Veteran remembered with special event

This photo of Ron Shepherd was taken on his way to Vietnam. Shirley Kuester said she remembers him posing just as he is in the photo, always standing with one or both hands in his pocket but would have a smile on his face. Contributed photo

Ronald Shepherd, who had attained the rank of specialist 4, had only one month of service remaining in the Army when he lost his life in the Vietnam War. He was 21 years old and stationed in Chulai.

Before his mother, Irene, died, she said her son, who attended Watertown High School, had aspirations of returning to life on the family's farm near Ixonia.

Until her death she displayed the medals that her son was awarded. He received two Purple Hearts. He received a Bronze Star with a "V" for valor. He also received two medals for his rifle marksmanship.

Her son died on July 5, 1967. He was buried in Glenview Memorial Gardens in Ixonia on July 21, 1967.

His name is on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. On Saturday, during the Marine Corps League Picnic, Shepherd will be recognized during the 14th annual Veteran Statue Naming Dedication Ceremony. The event will take place at 2 p.m. in Aero Park off of Boomer and South Ninth streets in Watertown.

Commandant Gary Stueber of the Bartelme-Schwefel Detachment No. 349 said Shepherd was known by many of his classmates and several others in the Watertown community.

"He was a hometown hero. We want to remember our fallen heroes," said Stueber, who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marines with the rank of staff sergeant in August 1977.

Stueber said the special recognition of Shepherd includes a special buffet.

It costs $25 for adults but those 10 years old and under are free. Food will be served from 1 to 4 p.m. but the event begins at noon and ends at 7 p.m.

All of the contributions are to maintain Aero Park.

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