Happy Veterans Day: Concordia Residents Share Remarkable Stories of Time in the Service

Al Hammer Navy

Each year, we take time to recognize the heroic men and women who have served our Country throughout the years. While we celebrate and recognize all veterans for their service, we want to share three particular stories with you from our own Concordia residents at several of our locations. Each of them shared a memory about their time in the service and what Veterans Day means to them.

Al Hammer, Concordia at Cabot Retirement Living Resident, Navy Search and Rescue, Vietnam 1966-1967:

“I served onboard a Guided Missile frigate with a rescue helicopter on deck as part of Navy search and rescue operations to find and save downed pilots and crews. There were two search and rescue stations at the time and each ship had an onboard helicopter. Our station was an area about 30 miles off the coast of North Vietnam. The typical assignment was to steam around our station until a rescue call was made, and then launch the helicopter as part of a Navy and Air Force rescue attempt. We stayed on station for approximately 30 days (24 hours per day) and then were relieved by another ship, which repeated the process. In the 14 months that we participated in this assignment, my ship was credited with rescuing six pilots. For the period of heavy bombing from 1965-1967, 912 U.S. planes were downed, of which 458 pilots and crew were rescued. Most of the rescues had heroic efforts by the helicopter crews. I was extremely proud of my Vietnam service time. Although it was not a popular war, those of us who were there did our best. The helicopter pilots and crews are true heroes.”

Dan Treusch Air ForceDaniel Treusch, Highpointe at Rebecca Retirement Living Resident, Air Force, 1964-1968:

“I served in the United States Air Force from November 6, 1964 and was Honorably Discharged November 2, 1968 as a Staff Sergeant. I enlisted with the promise from my recruiter that I would be assigned (after basic training) to a training unit in the data processing field. After basic training at Lackland AFB in Texas (my first airplane ride ever) my unit was informed that the quota for the data processing training had been met and that we would be assigned to one of the following: the Military Police, Food Service or the Medics. I was assigned to eight weeks of Basic Medical Helper Training at Gunter AFB in Alabama. Two weeks prior to getting our next assignment, we were given the opportunity to write an essay outlining how we would “fit in” with our new careers. I wrote an essay on how I would benefit the USAF Medical Corps as a Medical Records Clerk. My next assignment would have me remain at Gunter AFB as a student in the Medical Administration Specialist Class. Prior to completing this training, we were given the opportunity to write yet another essay for our next (hospital) assignment. I read down the list of hospitals; one at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio (close to home) and another caught my eye, the USAF Hospital in Europe, at Weisbaden, Germany (a chance to travel). I wrote another essay highlighting my German heritage, both my parents and grandparents were German, and soon I was on my way to Germany. I began work as an Outpatient Medical Records Clerk. All-in-all it was very much the ‘growing up’ phase of my life.”

Thomas Allen, Concordia Village of Tampa Retirement Living Resident, United States Marine Corps, 1965-1991:

“I spent 26 years in the Marine Corps most of which I was an Attack Helicopter Pilot. I was stationed at various locations including; Parris Island, S.C., Camp Lejeune, N.C., Camp Pendleton, Calif., Pensacola, Fla., Quantico, Va., Fort Rucker, Ala., Vietnam and Lebanon. Most of my memories of my time in the service are very positive because of the people I met and served with and the challenges we faced together. Three of my favorite memories are when my oldest son graduated from Parris Island, my second son was promoted to Navy Chief and my grandson also graduated from Parris Island. I come from a military family with 14 members who have served in all four of the services from WWII to the present. While most of the time on [Veterans Day] we remember the actual service members, I remember the family members that these individuals were supported by. Especially the wives who kept the home safe and raised the children during the long absences of the father. Many times the wife was in charge of the household and executed all of the family moves/relocations while the husband was deployed.
We want to say thank you to all Concordia veterans and veterans across the country for your devoted service and heroism. We wish you and your family a happy Veterans Day!

For more information about our senior care locations in Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and Tampa, Florida, visit our locations map to find a Concordia community near you or call our headquarters at 724-352-1571.

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