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DU’s in the Gold Star Hall

Since you might find yourself walking through Gold Star Hall at the Memorial Union at Homecoming, and with Veterans Day coming up, I thought it might be timely to share a little of what I know about our nine brothers who sacrifices are commemorated there.

Mark H. Middlekauff ’16, born in Sioux City, earned his undergraduate degree at Oregon Agricultural College and was a graduate student at ISC in Ames. His father was one of the DU alumni who helped Omega Tau Beta become our Oregon State Chapter in 1922. As you know from the propeller memorial at 117 Ash, Brother Middlekauff was a pilot, and was killed in October 1918 while flying a plane from a staging area to the front lines in France.

Harold D. Shrider ’36 was also a pilot. He was flying air patrol missions from the USS Saratoga, protecting it against enemy attack as it steamed toward Wake Island two weeks after Pearl Harbor. On December 23, Brother Shrider’s SBD Dauntless lost power just after leaving the deck and plowed into the sea, sinking just ahead of the ship.

Capt. Burton C. “Stretch” Thomson ’37, of Swea City, Iowa, played basketball for two years for Iowa State before earning his degree in veterinary medicine. He was stationed with the Army on Corregidor in the Phillipines when the Japanese captured it in early 1942. He soon became one of the lead caretakers for injured American soldiers. When he stood up to an American sergeant whose sympathies had shifted to the enemy, the sergeant reported Brother Thomson as uncooperative, and on May 15, 1942, he was bound, taken to a remote area and shot to death. His remains were recovered in 1946 and he is buried in the Keokuk National Cemetery in Keokuk.

Capt. John M. Fuller ’40 was from Cedar Falls, and had charge of the Army 101st Airborne, 321st Glider Field Artillery, HQ Batallion, when he was killed near Bastogne, Belgium, in December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge.

1st. Lt. Russell E. Trenary ’40 was born in Platteville, Wisc., and later lived in Cedar Rapids. He was in the US Army Air Forces and was killed in action over Italy on Dec. 4, 1944.

2d. Lt. Richard B. Reed ’42, a Boston native who lived in Chicago before coming to Iowa State, was with the U. S. Army Air Forces, 416th Bombardment Squadron, 99th Bombardment Group. He was killed in action, but further information is not available.

1st. Lt. Curtis S. Sigler ’43, from Kansas City, flew P-40 Tomahawks for the 88th Fighter Squadron, 80th Fighter Group, 10th Air Force in the “CBI” China-Burma-India theatre. He enlisted on his 20th birthday, the day after Pearl Harbor, and was killed in action over Myitkyina, Burma, on July 28, 1944.

2d. Lt. Louis H. Willson ’44, of Ames, was the bombadier on a B-17G, 303rd Bomber Group, 360th Bomber Squadron, on a mission over Magdeburg, Germany, on Sept. 28, 1944. A group of 40 German fighters attacked their formation and 11 B-17s were shot down. Brother Willson and his eight crewmates were killed when their plane crashed near Hornburg, Germany.

Ensign Tom C. Van Alyea ’45, of Park Ridge, Ill., earned his wings in February 1945. He was among 18 Navy flyers killed in the crash of a transport plane in northeastern Oklahoma on Oct. 31, 1945. He had been assigned to fly planes from the Midwest to bases in Florida and was returning from a mission when the crash took his life.


We want to hear from you! Share with us your favorite memory from your time at Delta Upsilon (Email Us). We would like to share these stories in a special edition of the Open Visor later this semester

– Tom Hansen, ‘79

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