News: Neillsville Am. Legion Honors Pagenkopfs (Mar 2018)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark, Co) 2/28/2018
American Legion Honoring Father and Three Sons (Military Service – March 2018)
American Legion Honoring Father and Three Sons
Four area veterans from the Pagenkopf family will be honored March 5 by the Neillsville American Legion Post 73.
The Pagenkopf honorees – Ray and his sons Ray Jr., Russ and Chad – will be celebrated at a potluck event at 5:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in Neillsville. A social hour will start at 4:30 p.m.
The public is welcome to the event; about 100 people attended the Legion’s February honoree program. There will be no regular Legion meeting in March as it will be the celebration of the American Legion’s 100th anniversary. Legion organizers are reminding members to pay their dues.
The March honorees:
Ray Jr. on left and his father Ray on right
Ray was born in Marshfield and attended grade school at St. Mary’s Catholic School. He graduated from Neillsville High School in 1962
Ray helped on his family’s farm until he joined the Army in January 1963.
He went to basic training at Ft. Knox, Ky, and went for heavy equipment mechanic training at Ft. Belvoir, VA.
Ray was transferred to Aschaffenburg, Germany, working in a heavy equipment mechanic platoon.
Ray worked with Michigan front-end loaders, TD18 Caterpillars and graders. Part of his work was dynamiting a mountainside to build a soccer field as part of the German and American relations.
In 1965, Ray was awarded the heavy equipment operator military occupational specialty.
He finished his commitment by joining the National Guard, and then was discharged in January 1966.
Ray moved back to Neillsville and started working at Nelson Muffler. He started as a welder and then attended Mid-State Technical College for two years for tool and die training through Nelson. He then worked on jigs fixtures/tool and die and photo-type work.
He worked for Nelson for 39 years.
Ray married LaVonne in 1966. Their children are Ray Jr., Sheila, Bryan, Russel, Dawn and Chad. They also have 15 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Ray said he enjoys playing sheepshead, going to the cabin to fish at Otter Lake and most mornings going with his family to Hardee’s.
Ray Pagenkopf, Jr.
Ray Jr. was born in Neillsville and attended Neillsville Public Schools, graduating in 1985.
He joined the Navy in 1984 through the delayed entry program. Boot camp was at San Diego Naval Base.
The sailor was transferred to Memphis Naval Air Station for training on air conditioning and heating systems on jet aircrafts and he learned to do maintenance on ejection systems.
After schooling, Ray Jr., was transferred to Kingsville Naval Air Base in Texas, where he worked on A4 fighter jets in air combat.
In 1986, he was transferred to VF-43 Air Squadron at Oceanic Naval Air Station in Virginia, doing maintenance on the A4, F4, F5, T2 and F21 aircraft.
In mid-1986, Ray Jr. went on an eight-month cruise on the USS Nimitz, a nuclear-powered multi-mission super aircraft carrier that’s among the world’s largest warships. The cruise was during the Iran hostage crisis.
On the carrier, Ray Jr. worked on A6 jets with the VA-35 Air Attack Squadron. After the cruise, he returned to VF-43 until his honorable discharge in 1988.
Rau Jr. lived in Hatfield and worked for four years at Leeson Electric. He moved to Neillsville and worked at Nelson Industries until 2004 and then joined the Excel Plumbing team.
Ray married Jennifer in 2012. He has sons Zachery, Zayne and Alyx, and step-sons Russell, Phil and Bobby.
“I am very proud of my six children, who have given me five grandchildren,” Ray Jr. said.
Ray Jr. said his getaway is a cabin on Otter Lake.
“I take a nap on the boat, and once in a while I’m disturbed by a fish biting.”
Russ on left and Chad on right
Russ went to Neillsville Public Schools and graduated from Neillsville High School in 1986.
He worked on his family’s farm and joined the Army in the fall of 1986, going to Ft. McClellan, AL, for basic training. He was transferred to Ft. Belvoir, VA, for advanced individual trai8ning in power generation.
Russ went to Hanau, Germany, for two years, where he worked at a Class 9 warehouse. He drove a forklift and worked in a shop, rebuilding generators.
The soldier was transferred to Ft. Bragg, NC., where his work was rebuilding engines for generators.
When Russ got out of the Army, he joined the Army Reserve out of Chippewa Falls and was deployed to Panama for a year. He then switched to the Neillsville field artillery unit as a fuel handler.
Russ then transferred to the Black River Falls unit. From there, he went to Nicaragua for two weeks as a truck driver. Russ was then deployed to Ft. Irwin, CA, where he shipped out to Kuwait and Iraq, where he drove Hets (Large semi-trucks) hauling equipment.
Russ was discharged in 2017 after spending 21 years in the armed forces.
He is an automobile technician and service manager at Urban Sales and Service in Neillsville. Russ married Donna in 1992; they have children Alicia, Ashley, Nathan and Nicole. They also have grandchildren Tegan, Tarynn, Tali, Tia Cylan, Cam, Bree and Trentyn.
Russ’s hobby is anything to do with cars.
He volunteers at American Legion fish fires and at the steak feed.
Chad was born in Neillsville. He attended Neillsville Public Schools and graduated from High School in 1999.
After graduation he was self-employed and worked at Fleet Guard.
Chad joined the Army National Guard in 2001. He was sent to Ft. Jackson, SC. for basic training and then to Fort Leonard Wood, MO, as a transportation and heavy equipment operator.
Chad went to California and worked setting up training bases in the desert.
He then went to Kaiserslautern, Germany, and worked in transportation.
Chad was discharged in 2009.
He lived in Neillsville and Black River Falls and has been self-employed – going back to school in 2013 to become a technology and special education teacher.
He will be married to Melissa Binker in the summer of 2018.
Chad has three children – Jacob, Alyson and Jebb.
He enjoys hunting, all-terrain vehicle riding, skiing, snowboarding, creating things in a shop and motocross racing.
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