News: Neillsville – Am. Legion to Recognize Craig Blum (Jan 2020)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Blum, Gross
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 1/01/2020
Legion to Honor Local Veteran Blum (2020
Craig Blum of Neillsville will be recognized by the Neillsville American Legion Jan. 6 for his service in the Army National Guard. Submitted Photo
Craig Blum will soon be recognized for his military service. The Legion Post 73 in Neillsville will honor Blum and two other veterans in its monthly veterans’ recognition potluck.
Blum was born in Menomonie. His family moved to Neillsville on his first Birthday, Nov.29, 1942. He attended St. John’s Lutheran Grade School for eight years and graduated from Neillsville High School in 1960.
After high school, Blum worked at Cornell Paper Company in Milwaukee, American Motors in Kenosha and Nelson Muffler Company in Neillsville.
Blum joined the Army National Guard, 32nd Infantry, “Red Arrow” Brigade, Company E in August 1961.
In October 1961, the National Guard units were activated during the Berlin Crisis. Since he has not received basic training, Blum was sent to Fort Ord, CA. After training, he joined Company E at Fort Lewis, WA. After that, Blum worked at Sundstrand Corporation in Rockford, IL, and joined an infantry unit in Beloit. He served there until he moved to Minneapolis, MN, where he joined another infantry unit and later transferred to a unit in St. Paul, MN.
In March 1964, Blum received winter training at Ft. Greeley, AK. While he was there, Alaska experienced a magnitude 9.2 earthquake, the second-most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the world, on Good Friday, March 27.
“The worst damage was in the Anchorage area and Valdez was destroyed,” said Blum. “The ground rippled at Fort Greeley, but the runway stayed intact so the Army airplanes were able to fly out the next day.”
Blum was also activated during the flooding of the Minnesota River in 1965. The National Guard was on duty to help prevent looting in Chaska, MN. The guards slept in the Gedney pickle factory.
“I had a hard time tolerating any smell of vinegar after that,” said Blum.
In July 1966, Blum’s unit was activated when the National Guard was called out to end a hunger strike at the St. Cloud Reformatory.
Blum was discharged in September 1967 with a rank of sergeant.
Blum married Joann Gross in 1963. They have three children: Christine, Renee and Steve. They have 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Blum worked at the Ford Motor assembly plant in St. Paul, MN, from 1963 to 2003. After retiring, Blum and his wife moved back to Neillsville. He worked part-time for Gross Motors and fully retired in January 2019.
Blum likes to work outside, fish, hunt and repair things. He and his wife also enjoy traveling and going on cruises.
Blum will be recognized on Monday, Jan. 6, at the Legion, 6 Boon Boulevard. The event will begin at 4:30 p.m. with a social hour and there will be a potluck at 5:30 p.m.
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