PIQUA — Members of Piqua Post 4874 of Veterans of Foreign Wars recognized five of their own during a ceremony at the Post on Wednesday.
Piqua residents Joe Goetz, Flavil Pollock, Lewis Marrs, Rolland Wagner, and Emerson Shear, were honored for 50 or more years of continuous membership and service to Post 4874.
The event was emceed by Past Commander Dan Whitson and the awards were presented by current Post Commander Richard Trowbridge.
“We would like to thank these five,” said Whitson, ” not only for their service to their country, but for their loyalty to the VFW. They not only went to war, served their country, (but) came back, and stayed in the VFW.”
Goetz, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, is a veteran of the Korean War, having served aboard the MSO441, a wooden mine-sweeping vessel. Goetz was part of a ship’s compliment of 72 men, including five officers.
Goetz said, “When I went into the Navy I thought I would be on a battleship, a destroyer, or an aircraft carrier. When I got to the shipyard, all these big ships there, I went over to this little one with the gangway going down, instead of up, I asked the 2nd Class standing on duty where my ship was and he said, ‘This is it. You got it.’ It was a good ship. A good captain. A good crew.”
Goetz is also Past Commander, Life Member, and Past District Commander of the local Disabled American Veterans. He, along with fellow VFW member Don Motter, are both commissioners at the Miami County VA Office, still serving veterans.
Marrs is a U.S. Army veteran, having served his country in both World War II and the Korean War. “I really don’t have anything to say,” said Marrs, “I just did what I could do, when they told me to do it.” Marrs served in Korea prior to the breakout of hostilities and also served in Europe.
Army veteran Pollock thought that he was going to be sent to Korea, but ended up being sent to Germany. “Everybody was going to Korea and all of a sudden I get orders to go to Germany,” said Pollack, “I was quite happy about that.”
Goetz, Marrs, and Pollock were honored for 50 consecutive years with the VFW.
Receiving an award for 55 consecutive years was Wagner, a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He enlisted in the Navy at age 17. “There’s not too much to say,” said Wagner, ” I enlisted when I was 17, and it was the best two years I’ve ever spent. I took care of torpedo bombers and the great big PBM flying boats. I enjoyed the Navy, but I was glad to get out.”
Shear’s award was for 60 continuous years of membership. He is a U.S. Army veteran. Shear earned the Purple Heart while serving in the Battle of the Bulge. Coincidentally, his wound occurred on Feb. 22, 1945, which was George Washington’s birthday. (The Purple Heart, awarded to servicemen and women for wounds suffered in battle, is our nation’s oldest combat decoration and was instituted by Gen. Washington and approved by the Continental Congress in 1782).
Shear served in an infantry unit before being transferred “for a couple of months” to the U.S. Army Air Corps, and then went back to the infantry.
“I got two battle stars and the Battle of the Bulge,” said Shear, “and unfortunately I stepped on a little (anti)-personnel landmine, and from then on I spent seven months in an Army hospital.”
Whitson said that the five honorees are important to the VFW. He noted that the last of the Post’s charter members had passed away some time ago and these five men are a legacy to the Post.
The five veterans represent more than 250 years of service to the VFW, their country, and their community.
Reach Mike Ullery at (937) 451-3335