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LeeRoy Stelter was born April 7th, 1948 in Coloma, Michigan where he grew up and stayed until transferring his senior year from Coloma High School to St. Joseph High School. He graduated in 1966 and immediately went to work in a factory making record players. Stelter enlisted in the military after his cousin suggested it might help his career, taking an interest in the potential for a background in electronics as a microwave radio repairman. He started basic training in 1967 in Fort Knox, Kentucky and says he had no trouble adjusting to the army because his parents raised him to do as he was told. Two months later Stelter was flown to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey to begin his training as a microwave radio repairman learning basic electronics, how to operate gear, and solid state equipment. In 1968, Stelter recalled watching other groups perform drills preparing them for evacuations and riots in the wake of several political events. Stelter finished training at Fort Monmouth in May. He was deployed to Vietnam after a 30 day leave, assigned to the 327th Signal Company in Long Binh. After several months he was then reassigned to Vinh Long to replace a soldier who was lost in a mortar attack. Vinh Long was part of a radio relay set up by the signal company between Dong Tam and Can Tho, and Stelter recalled that it “was under attack every night…it was like the 4th of July, the whole place was incoming rounds, outgoing mortar fire” for three or four months, gradually deescalating. Stelter stayed at Vinh Long until June 1969 after which he took a 30 day leave before returning to Vietnam for a second time and being assigned to Can Tho. In all 8 months of his second term, he never heard any mortars or incoming rounds and was free to come and go from the village. In April 1970, Stelter returned home from Vietnam on a commercial flight and went back to work at the same factory he had as a teenager, making record players. In 1972, he married his wife who he said helped him return to some degree of normalcy. He attended Lake Michigan College before transferring to Western Michigan University and obtaining a degree in Industrial Engineering, after which he worked in manufacturing for the next 35 years.
Stelter, LeeRoy (Interview transcript and video), 2017

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  • Text: and go into cities, restaurants or places where you get drinks, the people from the opera house used to come in and perform. I really heard some wonderful music and I was used to that from home. And so, now I got to see it and hear it. And so, I
Talmadge, Roger (Interview transcript and video, part 1), 2017

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  • Text: came in to give a talk. And so, we had some music, we had a guy give a little introductory introduction and prayer, we had another guy get up and offer another prayer in Hebrew. Sing some more. And then he was introduced and he got up. He says, “I come
Talmadge, Roger (Interview transcript and video, part 4), 2017

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  • Text: announcer, I understand. And there was two stations. Same thing but they had music on there and news and I am sure they did sports broadcasting and that. And yeah, they had real good radio and jeez, I mean you could put a hat over the whole country, so
Johnson, Chester (Interview transcript and video), 2019
Jim Rosin was born in September 1947 in Bay City, Michigan. Rosin lived there all his adolescent life and graduated from Bay City Central High School in 1965. Upon graduation Rosin went to work for a company in Saginaw, Michigan that sold bakery equipment. However, in the summer of 1966 Rosin was summoned to Detroit where he had to get a physical for the military. Eventually Rosin was cleared for military service. October 20, 1966 was the day Rosin was to report for military duty. He then began the trek down from Bay City to Detroit to then Fort Wayne. Eventually, Rosin and his peers were taken down to Fort Knox in Lexington, Kentucky. Rosin and the rest of his group were eventually split up and Rosin was selected to head to Fort Hood in Texas to complete his basic training. Here Rosin took an aptitude test and was selected to be an Army Medic. In the summer of 1967 Rosin traveled to Vietnam where he served in the 46th Infantry. Because of his time in Vietnam, Rosin was awarded two Bronze Stars. One for putting his obstetric training to use and delivering a baby, and the other for meritorious service. Rosin service ended when he eventually rotated out on October 1st 1968. He returned back home and continued to work for the company selling bakery equipment.
Rosin, James (Interview transcript and video), 2021
Lee Widjeskog was born in Bridgeton, New Jersey and grew up in that area, finishing high school in 1964. He attended Colorado State University and took ROTC training, and received his commission in the Army in 1969. He took infantry training at Fort Benning, Georgia and jungle training in Panama, and went to Vietnam in April, 1970. He became a platoon leader in A Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. His unit patrolled the area near Firebase Ripcord, and was involved in heavy fighting on July 22, when Widjeskog's platoon was separated from the rest of the company for several hours, and the company then had to spend the night in the field behind before being evacuated. For the rest of the summer he operated in the field around Firebase Katherine and Firebase Rakkasan until he was reassigned to the rear in mid-September 1970. He served as the supply officer for Headquarters Company of the 3rd Brigade until he left Vietnam on March 15, 1971. He has been an active member of the Ripcord Association for over twenty years, and he and his wife currently organize the annual reunions.
Widjeskog, Lee (Interview transcript and video), 2014