Honoring those who have served as Veterans Day approaches

At the memorial honoring his era of service ... Marvin "Bud" Strike of Waukon is pictured above at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C. during his Honor Flight trip October 10 of this year. Strike was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1953 and was honorably discharged in 1955, being stationed in Korea in late 1953 into 1954. Submitted photo.

Stationed in Korea ... Marvin "Bud" Strike of Waukon is pictured above during his service in Korea from late 1953 through 1954. He served with Company B of the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, working to rebuild and repair roads and bridges damaged during the Korean War. Submitted photo.

A memorable welcome home ... Included in an estimated 600 to 700 people who greeted the October 10 Honor Flight Veterans when they returned to the Waterloo Airport were five of Marvin "Bud" Strike's seven grandchildren and one of his 12 great-grandchildren pictured above. Left to right in the above photo are Strike's grandsons, Aaron Strike and Eric Ryan, granddaughters Cara Strike and Jenny (Ryan) Rixen - holding Strike's great-granddaughter Isla, and grandson Andy Ryan. Both Eric and Andy Ryan followed in their grandfather's footsteps with military service, Eric Ryan serving as a Major in the U.S. Air Force and Andy Ryan also serving as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserves. Submitted photo.

Marvin "Bud" Strike enjoys Honor Flight experience

by Lissa Blake

It was a long day, but it was well worth it. That’s what Korean War veteran Marvin “Bud” Strike of Waukon had to say about his opportunity to take part in a recent Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.

Strike, accompanied by his son, Rich, took the flight out of Waterloo October 10. A native of Nashua, Strike said he had heard about the Honor Flight opportunity years ago, but had never pursued it, primarily because the flights were out of Waterloo and he had been drafted out of Chickasaw County.

But when his son and daughter-in-law suggested he fill out an application and send it in, he decided to do it and was approved. “We had a meeting in Waterloo September 28. It was a nice dinner and informational meeting,” he said.

October 9, Strike stayed overnight with his son in Cedar Falls, so he’d be ready to go the next morning. “We were up at 4:30 because we had to be at the airport by 5:30,” he said.

Strike said he was completely overwhelmed when he saw the number of people at the airport who were there to see him and his fellow veterans off on the trip. “What amazed me was the people who were there who did not have friends or relatives taking the flight,” he said.

Strike said each veteran who took the trip was assigned a guardian. His son, Rich, spent the day not only looking after his father, but two other veterans as well.

“Rich’s job was to make sure they got on the bus at each stop. One guy had been a police officer in Waterloo for 27 years and the other guy worked for John Deere,” he said. At around 7 a.m. the flight departed. “We ended up having five Korean vets and 95 Vietnam vets on our flight,” said Strike.

In a little over two hours, the flight was on the ground in Baltimore, MD, where the group boarded buses for Washington, D.C. The itinerary included stops at the World War II Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Women’s Memorial and Air Force Memorial.

At Arlington, the group was able to observe the changing of the guard and lay a wreath representing Sullivan Hartogh Davis, Cedar Valley Honor Flight.

It was Strike’s first trip to Washington, D.C. “I was really amazed by all of the monuments. Of course I had seen pictures of them,” he said. Strike added he was touched by the amazing welcome his group received everywhere it went. “We were honored. We were guests. We were celebrities for the day,” he said.

After a long day of touring, Strike and his comrades boarded the plane around 8 p.m. for the flight back to Waterloo. When one of the flight attendants announced “mail call,” Strike said he didn’t think much of it; however, when she handed him a manila envelope full of letters, he was shocked.

“Marjorie (his wife) had spread the word (about mail call) and my daughter and daughters-in-law had helped. I had 75 notes from family members, church people here in Waukon and golf buddies. Getting those notes was a big highlight for me,” he said, adding he read them all the next day and mailed his own thank-yous to people.

On the ground in Waterloo, Strike was in for another surprise.

Two of his grandsons, Eric and Andy, had come to welcome their grandfather home. Eric Ryan is a Major in the U.S. Air Force, stationed north of Las Vegas, NV. Andy Ryan of Des Moines is a Major in the Army Reserves.

Strike said the reception the veterans received when they got off the plan was incredible. “There were 600 or 700 people there. Marjorie talked to one couple who had met all 20 Honor Flights,” he said.

Strike said one of the things he enjoyed the most about the homecoming was seeing the number of people there with small children. “Personally, I really appreciated that… so they get to see something like this, rather than someone kneeling for the national anthem,” he said. “I tried to shake hands with as many of the little ones as I could.”

Strike said although it was an exhausting trip, he would highly recommend it. “Our tour guide asked us to spread the word so we can get more people to go,” he said.

For more information, contact Sullivan Hartogh Davis, Cedar Valley Honor Flight, Attn: Linda Bergmann, P.O. Box 182, Cedar Falls, IA, 50613.

Strike is a 1951 graduate of Nashua High School who married his high school sweetheart, Marjorie Richards, in 1952. After high school, he attended the University of Northern Iowa (formerly known as the Iowa State Teachers College) in Cedar Falls and was drafted into the U.S. Army at the end of his sophomore year.

Two weeks after he began basic training at Fort Leonardwood, MO, the Korean War ended. In December of 1953, he arrived in Korea, where he was assigned to Company B of the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, which worked to rebuild and repair roads and bridges that had been damaged during the war.

“When I left for Korea, my wife was pregnant with Linda. I didn’t even see her until she was 16 months old,” recalled Strike.

After almost a year in Korea, he returned to the United States, where he served as company clerk until his discharge as Sergeant (E-5) in May of 1955. He described his time as a company clerk as, "I was kind of like Radar on the television show 'M•A•S•H'." During his service tenure Strike earned the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal.

Following his discharge, he finished his education at UNI, earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He later spent summers earning his master’s degree in mathematics from Indiana University. He taught math at Waukon High School for 35 years.

The Strikes have three children: Linda Ryan of Waukon, Jim Strike of Iowa City and Rich Strike of Cedar Falls, as well as seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (7 votes)