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WWII bridge builder with Cloquet ties to be honored with flag raising

Raymond F. Stahl

A man from Upper Michigan is being honored with a flag-raising ceremony Friday, May 17, at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center.

Raymond F. Stahl served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II. During the war, he served for 30 months in the Pacific Theater — New Guinea and Luzon, Philippines. He received the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Service Medal, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two Bronze Stars, a Good Conduct Medal and 45 Meritorious Unit awards.

Born Dec. 10, 1919, in the upper peninsula of Michigan, Stahl was working in Marquette when he was inducted into the Army on Dec. 10, 1942, his 23rd birthday. He entered the service Dec. 21, 1942.

During his employment with the Duluth South Shore and Atlantic Railroad in Marquette, Stahl gained valuable experience building wooden bridges and trestles, using heavy timbers and planking and becoming very adept in the use of the sledge hammer and axe, which qualified him to serve as a bridge carpenter in the 108th Combat Engineering Battalion, Company B.

Stahl was wounded in the Philippines when a bomb went off where they were building a road in the mountains around Baguio, Philippines. He was briefly treated and returned to combat. Years later, there was still shrapnel lodged near Raymond's left ear. He returned to the United States and the separation center at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, where he was honorably discharged on Jan. 13, 1946.

Upon returning to civilian life, Stahl's family moved to Cloquet, where he worked at the Northwest Paper Co. He married Ainu Hietala from Esko in 1948. Stahl was a lifelong member of Cloquet VFW Post 3979 before he died Oct. 8, 1975.

The flag will be raised at 9 a.m. and fly over the Bong Center until 8:30 a.m. May 24.

The Flag of Remembrance program is sponsored by the Richard I. Bong American Legion Post 435, and honors the life and memory of one deceased veteran every week. Information about the veteran is displayed throughout the week in the Bong Center.

For information about the program, contact John Vaski at 715-394-7693; Scott Markle at 218-269-4675; or leave a message at the Bong Center at 715-392-7151 or info@bvhcenter.org.