Teachers move from front line to classroom

Russian teacher Ed Miller (right) served in the US Army for three years. Miller was stationed in Austria for two years.

Russian teacher Ed Miller (right) served in the US Army for three years. Miller was stationed in Austria for two years.

Thomas E. Vierheller and his platoon quickly try to collect their thoughts as German machine gun fire showers down on them. Vierheller finally knows the sacrifice he has to make in order to get his platoon out alive.

Dean of students Thomas Vierheller’s father’s cousin, Vierheller’s namesake, was killed at the age of 21 during the battle of Anzio Beach in World War II.  He brought machine gun fire upon himself so that his unit could positively locate the emplacement.  “I think of my namesake often, especially on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.  I also think of him when I visit Arlington National Cemetery with the senior class in the spring,” Vierheller said.

Vierheller served in US Marine Corps from 1981-1987. During that time he earned the rank of First Lieutenant. Vierheller’s main reason for joining the military was because of his father.  When Vierheller was a child, his father told him stories about his cousin from World War II that made Vierheller want to join the military even more.

Vierheller was not the only faculty member that selflessly volunteered his time and life to serve in the United States Armed Forces.

Russian teacher Ed Miller served as a member of the US Army Security Agency for three years. In 1951, after graduating from college, he was stationed in Austria for two years as an interpreter. “The best part was learning a foreign language, Russian, and being sent to Austria where Vienna at that time was jointly controlled by the allied forces and Russia,” Miller said.

Math teacher Joe Iacchei served as a Major in the US Army for 20 years.  He was stationed overseas in Guam, Korea, and Germany. Iacchei’s reason for joining the Army was so he could serve his country. He believes that “working with great people who had the same goal and objectives as I did,” was the most rewarding part of being in the military.

Both math teacher George Appleby and social studies teacher Paul Lazor served as Lieutenants in the US Navy. Appleby served in the Navy for six and a half years. He joined the Naval Reserve during college as an enlisted man. When he graduated, he committed three years. “My parents felt that as a college graduate I should serve as a commissioned officer,” Appleby said.

Lazor served from 1980-1985 in the medical area of the Navy, providing psychological services to active members and their families. After an internship, Lazor was stationed at the Naval Hospital in Subic Bay, Philippines to provide mental health services to the men and women stationed there. While stationed in the Philippines, Lazor met many people including his wife. “I am always thankful that I spent those years in the Navy,”  Lazor said.

Veterans Day is a day of remembrance, and more particularly a day when JC is able to remember the service these teachers and family members provided for the US.

Shannon Olsen is a Lifestyles Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.