Tribute: Decorated Army chaplain saved souls and lives


Army Chaplain Fr. Leonard F. Stegman (CH. COL. US Army, Ret.) went to be with his Lord on Tuesday, August 12, 2014, while at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio TX at 11PM as end of day TAPS was sounded for the facility.  He died at age 97.

He was born on May 31, 1917 in Offerle, Kansas, attended high school for two years at Plain, KS and for three years (because of Latin) at St. Lawrence Seminary, Mt. Calvary, WI.  He was ordained as a Capuchin-Franciscan Priest on June 23, 1943 at St. Mary's Church, Marathon, WI. To prepare for priestly service and continue extensive post-ordination study, he attended St. Lawrence Seminary, Mt. Calvary, WI; Mary Immaculate Seminary, Garrison, NY; St. Anthony Seminary, Marathon, WI; George Washington University and the Preacher's Institute of Catholic University, Washington, D.C.

Fr. Stegman achieved two Master's degrees (International Studies and Education) from George Washington University.

After ordination, Father Stegman was assigned to parish and youth work in Michigan and Wisconsin. He gave retreats to the laity at Monte Alverno Retreat House in Appleton, WI and was a home missionary for almost three years. During that time, he preached parish missions and gave days of recollection and retreats to lay people and religious throughout the mid-western states.

Father Stegman entered the U.S. Army Reserve in 1948 and later served as chaplain of the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

In April 1950, Chaplain Stegman activated as an Army chaplain and fulfilled assignments at several stateside Army posts and stations. He served in Japan and Korea during 1950-1951 and in Europe for six years.

Chaplain Stegman served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. His duties at every level of the Army included assignments at 3rd Infantry Division; U. S. Army Air Defense Command, U. S. Army Vietnam; 3rd Army; Headquarters, Forces Command; and U. S. Army Materiel Command. He is a graduate of the Army Command and Staff College and the Army War College.

Chaplain Stegman retired in the grade of Colonel on May 31, 1977. His awards and decorations include two Silver Stars, Purple Heart, three Legions of Merit, Bronze Star, Korean Distinguished Unit Citation, German and Japanese occupation medals, Korean Service Medal (with four battle stars), United Nations medal for service in Korea, and two American defense ribbons.
After retiring from the Army in 1977, Father Stegman remained in the Washington, DC area and ministered energetically in both civilian and military parishes. In 1988, he moved to San Antonio, Texas. There he continued a three-state supervision of World Wide Marriage Encounter as well as parish ministry in local churches. He participated extensively in local, state, and national Veterans Service Organizations, including the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Korean War Veterans Association (KWVA). He served as National Chaplain for KWVA from Sept 2005 to June 2007 and National Chaplain for MOPH from August 2004 to August 2006.

During his service in San Antonio, Father Stegman celebrated the Mass for the Korean community and was instrumental in obtaining a native Korean pastor for the congregation as they began to establish and build their Korean parish. Father Stegman also supported Deacon Philip Kim in his response to the call and to his ordination to priesthood.

71 Years a Priest, “Father Len” served the military community by celebrating the Mass at Randolph Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston and Lackland Air Force Base. He served as Chaplain Emeritus of both the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Korean War Veterans Association. In the civilian community, he ministered to the local congregations at St. Monica's and St. Pius X in the diocese of San Antonio, Texas and celebrated daily Mass at the Incarnate Word Village Community.

He was the recipient of the David E. White Lifetime Achievement Award from the Military Chaplains of America.  The award recognized that chaplain that best personifies by spirit and acts, the concept of “Chaplain for Life”.

Fr. Stegman is survived by his sister Estelle Huelskamp (Leroy) of Fowler KS, and 70 nephews and nieces. Attending the funeral are Congressman Tim Huelskamp (KS), Tom Huelskamp (KS), Leonard Stegman (CO), Chuck Stegman (CA), Daniel Stegman (WA), Susan Pittman (WA), Sandy Whitlatch (AZ), Jeanne Goodwin (AZ), Linda Minnick (CO), Tony Naab (CA) and Frank Stegman (MN).

All Military Chaplains attending the funeral are to be at Pius X Church no later than 10AM for Procession of Chaplains/Pastors.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Capuchin Franciscans in Detroit, 1740 Mount Elliott St., Detroit, MI 48207 and to the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, Inc.  7008 Little River Turnpike 
PO Box 49, Annandale, VA 22003



COMMAND SERGEANT MAJOR JAMES C MYRICK, US ARMY Retired October 19, 1927- September 25, 2014

