The Lake Superior Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Richard I Bong American Legion Post #435 and the Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center would like to foster community support and involvement as well as promote patriotic literacy for individuals, families, communities and the nation through the Our Heroes Tree.

The Our Heroes Tree program has been hosted by these three organization since 2013. It started as a national movement in 2005 and is now in 34 states and 10 countries. The goal of the tree is to honor military members who have been deployed to overseas combat operation, and to domestic duty stations in support of foreign conflicts and also those deployed in support of national and international relief missions in the aftermath of disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes.

The white lights on the tree are a symbol of those who have lost their lives defending our freedoms, the yellow ribbon is used as a symbol of solidarity with someone who is far from home, and an expression of hope that they will return safely and soon. We encourage you to place a handmade ornament with a picture, name, and military information on the tree and/or write a memoir for placement in the journal about your Veteran, these will be kept and displayed from year to year.

The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center
The Mission of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is to preserve and honor the memory of Major Bong and all veterans of World War II as well as subsequent conflicts and to provide educational resources for the Twin Ports area community and beyond.

The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center invites the public to a book talk on the World War I experiences of Minnesota brothers Marland and Stanley Williams on November 30. With Love to All: The World War I Letters and Photographs of Two Minnesota Brothers Marland and Stanley Williams was published by the Goodhue County Historical Society in June 2017. The talk with begin at 6:00 p.m. at the Center.

Assembled and published for the first time, this collection of photographs and letters by the Williams brothers is a compelling and personal narrative of army life during World War I. Upon the United States’ declaration of war in April 1917, seventeen-year-old Marland and his older brother Stanley volunteered for duty. Marland was a bandsman with the 125th Field Artillery of the 34th Sandstorm Division – among the first Minnesota units sent to Camp Cody, New Mexico, for training. His treasure trove of photographs and letters describe every aspect of the 125th F. A. during its nearly year-long training experience and journey to France. Stanley enlisted as a member of the Minnesota 151st Field Artillery, part of the legendary 42nd Rainbow Division. As one of the first units to fight in France. Battalion Sergeant Major Stanley Williamss letters give a glimpse into Rainbow Division’s combat experience as it endured many of the war’s most costly battles.

Book editor Elizabeth Williams Gomoll, granddaughter of Marland Williams, will bring these letters and photographs to life, providing an intimate, inside perspective on these principled and dedicated Minnesota brothers during a momentous period of American history. After the talk, attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a copy of With Love to All and have it signed by Ms. Gomoll.

Elizabeth Williams Gomoll is professional genealogist. She is president of the Association of Professional Genealogists Northland Chapter, and co-editor of the Minnesota Genealogist quarterly journal. Liz is also a professional flutist, performing with the Rochester Symphony and the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra. When weather permits, Liz and her husband Roger find joy in flying their 1928 open cockpit biplane.

Sponsorship for this event provided by the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center and the Goodhue County Historical Society in Red Wing MN along with funding from the Red Wing Shoe Company Foundation.

The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center
The Mission of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is to preserve and honor the memory of Major Bong and all veterans of World War II as well as subsequent conflicts and to provide educational resources for the Twin Ports area community and beyond.

About the Goodhue County Historical Society
The Goodhue County Historical Society, located in Red Wing, MN, was founded in 1869 as the first county historical society in Minnesota. It operates the Goodhue County History Center, which features 15 separate exhibit spaces, research library, meeting room, and museum store. To learn more about the Goodhue County Historical Society, visit their website at www.goodhuecountyhistory.org.

The Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center has organized a first ever Northland Field Trip Expo that will take place next month on November 16th. The Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center has also invited nine other area organizations to participate to help showcase what the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior have to offer.

“The Northland Field Trip Expo is an outgrowth of our Educator Open House, which the Center has hosted for the last five years,” stated Richard I Bong Historical Center Education and Outreach Coordinator John Gidley.

“We wanted to not only show off what we have to offer, but also what the Twin Ports has for school groups, home schoolers, scout groups, etc.,” said Hayes Scriven who is the Executive Director of the Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center.

