COLFAX, Iowa — In Colfax Fredena Pion, her daughter Stephanie Linn, and sister Margie Heston, got to looking at their family tree, and realized something. There were a number of stories of military heroism, and even one of their relatives who paid the ultimate price for service.
It all started with her Great-Great Maternal Grandfather John Jacob Ulrich, who served as a flag bearer in the Civil War.
Fredena, was named after her great uncle, Fred Boatright Jr. who was killed in the Battle of Savo Island, when the ship he was on the USS Astoria was sunk.
“He was a cook which put him down at the bottom of the boat,” said Pion. “The ship and he was the ship went down Guadalcanal, and that is where he is today aboard the USS Astoria.”
“This is my dad Leland Lester,” said Pion. “He was on the USS Pennsylvania and so it was in dry dock on December 7 in Pearl Harbor and he was one of the ones that made it through he was a survivor.”
Also on the family tree, Alfred Linn served in the US Army WWII was on the first wave of D-Day at Omaha Beach in 1944.
Fredena’s husband William was a Viet Nam Veteran in the US Army.
“He would they would have to sleep on the tanks the didn’t have a cot to even sleep in, they were busy moving and getting things set up and stuff,” said Pion.
“Freedom is not free that’s one of the things I’d like to point out,” said Fredena. “We have lost a member of our family, but also I’m so proud of all that have served are still serving that’s in our family.”
Next week Veteran’s Voices will feature more on this family, including what it was like in Combat during Iraqi Freedom.