Vet Wall.jpg
Phil Sevening, Mark Meister, Fritz Wigand pointing to Phil Baker name, and Mike Smith.
Phil Baker.jpg
Philip Lou Baker - 3 Dec 1948--3 Mar 1969
Stephen Craig Briese - 1 Nov 1950--8 Aug 1970
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Wall facing east - north side
Wall Right.jpg
Wall facing east - south side
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Central section - facing east

Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall

Thanks to the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #888, The American Legion Post #230 of Cherokee, and many generous sponsors, the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall was on display from September 13-17 at the Cherokee fairgrounds. 


When the request was made for volunteers, four members of Sioux Valley Post 1750, V.F.W., of Correctionville, were honored to have the opportunity to participate.  On Friday, September 14, from 8 p.m. until midnight, the two Army veterans, Mike Smith and Fritz Wigand, and two Air Force veterans, Mark Meister and Phil Sevening, in full uniform, braved the cold to provide security for the wall and give assistance to other veterans and area residents as they viewed names of family and friends on the many panels which make up the wall. 


Viewing the wall is a very emotional experience which often brings back a flood of memories, both good and bad, especially for those who served in Vietnam.  Each veteran has his own story, sometimes difficult to put into words, but easier shared with other veterans.  Cities, provinces and areas in which they served were often in the news as “hot spots” and even today are easily recognized by older generations.


Mike Smith was a member of the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam from September 1968 through August 29, 1969.  He served in the A-Shau Valley, located in the western Thua Thien province. This narrow 25-mile valley was an arm of the Ho Chi Minh Trail used for funneling troops and supplies toward Hué and Danang.  From the early days of America’s involvement in this war the A-Shau Valley was a major battle ground.  Mike’s last mission was into ChuLai, a dangerous area located south of Danang and north of MyLai where heavy casualties were the norm. 


Fritz Wigand was a member of the 133rd National Guard Mechanized Infantry.  He was activated at Fort Carson, Colorado, and in January 1969 was sent to Vietnam where he served at Chuchi, located about 75 km outside of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), one of the strongholds of Vietcong during the Vietnam War, and where the famous hand-dug tunnel systems were located.  At first Fritz was a medic and saw his share of war casualties, but was fortunate to be selected to be the Company Clerk for the 554th Engineers Division. 


Phil Sevening was a member of the 185th Tactical Fighter Group that was recalled to active duty in January 1968, and he served in Vietnam until May 1969.   Phil was assigned to the 37th Civil Engineering Squadron, where he learned the plumbing trade.  Although not in hand-to-hand combat while in Vietnam, he remembers explosions around him as he went about his work.  Phil remained in the Air National Guard where he completed 30 years of service.


Mark Meister was fortunate to serve in a support mission at U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, located on the Gulf of Thailand about 120 miles south of Bangkok.  He arrived in Thailand in April 1972 and returned home in May 1973.  As night shift supervisor he was responsible for Repair and Reclamation, Wheel & Tire, and worked to keep the B-52 bombers and KC-135s up and running for their missions over Vietnam.   Mark retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1987 after more than 20 years of service.


Of the 58,228 names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall, 855 names were those of brave Iowans who lost their lives during the Vietnam War (1959-1975).   Rural Woodbury County lost seven young men, two each from Correctionville and Danbury, and one each from Anthon, Smithland, and Pierson.  It seems fitting to remember these young men once again.


Philip Lou Baker of Correctionville who began his tour with the Army National Guard was serving with Company A Headquarters, 3rd Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, as a medical corpsman from January 3, 1969, until his death at Kontum, South Vietnam, on March 3, 1969.  His name is on panel 30W, line 18.


Stephen Craig Briese of Correctionville was with the Army Third Platoon, Company C, Second Battalion, Seventh Cavalry, 1st Airborne Cavalry Division from June 25, 1970, until his death at Long Khanh, South Vietnam, on August 8, 1970.  His name is on panel 08W, line 92.

Gail Gene Sanderson of Anthon was in the Marine Corps, 13th Marine Artillery Regiment, A Battery, 1st Battalion in Vietnam from November 6, 1968, until his death on May 27, 1969, about 10 miles south of Danang in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam.  His name is on panel 23W, line 3.


William R. Mohrhauser of Danbury was with the Army 25th Infantry Division from September 7, 1968, until his death January 26, 1969, at Tay Ninh, South Vietnam.  His name is on panel 34W, line 86.


Daniel Wayne Thomas of Danbury was a Captain in the Air Force Reserve as a pilot from March 11, 1971, until his death in an air crash October 11, 1979, in Laos.  His body was not recovered.  His name is on panel 03W, line 102.


Donald Fred Wood of Smithland was a 1st Lt. in the Army Reserve, 1st Infantry Division, from May 7, 1969, until his death on August 19, 1969, at Binh Duong, South Vietnam.  His name is listed on Panel 19W, line 76.


Mark Carson Peterson of Pierson was in the Marine Corps from December 28, 1966, until his death November 19, 1967, at Quang Nam, South Vietnam.  His name is listed on Panel 30E, line 31.


If you have not had the opportunity to visit this moving wall but would like to do so, the schedule and other good information can be found online at




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Veteran's Memorial


The Correctionville Veteran's Memorial was dedicated “to all who honorably served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America” on June 16, 2005, as part of the opening ceremony of Correctionville's Sesquicentennial celebration.   During this dedication the U.S. Flag,  plus flags from all branches of the military, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as the flags of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, POW/MIA, American Legion Auxiliary, Disabled American Veterans and the Iowa State Flag, were presented and placed around the memorial.

You will see that the flags of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, our U.S. flag, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary are still in their positions around the memorial.