Both Gidley and Scriven recently attended the Minnesota Field Trip Expo this past summer in St. Paul and were convinced of the need to bring something similar to the Northland. “We were already hosting an open house so just inviting some more organizations to the evening is a natural progression for us,” said Gidley.

Sarah Wilcox, Director of Education for the Lake Superior Zoo felt this was a wonderful opportunity. “The Zoo is looking forward to connecting with educators and other field trip planners at this expo. We have about 150 groups visit us every year but not all of them participate in an education program. We’re excited to tell teachers about our twenty different hands-on animal programs that can reinforce classroom learning.”

The Northland Field Trip Expo will feature Glensheen, Lake Superior Zoo, Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center, Superior Public Museums (S.S. Metor Maritime Museum, Fairlawn Museum, Old Firehouse and Police Musuems), Lake Superior Railroad Museum, The Duluth Depot, The St. Louis County Historical Society, Douglas County Historical Society, Duluth Children’s Museum and Lake Superior Estuarine Research Reserve.

The Northland Field Trip Exop will be November 16 from 4:30-7:00 p.m. at the Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center, in Superior Wisconsin. There is no cost to attend and all teachers, home school parents, troop leaders and all group tour leaders are invited to attend. For more information on how to register visit bvhcenter.org

They were young, half a world away from home, and at war…
Northland Vietnam Veterans Share Their Personal Stories

The Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center and WDSE•WRPT Public Television are hosting a community screening of the station’s local 2-part documentary Vietnam-Remembering. Following the screening will be an opportunity for sharing and discussion facilitated by producer Juli Kellner and others involved in the project.

The Vietnam War was the most divisive conflict in American history since the Civil War. Even 50 years later, there are still open wounds that require healing. By hearing stories born in the Vietnam War we gain a deeper understanding about its impact on an entire generation and its lessons for today. WDSE•WRPT worked in collaboration with area veteran’s organizations, community partners and the statewide Minnesota Public Television Association to find untold powerful local stories of those impacted by Vietnam War. “It was an honor to sit down with our Vietnam veterans and hear their memories of war. Their interviews are candid and profound, and something we can all learn from.” stated producer Juli Kellner.

Both episodes feature Vietnam veterans from the area including Superior, Duluth, Hibbing and Cloquet. Also included are highlights from the emotional event “The Wall That Heals” visit to Superior’s Barkers Island Festival Park this past summer. Hosted by Halvor Lines, the wall is a 250-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, along with a mobile education center

For more information visit wdse.org or bvhcenter.org. The Free Community Screening of Vietnam-Remembering will be
Thursday, November 9 at 6pm, Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center. The event is free and open to the public.

On October 5 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center invites the public to its 15th anniversary celebration, Beers and Cheers! This beer and wine tasting is free but a monetary donation is very appreciated!

15 years ago on September 24th the Richard I. Bong Historical Center opened its doors as the Richard I. Bong World War II Heritage Center. “Although our mission and name have changed slightly, we have always been dedicated to honoring, preserving and interpreting veteran’s stories. Not just from the Twin Ports area but the larger Northland area,” said Hayes Scriven, Center’s Executive Director.

The Center’s mission is to preserve and honor the memory of Major Bong and all veterans of World War II, as well as subsequent conflicts and to provide educational resources for the Twin Ports area community and beyond. This year, the Center has had a renewed interest. We have an will be hosting many, some of which even stretch the mission like the World War I trench display that opened earlier this Spring. “We are truly an inclusive veteran’s center,” said Terry Lundberg, Chair of the Center’s board of directors and one of its founding members. Lundberg continues, “It was important for us to get the Center open so we could not only have a place to memorialize one of our nation’s top heroes but all veteran’s stories.”

Since the Center opened it has conducted over 600 oral histories, accessioned over 10,000 items into the collection and 528 tiles memorialize over 2,100 veterans as part of the memorial wall. The Center has hosted many programs, events and exhibits over the years.

