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Remembering the lives and sacrifices of three Iowa veterans

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River to River airs weekdays at 12 p.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One and 10 p.m. on IPR News, and is available as a podcast most days by 5 p.m.

Today, a special archive edition to mark Veteran’s Day. Our first conversation is from October 25, 2019 when private military historian Brent Westemeyer uncovered an error in an iconic image from World War II. He discovered that one of the six Marines who helped raise the American flag on Mount Suribachi at the battle of Iwo Jima in the South Pacific was mis-identified. The soldier turned out to be a man from Brooklyn, Iowa. His name was Harold "Pie" Keller.

Later, Sergeant First Class Sean Everette tells the story of how the remains of William Tucker of Bedford, Iowa were laid to rest in May 2021, 80 years after his death at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Then, a conversation honoring the life of Chief Petty Officer and Navy Seal Jon Tumilson of Rockford. On August 6, 2011, Tumilson, along with 29 other service members, boarded a Chinook helicopter to provide backup to Army Rangers under fire. Soon after take off, an RPG from enemy forces hit the helicopter. Everyone on board was killed instantly. It became one of the deadliest attacks on U.S. forces during the war in Afghanistan.

Guests:

  • Brent Westemeyer, private military historian
  • Sergeant First Class Sean Everette, public affairs specialist for The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency based in Washington, D.C.
  • Joy Tumilson McMeekan, sister of Jon Tumilson
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Rick Brewer is a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River