Veterans Honored at BCHS Football Game

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For the past 8 years, Beckman Catholic High School has partnered up with
The American Legion Post 137 from Dyersville and has honored one veteran at our 
last home football game of the year. This has become a tradition that we cherish and
will continue for many years to come.

The Beginning of a Tradition

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Tony Wagner, Tom Wagner, Bob Wagner, and Greg Wagner
stand together to honor their father, Richard (Dick) Wagner,
during our last home game in 2013.


 

2013 Vet Honoree

Richard (Dick) Wagner


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Richard (Dick) Wagner was born on April 15th, 1923 to Anthony and
Jennifer (Howard) Wagner of Darlington, Wisconsin. Dick was one of
three children, Pauline who died shortly after birth and Virginia
who died at age 21. Dick also lost his father at a very young age
and life was not easy after that. At age 19 on November 17th, 1942
he enlisted into the Navy for two years. Dick went to NTS Great
Lakes, IL and then to AGS Gulfport, MS. Once he was done there he
went to AGC New Orleans and was assigned as a Navy Gunner aboard the
SS Robert Bacon, a merchant marine cargo ship. The Bacon departed
Pilottown, LA on deployment to support the war effort. The voyage
took Dick through the Panama Canal, along South America, through
the Straits of Magellan, Chile, across the South Atlantic to Cape Town,
South Africa. It also traveled to Durban, South Africa to Aden, Yemen,
Suez, Egypt, and to Mombasa, Kenya which was the last port the Bacon
would see. German subs were to disrupt allied shipping and on the
night of July 14th, 1943 a German U Boat (U-178) sank the SS Bacon in
the Mozambique Channel on an unescorted supply mission. After 14 days
drifting at sea, Dick along with some others were rescued. Native
African tribes took them through the jungle to Cape Town, South Africa
and brought them to another group that survived from the SS Bacon. In
time the men were able to board a ship headed to the United States.
Dick was discharged on April 12th, 1944. He returned home and surprised
Ruth Pink (daughter of George and Ida (Lautz) Pink of Darlington, WI)
the love of his life. Since Ruth hadn't heard from Dick for so long
she had thought the worst has happened until he walked through her
kitchen door when he returned home. Dick and Ruth got married on
May 20th, 1944 and raised eight children (Tony, Bob, Tom, Greg, Bill,
Mark, Mary Kay, and Ann) in a loving family. His family was very
important to him. Richard (Dick) Wagner passed away on February 22nd,
2005 with his family at his side. He was a friend to everyone he met.
He is thought of and missed every day.

Richard, you are in our prayers and may God bless you.
Rest In Peace

4/15/1923-2/22/2005


2014 Vet Honoree

Lawrence Willenborg

Lawrence (Sonny) Willenbring was born on April 27th, 1918 to Anna
(Meyer) and Louis Willenbring. As a young boy, Lawrence was raised
with strong religious and family values. He enlisted in the United
States Army on October 10th, 1941 and was discharged on January 21st,
1946. After basic training, he became a member of the 1346th Combat
Engineer Battalion and was deployed in the Asiatic Pacific Theater
and worked as a Carpenter General. During war a person is called on
to do the job at hand. Lawrence became a Field Artillery Man, Radar
Operator, Searchlight Operator, Antiaircraft Range Section Operator,
and a Carpenter General 050. In February of 1942, with
the Siege of Bataan and Corregidor, the 1346th Combat Engineer Battalion
was formed because of the great need for a group with Lawrence's
background. Their tasks were very hard because of the lack of mobility
and the correct equipment to operate in the jungle environment where
they were located. Because of these conditions they worked three shifts
every day until the tasks were completed. The Engineers conducted beach
landings on New Guinea, New Britain, Los Negros, Biak, and the Monotai
Island. At this point in the war, island jumping became a normal
occurrence. In May and June of 1945, Engineers from the European Theater
began to arrive. With their arrival, the plan to assault Japan's
homeland was already in progress. Operation Olympic and Coronet were
scheduled for November 1945 and March 1946. The amphibious assaults
were never executed due to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. On September 2nd, 1945 Japan signed the surrender document
to end the war. The arrival of American troops in Japan was for a ride
home and not to fight. On December 26th, 1945 Lawrence was on his way
home aboard the S.S. Marine Marlin from Yokohama Bay when they were
greeted by a typhoon in the Pacific. Finally out of harms way, Lawrence
was officially discharged at Camp Beale in California on January 21st.
1946. After returning home, Lawrence married Verna May Krapfl on
September 29th, 1947 and raised five children: Steve, Marjean, Diane,
Mark, and Karen on their family farm by Luxemburg. He is also a proud
and active member of the VFW Post 7736 in New Vienna for over 60
years. Lawrence passes away on January 18th, 2010. Everyone knew
him as Sonny and he will always be remembered.
 

