Herald JournalHerald Journal, Nov. 17, 2003

Winsted speaker back from Iraq

By Ryan Gueningsman

Retired Lt. Col. Jim Lauer spoke of his time in the Iraqi Conflict at Tuesday's Veterans Day dinner at Winsted Legion Post 407.

Lauer, of Hutchinson, was involved in the planning of the actual combat, starting in August of last year. He was involved especially with the aviation specialists, specifically the helicopter portions of the operation, he said.

"The actual conflict went very quick, much more quickly than we had planned," he said.

The type of conflict in Iraq now is very localized within a three-city area, spread apart by about 100 miles, he said.

"There are very different reactions from people in the country based on where you are at," he said.

After the conflict itself ended, press coverage dropped off, but that didn't mean that daily ambushes and attacks were happening daily, he said.

"It wasn't until after they realized that, and now you see those accounts in the news," he said. "It's not unexpected, but it is hard to deal with."

Lauer feels that those who make the biggest sacrifice are family members left behind. He publicly expressed his appreciation to his wife, Lynn.

He also encouraged local communities to be supportive and welcome troops returning home.

"The biggest thing for families is to be patient," he said. "It's not easy. It's never been easy for people returning ­ everyone reacts differently. It is the perfect time for organizations like this (the Legion) to reach out and bring them in."

A number of local veterans received recognition for years of continuous membership:

Five years ­ Kathleen (Jagodzinski) Tumilty, Lawrence Scherer

Ten years ­ Dick Norman, Marvin Hirsch, Jr.

20 years ­ Dick Langenfeld, Herbert Bauer, Jerome Horstmann, Kurt Landin

25 years ­ Eric Otto, Jean Kappel, Jeff Sterner, Robert Laxen, Truman Asleson

30 years ­ James Neff, Frank Merges, Glenn Zdrazil, Richard Fasching, Roger Kallenbach, Victor Emigh III

35 years ­ Noel Guggemos

40 years ­ Francis Kappel, Kenneth Conrad

45 years ­ Ben Weinbeck

50 years ­ Jerome Thiemann

55 years ­ Art Guggemos, George Lachermeier, John Parten, Kenneth Norman

60 years ­ Luke Otto, Richard Sterner

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