KOMU 8 News viewers share stories of local veterans
COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 News viewers shared their Veterans' Day stories this week to help our station honor the men and women who serve, and have served, our country.
The stories span across decades and around the world, many of them ending in the KOMU 8 News viewing area.
The veterans honored in this story served in times of peace and war - conflicts ranging from World War II to Vietnam to the Gulf.
The Missouri Veteran's Commission reported there are approximately 500,000 veterans living in Missouri. Missouri ranks 15th for the largest state population of veterans in the country. In 2013, more than 25,000 active duty servicemen and women listed Missouri as their official home.
As we posted some of these stories on Facebook over the weekend, support and pride poured in from our viewers. Hundreds of people offered their salutes through likes and comments - most of which carried a single message: "Thank you."
Stanley S. Scott
E-6 Petty Officer, U.S. Navy
"He was 18," longtime family friend Kristie Head said. "He went to MEPS with words from his dad saying, ‘Now Stanley - don't you sign anything!'" The then teenager from Barnhart came back as a recruit.
Scott began his service in the fall of 1987 on the USS Antietam as a disbursing clerk. During his two-decade career, Scott served around the country from California to Florida to Tennessee.
Scott comes from a family of six children, whose father was a GM worker and mom was a cleaning women. Stan resides in Centralia, where he remains involved with the VFW.
"Stan has been such a great influence on the younger generation that his own son and niece and nephew followed in his footsteps," Head said. "Stan has always gone above and beyond, just as he did for his country."
Scott is pictured with his son Nick Scott, who is also a member of the United States Navy. Nick Scott is currently is on board on the USS Halsey (DDG 97).
Rev. Carl Wendell Peterson
Carl Wendell Waldemar Peterson moved to the United States from Sweden when he was three-years-old. The Petersons lived in Minnesota when his draft notice arrived in the mail, Carl worked as a nursing-home orderly at Bethesda Lutheran's Home for the Aging in St. Paul. The home provided medical care for elderly patients.
Carl's induction into the United States Army at Fort Snelling, Minn., was on Feb. 4, 1942, four days before his 23rd birthday. The temperature was 20 below zero.
Throughout his service, Peterson served around the world, but was locally stationed at Fort Leonard Wood. He served in Germany as a Technician 5th Grade with Company D, 315th Medical Battalion, 90th Infantry Division.
Before he left for Germany, Carl met and became engaged to his wife Margaret Louise Medley at Fort Leonard Wood. Louise worked as a chief officer in the OPA government office in Lebanon.
In a letter, dated 7:15 p.m., Jan. 14, 1945, Carl wrote to Louise, "We know not the future in detail but we can guess a few things. Honey, the best I can say is, 'ye believe in God, believe also in me,' and rest in the Lord's faithfulness to take care of His own. Thanks for your prayers, honey, also for the prayers of the other believers back home. I believe most of my prayer help is coming from Lebanon -- All my love, Carl."
First Sergeant, Missouri National Guard
At 17-years-old the future First Sergeant Gibson enlisted in the MO National Guard. It was 1981. More than three decades later, Gibson continues to serve with the Missouri National Guard.
Gibson has deployed three times during his career. First, he deployed to Iraq in 2004. He deployed again in 2008 to Kosovo in support of Kosovo Forces (KFOR10) mission and again in 2011 to the Egyptian Sinai in support of the Multi-National Force and Observers (MFO) . He wife said each deployment lasted 12 months.
His wife said staying in contact puts pressure on their family, but with improvements in technology its become increasingly easier. She said missing their daughter's high school graduation and his youngest sister's college graduation was one of the toughest things he had to deal with while deployed.
"His devotion to his family and his unit make him a person that anyone could be proud of day in and day out," Cheri Gibson
His wife said he is equally dedicated to serving his soldiers as his own family.
