Veterans Stories
Sharon Dierberger

Serving those who served

History | One Vietnam War veteran found healing by honoring other vets
by Sharon Dierberger
Posted 2/11/21, 12:51 pm

Seventh in a series on war veterans

Flying 70 feet above the tree line, helicopter crew chief and machine gunner Jerry Kyser saw North Vietnamese soldiers on the ground fire rocket-propelled grenades toward him. 

“RPG!” he yelled into his mic. The pilot of the UH-1 Huey quickly veered upward, and the explosive missiles passed directly underneath the skids. Kyser’s heart thudded.

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Illustration by Trudy King; Inset: Handout

Close-call survivor

History | WWII veteran Wilbur Halvorsen says brushes with death strengthened his faith in God
by Sharon Dierberger
Posted 1/28/21, 07:57 am

Sixth in a series on war veterans

Staff Sgt. Halvorsen yelled for his men to take two shots and keep running, following orders to get downhill in the dark past German snipers and into the Belgium village of Mageret. As Halvorsen knelt to fire his own shots, his M1 rifle jammed. He jiggled the bolt to unjam it, when—phsht!—a German bullet hit him in the chest. He crumpled to the ground, and the Battle of the Bulge went on without him.

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Flying unfriendly skies

History | WWII pilot Bill Patten faced perils of combat and turned to God
by Sharon Dierberger
Posted 11/19/20, 02:44 pm

Fifth in a series on war veterans

Over Regensburg, Germany, flak not only hit the plane, but tore into a crew member and the chief pilot’s thigh. As the pilot tried to stanch bleeding, co-pilot Bill Patten took over the controls.

Patten, 26, was a pilot with the 15th Air Force. He had a wife and daughter back home in Kansas City, Mo. Once in a while he’d read a Bible someone had sent to him, but as a not-too-religious military man, he took little comfort in it.

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