This past Saturday and Sunday at the Jasper Armory the 1st Battalion 151st Infantry hosted the “Remembering Our Fallen Hoosiers Memorial Wall” and 5k run. Overseeing the 5k was retired Lance Corporal Tina Moriarty of the Southern Indiana Leather Necks of the Marine Corps League who was also responsible for organizing and bringing the traveling Memorial to Jasper. The 5k was started with the firing of a Howitzer Artillery. Behind the Howitzer sat Captain Chip Mitchell and his youngest son Gabe. Gabe had the honor of pulling the lever to set the Howitzer in motion, Captain Mitchell told 18wjts that Gabe had gotten up at 6am with his father in anticipation for firing the Artillery later that morning. Captain Adam Ballbach oversaw around forty national guardsmen that helped during the event along with the award ceremony and planned activities for the day, which included bouncy houses, a display of .50 cal machine guns, a military equipped Humvee and a Jasper Police Car and Firetruck. Kids were able to experience all of the items on display, ask questions and just be curious.
The awards for the 5k were in spirit with the National Guard, they were emptied shell casings on a dog-tag styled chain. First place received a .50 cal casing, second place was a 30-06 casing and for third place was a .45 caliber bullet casing. The winner of the 5k was Nick Keener of Newburgh, IN. Keener was enjoying the day with his family and
Remembering Our Fallen Hoosier Memorial Wall is a traveling exhibit that was brought to the area in a joint effort between individual veteran organizations and the Dubois County Veterans Council. The Wall honors Indiana service men and women who died defending America in The War on Terror. The Memorial Wall has close ties to the community in that it holds two Dubois County Marines who were lost in battle. Corporal Eric R Lueken in 2006 and Lance Corporal Alec Terwiske in 2012.
Lueken’s parents were in attendance on Saturday with Eric’s father, Jake speaking to 18wjts on behalf of his sons memory. Mr. Lueken expressed his gratitude that him and his wife share towards all the veteran organizations involved with bringing the memorial to Jasper, especially the Veterans Council. Mr. Lueken said the memory of his son is always on his mind and that being able to come to the armory and just be surrounded by the soldiers allows him a small amount of peace in remembering Eric. Mr. Lueken shared that his thoughts go out to the Terwiske family as well knowing the loss they have also suffered.
During the time Mr. Lueken graciously spent with our 18wjts reporter he asked if the station could share a story of the dedication of General Robert Neller, Eric’s commanding officer when he was killed in action.
Mr. Lueken shared that General Neller, the current 37th Commandant of the US Marine Corps, had recently visited his sons grave about two weeks ago and that Neller has kept in contact with him and his wife over the past ten years since Eric’s death. Mr. Lueken wanted to express that he has been very touched by the unending commitment General Neller has had to the memory of his son and all Marines. Mr. Lueken and his wife are grateful to the community in which their son grew up, to all of the Veterans and the organizations that keep the memory and sacrifice of the fallen solders alive and to all of those who knew these young men from Dubois County.