Winnemucca veterans give advice to younger generation

Winnemucca veterans give advice to younger generation

By Camille Lyon, Victoria Fragione, Brittany Nielsen, Mary Granath Posted April 28, 2010

In a time of war, it is important to be familiar with the current soldiers in your community. From World War II to the current war in Afghanistan, many veterans live in Winnemucca and they carry their experiences from the military. The military is a way of life for some, and many Lowry students choose some branch of the military for their post graduation.

One of the many veterans that live in Winnemucca is Paul Schlehr. Schlehr is a Vietnam veteran and served in the military for twenty years beginning November of 1958. Schlehr volunteered for enlistment, he wanted to go to college but could not support himself financially.

“The military gives opportunities for someone who is capable to be very much recognized,” said Schlehr.

Schlehr served on the USS Annapolis as an EMO, Electronics Material Officer. The military may seem different now than how it was viewed during Vietnam, Korea, or World War II, but it still comes with many benefits.

“I believe it matures the individual,” said Schlehr, “you see things most people don’t, and travel and see environments most won’t.” However, Schlehr also believes there is a bigger emphasis on politics in the military than there was when he served.

Desirae Lemm. /Courtesy •  Winnada
Desirae Lemm. /Courtesy • Winnada

After the military, there are many programs and clubs veterans may associate themselves with. Schlehr is involved in the American Legion and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 744.

Yet another Veteran residing in Winnemucca is Albert Fragione who had over 31 years of military service and fought in World War II (WWII).

“I wanted to fly planes in the beginning … the group was canceled because there weren’t enough planes to fly. So I figured if I couldn’t fly them I would jump out of them.”

Fragione spent the majority of his service during WWII in Okinawa, Japan. “When I woke up and I was scared, I wondered every day if today was my last day.”

However, Fragione has no regrets about choosing to go into the military, “I would never change anything I did, and my memory will never let me forget.”

After retiring from combat service, Fragione spent three and half years in Reno, Nevada as a recruiter. He also continues to be involved in the Marine Corps League in Fallon, Nevada.

Mr. Dunham, an additional war veteran in this community, has a different opinion on war.

“It has changed my life,” he stated about his service in the Vietnam War. However, he does not believe that it has changed his life for the better.

Dunham started his service during the Vietnam War altered his point of view of life so much that he had difficulty returning to social networking areas. “It took me ten years to start working after I got out I didn’t really want to work. I pretty much became a hermit I really doubted that I would ever come back to society.”

There are many students at Lowry who choose the military such as Desirae Lemm. She chose to go into the military for all of its benefits. Having the military to be able to pay for school is definitely a deal-maker to most students because college is expensive. Lemm views the military as a chance to travel the world and experience new things she may have never been able to experience. She chose to join the army because most of her family is in the air force and she wanted to take her own route.

“I am more than happy with my decision,” said Lemm, “after graduation I know I will be able to see the world, meet new people, and just start over basically.”

Lemm plans on being a part of the military for 20 years. “I will be more than satisfied [when she gets out],” said Lemm, “I will have the best benefits, and a college career paid for.”

Depending on the person, the military can be a great option for a career. However, the commitment should not be taken lightly and one should realize that military service can change your life.

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