Gone but Never Forgotten: Beloved War Heroes from Wisconsin

Every veteran has a unique story to tell. Krause Funeral Homes has a long history of honoring veterans, and this dedication comes from a very personal place: The second generation of Krause funeral directors all took great pride in serving their country.

Today, our professional staff in Brookfield and New Berlin, and on Capitol Drive and Brown Deer Road in Milwaukee, takes great pride in working closely with families of veterans, making sure they’re informed of every military honor and benefit their loved one deserves. When it comes time to lay a veteran to rest, we immediately know what to do to ensure an honorable farewell. We make sure every aspect of their funeral or memorial, their burial, and their reception communicates their personality, passions, and accomplishments.

We believe it’s vitally important to remember and appreciate every man and woman who has served – because each one has sacrificed for our country. We need to hear their stories so that their sacrifice and our nation’s past is never forgotten.  As Memorial Day approaches, we would like to take some time to share with you three stories of war heroes from our home state of Wisconsin:

Major Richard Bong: 1920 – 1945

Did you know one of the most decorated American fighter pilots and the country’s top flying ace in WWII grew up on a farm in northern Wisconsin? Richard Bong of Poplar shot down at least 40 Japanese aircraft during World War II – earning the title of Ace of Aces, which was given to the top flying ace/fighter ace in the Air Force during a time of war. Bong’s interest in aircraft started when he was a boy and would watch planes fly over his family’s farm carrying mail to President Calvin Coolidge at his summer house in Superior. Bong loved building model airplanes and went on to fly a P-38 Lightning fighter plane, eventually receiving the Wisconsin Medal of Honor. Bong went on to become a test pilot and was tragically killed when a fuel pump malfunctioned. He was only 24 years old at his time of death.

Samuel J. Halloin: 1923 – 2013

Samuel grew up in Luxemburg and served in the army during World War II as a medical corpsman. He participated in the end of the D-Day Invasion and was part of the liberation of Dachau, a Nazi concentration camp. He, and other soldiers, searched railroad cars for surviving prisoners, which Halloin described as one of his most difficult experiences during the war. After returning to Green Bay, he served on the city council for eight terms before beginning a 16-year tenure as the city’s mayor. Halloin passed away in January of 2013, just a few months before his 90th birthday.

Sergeant Major Kenneth Stumpf: 1944 – 

Born in Neenah, Kenneth Stumpf is a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Vietnam War. Stumpf was an Army specialist serving as a squad leader of the 3rd Platoon, Company C in the Vietnam War. On April 25, 1967, Stumpf’s squad came under fire, and three men were wounded in front of a North Vietnamese machine gun structure. Stumpf abandoned his secure position in a trench and ran through a barrage of bullets to carry the wounded men back on his own. Staff Sergeant Stumpf’s official Medal of Honor citation begins, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.”

This Memorial Day, take time to show your gratitude to the Wisconsin veterans you know. All of us at Krause offer a sincere thank you to those who served and continue to serve today.

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