Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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 The Globe-Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
September19, 2015

Iowa's Vietnam MIAs honored at ceremony
by Christinia Crippes of Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

WATERLOO -- "You will not be forgotten."

Those words echoed 25 times across the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum on Friday, once each time for the Iowans who were lost in the Vietnam War and considered missing in action.

The museum hosted a "Remembering Those Lost in Vietnam: Iowa's Missing In Action" ceremony on Friday to offer a commemorative shadow box — filled with the picture of an MIA Iowan, a Vietnam service medal and replica dog tags engraved with the missing's name — to the families, friends and city representatives of those 25 missing an action men. But mostly it was to remember and honor those service men and women who never came home.

"It's an honor to be related to such a man as Uncle Paul," said Lauren "Butch" Milius, the nephew of Waverly's Paul Milius, a Navy aviator whose plane was likely shot down by anti-aircraft fire over Laos on Feb. 27, 1968. "He will never be forgotten."

Lauren Milius of Denver, Iowa, was also a military man, serving in the U.S. Army. He said his family has been blessed to see Paul Milius be honored with a naval destroyer called the USS Milius that was commissioned in 1996.

Siblings, classmates and other relatives were available for most of the 25 who were commemorated on Friday. The mayors of Cedar Falls, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Sioux City were available to accept the gifts in lieu of family when they could not be located for the men missing from those communities.

The family of Delbert R. Peterson, a native of Manson whose aircraft was shot down on March 9, 1966, was well represented at Friday's event. His sister Jolene Brudevold of New Hampton accepted the commemorative as the eldest sibling present, but four of Peterson's five living siblings came to the event.

His brother Chuck Peterson of Fort Dodge said after the ceremony that the event was good because it honors the missing service men and their families, but also the for the public to know their names and some of their stories.

Chuck Peterson recalled that he was 21, working in a grocery store while attending junior college, when he got the call from an Air Force officer who was in his parents' home and relayed a request from his mother to return home.

"I remember it very well," Peterson said. "On the way to school that day, that morning … they had a newscast about a plane that had gone down in south Vietnam, and it was so ironic."

Peterson further recalled that his mother was more distraught than his father about the news of Delbert Peterson's MIA status because his father had also once been listed as MIA in World War II.

"Even though you know he's not coming home, there’s always a little part of your heart, and you just can't totally give it up without proof," said Peterson's youngest sister, Judy Peterson Beckley.

Chuck Peterson said, though, the family received notification 11 years and 11 months after their brother was missing that he was presumed killed in action. Their brother Denny Peterson has given a DNA sample in the hopes that one day his remains will be found and returned home.

Echoing the statements of the Peterson families and the 24 others like them in Iowa, Grout Museum District research and program assistant Chris Shackelford said, "It's impossible (for the families) to forget, and why would you?"

He adds, though, that it’s also important for the rest of the community to remember the names of those missing in action.

"It is our responsibility to remember the way you do, because you will never forget, and we the public must hold events like this to make sure that we can never forget," Shackelford said.

The 25 Iowans missing in action that were recognized on Friday are: Steven H. Adams, of Spencer; Richard L. Ayers, of Waterloo; Jerry P. Clark, of Davenport; James D. Cohron, of Centerville; Kelly F. Cook of Sioux City; Ariel L. Cross, of Des Moines; Francis J. Davis, of Montrose; Terrance H. Griffey, of Fort Dodge; James W. Herrick; James H. Hise, of Des Moines; John D. Killen III, of Des Moines; Charles D. King, of Muscatine; Jeffrey M. Krommenhoek, of Sioux City; Robert B. Leonard, of Des Moines; Paul L. Milius, of Waverly; Glenn R. Morrison Jr., of Mason City; Carl A. Palen, of Dubuque; Delbert R. Peterson, of Manson; Allan D. Pittman, of Shelby; Robert F. Rex, of Odebolt; Gary B. Scull, of Cedar Rapids; Donald L. Sparks, of Carroll; Gray D. Warren, of Des Moines; Lawrence W. Whitford Jr., of Cedar Falls; and Rex S. Wood, of Moulton.

Photograph courtesy of Globe-Gazette
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2016

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