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Iowa PBS will shed light on the sacrifices of Korean War veterans in a new broadcast special, The Forgotten War: Iowans in Korea, premiering Monday, June 22 at 8:00 p.m.

Learn about one of the most turbulent times in American history from the perspective of those who were there. Iowans Remember Vietnam counts the cost of an often misunderstood conflict, in which 115,000 Iowans served their country and 859 made the ultimate sacrifice.

More than 276,000 Iowans went into military service during World War II. 8,398 never returned. Thousands more who remained at home played major roles in winning the war, as well.  

October 2021 will mark the 20th anniversary of Operation Enduring Freedom. Iowans were among the first to answer the call. After record deployments, the troops reflect on their experiences and tally the emotional toll.

Iowan Profiles

Caesar Smith

Military Advisor, U.S. Army
Vietnam War

Caesar Smith graduated from Des Moines North High School in 1955 and attended the University of Iowa on a track scholarship. While on summer break in 1956, he decided to pursue a career in the U.S. Army. Nearly 8 years later, Lieutenant Smith was on his way to the Republic of Vietnam as a military advisor.

WatchMilitary Advisor's First Mission in Vietnam
Watch | Smith's Combat Experiences

Lt. Dan Gannon

Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps
Vietnam War

Lt. Dan Gannon of Mingo, Iowa, was deployed with the U.S. Marine Corps and spent more than 300 days living in the jungle in South Vietnam. In order to stay sharp on the battlefield, he chose to save his rest and recuperation leave until the end of his tour of duty. Encounters with the enemy often lasted only a few seconds, but sometimes they would drag on for days. Gannon described the combat as "controlled chaos."

Watch | Gannon Describes Fighting in the Vietnam War
Watch | Combat: Controlled Chaos

 

Dorothy Elizabeth Koellner

U.S. Army Nurse Corps, World War I
Feb. 24, 1891 - Feb. 10, 1919

U.S. Army Corps nurse Dorothy Elizabeth Koellner of Fort Madison studied nursing at St. John's Hospital in St. Louis and after graduation practiced in the United States for a few years. She departed for field service in France on July 4, 1918, joining U.S. Army Base Hospital Corps 12. She cared for sick and wounded American soldiers until she became sick and died in a French hospital on Feb. 10, 1919, at the age of 28 years. She was buried at American Cemetery No. 33 near Paris, but her remains were re-interred at Gethsemane Cemetery in Fort Madison in 1920 at the request of her brothers.

Captain Edward Fleur

U.S. Army, World War I
Jun. 22, 1872 - May 27, 1918

Captain Edward Fleur of Des Moines was severely gassed and died shortly after his arrival at the hospital in Baccarat, France. A native of Sweden, he first enlisted in the Iowa National Guard in 1898. He served in the Philippines and on the Mexican border prior serving in World War I with the 168th Infantry, 42nd Rainbow Division. Following his death, he was buried in France at Baccarat Cemetery, Officer's Row. In 1921, his wife had his remains returned to the United States and re-interred in Des Moines’ Woodland Cemetery.

Sergeant J. Winkowski

Squad Leader, Iowa Army National Guard
War in Afghanistan

Staff Sergeant J. Winkowski was among the Iowa soldiers deployed to Afghanistan in late 2010. Winkowski felt being a combat leader in Afghanistan was the job he was born to do.

“Yeah, I always say that I felt like I was born to do this and that - that didn't resonate fully with me until I was an actual combat leader on the ground in Afghanistan, you know, in - in the fighting – and that's really when that came to light. And I kind of found that it was something that I loved - loved to do."

Watch  |  Winkowski's Experince as a National Guard Squad Leader

Sgt. Heather Dillwood Eberly

Medic, Iowa Army National Guard
War in Afghanistan

Sergeant Heather Dillwood Eberly served as an Army Medic in a field hospital during the War in Afghanistan.

“Once they started coming in. It didn't seem like it was ever going to stop and it was it was probably one of the saddest days I have ever seen. To this day I still see the faces. There is one young man, he was from Arizona, twenty years old, he came in with the first wave at 4 am and he ended up dying in transit. I think a lot of it has to do with he was still speaking. He was just living on adrenaline. And for some reason his face still haunts me.”

Watch  |  Army Medic Deals with Casualties and Physical Danger

Watch  |  Army Medic Deals with Chaos of a Field Hospital

Sergeant Elvin Moritz

U.S. Army National Guard, World War II
Company F, 168th Regiment, 34th Division

On November 8, 1942, Sergeant Elvin Moritz, of Villisca, was among the 160,000 man landing force of Operation Torch that attacked the North African Country of Algiers. As part of the Iowa National Guard, Moritz had been on active duty since February of 1941, as a member of the 168th Infantry Regiment of the 34th Infantry Division. Nicknamed the “Red Bull”, the 34th was made up of National Guardsmen of Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas. The men of the 34th were among the first to join with the Allied Forces from Britain, Canada and Australia to fight back against the Axis Powers.

Watch  |  Moritz at the Battle of Faid Pass

Sergeant Glenn McDole

U.S. Marine Corps, World War II
Feb. 6, 1921 - Sep. 3, 2009

McDole was at the Cavite Naval Base in the Philippines when the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor began. Because the Philippines are on the other side of the international dateline, the battle began on December 8, 1941. McDole surrendered to Japanese forces May 6, 1942. He was eventually sent to the Palawan Island Prison Camp. For his service McDole was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.

Watch  |   Iowa Veteran's Account of the Bataan Death March

Civil War

World War I

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

War in Afghanistan