Resident Spotlight

Honoring WW2 Veterans

Marquette students producing video on veterans at Mill Valley


By David Namanny, Editor

Bellevue-Herald Leader

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Section A, Page 5.



A trio of Marquette High School students is working on a unique project this spring.  Josie and Kory Kintzle, who are freshmen; along with Eve Vanderzyl, a sophomore, have interviewed two World War II veterans now living at Mill Valley Care Center in Bellevue and will make a DVD of their war experiences to present to them.

The project is part of Marquette’s Computers II class where students learn about different types of multi-media.  Some of the topics the class covers are photos and photo editing, desktop publications such as brochures and programs, video taking and movie creation, in addition to audio editing for putting together podcasts or radio commercials.  [Courtesy of Kim Moore (Marquette Catholic High School, Bellevue, Iowa).]

The girls started the veterans history project a few weeks ago and hope to have the completed version to present to Mill Valley by next week where it will be shown to residents.

When asked about the project thus far, Vanderzyl said it is a lot of work and takes a great deal of organization, and the Kintzle girls said they are enjoying learning more about WWII.

The two veterans they interviewed are detailed below with a bit about their service to their country as provided by family members.

Ray Lawson

Ray Lawson was the oldest of three brothers who grew up poor in Ottumwa.  When World War II broke out, he enlisted because he knew he was eventually going to be drafted.

Lawson didn't talk much about heroes.  His father (and likely Ray himself) was a huge admirer of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt his whole life because he pulled the country out of the Great Depression.  Lawson also admired President Harry Truman, and he read a lot about General George Patton.

Lawson joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to the infantry.  Somewhere along the line, someone discovered he knew how to use a typewriter.  He had taken a typing class in high school prior to graduating in 1938.  Back then, not too many men knew how to type, so Lawson was assigned as a company clerk.

Not long after, military officials discovered he had an aptitude for science and radio.  He was transferred to the Army Air Corps (there was no Air Force at that time) and assigned to radar school.  The use of radar as a military tool was new.

Lawson spent most of the war setting up and monitoring radar warning stations along the coast in the United States.  He was stationed as far away as the Florida Keys and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.

The Battle of the Aleutian Islands was over by the time he arrived, but he saw lots of abandoned military property and destroyed vehicles.  They anticipated and prepared for a second Japanese invasion of the islands but it never came.

Lawson did find time to get married during the war.  He and his wife Lucille were married when he was home on leave in June 1944.

According to his son Mark Lawson, Ray was a reluctant soldier.

“He would have never made the military a career, but enlisted to do his duty as almost everyone his age did at that time,” said Mark.  “He sometimes felt he hadn't made the sacrifices that others made by serving in combat.  If he hadn't taken that typing class, things might have turned out much differently.”

James J. Cloos

James Cloos entered boot Camp at the age of 17 with the United States Coast Guard on May 18, 1945 during World War II.  Because he wasn’t yet 18, parental permission was required.

He graduated from training on June 9, 1945, and qualified to serve aboard American vessels of 100 tons gross and upward in the engine department with the rating of “Wiper.”

Cloos graduated from the United States Maritime Service Training Station in Sheepshead Bay, NY on July 12, 1945 as Merchant Mariner (not Marines) with the rating of Fireman Second Class.

He served on M/V Cape Texas cargo ship from July12, 1945 to August 6, 1945 out of Norfolk, VA, delivering supplies to troops overseas in the Atlantic theater.

He served on the “Belle of the Seas” cargo ship from September 8, 1945 until December26, 1945 out of San Francisco, CA as a Utility, delivering supplies to troops in the Pacific theater.

He was honorably discharged from the United States Coast Guard on December 26, 1945.

Decorations include the Victory medal, Honorable Service Button, Presidential Testimonial Letter, and Merchant Marine Emblem.

Raymond Lawson

James Cloos