“We have big plans for the next few years,” Scriven said. “I want the public to know that they can come to our programs and feel welcome here, veterans have played an important role in the development of this area, people need to know that and be proud of it.”

The tasting will feature beers from Blacklist Artisan Ales, Bent Paddle Brewing Co. and Castle Danger Brewing. Wine will be provided by Murphy Goode, the event is in coordination with Keyport Liquor.

Bring the family down to the museum on Labor Day!  We will be open regular hours, 9am-5pm.

Superior, Wisconsin man’s service to his country to be honored during flag raising ceremony.


A Flag of Remembrance will fly Friday, September 1st, for Sergeant Arnold A. “Clint” Houk who served his country as a member of the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War.         

 The American Flag will be raised at 9:00 a.m. in front of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center for Sergeant Arnold A. Houk.

 Arnold Arron Houk was born September 1, 1946 in Port Angeles, Washinton.  Arnold graduated from the Port Angeles High School in 1964 and worked at the Crown Zellerbach Paper Mill in Port Angeles until he left for Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas on September 14, 1964.  He received his training in jet engine mechanics and then was stationed at the former Duluth Air Base, Duluth, Minnesota becoming a member of the 148th Fighter Unit.  

 Arnold met Mary Thompson of Superior, Wisconsin in 1965.  Arnold was deployed to Phan Rang Air Force Base, Vietnam in August 1966 returning home September 1967.  Arnold and Mary were married on September 23, 1967 at the Bethel Lutheran Church, Superior, Wisconsin and they traveled to Merced, California where Arnold was the Jet Engine Trim Team Chief, Engine Conditioning Section, 93rd Field Maintenance Squadron, Castle Air Force Base, California.  

Their son, Ronald, was born on the airbase on May 18, 1968.  Later, Arnold was Honorably Discharged with the rank of Sergeant from active duty.  Arnold and Mary moved back to Superior, Wisconsin.

 Arnold was the 1980 Tri-State (Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan) Arm Wrestling Champion for all weight classes.  Arnold would not be able to defend that title as he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in 1981.

 Arnold never faltered in his faith and said this faith blessed him with a daughter, Jamie Rae on February 22, 1984.  His son, Ronald, blessed him with grandson Timothy in 1991.  Arnold’s faith also gave him the strength and courage to face the challenges through his lengthy battle with cancer and the effects of radiation treatment.  Arnold’s legacy continues with the birth of granddaughter Liliana (2004) and grandson William (2011). 

 Arnold passed away on September 5, 2002 and was laid to rest at the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Spooner, Wisconsin.  The entire Houk family and friends are proud of Arnold’s service to his country and are happy to have a Flag of Remembrance flown in his memory.        

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information about the “Flag of Remembrance Program”, you may contact any of the following individuals:  John Vaski – (715) 394-7693; Scott Markle – (218) 269-4675.  You may also leave a message at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center (715) 392-7151.  Email may also be utilized at:  gro.retnechvb@ofni                  

On September 7th, we will host amateur historian Jim Hencinski, who will present on the little known story of “The Concrete Battleship.”

One hundred years ago while the United States was fighting the First World War in Europe, on the other side of the globe the U.S. Army Coastal Artillery Corps was completing construction work on a unique military installation that would play a vital, but now largely forgotten part in the Second World War some twenty years later.

Fort Drum, the “Concrete Battleship”, was one of the fortifications built to protect Manila Bay from attack by enemy warships. During the Japanese invasion of the Philippine Islands in 1941-42, the American soldiers manning it endured five months of almost constant bombardment from both artillery and aircraft in a gallant, but doomed effort to turn back the invading forces.

This presentation will tell the story of Fort Drum from its construction in the early 20th century through its glory years in the 1920s and 1930s and its ordeal in World War II. The presentation will use many rarely seen period photographs as well as contemporary ones by taken by recent visitors to document this forgotten monument to the courage of those Americans who defended it to the bitter end in May 1942 and those who retook it from the enemy in February 1945.

