Guard seeks funds for statue purchase

Guard seeks funds for statue purchase

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In 1969, 12 young men from local Iowa National Guard units were killed in Vietnam while fighting for their country. An effort is now underway to ensure that those soldiers are remembered and honored for years to come.

The Iowa Army National Guard's 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry is currently seeking donations to fund the purchase of a statue that will stand near the armory on 2nd Mech Drive and remind all soldiers of those who fought and died, said Larry Locke.

But the life-size statue of an infantry soldier, standing with machine gun in hand will also honor all the men and women who served in Vietnam as well as those affiliated with the National Guard, said Locke, who retired from the Iowa National Guard in 2000 as a sergeant first class.

"It's a tribute to the organization," Locke said.

Approximately 450 local National Guard soldiers were sent to Vietnam, Locke said. He was one of them. In 1969 Locke was a 22-year-old cavalry scout overseas.

Locke said they need about $4,000 to purchase the statue, place it on a pedestal and pave a sidewalk. The concrete field soldier, which will be painted a dark bronze, comes from a company in Des Moines.

To cut costs he said they'd build the sidewalk themselves. But, "I hope somebody's a better cement mason than I am," Locke said.

He said they hope to have the memorial in place this fall. The names of the men who died will be listed on a plaque, he said.

During Vietnam the 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry was the 2nd Battalion Mechanized 133rd Infantry, which was based in Sioux City. The group supported units in Le Mars, Sheldon and Ida Grove, Locke said.

The following is a list of those members killed during Vietnam:

-- Sgt. Roger C. Beall was killed in action Feb. 3, 1969.

-- Spc. 4th Class Philip L. Baker was killed in action March 3, 1969.

-- 1st Lt. Corbin C. Tindall was killed in action April 11, 1969.

-- Spc. 5th Class David A. Lefler was killed in action May 12, 1969.

-- Pfc. John H. Platt was killed in action May 24, 1969.

-- Spc. 4th Class Duane E. Olson was killed in action June 11, 1969.

-- Pfc. Arlin D. Franklin was killed in action July 17, 1969.

-- 1st Lt. Ronald I. Buchanan was killed in action July 19, 1969.

-- Spc. 4th Class Akke J. Timmer was killed in action Aug. 6, 1969.

-- Sgt. Steven V. Crum was killed in action Aug. 13, 1969.

-- 1st Lt. Donald F. Wood was killed in action Aug. 19, 1969.

-- Pfc. Norman K. Folk was killed in action Sept. 26, 1969.

The idea for the statue came from Maj. Mike Amundson, who was once stationed in Sioux City and is now based in Des Moines. His father, Bud Amundson, was a member of the Iowa National Guard and served in Vietnam. He eventually retired as a lieutenant general, Locke said. Last February, Amundson suggested the memorial would be a great way to honor the fallen soldiers and all who have served, Locke said.

On Thursday, a couple of hundred pamphlets were mailed to Iowa National Guard members. Locke said he hopes to eventually reach all men and women who have been affiliated with area National Guard units.

"It will have a positive significance to the people in the unit whether they served in Vietnam or not," Locke said about the statue.

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Leroy "Lee" James Sturgeon, 77, of Cape Coral, formerly Sioux City, loving husband, father and devoted member of the working class, died Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.

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