By Bob Massey

Herald correspondent

The Harker Heights Kiwanis Club met Tuesday and focused its meeting on actual testimonies from the men in the club who spent many years in the defense of the nation.

Eight of the club members present shared their experiences of how their military careers began, the training they were provided and positions in which they served.

David McClure and Joe Boyer sent their stories in via email and Esabell Zellmar shared an experience about her late husband.

Pete Laessig

“I was a participant in the Hamilton H. House Board that studied air assault when helicopters were first used in assault operations.”

Retired Gen. Robert Shoemaker

“I served for 36 years in the Army and three years before that as a cadet. I’ve lost my sight, but I’m still coming to Kiwanis meetings as long as you’ll let me.”

Jos Portmann

“I was stationed in Berlin in 1962 and was privileged to escort John F. Kennedy.”

Paul Loughran

“I was 17 years old, had graduated high school and while in the Post Office an Army recruiter said ‘Have we got a job for you.’ That wasn’t enticing enough so the Marine recruiter nabbed me and said “You want to be a Marine?” Of my 20 years, a third of that was spent in Hawaii.”

James Hoyle

“At Fort Eustice, I graduated at the top of my class in turbine engine school and then (was) sent to Fort Hood — specifically, the 13th Aviation Battalion at West Fort Hood. West Fort Hood was one of the best-kept secrets in the Army and a very pleasant place to be.”

Ronald Rainosek

“I joined the Air Force in 1969.”

An emotional Rainosek tells of a time with the Greek Air Force on interceptor alert. “At midnight on Christmas Eve a warning buzzer goes off. There are never any breaks in that buzzer, but this time there was a brief pause and then began the playing of “Silent Night.” Even today, when I hear that song I think of the people who served so we can say ‘Sleep in Heavenly peace.’”

Bob Dunlap

“I was lucky and had many great experiences during my 26 years. The best thing, I married the best gal in the whole world.”

Darrell Charlton

“Over the span of a 30 year career, I spent eight years at Fort Hood, eight years in Germany, two tours in Vietnam and before coming back to Fort Hood as a full colonel, I was chief of staff of the First Armored Division.”

‘Voices of veterans’

The topic of Thursday’s Trade Secrets is “Voices of Veterans.”

The group will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Recreation Center across from City Hall, 307 Miller’s Crossing.

For more information about the program, call 254-289-6382.

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