Bradford Beach was filled with veterans celebrating Navy Week on Saturday.
Lives of service
Ron Grundy of Oak Creek says submarine operators are a small bunch in the Navy. But like any other branch, the veterans stick together. Grundy and Mel Dewitt of South Milwaukee both worked on submarines during their time in the Navy. They were at the Air and Water Show to recruit for their organization United States Submarine Veterans Incorporated. Grundy says submarine operators need support from other servicemen who shared their experiences.
“I think its important for all veterans to stick together. They gave a lot for this country. We personally weren’t in combat as a submariner, but a lot of guys were and we want to support them.”
Dewitt says he hopes to see support for a new submarine, the U.S.S. Wisconsin, and looks forward to their organization’s next meeting in Caledonia.
Commander Bryan Wierzbicki is another local veteran who says he is proud of his time in the Navy, and has made it his post-service career to help other veterans.
“I grew up in the Milwaukee area. I went to Grafton High School, graduated in 1991 and enlisted in the Navy. I took my Oath of Enlistment on the Milwaukee Brewer’s field at a game before shipping off to Great Lakes. I’ve had great success in the Navy, deployed all over the world. Now I’m a Public Affair Officer at the Vietnam War Commemoration to thank and honor Vietnam War veterans in Washington D.C.,” said Wierzbicki when asked to describe his time with the Navy.
Wierzbicki says he is proud of how Milwaukee treats their veteran community.
Troubled past, troubling future
Grundy expressed that Navy Week is among one of the warmer receptions of veterans in his lifetime.
“We’ve gone through a number of years where veterans did not have a lot of support so its nice to see a change.”
Lieutenant John Lindstedt says he often looks to the future of the Armed Forces. Lindstedt says he worries that not enough young people will serve in the coming years because of changing priorities.
“Most young people today are mostly centered in themselves. Service is centered on the country. And there is more people who care about themselves than the country.”
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