Two World War II veterans to be honored Nov. 11
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – World War II veterans, John Joswiak and Merlin Baur will be honored along with other veterans at a ceremony on Nov. 11 at Stoney River living community in Marshfield.
Joswiak was a member of a crew that sunk one, possibly two, German submarines in the Pacific Ocean. Baur served as a machine gunner with “The Hellcats.”
He joined the Navy his senior year at Edgar High School, serving 1944-45. He was called to report for duty the day of his final exams. Joswiak went from the classroom to being stationed aboard a destroyer escort in the Pacific during WWII.
“We were on a real fast maneuvering boat. If we saw a torpedo coming, we could duck in a way to avoid getting hit,” Joswiak said.
Joswiak served as a motor mechanic and as a depth charger during battle. In combat, John proudly recalled that his crew sunk one German submarine and possibly a second one.
After serving, Joswiak earned a degree in conservation with minors in physical education, mathematics, and biology from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. This led to a lifelong career with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in fish management.
Joswiak and his wife, Ruth, a nurse, met on a blind date and will soon celebrate 65 years of marriage. They raised four children in Woodruff and have six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Baur served in Germany, 1944-46, near the end of WWII with the 23rd Tank Battalion as a machine gunner in the 12th Armored Division nicknamed “The Hellcats,” symbolizing its toughness and readiness for combat. While still in Germany, Baur and had the proud honor of attending the Nuremberg trials.
After the service, Baur kept in touch with fellow Hellcats, attending reunions with his wife, Delores, in St. Louis, San Antonio, and New Orleans.
Baur worked at the Mosinee Paper Mill as a break man and engineer in the locomotive yard. He and Delores raised six children and will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary next year.
In 2011, Baur took an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., to see the National WWII Memorial.
Both World War II veterans live at Stoney River and will be honored along with fellow veterans at a Veterans Day Ceremony, Nov. 11, 1:30- 3 p.m. at the senior living community, located at 1204 W. McMillan St., Marshfield. Area veterans and the public are invited to attend.