Jeff Jardine

August 18, 2014

Jeff Jardine: Stanislaus-area Korean War veterans sought for honors

Turlock’s Sons In Retirement Branch 143 wants to honor any and all area veterans who served either in Korea during the war or in Korean waters in the Navy during the war.

From the emails, voice mails and phones:

REMEMBERING THE ‘FORGOTTEN’ – The Korean War is called “The Forgotten War,” though mostly by those who didn’t fight it, those who did will tell you.

Turlock’s Sons In Retirement Branch 143 wants to honor any and all area veterans who served either in Korea during the war or in Korean waters in the Navy during the war, which lasted from 1950-53. Organization officials are working with the South Korean government through the nation’s embassy in San Francisco to obtain the Ambassador for Peace Medal bestowed upon those who fought against the communists.

Nearly 40,000 Americans died in action in Korea, while more than 100,000 were wounded.

Rick Kindle, program chairman for SIR, said the goal is to get documentation from veterans, including discharge papers that reflect Korean War-era service from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953. The documentation will be forwarded to the South Korean embassy.

“The medals will be sent directly to the individuals,” Kindle said. Then the vets will be recognized at SIR’s Nov. 19 meeting. It is open to all veterans, regardless of whether they belong to SIR.

The deadline to apply for the medal is Sept. 23, he said. “We’d like to try to get it in before that. We’d like to honor all of the local Korean War veterans.”

SIR conducted a similar program honoring World War II veterans.

To date, several veterans are expected to attend, including J. Leon Morrison, a retired Turlock Irrigation District ditchtender who spent most of his 10-plus months in Korea fighting on the front lines. Others include Marvin Larson, Monte Harley Massey, Joe Oppelt, Dick Stafford, Robert Goodwin and Dick Johnson. I wrote in 2009 about Stafford, a boom operator in a KC-97 midair-refueling plane. He logged 7,000 hours of refueling missions in his 20-year career, providing fill-ups to U-2s and RB-47s that spied on the Soviet Union.

“We’re still in the process of finding more,” Kindle said. Contact him at (209) 652-8608 or by email at for more information.

SIR meets the third Wednesday of each month in the Denair Community Center, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

CHIPPING AWAY – Periodically over the past eight months, I’ve written about Hawaii resident Janna Hoehn, who took it upon herself to find a photograph of every Hawaii resident killed during the Vietnam War, sending the photos to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Virtual Wall. Then she decided to begin searching for photos of all of the Californians who died in ’Nam, as well. Stanislaus County lost 56 to the war. At the time she began her effort, photos of 32 from this county still were needed. By this afternoon, she’ll be down to three after locating photos of James R. Lewis of Modesto, who died in 1969. She was able to reach his brother, Gerald, who also fought in Vietnam, to secure a photo of James.

That leaves Gunther H. Rehling of Oakdale, who died in 1969; Neil A. Rasmussen of Modesto, who died in 1966; and Donald C. Vaughn of Modesto, who died in 1966. If you have any information – surviving relatives, high school or other photos, etc. – contact me at The Bee (see information at the end of this column) or email Hoehn directly at

Hoehn has done such a remarkable job that she was invited to speak at the Memorial Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

DO AS THEY DO – I wrote last month about Stan Holtz and Dan Petersen, two longtime friends and artists who taught together, first at Manteca High and later at Modesto Junior College. Holtz also taught at Ceres High.

They were in the process of developing their second show together – two decades apart – with this go-round at the Central California Art Association’s Mistlin Gallery on J Street. The first was in the basement of the McHenry Museum, when it was home to the association. Their show at the Mistlin opens today and runs through Sept. 20. Holtz will display roughly 50 ceramic artworks, some of which are purely decorative, while others are practical (casserole and other usable wares).

“One thing leads to another in what I do,” Holtz said.

Petersen’s watercolors are done giclée printing style, with “giclée” being derived from the French word for “to spray.”

“You can put it on any surface – canvas or watercolor paper – and you can’t tell the difference,” Petersen said. Many of his paintings reflect the changing seasons of the Sierra high country and Yosemite National Park.

The Mistlin show gives the public, and any of their students over the years, a chance to see the instructors’ works.

Peterson will teach an artists workshop, “A Brush With the Hills,” the first four Saturdays of the show, meeting in the gallery studio at 9 a.m. The show is available to the public Tuesdays through Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

Contact the Mistlin Gallery at or by calling (209) 529-3369.

STATION IDENTIFICATION – KMPH, 840 on your AM dial, is now home to Catholic radio programming as part of Immaculate Heart Radio, the nonprofit posted on its Web page.

KMPH is a 5,000-watt station with a reach of 700,000 potential daytime listeners and 2 million at night.

“This station is remarkable,” said Doug Sherman, founder and president of Immaculate Heart Radio. “Its signal allows us to reach an enormous audience of new listeners. We’ve heard from many people in the Central Valley over the years who have wanted to hear our programming but didn’t live close enough to one of our stations. Now we can reach them.”

The purchase, from Pappas Telecasting, should be finalized in September. Bill Slayter, a Modesto resident and music and radio buff, called me to point out that the station was the same used in “American Graffiti” scenes involving Wolfman Jack.

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