Lawrence, you are in our prayers and may God bless you.
Rest In Peace
4/27/1918-1/18/2010

2015 Vet Honoree

Herb Tegeler

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Herb Tegeler was born on February 14th, 1921 to Gerhart and Rosa
(Kerkhoff) Tegeler. Herb grew up on the family farm west of
Dyersville. In 1943 at the age of 22, Herb joined the United States
Army. His time was served in the European Combat Theater. Herb
was captured by the German forces after the Battle of the Bulge. On his
way to a German P.O.W. camp, the convoy was attacked by allied forces
from the air. This gave the captured a chance to try and escape. Herb
was one of the lucky ones that did not get killed by the German guards
while they were escaping. He hid under a pile of manure and waited to
be rescued by the advancing allied forces. Herb was discharged in 1945.
After the war, he stayed in Germany to run a motor pool. During his time
there he met Anna Gerdrude Kohaut and married her on July 31st, 1948
in Kronberg, Germany. Herb and Anna moved back to Dyersville shortly
after that and opened Tegeler Body. They raised four children:
Daniel, Janie, Jesse, and Sherry who are all now Beckman alumni. Herb
believed in working hard and was a family man. He was very proud
of the Army and his service during World War II. Herb passed away
on June 6th, 2015 at the age of 93. Anyone who knew him liked him
and respected him.

Herb, you are in our prayers and may God bless you.
Rest In Peace
2/14/1921-6/6/2015


2016 Vet Honoree

Lester Konzen

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Lester Konzen was born on December 8th, 1920 in Dyersville. He attended
St. Francis Xavier School. Lester joined the United States Air Force
in November of 1942. He did his basic training at Kessler Field in
Mississippi and received his wings in Laredo, Texas. His advanced
training to become a gunner was done in Salt Lake City then in Savannah,
Georgia. As a qualified aerial radio operator and nose gunner on a B-24,
Lester left the states on January 11th, 1944 to be stationed in Italy.
As a liberator crew member he flew raids over Austria, Germany, and
Northern Italy. While on a mission over Austria he was met by German
fighters and a 20 mm shell exploded in his plane. This wounded Lester
leaving him with flack in his back, arms and face. This was his 40th
and last mission. He returned home to heal with a 30 day furlough.
Once he was healed and had some well deserved rest and relaxation
with his family he headed back to duty. He was supposed to report back
to a base near Miami, Florida so he boarded a train called the Dixie
Flyer. This train was involved in an accident near Terre Haute, Indiana
on September 14th, 1944 and took 23 soldiers lives that day including
23 year old Sergeant Lester Konzen. Lester was awarded the Air Medal,
Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, Certificate of Valor,
WWII Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal,
Distinguished Unit Emblem, Aviation Badge, Arial Gunner, and the
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars.

