John Leon Abrams
Lieutenant John Leon Abrams was born March 16, 1940. He graduated from high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and enrolled at Stout State College in September 1958. While a student at Stout, Abrams was active in Sigma Tau Gamma-Alpha Kappa, Metals Guild and Manual Arts Players. He was a recipient of the Medallion Award. Abrams graduated from Stout in 1962 and entered the Navy the same year. He served as a naval aviator for six years. Lieutenant Abrams was killed in action at Dung Island, Vietnam on July 13, 1968 when his attack helicopter was shot down by enemy ground fire. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He is buried at Spring Hill Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity established the John Leon Abrams Memorial Endowed Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to a full-time plastics engineering major of sophomore, junior or senior status with a 2.5 or higher GPA, demonstrated financial need and who exhibits leadership in student activities. U.S. military involvement is also required as listed: member of UW-Stout ROTC, member of the U.S. military, veteran of the U.S. military, member of a state National Guard, a veteran of a state National Guard, a son or daughter of a member or veteran of the U.S. Military or state National Guard.
Walter L. Cropp
Lieutenant Walter L. Cropp grew up and graduated from high school in Menomonie, Wisconsin. He attended Stout State College from 1959 to 1964. An active member of the “S” Club, Cropp represented Stout athletics competing in wrestling and football. Upon completion of his degree in Industrial Education, Cropp briefly taught metals and drawing at a high school in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. In the spring of 1965, he finished Officer Training School and was assigned to the Laughlin Air Force Base, Del Rio, Texas for pilot training. He served in Vietnam for one year before being stationed on Okinawa Island, Japan. He died on March 4, 1965, when his helicopter crashed into the East China Sea en route to Iwo Jima. A military memorial service was held in his honor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Menomonie, Wisconsin.
Paul David Derby
Captain Paul David Derby was born on January 4, 1943. He grew up in Marshfield, Wisconsin and graduated from Columbus High School. Attending Stout State College from 1961 to 1965, he played football, was a member of Chi Lambda fraternity, the Interfraternity Council, Stout Student Association and the Stout Society of Industrial Technology. While a student, Derby served in the Marine Reserves. He participated in a Platoon Leaders Program and trained at Officers Candidate School. On January 23, 1965, Derby married his classmate, Dorothy Wormet. Their marriage produced a son and a daughter. He attended flight school prior to active duty and died November 17, 1968, in Quang Ngai province, Vietnam, when his plane was shot down. A memorial marker in his name stands in the Rock Island National Cemetery in Illinois.
The Chi Lambda/Paul Derby Memorial Endowed Scholarship has been established to honor Paul’s sacrifice for his family, brothers and country. The scholarship assists a Chi Lambda Fraternity brother who is of junior or senior status with a GPA of 3.2 or higher.
Lance Corporal Byrl “Buddy” Gaertner was born on August 16, 1947, in Wichita, Kansas. He graduated from Richfield High School in Richfield, Minnesota in June 1965. He attended Stout State University with his identical twin, Joel Gaertner from 1965 to 1967. The brothers studied Industrial Education and were active in the Stout Rifle Club. The brothers enlisted together in the U.S. Marines in March 1967. Byrl Gaertner was deployed to the Quang Nam Province of South Vietnam in February 1968 and served as a rifleman. On May 18, 1968, he was fatally injured by enemy fire while on patrol near Da Nang. He is buried in Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Thomas Arthur Gerg
Private First Class Thomas Arthur Gerg was on born July 3, 1943. He lived and graduated from high school in Brookfield, Wisconsin prior to enrolling at Stout State College in 1962. While at Stout he was involved in the Alfresco Outing Club, Stout National Education Association and Kappa Lambda Beta fraternity. He enlisted in the Marines on January 28, 1966, and by December was serving as an anti-tank assaultman in Vietnam. On January 12, 1967, he was killed in action in the Thua Thien province, Vietnam. He was awarded a Purple Heart, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal. He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Jerry Irwin was born on November 12, 1941. He attended Cadott High school in Cadott, Wisconsin and was active in track, football, baseball and theater. He graduated from high school in 1959 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Irwin enrolled at Stout State College in 1963. While at Stout, he served as Secretary of the Stout Society of Industrial Technology and was a member of the Newman Club. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Technology in January 1966. Following graduation, he became a pilot at Pensacola Naval Air Station. He died on March 20, 1968, during a training exercise off the Virginia coast. His remains were not recovered. A marker bearing his name stands at his family plot in St. Rose of Lima cemetery near Cadott, Wisconsin.
Oliver Bruce Walley
Lieutenant Commander Oliver “Bruce” Walley was born October 31, 1935, in Sandwich, Illinois. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Illinois University before he entered the Navy. He completed officer candidate school and served as a commissioned officer from 1958 to 1962. In 1963, he enrolled in the Graduate School at Stout State College to earn his Master’s degree. He taught at Menomonie High School for one year before he became an associate professor in the Industrial Education Department at Stout. He died during a flight training mission outside the Los Alamitos Naval Air Station when his pilot encountered zero visibility and lost control. Memorial services were held in his honor in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Sandwich, Illinois.
Lieutenant Jeremy Robert Wojtkiewicz was born on February 28, 1944, and grew up in Weyerhaeuser, Wisconsin. He attended the Industrial Education program at Stout State College from 1962 to 1966, and he completed coursework in woodworking, government, drafting and industrial management. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Education on June 4, 1966. In 1967 he enlisted in the Army and trained at the Officer Candidate School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. After serving in Vietnam for nearly five months, he died on January 17, 1969, when the vehicle he was riding in hit a mine. He is buried in the St. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Weyerhaeuser, Wisconsin.