Quilts of Valor Presentation At McKenzie County Fair

Mark Honstein, McKenzie County veterans service officer honored and awarded 10 McKenzie County veterans with a Quilt of Valor from Watford City's own Prairie Rose Quilters.

The Quilts of Valor mission is to provide comforting and healing quits to veterans and service members who have been "touched by war", to say thank you. The Prairie Rose Quilters have made many quilts for the Quilts of Valor.

Each quilt has a label which lists the names of those who pieced it, who quilted it or tied it together and who did the binding or edging on it. Some quilts are completed solely by one person and othern are done by many people. The label also states the name of the veteran or service member receiving it, the date of the awarding and the Quilt of Valor number. This information is sent to the national foundation along with a short bio of the veteran.

Eugene "Gene" Fedorenko was 19 when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy January 1951 in Bismarck. He was a naval hospital corpsman and was "lucky" enough to be attached to the 1st Marine Division of the Fleet Marine Force in September 1951. As a part of the division, he saw some heavy fighting in Korea where he earned the Purple Heart twice. First for being wounded in the Battle of Brown Hill. After serving 3 years in Korea, he was honorably discharged at San Diego,CA.

Raymond "Ray" Blegen joined the U.S. Army in May 1956 at 24 years old. He attended basic training at Fort Chaffee, AR, before going to Gary Air Force Base, TX, where he became a recon helicopter mechanic. Afterwards, was sent to post-war Korea with the 8085th Flight Detachment, which was later designated as the 8th Army Aviation unit. After a little over a year he retired stateside to Fort Lewis, WA, went he was honorably discharged in February 1958.

Gerald Johnson enlisted in he U.S. Army Reserves at 23. In February 1962, he went to Fort Leonardwood, MO, for Basic Combat Training where he earned a marksmanship badge after having shot Expert on the M-14 Rifle during qualifications. After completing his Advanced Individual Training, he was awarded the MOS of Pioneer or Combat engineer and was honorable discharged from Active Duty. He finished out his obligation with the Reserves in August 1967.

Dick Jore joined the U.S. Army in November 1964 at 22, out of Fargo. At basic training he earned the sharpshooter badge on the rifle and after Combat Engineer School, he was sent to Aschaffenburg, Germany, with the 9th Engineer Battalion. Combat engineers renovated roads, repaired damages due to troop maneuvers, built bridges, as well as HAWK missile sites and even built soccer fields as a way to pay back the community. He was honorably discharged from the Army in May 1966 as a Sergeant.

Lyle Leiseth was 19 when he was "picked out of a line by his shirt" at the Fargo Induction Center to join the U.S. Marine Corps in January 1966. Shortly after his initial training as a rifleman at Camp Pendleton, CA, he left for Vietnam where he earned himself two Purple Heart Medals after being wounded from bomb fragments that he still carries to this day, The first was in November 1966 and the second in April 1967. After a year in Vietnam, he finished out his 2-year enlistment as a troop leader back in Camp Pendleton, CA, where he was honorably discharged in 1968.

Paul Wisness joined the U.S. Army on Sept. 8, 1966 out of Fargo at 20 He attended basic in Fort Lewis, WA. When asked, "Can anyone here give shots?" Paul answered, "I've given shots to cattle." "You're a medic", they said, and sent him to Ft. Sam Houston, TX, for medical corps training. He was then stationed in Fort Bragg, NC, before spending a year in Vietnam serving as a Platoon Sergeant and combat medic for the "Big Red One", 1st Infantry division. His remarkable leadership was evident as he became a non-commissioned officer in under two years before being honorably discharged in 1968.

Lynn Moe was 19 when he joined the U.S. Marines In October 1958. While in training, there was a semi truck parked in a bay that needed to be blocked up. When they asked who can do it, Lynn with his farming experience stepped up to the plate. After passing the test with flying colors, he was assigned as a motor vehicle operator. He then spent two rough years at Camp H.M. Smith transporting food, beer and ammunition around the island of Oahu, HI, before being honorable discharged in 1961.

Jim "Jim" Kirkland enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserves right out of high school In 1954 and after basic training at Great Lakes Naval Base, IL, he served aboard the USD Horace A Bass on a cruise to Cuba. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1960 out of Harrisburg, PW. He became a tank crewman and was awarded sharpshooter badges as a tank gunner, on the submarine gun, the rifle and pistol. He was sent to Kaiserslaughtern, Germany, as an M48 Patton tank crewman, He served in the Army until he was discharged at Fort. Hood, TX, on Dec. 4, 1962.

Merton Anderson was 23, when he joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps in October 1959 out of Fargo. He earned his sharpshooter badge on the rifle and was sent to Signals School as a Comms Center specialist. After training, he was sent to Seoul, Korea, with the 304th Signal Battalion. He returned home after a year overseas and was honorably discharged in June 1961. He returned to active duty and was sent to Fort. Riley, KS, with the 115th Signal Corps of the 140th Signal Battalion where he remained until his discharge in August 1962 as a Spec. 4.

Dennis. E. Johnson signed up for the U.S. Army ROTC when he enrolled at NDSU in1962 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1966.Then in February 1967, he received orders for active duty and was sent to Fort Knox, KY, before heading to Fort Rucker AL, for flight school. He then went to Vietnam and flew the U8D Seminole aircraft, whose sole mission was to intercept enemy Morse code transmissions. By that time he had completed his one-year Vietnam tour; he had ogged in 929 combat flight hours and 24 air medals. He was honorably discharged as a captain in 1970.


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