In celebration of Memorial Day, AP United States History teacher, Tim Phipps, invited veterans in to Woodland to speak with students and tell their stories. Throughout this day, many waves of students were brought in to the Veterans Forum to listen to their stories, ask questions, and learn more about the wars these soldiers fought in. Here is a brief view of the stories these Veterans had to share.
Bruce Carlson, Navy:
Carlson never planned on going to college after high school and instead enlisted in the Navy, as his father and grandfather did. He began during the Cold War, where his job being to prepare for anything that could come with the possibility of a nuclear war with Communist Russia. With both countries threatening missile attack, the main job of the U.S. Armed Forces was to prepare for the unknown. In 2005, Carlson was deployed to Iraq with the Seabee, the Navy construction forces, in support of the Seal teams special forces. Carlson, as Senior Enlisted Leader, was the assistant officer in charge for navy construction men. Carlson and his forces were deployed to Baghdad and there, they played an instrumental part in starting the base for the Iraqi special forces. Now, he is the senior facility electrician at Sikorsky, who has retired from the Navy after 27 years of duty.
Chris Bielik, Navy:
Bielik decided to join the Navy when he was in fifth grade after reading a book about the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, going to college here was free and once you graduate, you rank as an officer in the navy and he wanted to be a pilot. Bielik was a pilot, who flew P-3 planes, which are large, four engine maritime control aircraft. Jobs of these pilots would be controlling submarine warfare, counter narcotics, an surface surveillance, all things they did from remote and exotic locations. His squadron was deployed to island of Adak, Alaska, part of the Aleutian island, Bielik was shooting an approach where the crosswinds were blowing across the runway, so he was moving down the runway at a 45 angle trying to straighten to land during a snow stormlike conditions. Bielik is currently theFirst Selectman of Beacon Falls.
Gregory Wright, Air Force:
Wright started college during the Vietnam War in 1967 and after a few months he found he did not like the college he was attending. Wright wanted training in electronics, which the Air Force would give to him, so he decided to go in to the service and months later went into training. first he was in electronics training, but did not do well and ended up in explosive training. the training started in Denver, Colorado and then he went to Florida to work with live explosives. In 1969, he was deployed to Vietnam, approximately eighty miles from the border of North and South Vietnam. From his time in Vietnam, he remembers rocket attacks and bad plane crashes as some of these memories never go away. After four years in the Air Force, Wright began to work in the Postal Service and now after retiring, he and his wife take in foster children.
Frank Mis, Army:
Mis was draft age during the Second World War, which made him decide to join the army, as he knew his draft was soon to come. During his almost four years of service, he fought as a part of the seventh and fifth armies. Mis, though late into his nineties, can still picture his time in the war. He remembers being deployed to Sicily, Italy, right before Sicily fell to the Allied Forces. Here, Mis remembers having a fellow soldier tell him that they could see a German glider and the soldiers went down to the glider and it was the first German jet he had seen. Mis manned machine guns, while in the war and of his infantry only seven men from each company survived. At the end of the war, he was offered a job in Indiana, but did not take it as it was not part of the company.