News: Neillsville Am. Legion (Honors Peterson & Zwieg - 2017)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

----Surnames: Peterson, Zwieg

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark, Co) 3/29/2017

Neillsville Am. Legion (Honors Peterson & Zwieg – April 2017)

Neillsville American Legion to Honor Peterson and Zwieg

By Todd Schmidt

Neillsville American Legion Post 73 will honor military veterans Pete Peterson and Darwin Zwieg during its monthly recognition program Monday April 3. Social hour is scheduled at 4:30 p.m., with a potluck meal starting at 5:30 p.m. and the recognition to follow.

Legion members and community supporters are cordially invited to attend.

Duane “Pete” Peterson served in the U. S. Navy from 1960 until his honorable discharge in 1963. He will be recognized for his military service during a program Monday, Apr. 3, at Neillsville American Legion Post #73. (Contributed photos)

Duane “Pete” Peterson was born in Abbotsford. He attended the Riverside and Rosedale grade schools, graduating from Abbotsford High School in 1960.

While attending school, he worked for a neighbor on his farm. He was age 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in September 1960.

Peterson went to boot camp at Great Lakes, IL. While waiting for school to open at Great Lakes Naval Base, he was sent to Brooklyn Navy Yard.

During his duty there, he was involved in fighting a huge fire that broke out on the aircraft carrier USS Constellation CVA 64. This was a 7-alarm fire, in which 50 civilian Navy yard workers lost their lives.

Peterson also helped in search and rescue and unloading the cargo. There was a reported $75 million in damages.

He received a Letter of Commendation from the Commander of the Navy for significant assistance that he provided in the rescue effort during the disastrous fire.

Peterson returned to Great Lakes for 28 weeks of electronics technician schooling.

He then reported aboard the USS DDE 510, a Navy destroyer out of Norfolk, VA. Five of these smaller ships surround an aircraft carrier at sea.

Peterson was then transferred to the USS Shenandoah AD 26, a Navy tender that supplied the destroyers with ammo and fuel. He was on this ship for 6 months as it sailed the Mediterranean, working as a radar repairman.

Peterson was honorably discharged in 1963. He returned home to work at the Eggebrecht Cheese Factory.

In 1965, he married Rosaline. He began working at Packaging Corporation in Colby.

In 1967, they moved to Cobb, WI, where he worked as a technician for Tri-State Breeders. Two years later, they decided to move to Neillsville, when an opening came up with Tri-State in this area.

In 1973, he and Rosaline bought the Green Lantern Tavern in downtown Neillsville. They ran that business for 30 years.

“I love my wife dearly,” Peterson said. “We both worked hard and ran a good business.”

After selling the business, he went to work at Leeson Electric until his retirement in 2010.

Peterson cares deeply about his Catholic faith. He taught high school level CCD classes at St. Mary’s Catholic Church for 30 years. He also sang in the church choir.

Peterson plays the button accordion, the mouth organ, and the mandolin. He has performed for many events and still plays at area nursing homes.

He also had coon, bear, and coyote hounds and loved hunting.

Peterson wrote a book, “Pouring over the Memories,” which detailed the many experiences that occurred at the Green Lantern Tavern.

He and Rosaline have four children, Tina, Tara, Trisha, and Troy. They enjoy 13 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Darwin Zwieg served in the U. S. Army from 1966 until his honorable discharge in 1968. He will be recognized for his military service during a program Monday, Apr. 3, at Neillsville American Legion Post #73. (Contributed photos)

Zwieg was born in Hustisford, WI. He attended first and second grade at the one-room Sugar Island School. He attended Neosho Public School through grade 7 and St. John’s Parochial School for grade 8 and confirmation. He boarded with a farmer during his last year of grade school.

He attended Hustisford High School for one year, and then transferred to Hartford Union High School, graduating in 1965.

“I continued to work for the same farmer during the last three years of high school,” Zwieg said. “I got paid $1 per day in the summer and $20 per month in the winter. The family also got a butchered hog and raw milk to drink.

After graduation, Zwieg worked as an operator at Fiberesin Plastics in Oconomowoc, making tops for school desks and other furniture.

Zwieg was drafted into the U.S. Army in September 1966. His orientation was at Fort Polk, LA, with basic training to follow at Fort Hood, TX, principally with the 2nd Armored Division.

His MOS was as a medic. Advanced individual training followed at Fort Sam Houston, TX.

Zwieg returned to Fort Hood to begin training for deployment to Vietnam as part of Headquarters Company, 5th Battalion, 46th Infantry, 198th Light Infantry Brigade.

“Sometimes training was too realistic,” Zweig recalled.

The unit deployed as a replacement battalion in March 1968. Zwieg had about 6 months of service time remaining.

They arrived at the Chu Lai Combat Base just below the demilitarized zone with North Vietnam. The unit arrived after the TET offensive.

“Most of our dead and wounded were a result of mines, booby traps, and snipers,” Zwieg said. “Days and nights kind of blurred into each other.”

Zwieg’s unit was involved in intense action out of Loading Zone Dottie. They got hit with small arms and automatic weapons fire, with chopper gunships eventually turning the tide with mini-gun, and rocket fire.

One member of Zwieg’s unit couldn’t take the stress of combat any longer, committing suicide by discharging a .45-caliber pistol in his mouth.

Zwieg said sometimes the odds just must be with you.

In scouting between a couple of trees, I tripped the wire on a booby-trap grenade,” he said. “However, it apparently had been there long enough for debris to hold the handle down, although the bamboo sliver pin was out. The grenade was between my feet. We slowly backed away and it went off about 20 minutes later.”

Zwieg mustered out of the Army in 1968, returning to his job at Fiberesin Plastics. He also began taking night classes at a community college in West Bend.

In the spring of 1969, Zwieg enrolled at UW-Stevens Point, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 1972. He advanced to UW-Madison, obtaining a Master of Business Administration degree in 1973.

Zwieg then worked as a multi-state salesman for Fiberesin Plastics, U. S. Gypsum and Laminate Plastics.

In 1975, he decided to enroll in law school at UW-Madison. With taking summer courses and getting credit for an internship in a legal assistance program, Zwieg graduated with a law degree in December 1977.

Zwieg noticed a small card on the law school bulletin board seeking as assistant district attorney in Clark County.

“Wanting to actually be in a courtroom trying cases, I applied for the position and was hired,” he said.

Zwieg began his duties as assistant district attorney in January 1978. In the early part of 1980, the district attorney left the position to go into the banking business.

Zwieg was appointed district attorney by Governor Lee Dreyfus, remaining in that position until retiring at the end of 2012.

During his tenure as district attorney, he met Ruth, who worked in the Clark County Sheriff’s Department. They were married in 1983.

Their surviving son, Justin, lives in Oak Creek.

For five years, Zwieg rode in The Highground Bicycle Tour Fundraiser.

As part of his retirement time, he has read many books. He tends a small garden and enjoys deer, and turkey hunting.

Zwieg took a hunting trip to Tennessee and went on his first fly-in walleye fishing trip to Canada.

He is a committee member of the Clark County Foundation, and is a Hunter Safety instructor. He keeps busy with yard work, and other projects at several places in the warmer months.

He and Ruth have a European trip planned for later this year.



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