F. Wright Benjamin Young  


Charles M. Austin Edwin W. Jewell John Brannan
Bert C. McCague James L. Graham  


Dee Avery Leonard C. Fuller Oliver C. Metzger
Benjamin Ooster (buried in Lowtown)  


Harold E. Brogue Ruloff Wedeking Ralph V. Gibson
William D. Olmstead Glenn C. Poorman Ernest Avery
Leslie H. Dewey Earl H. Melendy Harold L. Reiher
Arthur W. Dale William M. Adair Earl V. Johnson
Ned C. Willey John L. Lewis John C. Dailey
Herman Spear John A. Davis Harry E. Smith
H. Damon Amick Courtland Daley James L. Graham
Victor L. Wilson Noah F. Graham Harm Jungling
Robert Greenlee George R. Hughes Keith F. Stevenson
Harland E. Yarcho Albert W. Boers Gilbert Theobald
Harold G. Apfel Harry Dugan Harry S. Ward
George H. Cain James H. Stevenson Dr. Frank N. Mead
Percy Olmstead Casper Nieman George H. Renning
Delbert C. Zickafoose Gerald W. Deeming Mark R. Blasford
Harold N. Zeek Carl L. Stevenson Everett O. Kivell
Abel A. Nieman Gordon R. Speers Frank H. Cmelik
Charley Modderman Carson Kramer Manly Secor
Kenneth L. Hall Woodworth L. Hawn Charles R. Stouffer
Edward H. Hartwig Richard Dale Larkin Ezre V. Olmstead
Archie G. Reynolds Earl T. Apfel James Barney Phelps
Isaac (Ike) Sinkey Edward F. Heise John F. Dale
Walter G. Best Lloyd L. Gibson Dirk Ahlers
Harm Meyer William S. Bemis Ruloff D. Wedeking
William L. Cain James L. Prugh Wayne C. Martin
Laurence J. Bowen Rolf J. Ullestad George R. Blake
Tom Austin August Ruth Vernal Juel


Raymond Gersema
Lt. James Rice
Clyde Poe
Russell M. Slight


Harmon W. Kadous Eugene R. Luitjens John S. McGregor
Wayne R. Neal Howard E. Norton Harry E. Stoddard
Joseph Donald Verrier John McGregor Gerald W. Nathem
Reed Orvis Leslie F. Cmelik Robert L. Willison
Clarence L. Bowen Richard McDowell John W. Prugh
Francis W. Schneider Charles Hawn David E. Wilderbuer
Harold L. Welter Kenneth B. Keller Martin Mike
Ruth Lavern Melvin Thompson Robert J. Fober
Leighton “Bud” Sommers Elroy H. McKean F.C. “Fritz” Thompson
Phyllis M. McKean James (Big Jim) Stevenson Baldwin L. Cain
Chris Kluiter Vernon James Joe DeWitt
James H. Hickle Robert W. Stevenson John Edward Busma
Robert R. Metzger Richard Carl Stevenson Floyd C. Johnson
Arnold J. Henley Edith M. Buckler Kline C. Shipman
Daniel E. Jerolaman Harm Lursen John Allen Wumkes
Odus Bergman Olliver Nieman Ted J. Winter
Richard C. Ball Junior K. Mulder John Wumkes
Paul B. Jaquis James H. (Hank) Smith Harland H. Thompson
Howard W. Theis Ervin W. Poorman James N. Avery
Franklin P. Reichert Mansfield “Doc” Witt Lawrence Slight
Morgan Willey Leland C. Willson Robert McGregor
Travis C. Moffitt Wilbern E. Thompson James A. Leemon, Sr.
Don Scrivner Lloyd E. Sly Wilford Olmstead
James A. Leemon, Sr. Don Scrivner Lloyd E. Sly
Wilford Olmstead Ralph L. Bandfield Roger Hall
Lester A. “Mike” Powell Kenneth Epley Nellie E. Thompson
Carl Heine Robert Jurgens Earl Kellogg
Ben C. Kroma Raymond R. Ball Vernal K. Kimball
Donald Jones John Harms Patterson Williams
David Wildeboer Clyde Williams Casjen Boelman
Robert Eskridge Minor Schuldt Ben DeWitt
Ray Lenius Albert Biekert Delmar Greenlee
George Cain Dorlan Wilharm Joe Schneider
Clarence Schoenbeck Herman Menzel Gerald Harken
Leonard Olmstead James Kammeyer Sievert “Barney” Holtkamp
Donald Schneider    


Orville Jones


Laverne N. Smith (Killed in Action) Carl John Dailey Robert L. Evanson
Ivan Pal Jones Gerald E. Cain Gordon C. Peterson
Leslie Johnson Gerald Seal Thomas Glanville
Wayne Winkey Rolland Brekke Vernon Rindels


William Olmstead
Everett Berends
James V. Gibson


Wendell Harms


Charles Conrad
Orville Conrad
Bradley Beem

America continues to owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who respond to the call of duty. Following in the footsteps of those who served in the 20th century, our men and women in uniform are living up to a heritage of service, loyalty, honor, sacrifice and patriotism passed down for generations.

As you drive though Iowa, a state that has sent well more than its fair share of men off into battle from the Civil War up to and including our current action in Iraq, think about patriotism displayed. Our nation was built on a simple but powerful idea -- freedom. Love of that idea and the country it inspired is the patriotism shown in Iowa. It's the love of our flag, but it's also more than our flag. It's a love of our people and our way of life. It's an understanding that we need to both sacrifice for it sometimes and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice at all times.


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This page was last modified on July 8, 2015