The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


September 27, 2013

“We Remained” and “We Won!”



Russell Volckmann was by then a much-honored hero. He could have retired and rested on his laurels, but MacArthur tapped him to do still more work in Korea. Then, at age 50, he learned to be a paratrooper, and to be a leader (among many) who created the famous Green Berets. Eventually, he rose to the rank of Brigadier General, and for decades after the war was a well-known guerrilla warfare expert, who could probably have taught them a thing or two even yet today.


Finally, in the 1970’s, Russell Volckmann returned to live in Morrison and work at the furniture factory there. He returned to his home and to younger sister, Ruth, who so idolized him as a child that she “wanted to grow up and marry him!”


One day after returning home, he met local physician, Dr. Salvador Borja, from the Philippines. Dr. Borja later would tell his stories to Dr. Gregorio Lauz and Dr. Elpidio Mariano, in Clinton. Ironically, Dr. Mariano’s Uncle “Mac” Mariano was a lumber CEO in Luzon before, during, and after the Second World War. Mac told the Japanese that they could not indiscriminately deforest the mountains of Luzon, which, as you might imagine, caused political problems for him. And so it had been with all the Filipinos; they had to carefully determine who their friends were, who might win the war; and who might represent their best chance for freedom. Mac tried hard to remain neutral, but ultimately had to hide out in Mindanao for the duration of the war.


Millions of Filipinos “chose the right side,” and thus were those islands able to gain their independence. The Clinton doctors from the Philippines (above), as well as Drs. Ancheta and Corpuz, love their new country, but they probably would never have been able to venture here without the freedom that “Colonel” Russell Volckmann enabled …. for them, and for us.

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