Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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 The Globe-Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa

They Served With Honor

MASON CITY — A plaque in the lobby of the Cerro Gordo County Courthouse honors the men and women from the county who have given their lives in military service. Eighteen names are enshrined from the Korean War — 13 from Mason City, three from Plymouth, one from Rockwell and one from Clear Lake. Nearly 34,000 troops died in battle. Almost 20,000 died of other causes. More than 100,000 were wounded and 8,000 were declared missing in action. And yet, it has often been called “the forgotten war,” the one that occurred between World War II and Vietnam.

They Served With Honor: Clear Lake man endured heat, humidity, typhoons
by Mary Pieper, Tuesday, December 06, 2016

CLEAR LAKE — When A. James “Jim” Bonner of Clear Lake was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, as a chief radio operator during the Korean War, he had to deal with heat, humidity and typhoons.

But the worst part was “leaving home and being gone,” he said.

Shortly before he went overseas, Bonner and his wife, Beverly, learned they were expecting their first child. He didn’t meet his baby daughter, Jane Ann, until several months after she was born.

Bonner, now 84, said when he got home Jane looked at him as if she was thinking, “Who the hell is that?”

“But it didn’t take long for us to get acquainted,” he said.

Bonner, a 1949 graduate of Swaledale High School, was drafted into the Army at age 20. He had just started a trucking job. A lot of the other guys from his high school class also were drafted, according to Bonner.

“It had to be done and you just went,” he said.

He was sent to Fort Riley in Kansas for basic training. The air base in Okinawa where Bonner was stationed bombed North Korean targets whenever the weather was good.

“We were on alert all the time,” he said.

The weather was hot and humid, according to Bonner. He said there were four typhoons while he was there.

“It rained all the time,” he said. He was overseas for a year and a half.

He went back to trucking when he got out of the Army. He started with one truck and ended up with 20 trucks that went all over the country.

He has been living in Clear Lake for the past 24 years.

Beverly died in 1987. Bonner and his second wife, Luella, have been married for 28 years. He has three children and four stepchildren.

Bonner has been on the Cerro Gordo County Veterans Commission for the past 20 years. He is currently the chairman. He is a member of the Thornton American Legion and the VFW in Clear Lake. He’s also with the Disabled American Veterans unit of Webster City and a member of the Korean War Veterans Association.

Looking back on his service during the war, Bonner said, “I’ve seen a lot but I would never go back again.”

Photograph courtesy of Globe-Gazette
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2017


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