Seven new names of Iowa State students who died serving their country have been engraved in the wall of “Gold Star Hall” at the I.S.U. Memorial Union. The new names added to the memorial wall often get there after hours of research to confirm they went to Iowa State and should be honored.
It begins with union marketing director, Kathy Svec, who comes up with a list of possibilities. That list is then turned over to assistant registrar Judy Minnick who then looks through various records. Minnick says from 1976 on, the records are computerized, but from the 1961 to 1976 the records are alphabetized in a hard copy file. If the student attended Iowa State prior to 1961, then Minnick has to look to another source to find the hard copy of their record.
Minnick says all of the old records are indexed on microfilm, so they can go to the microfilm and find what year the record is located in. For the years between 1926 and 1976 there are more than 400,000 hard copy records on file. Minnick says knowing the year doesn’t always lead directly to the student.
Minnick says you might have a name, but there could be several students with the same name. She says they have to do some cross-checking of the time frame, for instance, if the person was a casualty of the Korean War, then they would not have a record on file in the late 1950’s or the 1960’s. So a person with that name in the 1960’s would not be the person they are looking to identify.
After they are able to narrow down the hometown, they send the information by to Svec at the Memorial Union. Svec then does further research on the person’s background. The fallen soldiers added to the wall this year are being honored on this Veterans Day. Five are from the Korean War and one each from World War II and Vietnam. The Gold Star honorees added this year are listed below.
2009 Gold Star Honorees
WORLD WAR II
Kenneth Norman Okeson
Hometown: Wakefield, Nebraska
At Iowa State: Civil engineering, fall 1935 to winter 1939
Military: 1st Lt., Army Air Forces; 81st Squadron, 436th Troop Carrier Group; navigator, C47. Participated in Normandy invasion. Missing in Action, Sept. 19, 1944, over Holland during Operation Market Garden
Robert Emory Dummermuth
Hometown: Elgin, Iowa
At Iowa State: Dairy plant operation, 1947 to 48
Military: CPL. Company B, 7th Cavalry Reg., 1st Cavalry Div.
Died: Oct. 10, 1951, near Chorwon, North Korea, most likely during the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge
Charles Emery Collins
Hometown: Melbourne, Iowa
At Iowa State: Animal husbandry, fall 1949
Military: PFC, 27th Infantry Reg., 25th Infantry Div.
Died: May 22, 1952, on Heartbreak Ridge
Carl Jacob Claus
Hometown: Plymouth, Iowa
At Iowa State: Veterinary medicine, fall 1947
Military: Cpl., 8th Cavalry Reg., 1st Cavalry Div., scout dog trainer
Died: June 6, 1952, of wounds received while on patrol during hostile action
Sidney Jasper Botts
Hometown: rural Elliott, Iowa
At Iowa State: Animal husbandry, 1947-48
Military: Sgt., 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Div.
Died: Oct. 15, 1952, in hostile action during Battle of Triangle Hill
William Ward Sharp
Hometown: Plover, Iowa
At Iowa State: Agricultural education, 1951-52
Military: PFC., Company A, 17th Infantry Reg., 7th Infantry Div.
Missing in action, presumed dead: July 6, 1953 during hostile action at Pork Chop Hill
Michael Keith Lewis
Hometown: Lake City, Iowa
At Iowa State: Horticulture, 1964-67
Military: Staff SGT., Company D, 3/60th 9th Infantry Div., Mobile Riverine Force
Died: June 13, 1969, in Kien Hoa, while clearing an area for medical evacuation of wounded