News: Neillsville - Legion Honor Three Vets (2022)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Hauge, Van Gorden, Zimmerman

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 4/27/2022

Legion Post 73 to Honor Three Vets in Memoriam (2022)

The Neillsville American Legion Post 73 will honor three deceased veterans at its monthly event: James Hauge, Richard Van Gordon and Lloyd M. Zimmerman.

The May 3 event will include social hour at 5 p.m. followed by a 6 p.m. potluck. Family, friends and community members are invited to attend and are asked to ring a dish to pass.

Following are descriptions of three veterans’ time in the military.

James Hauge

Hauge enlisted in the U.S. Army on Jan. 18, 1943, and was on Active duty until his honorable discharge on Nov. 10, 1945, being promoted from the rank of private to sergeant. During this period, Jim was deployed to Normandy, France in the midst of World War II. He was on duty there from Feb. 28, 1944, through Sept. 1, 1945. He was a member of the 391st Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA). During the war and later in deployment, Hauge’s unit had a change in mission from AAA to the Prisoner of War Guard of German Soldiers until Sept. 1, 1945.

Hauge had a break in service from Nov. 11, 1945, through Sept. 13, 1953. On Sept.14,1953, Jim joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard (WIARNG) and served honorably until his retirement from service on May 26, 1984. During his service with the WIARNG, Jim rose from the rank of sergeant to warrant officer 4 (WO4). He was deployed during the Berlin Crisis and stationed at Fort Lewis, WA from Oct. 15, 1961, to Aug. 10, !962.

Richard Van Gorden

Van Gorden attended St. John’s Military School in Salina, KS for one year. He went to basic training at Ft. Benning, GA, and then attended advanced training for radio Morse code as a communication specialist, graduating in June 1943.

In September 1943, Van Gorden completed advanced training at Camp Hale, CO in the Ski Patrol 86th Mountain Infantry-10th Mountain Division. In October 1943, he entered active service. He landed Christmas Eve in Sorento, Italy, where he and his fellow service members slept in an abandoned castle. All the beds were taken so he slept on a carpenter’s bench, which turned out to be a blessing, because everyone else woke up with lice. Van Gorden saw street urchins digging in the trash for leftovers, so he would give extras away.

Van Gorden and his fellow soldiers were taken to Apennine Mountains and fought their way up the boot of Italy, engaging in epic battles at Riva Ridge, with a cliff assault of a German position that completely surprised and defeated the enemy. They took over that location and Monte Cassino, a fortress atop another strategic location, in a long arduous series of attacks. Richard was discharged in January 1946.

He received the American Theater Service Medal, Good Conduct medal, Bronze Star and European-Africa-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal.

Lloyd M. Zimmerman

Zimmerman served in the Army 5th Division from 1950 to 1952. He was sent to Thule Air Base in Greenland where he worked in the Motor Patrol Maintenance, using his experience as an auto mechanic, most of the military sent there were men from Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota, because of the very cold conditions.

In 1951, the Thule Air Base was constructed in total secrecy by the U.S. military under the code name “Operation Blue Jay.” It was completed in 1953 and made public in September 1952. The U.S. and Denmark made a new agreement in regards to Greenland in 1951 as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defense Program. The agreement included arranging for the use of facilities in Greenland by NATO forces in defense of the NATO area known as the “Greenland Defense Area.” Thule Air Base is the northernmost U.S. Military base today, important for monitoring the skies in defense.

Zimmerman was in the Army Reserved and was honorably discharged in April 1957.




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