WML Monday: Memorial Day Special

Justin Barclay and WOOD Radio host and author of Operation Rumination Rick Vuyst hear from three West Michigan Veteran about their special time serving our country and our community right here at home.

Rick Vuyst - "Operation Rumination"

Sergeant Al Johnson - Chapter 4 in the book "We did not Exist" OSS Office of Strategic Services WWII. Due to secretive nature of their missions, they did not exist. Commando group code name Blueberry. Could not tell his story for 50 years! OSS was a precursor to Special Ops and CIA. Jumped out of planes behind enemy lines. Worked behind enemy lines in both Nazi Germany and in China fighting the Japanese. Recipient of Congressional Gold Medal and Knight of the Legion of Honor medal from France. Amazing sense of humor.

Bill Schrader - (Chapter 23 starting at Page 319) Green Beret Command Sergeant Major William Schrader US Army July 1948-November 1976 Served in both the Korean War and Vietnam War. Counterinsurgency had became a keyword during the Kennedy presidency in 1961. With that in mind and a need for special forces in a changing world, President John F. Kennedy went to Fort Bragg on October 12, 1961. The day is known as the moment when special forces was awarded the Green Beret. Command Master Sergeant Schrader received a Silver Star for gallantry in action on March 17, 1953 in battle in North Korea. Schrader has made over 100 parachute jumps in seven countries. 2 Purple Hearts. Today he does an annual Christmas Light Show. Continual Goals!

Bill Hardiman 23rd Infantry Division - Chapter 12 in the book "Run the mile you're in" Medic Vietnam War. Many remember him as the mayor of the city of Kentwood or a State Senator. He was the Candy Man handing out candy collected from other soldiers to the Vietnamese children. He taught me that all Vietnam veterans faced 3 things: fear, loneliness and the cold shoulder. He also taught me that courage is not the absence of fear, it is doing what you need to do despite the presence of fear. Active even today in veteran efforts and helping those suffering from PTSD and depression. director of the Office of Community and Faith Engagement for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.