Lester, you are in our prayers and may God bless you.
Rest In Peace 
12/8/1920 - 9/14/1944
 


2017 Vet Honoree

Ambrose Tauke

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Ambrose Tauke was born on February 7th, 1913 to Louis and Anna Tauke.
He attended a one room school for the first five years of school
then went to a Catholic school in Dyersville so he could receive his
first communion. Growing up during the depression was tough but with
his brothers and sisters they made the best out of it and worked hard
to have a happy life. In 1940 at the young age of 27, Ambrose
registered for the United States Army. On May 28th, 1941 we was inducted
and attended training at Camp Claiborne in Louisiana until January
of 1942. On February 7th, his birthday, Ambrose was sent overseas to
Northern Ireland for the North African Invasion training. In November of
1942 joined the front lines in Tunisia, North Africa. Ten days later
he was captured by German forces led by Rommel. For the next 45 months,
Ambrose went to 18 different POW camps and was used as a slave laborer.
Ambrose wrote home as often as they allowed him to, saying
he was treated fairly and fed well. All of the letters sent were censured
by the Germans before they were mailed so he had to write with caution.
The truth of the matter was that along side with the other POW, Ambrose
fought starvation, brutality, sickness, and very hard work. Ambrose was
5' 11" and only 110 lbs at one point in time but he never lost his faith
in God. He knew his Lord would take care of him. To pass the time the
men he was with would talk about food and who's mother made the best
apple pie. They were located near a power plant at one of the camps
which made them a target for bombings. This became the biggest fear
they had over everything else. They never knew which bomb was going to
the one because they were so many especially during the night that
were landing all around them. On April 18th, 1945 the camp was
liberated by US Troops and he was sent home for a 60 day furlough on
May 17th, 1945. Ambrose was discharged as a Corporal in Hot Springs,
Arizona on July 31st, 1945. He married his long time girlfriend Anna
May Hoefer the following year. The couple had 3 boys and 5 girls.
Ambrose's childhood and war time experiences made him a loving man,
father, and friend to all. He truly was a hero.

Ambrose, you are in our prayers and may God bless you.
Rest In Peace
2/7/1913 - 12/29/1993


2018 Vet Honoree

Delbert Olberding

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Delbert Olberding was born on October 29th, 1928 to Francis and Cecelia
(Meis) Olberding. Delb grew up on the family farm with four brothers:
Ray, Gerald, Don, and Bob and three sisters: Marcedes, Germaine, and
Catherine near Dyersville. They were all raised in a close, loving
family. Growing up Delb really enjoyed baseball and he worked for
James Griffin from Farley before joining the United States Army on
May 10th, 1951. He did his basic training at Camp Chaffi located in
Kansas. Following training Delb then went on to Seattle, Washington
where he became a member of the 502nd Fourth Regimental Combat Team
and they were sent to Fort Ladd in Alaska. This was a forward advanced
defense station and was built during the Korean War and early Cold
War era with Russia. The need for early warning systems in Alaska was
necessary due to the advancement in long range bombers. It was
built to detect incoming aircrafts and to direct Air Force
interceptors to inbound aircraft. Delb was a section Chief of the 120
Anti-Aircraft Gun Crew. This crew consisted of four guns with a three
man crew. Their duties were to protect the installation from attack.
It was a cold and uninviting environment to deal with. Once he
completed his assignments he headed back to Seattle and onto Camp
Carson in Colorado where he received his separation documents. On
April 2nd, 1953 Delbert was discharged and came home. In 1955 he met
Margie Ernster and they got married a year later on May 12th, 1956.
Together they raised a very close and loving family. They had three
daughters: Joan, Ann, and Becky and three sons: Daniel, Gary, and
David. Delb's love of life and his spirit lives on in each one of
them. You are missed by all and we thank you for your service.

