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Veteran visits campus chapel, shares battle story (VIDEO)

Apart from celebrating a three-day weekend, students got a glimpse into the life of a veteran when Vern Schmidt arrived on campus Tuesday morning, Nov. 14. The Tuesday-morning chapel began with songs from the Worship Team, followed by Schmidt sharing his story through an interview with Paul Loeffler.

Schmidt was brought to campus as part of Loeffler’s interest in sharing with Valley audiences his Hometown Heroes program: a weekly show dedicated to telling the stories of World War II veterans on KMJ 580 AM radio.

Schmidt served in the 35th Regiment in the 90th Infantry Division from 1944 through 1946 during World War II and he was recalled during the Korean War from 1950-1951. He served a total of four years, active duty, and four years reserve duty. Entering the war as only a 19-year old, Schmidt found himself in battle only days after traveling to Europe. Within nine days in combat, Schmidt had made friends who died in his place, who he will remember forever.

On a day-to-day life, Schmidt remembers the common enemies they faced, the Germans and the weather. Schmidt also reflects on how much walking he did the first month of his tour.

Upon returning to Europe, Schmidt was able to meet with friends that took him directly to the sight of one of his battles, which again was able to provide a closing feeling for him.

“When I went back to Europe this past time, I was taken to one of the sights of the battles,” Schmidt said. “We found out through this who we were actually fighting. It was a radical Secret Service (SS) group, and when they told me I thought ‘isn’t that ironic,’ because it was the same group that, two months earlier, had wounded, ambushed and captured my brother. It’s just another great closing for me to meet these people to show us where we were victorious in that battle on that hill.”

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