ILHS Veterans Day Celebration

ILHS Veterans Day Celebration
Posted on 11/11/2023
This is the image for the news article titled ILHS Veterans Day CelebrationVeterans Day Program
Lakers learned the true story and real life sacrifice of an Indian Lake High School Vietnam veteran during the recent 2023 ILHS Veterans Day Program.

1964 Indian Lake graduate and United States Army veteran himself, Bob Mitchell, was the featured speaker at the moving event. He told the story of his friend, classmate and fellow soldier, Private First Class Herbert Stephen Bechtel. 
As a machine gun operator, Private Bechtel was stationed in a strategic hold near Saigon, South Vietnam when Vietcong forces attempted to advance. Private Bechtel braved enemy fire several times to get more ammunition to cover his unit and despite being injured himself, refused to move back and received medical treatment. 
"The Vietcong increased the intensity of their fire on his position, yet he continued firing at the enemy. His highly accurate fire covered the distraction of evacuating casualties from the battlefield." 
Mitchell continued, "Then his weapon was silenced. After the Vietcong forces emptied their base camp, Private Bechtel was found dead behind his weapon, with his finger still on the trigger, all ammunition expended. 
Private Bechtel had decided, if necessary, he would sacrifice his own life to enable his comrades to live. Although there was ample opportunity for him to change his mind, he stuck with his decision to the end. Not only did his action save many lives, but also provided them with inspiration to continue to battle and resoundly defeat the enemy." 
Private Bechtel's bravery earned him many posthumous honors, including the Presidential Citation and Purple Heart. Several members of his family were in attendance. 
Mitchell also named several other ILHS soldiers who lost their lives fighting in Vietnam including Terry Timms (1962-Infantryman), Lynn Ferguson (1964-Medic), Steven Zimmerman (1966-Infantryman), Stephen Mueller (1966-Infantryman), Duane Davis (1967-Wireman), Billy Ray Price (1969-Radio Operator), Frank Hoge (1962-Infantryman), Randall Krueger (1968- Machine Gun), Jerry Young (1966-Infantryman) and James Early (Lakeview School-Communications) 
Prior to Mitchell's speech, Indian Lake students hosted more than 80 local veterans for snacks and fellowship in the ILHS Auxiliary Gym. All veterans received a special letter crafted by ILES students. Then each veteran was introduced and got a standing ovation with flags flying as they entered the auditorium. 
The program, put together by ILHS clubs, featured recognition of each branch of the military-Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy, Marines and Space Force, colors presented by the VFW Post #39 in Lakeview, special music and a Flag Folding explanation and demonstration. 
After the program, students shook hands with the local veterans and posed for pictures with loved ones. 

Friday, November 10th at 12:30, Indian Lake Veterans and their guests are invited to a day of celebration and recognition. Join us in honoring veterans with light refreshments followed by an assembly honoring those who served and are currently serving. Please RSVP with your name, branch of service and guests who will be attending, no later than November 5th. You may call the school at (937) 686-8851 ext. 4215 or the high school office with your information.