70 Years of Service: ODVA Celebrates its 70th Anniversary

In recognition of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs 70th anniversary, we are featuring personal stories of Oregon veterans here on our blog for the 70 days leading up to June 16. Below is an interactive “story map” showcasing Oregon veterans’ experiences around the globe through multiple eras of service. Each veteran’s story will link back
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Cory + Ron Lamoreaux: One shot down in Vietnam, the other in Afghanistan.

Master Sgt. Cory Lamoreaux is walking in the footsteps of his father, Ron Lamoreaux of Hermiston. Both men have been awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Now Cory has added the Silver Star to his uniform for his heroic lifesaving efforts during the battle of Takur Ghar, Afganistan in March 2002. Ron Lamoreaux, a
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Al Larton: “We were too curious. We had to look.”

Al Larton, of Brookings, Ore., worked with the government testing of atom bombs (A-bombs). He was a 21-year-old U.S. Navy Airman assigned to an air transport squadron. Three at an air station in Moffett Field in Calif. when he took part in the atomic testing. His unit transported samples of radioactive debris from the Enewetak
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Gleason Family: “I’m the only mom from Oregon who sent four sons to Vietnam.”

Brothers take turns serving in Vietnam Reprinted with permission of the Salina Journal For one Oregon family, the term “brothers in arms” has a special meaning. Between 1967 and 1972, the four Gleason brothers all were sent to fight in Vietnam. One almost died, and the others came back with their own personal scars of
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Jean Kirnak: “I was too naïve and too busy to be scared.”

Written by Jean Kirnak I grew up in Eastern Montana. My parents were dry land homesteaders, a very popular thing to do in the early 1900s.   Making a living was another problem, so before long the hills were dotted with vacated homesteaders log cabins. We didn’t even know we were poor. Thanks to WWII, there
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Alisha Hamel: “An Oregon rain dance happened right there.”

Written by Lt. Col Alisha Hamel, Oregon Army National Guard It was August 1990, and I had just found a job after getting my degree from Portland State University and going to the Oregon National Guard’s officer basic course. I had this job for just one week when our Guard unit was called up to
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Clint Gruber: “Everyone wanted to be a pilot, and classification less than that was tantamount to failure.”

While Clint Gruber enjoyed a distinguished career in broadcasting, serving with the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves, the deputy director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Director of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), the old combat pilot never forgot his military service in World War II. The following
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Dorothy Stewart: Loved every single minute of her service

Dorothy R. Stewart, a World War II veteran, has very fond memories of serving in the military. Ms. Stewart joined the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in 1943 and remembers well how she was interviewed and tested in basic training to determine for which job she would be best suited. The determination
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Theodore Osborn: “If I get out of here alive, I am never going to be hot again!”

It is perhaps the worst job during wartime, but somebody has to do it. In December of 1969, Theodore Osborn was assigned to the U.S. Army Mortuary, Ton Su Nut Air Base in Saigon, Vietnam. Upon his arrival, he was told all assigned position for his primary MOS were filled and that he was being
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Sederstrom/Glein Family: Combined 150 years of military service

Eldon Glein of Salem, is a retired U.S. Navy Aviation Machinist Mate 1st Class with a small family lineage dotted with veterans of the Civil War, World War I and World War II. Interestingly enough, his service is tied, by marriage, to an Oregon Naval officer who was killed at Pearl Harbor and was later
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Ed Johann: “That’s not skill. That’s luck.”

 At 17, Ed Johann found himself at the center of a storm that would eventually grow to encompass most of the world. Standing on the deck of the USS Solace, a hospital ship, Johann was enjoying a Hawaiian Sunday morning when he saw several small planes arrive and circle the area. “It must be some
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