By Bill Anderson
Back on Monday, September 14, Dick Meyers of this community reported that on Saturday, September 12, he had raised a glass and drunk a toast to the memory of LT George Rammer, USMC, a solemn ritual that he has observed, faithfully, every September 12th since 1951. Back on September 12, 1951, Dick had been a 19-year-old machine gunner serving with Company I, then called “Item” Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division, in the Republic of Korea. American and United Nations forces in Korea had been advancing northward, pushing the Chinese Army off one objective after another until a particularly nasty piece of terrain called “The Punchbowl” was reached. Here the Chinese made a stand. The Punchbowl consisted of a low basin surrounded by rugged mountain ridges and peaks, and the Chinese held the high ground. The Marines had been assigned the mission of capturing The Punchbowl and of forcing Chinese forces to either retreat or die trying. On September 12, 1951, 2nd Platoon of Item Company was the tip of the spear, assigned to lead the assault, and LT George Rammer was 2nd Platoon’s Commander. Lt Rammer was a Navy veteran of World War II, Dick recalled, but when the Korean War broke out in June of 1950 he had volunteered for service with the Marines, had earned a Lieutenant’s commission and had been assigned as a Rifle Platoon Commander with Item Company. LT Rammer led 2nd Platoon, Item Company, the 2nd Battalion, the 7th Regiment and, ultimately the entire 1st Marine Division in the assault on the key position needed to capture The Punchbowl. Dick said that when he last saw the Lieutenant on that violent day, September 12, 1951, “…he was moving up the hill, not down; forward, not back.” With LT Rammer’s courageous leadership, the Marines carried the crest, carried the day, won the battle, and captured their objective, but LT Rammer was killed in action before the fighting was done that day. He was later posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for service above and beyond the call of duty. Sometime earlier, another young man well known in this community, Dean “Bobby” Paulson, also serving with the 2nd Battalion of the 7th Marine Regiment, had been seriously wounded in action against the Chinese. Bob was the grandson of the late Hans & Lena Brown of Rutland, and Dick and Bob had been boyhood friends in Rutland. Dick had helped carry Bob to the Aid Station where he was set to the side under the triage system for treating the wounded, as he was not expected to recover. Bob did beat the odds, though, and he did recover, although he carried Chinese shrapnel in his body, and the scars of war both inside and out for the rest of his life. Dick himself was later wounded in action, recovered from his wound, and returned to duty with the Marines until the completion of his enlistment. Back in 1951, George Rammer was in his mid-20’s, and Dick Meyers & Bob Paulson were both 19 years old. There are some people in this country who describe men like George Rammer, Bobby Paulson, and Dick Meyers as “suckers” and “losers,” but here, in Rutland, we call them friends, family and American Heroes. Thank you for your service to our country and our community, Dick. We are proud that you are one of ours, one of us. Semper Fidelis, Marine!
Among those in Rutland to attend the party honoring James Levery of this community on the occasion of his 80th Birthday were Dean & Carol Nundahl of Mankato MN and Carol’s brother, Alvin Henjum of Olivia MN. Carol and Alvin are two of Jim’s cousins. Their mother, the late Stella (Levery) Henjum, was a sister of Jim’s Dad, Carl Levery, a lifelong resident and farmer in Ransom Township.
David & Pat Kulzer of Condon MT visited friends and family in the Rutland area from Thursday, September 10, to Monday, September 21. They reported that large areas of central Montana along Highway 200, through Jordan, Circle & Roundup, had been devastated by wildfires made worse by heat, drought, and high winds. They also reported that their home in the mountains of northwestern Montana had been covered by the thick smoke from the huge forest fires raging in Washington, Oregon and northern California. While in Rutland, Pat & Dave enjoyed visits with Norbert & Bev Kulzer of this community, Stephen Kulzer of Brandon SD, Merrill & Karen Buisker of Aberdeen SD, Kelly Hawkinson of Stanford MT, Sonja Christensen of Wahpeton ND, Judie & Steve Grohs of Rosholt SD, Bev Schons of Fargo ND, Joanne Harris of Rutland, Roger Pearson of Rutland, Bill Anderson of Rutland, Paul Anderson of Rutland and Carol Fridgen of Nevis MN, as well as other family & friends. Masks were worn and social distancing was observed, reports Pat. During their stay here, Dave & Pat resided in their travel trailer, which was parked on lots they own on the east side of Dakota Street. They were also accompanied to Rutland by their dog, Buster Brown, a large Standard Poodle. Buster seemed to enjoy the wide-open space of the prairie, but mad no official public comment.
Ms. Kelly (Anderson) Hawkinson of Stanford MT was a Rutland visitor from Monday, September 7, to Monday, September 14. Kelly took charge of rearranging and decorating the home of her uncle, Bill Anderson, at 217 1st Street during her visit here. She reports that she is currently employed in the marketing and community reinvestment department of 1st State Bank of Montana in Lewistown MT. She also does timing and keeps statistics for Professional Bull Riding (PBR) events from Minnesota to the West Coast, but primarily in Montana. Kelly stated that she enjoyed her visit to her Dad’s old hometown and hopes to return sometime in October or November. She now has three grandchildren, she reports, and one more on the way, so being a Grandma keeps her busy, too.
Peter & Sandy Silseth of Minneapolis MN were Rutland visitors on the afternoon of Sunday, September 20. Peter is a son of the late Rutland native Lloyd Silseth, a grandson of the late Ted & Anna Silseth of this community and a great-grandson of Sargent County pioneer homesteader, Ole Silseth. They had been visiting cousins on his mother’s side of the family in Fergus Falls and decided to make an excursion to Rutland to explore some Silseth family history. While in Rutland they visited with Dick Meyers, Chuck Sundlie, Jesse Brakke and Bill Anderson. Peter recalled that, as a youth, he had accompanied his Dad to Rutland to take in the “90 Years On The Prairie” celebration back in 1972, and he had fond memories of the carnival rides and the circus elephant. For the past 38 years, Peter has been in the broadcasting business, and for the previous 18 years he and Sandy have been working with a Christian missionary group in the Central American Republic of Honduras. Mr. Silseth has become a coffee enthusiast while working in Honduras, a major producer of coffee, and has become adept at blending and brewing some interesting versions of America’s morning elixir. The Silseths stated that they intend to return to Rutland again, when they have more time to explore and investigate family history.
Well, that’s the news from Rutland for this week. For additional information about what’s going on in the little city that can, check out the community’s internet web site at www.rutlandnd.com, and stop by the Rutland blog and Facebook page while you’re out there in cyberspace, too. Later.