Master Sargent, Missouri Army National Guard
Master Sargent Gary Nauman joined the Missouri Army National Guard in 1969 and retired from active service in 2001. He was originally assigned to the 1175th Military Police Company in Boonville where he served as the units full time admin NCO and platoon sergeant. MSG Nauman also served with the Inspector Generals Office and Personnel Services Office where he retired from. MSG Nauman had a distinguished career that spanned many years. His son said some of his father's proudest achievements were graduating from the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss TX and being a leader and mentor to enlisted and officers alike.
"I grew up watching him work and learned from him what a true leader looked like," SFC Matthew Naumann said.
He said his father's service inspired him to join the National Guard as well.
"I still meet senior Officers and NCOs that tell me what an outstanding NCO MSG Nauman was and how he helped to guide their careers. He served with pride, professionalism and honor," he said.
Carl A. Eisenhauer Sr., 101
Master Sergeant, U.S. Army
Carl lived his entire life in Moberly; his parents were of German descent so the family went through significant harassment during and after WWI so when WWII was eminent he volunteered so that there was no question of his love and allegiance for country. Carl landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day+2 and served throughout the war in the European Theater. Carl continues to live in Moberly where he hopes to celebrate his 102nd birthday in early January 2015.
John Wesley Gregorian & Jacob Walter Gregorian
U.S. Marine Corp.
John served in WWII and Korea he was in the USMC and The United States Coast Guards he watch the Atom Bomb drop from the U.S.S. Mintaka he watched the raising of the flag on Iwo-Jima His twin Served as USMC and USCG also.
William "Willie" Wolters
2nd Class Petty Officer, U.S. Navy
Wolters deployed nine months ago for the Persian Gulf aboard the the USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77) conducting air strikes against ISIS/ISIL militants.
"This is my son, and I couldn't be more proud of him," his mother Tamie Davis said.
She said after more than nine months deployment, the ship has been relieved and the service men and women aboard on their way back to their home port of Norfolk, Virginia.
"We couldn't be more proud of him and all of his shipmates and we look forward to him being back on US soil," Davis said.
Milo "Rusty" Spurgeon
Private First Class, U.S. Army
Milo "Rusty" Spurgeon was a WWII veteran who was just shy of his 19th birthday, a PFC in the Army and assistant driver of a tank fighting in the battle for the bridge at Remagen near Cologne on March 4, 1945, just two months before the end of the war in Europe. The tank was shelled by the Germans and Dad sustained the loss of both feet in the blast.
Spurgeon returned to the United States and began treatment in Utah where his entire ward of soldiers were all bilateral leg amputees.
The men in this ward of amputees formed a club they called the BLACA Group (Bilateral Amputee Club of America)."
They remained in touch throughout their lives and would get together for a reunion every few years in different places around the country each time. In 1992, the reunion was organized by Dad and held in Branson," his son said.
He said his father became a doctor, specializing in anesthesia, in Kansas. The family moved to Columbia where he went into partnership with Roger Bumgarner which grew into Anesthesia Associates, Inc. at Boone Hospital Center (then Boone County Hospital).
"He left an incredible legacy for his loved ones and friends and the many lives he touched: When life knocks you down, you get back up again and do the best you can with what you have left. You don't ever let yourself fall into the mindset that you're a victim because you're then helpless to do anything about it. Enjoy the experiences that life has to offer," his son David Spurgeon said.
He passed away on April 29 at the age of 89. He was the last surviving member of the BLACA Group.
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Air Force
His sister, June Kilar wrote: "My brother was in the Air Force for 20 years. He is one of many of our family members to be in the Military. I have found at least 28 members of our family to be in the Military. Ronnie worked in the Hospital. He was stationed in England and helped set up a 500- bed Hospital.
Robert Sigholtz Sr.
Colonel, U.S. Army
Sigholtz Sr. was a paratrooper in the Army who fought in both World War II and the Vietnam War. Throughout his time in the Army, he won 13 air medals, four bronze stars, three silver stars, three distinguished flying crosses and two legions of honor.
In addition, he was the athletic director at Georgetown University from 1969 to 1972 and was responsible for recruiting men's basketball coach John Thompson to the school.
His brother, Marty, played basketball at Mizzou in the 1950's. Sigholtz Sr. passed away at age 84 in 2005.