Archive for May, 2018

The newspaper articles following these several paragraphs were selected among publications throughout the state of Indiana for Memorial Day, 2018.

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I have known only three men who died while serving their country – two close friends and one known less to me – but each a brother in service. I have a personal connection of sorts with two others – one close and the other distant.


These associations are important to me, and the price I have paid for them is a small one and bear it gladly: a maturing, peaceful and bittersweet, thankful sadness that has held vigil in me for many years now.

I have a remaining sense of gladness for those friendships that were so good, and I am profoundly thankful for the sacrifices they all made.

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Andrew G. Baer
Peter G. Baer
Ralph C. Miller
John B. Willcoxon
John E. Heyen

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Andy (1Lt) and Ralph (Capt); WSO and pilot, respectively – were serving together as the flightcrew on an F-4 training flight over the Fallon, Nevada desert in September of 1990 when their jet crashed during a high-speed, low-altitude turning maneuver (intercept). They were preparing for what we all believed at the time to be a possible deployment to the Middle East. (Andy and I attended SUNT together – Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training – at Mather AFB in California.)ralph.jpg

Ralph is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Terre Haute.

Andy and Pete, Academy of Military Science, Knoxville, 1986

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Pete, Andy’s twin brother was also an F-4 “wizzo” – Weapons Systems Officer and navigator. He died as a colonel in the Indiana Air National Guard in November of 2008, in a car accident on his way home from the base. He had acheived a well-respected and distinguished flying career over many years and last served in a key leadership position with 181st Fighter Wing.

Andy and Pete are buried side-by-side at Roselawn Cemetery in Terre Haute.


1Lt John B Willcoxon was the older brother of my father-in-law, and a B-24 pilot and Group Operations Officer with the 90th Bombardment Group. After leaving Iron Range, Australia he had been flying out of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in July of 1943. After a successful bombing mission he had volunteered to lead and after shooting down numerous attacking Japanese fighters, his Liberator exploded over the Papua New Guinean jungle.

John’s memorials are located in Oberlin Cemetery, Oberlin, KS, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines.

PFC John Heyen’s name is known to every student of West Vigo High School since the late 1960’s. There is a bronze plaque bolted above the double doors that lead to the Viking’s gym. His is the only name on the plate. He was a 1966 graduate of West Vigo and in November of 1968 he died of wounds received during a firefight in South Vietnam.

John is buried at Bethesda Cemetery in West Terre Haute.

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Hoosier Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was a ‘haunting obligation’
Evansville Courier & Press

LEGACIES OF WORLD WAR II — Eugene Cogan’s recount of D-Day
The News Sentinel, Fort Wayne

Memorial Day is Monday
The News Sun, LaGrange County

Memorial Day: Scouts honor those who have served at Maplewood Cemetery
The Herald Bulletin, Anderson

Memories abound as veterans honored
The Madison Courier

Return of Tommy Murphy stops traffic in Cincinnati area
Banner Graphic, Greencastle

Honoring the fallen
Marion Chronicle Tribune

Astronaut Alan Bean Dies at 86
Indianapolis Post

Red poppy is symbol of sacrifice
The Batesville Herald Tribune

Weekend events set to honor Memorial Day
Jasper Herald

Veterans honor women during parade, ceremony
The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne

Ceremony honors new flag, new flagpole at courthouse
The Brazil Times

Crown Hill celebrates 150th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony
Indianapolis Star

Events to honor veterans at 6 locations over 3 days here
Chesterton Tribune

‘If you see a vet, thank a vet’: Ceremony honors armed forces’ service
The Herald Times, Bloomington

Air Force, St. Michael church honor Fessel
The Corydon Democrat

New VFW commander recalls service, friends
The Elkhart Truth

In memoriam: Cass Co. pays tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice
The Logansport Pharos-Tribune

Brownstown natives recall 50th anniversary of tragedy
Jackson County News

Memorial Day: Remembering Lafayette colonel killed at Chickamauga
Lafayette Journal & Courier

‘To honor our heroes’ 72nd Memorial Day ceremony held in Central Park
Courier & Press, Evansville

‘Remember the forgotten’
Herald-Press, Huntington

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AGB and MEC, Mather AFB, CA, 1987
Andy and me, Mather AFB, 1987. Never forgotten.

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