PATEROS – Members of the Columbia River Quilters honored two local veterans, Bill Zwiegle and Doug Kirk, by presenting each with a custom-made quilt during the 71st Apple Pie Jamboree last Saturday, July 20. During a noon ceremony on the stage at Sweet River Bakery, Quilters spokesperson Lisa Schluneger delivered prepared remarks about what it means to be a veteran before introducing each recipient with a history of his service.
“Today, we honor our veterans, we celebrate their achievements, what they stand for, and thank them for their sacrifices,” said Schluneger. “We stand in the midst of patriots and the family and friends of those who have nobly served, who have sacrificed as well.”
Zwiegle entered the Navy active reserves directly from school in 1953 during the Eisenhower administration. He completed boot camp at Camp Pendleton, San Diego, Calif. and went to sea as a seaman apprentice.
Zwiegle divided much of his time between studying and service labor. Dissatisfied with this arrangement and wanting to advance he enrolled in Naval Hospital Corps School and became a hospital corpsman.
Naval Hospital Corps School develops, teaches, and places hospital corpsmen into the fleet: aboard ships, aboard Naval Hospitals, in Department of Defense medical facilities, with United States Marine Corps units, or elsewhere.
As a hospital corpsman, Zwiegle assisted health care professionals in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury and with providing medical care to sailors including administering shots and stitching up wounds.
Zwiegle spent his onshore active duty at the Bremerton Naval Hospital and was honorably discharged in January 1961 after eight years of service. He spent 13 years in retail at Nordstrom’s before moving to Bridgeport to work in the fruit business. He retired in 2007 and currently serves as animal control officer for the City of Bridgeport.
Zwiegle’s son, Keith, the Pateros Fire Chief, accepted the quilt on behalf of his father.
Kirk entered “the greatest branch in the U.S. military, the Army” in his words, in 2006. Following completion of boot camp at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was stationed with the 25th Infantry Division Wolfhounds at Scofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The Wolfhounds established in 1901 have served in campaigns from the Philippine-American War in 1899 to Afghanistan and Iraq today.
Kirk trained in many classes to acquire communications and survival skills before deploying for 15 months to Sadr City, Baghdad, his main theater of operations. He was assigned as part of a spear team tasked to monitor and capture high priority combatants through top secret technology only recently released to U.S. law enforcement.
Kirk spent the majority of these missions between piloting the Stryker, an eight-wheeled armored fighting vehicle during day operations and as a door breach or first man on tactical missions flown in Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters. He received many awards and commendations for his service.
“They do not compare to the loss of brothers,” said Kirk. “I have valued all that I went through, although it weighs heavy day to day.”
Kirk worked on a cattle ranch while attending college for three years when he met his wife, Wendy. The couple moved home to Brewster where Kirk is the Water Department Manager for the City of Pateros. The Kirks are now hard at work building a home and sustainable farm.
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