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Monument to Korea, Vietnam veterans dedicated in Funkstown

May 30, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE
  • Bill Osborne Jr. and his grandson, Colin Sonesen, position a wreath Sunday in Funkstown next to a new marker honoring Korean War and Vietnam War veterans from Funkstown. Osborne was instrumental in having the new marker made and placed at the town's Doughboy statue.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer,

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Classmates Thomas A. Block Jr. and Charles "Steve" S. Papa, from South Hagerstown High's Class of 1965, were often seen together Sunday morning.

First they attended a wreath-laying ceremony outside Funkstown American Legion; then they were at the Doughboy statue at the other end of town, where a new monument was dedicated.

The monument is the culmination of 1 1/2 years of work, led by veteran Bill Osborne Jr., to honor the names of Funkstown-area veterans who served during the Korean and Vietnam wars. The new monument corrects an oversight, some veterans said, of the older monument that was missing some names.

Osborne said Sunday that he has one more name to add to the monument, that of Korean War veteran Eugene L. Kline.

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Papa, dressed in vintage jungle fatigues from the era when he served, and Block, wearing his dress uniform, both said they didn't expect such recognition for their military service, but they were both appreciative.

Asked what he thought about getting recognition, Block said, "A lot of people have this cry-baby attitude about the war. Get over it."

"We did what we were supposed to do and we came back home," said Block, 62, who now lives in Falling Waters, W.Va. Block served as a Navy electrician on the USS Samuel Gompers in the Pacific in the late 1960s, he said. Then he served in the Army from 1973 to 1990, doing various jobs.

Papa, 62, who now lives in Hagerstown, served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970, he said. He was stationed in Landing Zone Baldy, outside Da Nang, Vietnam, and at Landing Zone Hawk Hill, which was between Da Nang and Chu Lai, he said. He was a fire control instrument repairman.

"In short, we fixed things that got broken and blown up," Papa said.

Papa said he was proud to be at Sunday's ceremonies.

"It's the thought that means the most," he said in regard to the monument.

The monument features the names of 34 veterans, including 14 who served during the Korean War and 21 who served during the Vietnam War. One of the veterans, Richard Schuck, served during both wars.

Jay Everly, who lives east of Hagerstown, helped get names together for the monument. His name also is on the monument. Everly served the U.S. Army at Fort Richardson in Alaska from 1954 to 1956, he said.

"I think it's overdue," Everly said of the monument.

Sisters Lana Miller and Jacquie Starleper attended the dedication of the monument, which includes the name of their brother, Bruce E. Moats Jr.

Moats, 72, now lives in Oregon, Miller said.

"We've always been very proud of him," Miller said.

In a phone interview Sunday afternoon, Moats said he served two tours in Vietnam during the war. With his training in civil engineering, he helped with base camp construction and support at various locations in Vietnam.

"I don't have any horror stories from that war, that many people did," Moats said. "I have a great deal of respect for those who lost their lives" and those who engaged the enemy, he said.

Funkstown resident Bert Iseminger Jr. was at Sunday's ceremony. His name is etched on the new monument, which stands next to the older war monument that bears his father's name. The late Bertrand L. Iseminger Sr. was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, said Bert Iseminger Jr., who served in Germany during the Vietnam War.

Iseminger said he worked in the Army Security Agency, which eavesdropped on Russians and East Germans, and sent the information they gathered to the National Security Agency.

"It's an honor to have my name there," Iseminger said.

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