Speaker Jim Hencinski is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer who served as an intelligence analyst for twenty years (1975-1995). He is an avid amateur historian with a special interest in World War II who has given many public talks on overlooked or misunderstood aspects of that era.

The program beings at 6:30 p.m. on September 7th. Refreshments will be served.

The Mission of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is to preserve and honor the memory of Major Bong and all veterans of World War II as well as subsequent conflicts and to provide educational resources for the Twin Ports area community and beyond.

We are proud to announce that on August 12, we will be hosting the Military/Civilian Vehicle Show presented by Kern and Kompany. “This year’s show promises to be the biggest one since the event’s first year.” said Hayes Scriven, Executive Director of the Center. This year’s event will feature the newly acquired M60 tank along with an operational M4A3 Sherman Tank that you can crawl into and start up. In addition, the Wisconsin National Guard and Coast Guard are providing numerous vehicles and a boat for the show. The Twin Ports Mustang & Ford Car Club will be hosting a Show ‘N’ Shine for civilian cars and Benna Ford will showcase many of its new 2017 models. In addition, there will be a live broadcast from KQ95 from 11-2. Finally, the Center is hosting a military book sale and the Bong Book Club is hosting a bake sale.

Kids Events
This year’s show will also feature music by Deepwater Music. They will have a wide range of bands that will be playing music all day. In addition, there will be World War II re-enactors from Fox Company, 2nd Battalion 502nd 101st Airborne. They will host a WW II weapons demonstration along with a paratrooper jump demonstration for kids. Kids/adults will have the opportunity to view the M4 Sherman tank up close and get inside it.

Admission is $5.00 and that includes admission into the Center for the entire day. Gates open at 10:00 a.m. and close at 5:00 p.m. The show is located in the Bong

Center Parking lot at 305 Harbor View Parkway (next to Perkins). Visitors are asked to park in the greenspace across from Marina Drive. We will have golf carts on hand to assist the elderly or handicapped to the Center.

For more information visit bvhcenter.org or check out our Facebook page.


The Mission of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is to preserve and honor the memory of Major Bong and all veterans of World War II as well as subsequent conflicts and to provide educational resources for the Twin Ports area community and beyond.





by Clyde Annala

The origin of Uncle Sam is uncertain, but the persona has been around since the War of 1812.  The “Uncle Sam” of today was created by magazine illustrator James Montgomery Flagg, first appearing in public July 6, 1916.  Over 4,000,000 copies of his iconic “I Want You” poster with a bearded, finger pointing, Uncle Sam were produced during World War One.

This image was extremely popular with the public and Americans started calling their soldiers ‘sammies’, or ‘Sammy’, a nephew of Uncle Sam.  The name caught on.  In July of 1917 General Pershing, commander of the American forces, reported French civilians calling his soldiers ‘sammies’.

In the Twin Ports, a daily paper, the Duluth News Tribune, started a campaign called Sammie Backers, urging older men to “adopt” a soldier to support with mail and small gifts.  It seemed America’s troops were destined to be known as ‘sammies’ until word got out through letters and chinwag that the troops hated it.

“Don’t call me ‘sammy’”, they wrote.  Nor did they want to be called yanks, especially the southern soldiers, despite public popularity of the name as celebrated in the song Over There with its patriotic proclamation that the yanks are coming.  What the soldiers fancied was “doughboy.”  That moniker seems to have been started by a populace movement among their ranks.

Doughboy is another obscure name, probably originating during the Mexican War when American infantry ended a day’s march covered in white road dust.  There is a lot of speculation on the origin of doughboy and its connection with the American military, but no one knows for sure.  Perhaps British and French troops got the last word, claiming the Americans are called doughboys because they were needed in 1914 but didn’t rise until 1917.

Well, rise they did.  Some 4,800,000 of them.  They won the war, and Americans welcomed their doughboys home, sammy all but forgotten.  The doughboy of World War One left a legacy that proudly stands alongside the “GI” of World War Two and Korea, “grunts” of Vietnam, and modern day “joe” fighting the war on terrorism.