Delbert, you are in our prayers and may God bless you.
Rest In Peace
10/29/1928-8/3/2017

2019 Vet Honoree

Arnold Mensen

Arnold Mensen was born on June 30th, 1922 to Henreitta (Kramer) and
Frank Mensen from Petersburg. Arnold grew up with his four brothers.
They became young men that believed in God, family, and to trust
others. On October 10th, 1942 Arnold enlisted in the United States
Navy. On December 18th, 1942 he was in Pearl Harbor reporting for
duty as an electrician aboard the USS Flusser (DD-368). This was a
light destroyer, lovingly known as a Tin Can. For the next 17 months
it was what Arnold called home. During this time he was involved
in carrier and convoy escort duties not to mention the countless
ship to shore shelling to support troops on the ground. Arnold
would sleep and rest but could never really relax because of the
constant threats of the kamikaze attacks. One attack did hit the
Flusser but she did not sink because of it. She traveled to and saw
action in the Layte Gulf and Island Invasion, the Peleliu Islands,
Bataan, Tinian Sea, Iwo Jima, and Bornio, just to name a few. It was
a constant battle and a very demanding life, both physically and
mentally for all on board. On September 15th, 1945 Arnold's ship was
one of a dozen ships in Nagasaki, a Japan harbor for the official
surrender of the Japanese Naval fleet. Just six weeks after the atomic
bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, finally bringing the war to an end and it
was time to go home. On September 18th, 1945 the Flusser left Nagasaki
for Subic Bay in the Philippines for a stand down and resupply. On
November 1st, 1945 his journey home began, Arnold arrived in Pearl
Harbor on the 9th and by the 12th they were headed back to the US.
10 days later he arrived in San Diego, California. On December 6th, 1945
he left for Minneapolis by train and arrived 5 days later for his
separation physical. On December 14th, 1945 Arnold was officially
discharged for the US Navy and arrived by train on the 15th in
Dyersville. As Arnold walked down main street in Dyersville, carrying
his duffle bag he was spotted by one of his neighbors. Ed Loeffelholz
pulled over and gave him a ride. Home at last! Arnold was a great
husband, father, and member of the American Legion and VFW. We
salute you and thank you for your service.
Nathan Schockemoehl, Arnold's great grandson wore his Navy uniform
proudly at his tribute.

Arnold, you are in our prayers and may God bless you.
Rest In Peace

6/30/1922 - 8/2/2004


2020 Vet Honoree

Clarence Bildstein

Clarence Bildstein was born on December 11th, 1918 to Joseph and Mary (Weber) Bildstein at their home in rural Petersburg. Clarence had five brothers; Joseph Jr., Laurence, Ambrose, Cletus, and Andy and three sisters; Rita Mae, Marie and Irene. Clarence went to a one room school house until the 8th grade and grew up in a hard-working farm family with a strong Catholic faith. On July 22nd, 1942 Clarence enlisted in the United States Army. He went to five training camps including Camp Carson and Camp Hale both located in Colorado, Camp Swift in Texas, Camp Cook and Camp Roberts both located in California. Clarence became a member of a group called the Mule Skinners. Each Mule Skinner was given 6 - 8 mules to train. On December 24th, 1944 he left for Italy with his group of pack mules. Each group of Mule Skinners would take 6 to 8 mules at a time up the mountains carrying ammunition and supplies to our front line. The Germans held the high ground and could see their movements and were targeted daily by the German Artillery. Their goal was to eliminate supplies reaching the front line. There were 15,000 men in the Division and of these men 992 were killed in action and 4,154 were wounded during the 114 days of steady combat. On May 3td, 1945 the 10th Mountain Division was given a four day furlough before returning back to the United States to train for the invasion of Japan. During this time, Clarence made it a point to see Pope Pius XII and he got to kiss his ring. On May 6th, the first atomic bomb was dropped and the war on Japan was coming to an end. On January 26th, 1946 Clarence was discharged and headed home. Three months later, on April 30th, 1946, he married his boyhood sweetheart, Charlotte Kruse. She was the daughter of Herman and Anna. Together they farmed near Petersburg and raised three children: Judy, Elaine, and Bob. Clarence lived a strong, faith filled life until he passed away. On July 3rd, 1999 he joined those who have gone before him. He is missed daily by his family and all who knew him.

Clarence, you are in our prayers and may God bless you.
Rest In Peace
12/11/1918-7/3/1999




Beckman Catholic High School would like to thank
all veterans, active duty military, and their
families for their
service and the sacrifices
they have made for our country. 

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