Bio: Neillsville Am. Legion to Honor Vets (Corey & Hagen - 2016)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Corey, Hagen, Wohlfeil, Barr, Miller

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 8/31/2016

American Legion to Honor Military Veterans (Corey & Hagen - 2016)

American Legion to Honor Military Veterans Corey and Hagen

By Todd Schmidt

Gary Corey will be honored for his military service during a special recognition program Monday, Sept. 5, at the Neillsville American Legion Club. Corey served in the Wisconsin National Guard from 1951 to 1952 the U. S. Army from 1952 until 1953 and the Inactive Reserves from 1953 to 1960. (Contributed photos)

Neillsville American Legion Post 73 will honor military veterans Gary Corey and Jesse Hagen during a special Labor Day program Monday, Sept. 5. Social hour is scheduled at 4:30 p.m., with a potluck meal set at 5:30 p.m. and the recognition program to follow.

Corey was born at home in Greenwood. He attended Greenwood Grade School and graduated from Greenwood High School in 1949. He then attended Bradley University School of Horology (watch repair), graduating in 1950.

In 1951, Corey joined the Wisconsin National Guard-Red Arrow Division.

In January 1952, Corey was drafted into the U. S. Army, keeping his National Guard number. He was inducted in Minneapolis and then took a troop train to Camp Chaffee, AR, where he went through Basic Training and Fire Direction School for a total of 16 weeks.

Corey came home in the summer for a 10-day leave. After his leave, his parents drove him to California, where he checked in at the Pittsburgh, CA, Repo Depot.

“My parents received six cents a mile for the trip,” Corey said. “My mom also had a chance to visit her sister in California.”

Corey and his unit traveled on a barge down San Francisco Bay, under the Oakland Bay Bridge, where they transferred to a troop ship that maneuvered under the Golden Gate Bridge. They sailed the Pacific Ocean for 27 days, anchoring in Yokohama, Japan, and then moving on to the Incheon, Korea depot.

He was assigned to the 955th Battery Field Artillery located north of the 38th Parallel, where his unit fought the North Koreans and the Chinese. They were located in the hills around the valley.

Corey was a sergeant in charge of a 12-man section. He said at times, there were only six men, until they built it up again to 12 men. He operated a 155-Howitzer gun that was fired day and night.

“I remember the very cold winters and the monsoon seasons,” Corey said. “I did get a leave after eight months.”

After the cease-fire in 1953, Corey came back through Incheon, Korea, to Yokohama harbor, returning to San Francisco. They hopped on a troop train to Camp Carson, CO.

Corey went home for 30 days and then returned to Camp Carson for two weeks. He was honorably discharged in October 1953.

Corey received the Korean Service Medal with three gold stars, the United Nations Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal with two overseas bars. He served in the Inactive Reserves until April 1960.

He returned to Greenwood and started working at the Frank Brown Jewelry Store in Neillsville. He bought the store in 1955 and sold it in 1984 to Wickersham Jewelry.

After retiring from his retail jewelry store, Corey worked many years for the Neillsville Country Club, mowing and doing other jobs. He worked a short time for Bob Shaw Heating and Cooling and for Kuhn’s Decorating.

Corey made the jewelry store exhibit at the 1897 Jail Museum. His uniform is on display with other military uniforms. He was instrumental in establishing the Korean War Memorial at The Highground.

His quote is featured on the wall over the water surrounding the Korean Memorial.

“After years of constant earsplitting noise, the ceasefire suddenly came with an amazing silence,” he said.

Corey moved to a home on Lake Arbutus and then later built a home near Black River Falls. In September 2015 he moved into Spaulding Place (in Black River Falls).

He married Lois in 1981. He has two surviving children, Howard and Lynn, and two step-children, Greg and Allen. His blessings include three grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Corey was a member of the Neillsville Rotary Club and the Neillsville junior Chamber of Commerce in Neillsville.

He continues to be in good health but has a partial disability due to hearing lo0ss from the many months of firing the Howitzer.

He moved his woodworking shop to Spaulding Place and continues to enjoy this hobby. He also enjoys fishing and hunting in the area and pheasant hunting in South Dakota. About 10 years ago, he and Lois began teaching crafts on cruise ships. Passengers made note cards that pertained to the areas they were visiting. They traveled on 19 different cruises, with their most recent trip made in 2014.

Corey is a member of the VFW and Neillsville American Legion Post 73. He enjoyed going on a recent Honor Flight with his stepson, Greg Wohlfeil, as his escort. Wohlfeil is a CM Sgt in the Air Force.

Jesse Hagen will be honored for his military service during a special recognition program Monday, Sept. 5, at the Neillsville American Legion Club. Hagen served in the U. S. Army from 1954 to 1957. (Contributed photos)

Hagen was born at the family home in rural Greenwood. He attended the Janesville Settlement Grade School and later the Eaton Grade School. He went to Greenwood High School.

Hagen worked for Fred Barr while in school and until he joined the U. S. Army in 1954. Basic Training was at Ft. Leonard, MO.

He transferred to Ft. Lee, VA, for 13 weeks of training as a quartermaster mechanic. He stayed at Ft. Lee, where he worked in the Demonstration Battalion. Hagen’s job was to move laundry, bakery and other equipment to various training areas.

After a 30-day leave, Hagen flew out of New Jersey to Frankfurt, Germany. He then took a train to Bordeaux, France.

Hagen was stationed at an old German Air Base called Camp Bussac, France. His headquarters was the 319th Station Hospital.

“There were a lot of army bases in this area and this was the main hospital in southern France,” Hagen recalled. “I drove ambulance and other vehicles and pulled standby to other camps where I was needed, including the MP station in downtown Bordeaux.”

Hagen was honorably discharge in 1957, coming home on a ship that docked in New York.

I remember there was a big snowstorm at the time,” he said.

Hagen traveled to Ft. Sheridan, IL, and back home. He worked at the B & F Machine Shop for a short time and later for the Badger State Feeder Pig Company for six months.

He worked as a mechanic at Svetlik Garage for 10 years. He then went to work for Overgaard Construction Company building roads.

He and his brother, Buck, then bought and operated the Skelly gas station for over three years. Hagen returned to Overgaard and other construction companies building roads. He retired in 1999.

Today, Hagen keeps himself busy with his hobby of restoring vintage cars. He does the mechanical work if needed and hires out for the refurbishing. He has a shed full of vehicles, including a cherished 1951 black Ford.

Hagen enjoys fishing and hunting in Wisconsin. He lives at Mead Lake in the summer and winters in Mesa, AZ, where he enjoys playing golf.

Hagen married Pat Miller in 1928. She passed away in 1996. He married Loretta in 2000.

He has four children, Rick, Tim, Jill and Lori. He has eight grandchildren, plus a step-daughter and two step-grandchildren.

His two brothers, Richard (Buck), and Quentin (Kinky), are also veterans. Hagen is a member of Neillsville American Legion Post 73.



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