I knew CSM Jim Myrick for over 15 years, all of them in veterans affairs labors which I might never have been engaged had it not been for his persistence.
Jim served in Korea in Task Force Faith which still records the highest casualty total of any US military engagement—in addition to the most miserable weather on earth in late November and early December 1950. Jim was a tireless worker for veterans and their families. He ALONE persisted for ten years to get Louisiana its first veteran’s cemetery. The one near Leesville where he will be laid to rest. Louisiana politicians conceived of another cemetery near Shreveport and moved it ahead of the one approved for SW Louisiana. The Leesville Veterans Cemetery should immediately be named the James C Myrick Veterans Cemetery.
Jim was Louisiana Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and four terms Vice Chairman of the Louisiana Veterans Coalition. When I served as National Commander, Korean War Veterans Association, Jim was a stalwart supporter in Louisiana. No single individual in my experience, coast to coast, for over eight years, worked as tirelessly for veterans. All veterans are richer today because of Jim Myrick—and we are all poorer because he has gone. Rest in peace, Old Friend and SOLDIER.
Louis T Dechert
President and Chairman, Combined KOREAN-US Veterans Association, CKVA
Chairman, Louisiana Veterans Coalition, 2011-2012 (LVC)
Special Advisor and Honorary Chairman, US and Korea Alliance Association (UKAA)
National President and Chairman of the Board, KWVA/USA, 2004-2008
Founder and Co-Chairman, US Federation of Korea Veterans Organizations, USFKVO
Chairman, US-Korea Allies Council, UKAC, 2005-2011

Retired US Army MSG James C. Myrick

Funeral services for Retired US Army MSG, James C. Myrick, 86, of Anacoco, Louisiana will be held at 1:00 p.m. Monday, September 29, 2014, at Labby Memorial Funeral Home Chapel in Leesville. The Burial will follow at the Central LA Veterans Cemetery at Leesville. Visitation will be Monday, September 29th from 9:00 am until service time in the funeral home. 

James was born October 19, 1927 the oldest son of Albert M. and Irene Myrick of Jamestown. He graduated from Castor High School. He entered the Merchant Marines upon completion of high school during World War II, After he finished the tour of duty he enlisted in the Army, serving in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He retired in June of 1967. James was one of the fortunate soldiers that made it safely from the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, though not without great difficulty. His legs were damaged so badly that he had to use his rifle as a crutch to walk. James received numerous medals and awards during his military career to mention a few he received three Purple Hearts, two Bronze Star and one Silver Star. After his retirement from the military he was elected as the Silver Haired Senator serving in Washington D. C. and also for Louisiana. He served in that capacity for twenty plus years.

Some of the projects he helped bring to Louisiana were the Veterans Homes in Bossier, Monroe and Jennings and some of the ground work for a veteran's home in Leesville. He also was very instrumental in getting the Veterans Cemetery in Keithville and Leesville. His efforts earned Jim the moniker "Mr. Veteran".

He is survived by his wife, Karin Myrick of Leesville; sons Jimmy W. Myrick of Texas, Gordon L. Myrick of Leesville and Roy A, Myrick of Washington; daughters, Dawn L. Ratto of Tracy, California, Ginny Lynn Hammons of Kelseyville, California, Mayra R. Myrick of Lafayette, Gwen Myrick of Athens, and Ramona Myrick of Shreveport; Brothers, Lawson Myrick of Shreveport, and Albert Myrick of Arcadia; Sisters, Myrtice Dare of Tyler, Texas, Bobbie Hataway of Dry Prong, and Laura Ann Blackwelder of Castar,and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Words of comfort may be expressed to the Myrick Family at

Wendell H. Austin, Jr.

Wendell H Austin, Jr., spent most of his retirement years seeking after our unaccounted and missing warriors. He composed songs, performed songs and music, and passionately pled for an accounting and repatriation of these generally forgotten and generally neglected Americans—as well as missing Commonwealth troops. Wendell was very helpful in helping garner information for our presentations to the Congress and the US Department of Defense. His loss was all the more a personal blow when I came to realize that I had not heard from him for a time and sought him out—belatedly learning of his death. No champion of our missing should ever pass unnoted thus in a measure unlamented. Duty and honor require that I note our loss and sorrow for our comrade’s family, and the Korean War veterans’ community.
ALMIGHTY GOD, we thank You for the opportunity of association and memories. We pray that You will incline our hearts to entertain a brotherly affection for one another and for all fellow citizens. We pray You dispose us all to justice, kindly impulse, and mercy. As we declare our loyalty to our Country, help us to keep in mind the need of faith in God and Immortality, without which life is meaningless and vain. In that faith and conviction we can and do say to one another “farewell until we meet again.” Amen. Louis T Dechert
President and Chairman, Combined KOREAN-US Veterans Association, CKVA Chairman, Louisiana Veterans Coalition, 2011-2012 (LVC) Special Advisor and Honorary Chairman, US and Korea Alliance Association (UKAA) National President and Chairman of the Board, KWVA/USA, 2004-2008 Founder and Co-Chairman, US Federation of Korea Veterans Organizations, USFKVO Chairman, US-Korea Allies Council, UKAC, 2005-2011 Wendell H Austin Tribute