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home : news : city May 24, 2016

4/30/2013 11:45:00 AM
Veteran's View

Name: Dennis Vang

Branch: Navy Air

Years of service: March 1957-March 1963

Why are you supporting the Veteran's Memorial in Dodge Center?

I am proud to have served my country and those who served need to be remembered.

Do you have any memories you wish to share of your time in the military?

I joined the U.S.A. Navy Air while still in high school under a special six-year program. After graduating, I spent two years active duty - the first year on Midway Island and another year on Barber's Point, Hawaii. While there, I was an aviation structural mechanic second class petty officer. I was an E-5 upon my Honorable Discharge. The rest of my duty was in the Navy Reserve.

When first assigned to Midway Island, the wrecked Japanese ships that were hung up and rusting on the reef impressed me. It was a sign that during the War in the Pacific no Japanese made it onto Midway. The Battle of Midway in 1942 was the turning point of WWII in the Pacific for the Americans.

Our barracks held the reminders of that battle for the beams were bent where the shells had hit them.

As an 18-year old I felt like the rest of the sailors...Midway was for the birds. The island is half a mile by one and a half miles and loaded with albatrosses. Because of the size of these large birds no jets were allowed there. Only propeller driven aircraft could be used for antisubmarine warfare. Our planes flew from Midway to Alaska and back protecting our country from enemy submarines.

Veteran's View is a collaboration with the Dodge Center Foundation. It highlights veterans who will be recognized in the Dodge Center Veteran's Memorial, which will begin construction this spring. For more information or to purchase a paver, please contact Gary Trelstad at 374-6115 or Bill Ketchum at 374-6049.

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