Author Archives: Sandy Shinn

James “Jay” Brian Jebe

James Brian “Jay” Jebe, age 80, of Waverly, Iowa, passed away at home on January 18, 2021, from complications of battling kidney failure for six and one-half years. 

Jay was born on April 8, 1940, in Waterloo, Iowa, the son of Kenneth Walter Jebe and Ruth Mayes (Kelley) Jebe.  In 1947, his family moved to Shell Rock, Iowa, when they purchased the Whitaker Funeral Home, where he grew up.  He graduated from the Waverly-Shell Rock High School in 1959.  Jay then entered the United States Air Force, serving in the 8th Airforce during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  He was honorably discharged after six years of service.  On May 29, 1965, Jay was united in marriage to Patricia Jerolaman, two children were born to this union.  In 1965, Jay began working for Carnation in Waverly.  In 1970, he graduated from Hawkeye Tech with a degree in commercial photography.  In 1978, Jay began working for Waverly Municipal Electric Company, retiring in 2005. 

Throughout his life Jay had many interests and took pride in mastering many disciplines; mechanic, electrician, lineman, commercial photographer, ham radio operator, and pilot.  He loved flying and was a longtime EAA member and Oshkosh volunteer, where Jay and his son volunteered two weeks each summer for thirteen years.  He enjoyed traveling and saw much of the world from Puerto Rico to Alaska and Hawaii to Germany. 

Jay’s memory is honored by: wife, Patricia of Waverly; daughter, Laura (Heath Schneider) Jebe of Las Vegas, Nevada; son, Brian Jebe of Waverly; two beloved grandchildren, Rachel and Michael Jebe of Waverly; and his very spoiled black lab, Sadie.  He was preceded in death by his parents and a younger brother in infancy. 

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Military History – January 2021

Operation Thunderbolt, also known in China as the Defensive Battle of the Han River Southern Bank was a US offensive during the Korean War.

It represented the first offensive under the new commanding officer of the 8th US ArmyGeneral Matthew Ridgway. It started less than three weeks after the Chinese Third Phase Campaign had forced UN forces south of Seoul.

Thunderbolt was preceded by Operation Wolfhound, a reconnaissance in force by the 27th Infantry Regiment ‘Wolfhounds’ that began on 15 January 1951.[7] At this time the Chinese forces in the central sector were still in possession of Wonju and a full assault could not be made until this sector was under US control. Thunderbolt itself began on the 25 January, when troops of I and IX Corps advanced from the western sector of the front northwards towards Seoul.[7]

This attack was heavily supported by artillery and air support, in accordance with Ridgway’s policy of attrition[7] by superior firepower against a numerically superior foe. By 9 February, the offensive had reached the Han river with the rest of the Chinese defenders retreating to the north of Han River by the end of February.[7]

X Corps, once again part of the 8th Army, held the central sector[8] and moved forward as Operation Roundup on 5 February. Responding to the UN advances, Chinese forces under Peng Dehuai then counter-attacked as the Fourth Phase Campaign, achieving initial successes at the Battle of Hoengsong.[7]

Chinese forces were later held off at the Battle of Chipyong-ni and the Third Battle of Wonju. The concentration of firepower and reliance on close air support in the face of large numbers of light infantry employed here[7] would later become an influence on US doctrine during Vietnam.

Thunderbolt was followed almost immediately by the second UN counter-offensive, Operation Killer.

*For more on this subject see the full article for Operation Killer at


Denise Ellen Bolhuis

Denise “Dee” Bolhuis, 68, of Clarksville, Iowa passed away suddenly on Sunday, December 13, 2020 at Unity Point Health – Allen Memorial in Waterloo with her husband and daughters by her side.

      Denise Ellen Bolhuis was born on October 4, 1952, the daughter of Robert Harris and Nora (Plummer) Hanlin in Waterloo, IA.  She graduated from Aplington High School in 1971. On October 24, 1990, she was united in marriage to Garry Bolhuis in Waverly, IA. Dee was employed at Farm Bureau Bremer County for 20 years until the time of her death.

      Many will remember Dee as a social, fun loving, warm person who never met a stranger.  She lived life to the fullest and did so every day.  She had a passion for horses, Hy-Vee cake, decorating/painting, traveling, tubing trips with family and friends, annual road trips for flowers in the spring and summer deck parties.  She especially loved her weekend getaways with Garry and she enjoyed attending Church with her husband at Peace United Church of Christ.

      Her warm smile and infectious laugh could brighten the gloomiest day and will be missed by all.

       Survivors are her husband, Garry Bolhuis of Clarksville; two daughters, Glynna Borwig (Mike Riechmann) of Aplington and Denielle (Bret) Badker of New Hartford; two sons, Joshua (Tracie) Bolhuis of Dows and Justin (Heidi) Bolhuis of Aplington; 15 grandchildren; 1 great grandchild; brothers and sisters, Jeffrey Hanlin of Kirksville, MO, Larry (Vicki) Hanlin of Kansas City, MO, Tracey Harris ( Brad Herzog) of Denver Colorado, Scott Harris of Waterloo, Kelly Harris of Denver, Colorado and Heidi (Mark) McEntire Biglione of Denver Colorado and several uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; son, Jonathon; sister, Georganne Harms and brother, Gary Hanlin, Nephew Eli Harms and many aunts and uncles.

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Military History – December 2020

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl HarborHawaii Territory, on the morning of December 7, 1941. The attack, also known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor, led to the United States’ entry into World War II. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.

Japan intended the attack as a preventive action to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions they planned in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. Over the next seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held PhilippinesGuam and Wake Island and on the British Empire in MalayaSingapore, and Hong Kong.

The attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time (18:18 UTC). The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft (including fighterslevel and dive bombers, and torpedo bombers) in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four sunk. All but the USS Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. One hundred eighty-eight U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. Important base installations such as the power station, dry dock, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section), were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 64 servicemen killed. One Japanese sailor, Kazuo Sakamaki, was captured.

The surprise attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day, December 8, the United States declared war on Japan, and several days later, on December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. The U.S. responded with a declaration of war against Germany and Italy. Domestic support for non-interventionism, which had been fading since the Fall of France in 1940, disappeared..

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Wayne Lyle Brown

Wayne Lyle Brown, 87, of Waverly, died Thursday, November 19, 2020, at the Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community in Waverly, Iowa.  

Wayne was born on January 8, 1933 in Allison, Iowa, the son of Verland and Verbena (Adelmund) Brown. Wayne enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1952. He served during the Korean War from 1952 to 1954, earning the Purple Heart. After returning home from Korea, he married Alice A. Huxford on March 9, 1954 at St. Pauls Lutheran Church in Waverly. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 1955. The Browns made their home in Waverly, where Wayne was hired on to the Waverly Police Department in 1965. Wayne was a respected and beloved officer who was known for his sense of humor and practical jokes. He retired from the police department as Asst. Chief of Police in 1994. Wayne was a member of the Church of the Nazarene for many years, served as a Sunday school teacher and church board member. He was also a member of the VFW, AMVETS, Marine Corp League and American Legion.  

Wayne loved the Lord, cherished his family, and especially enjoyed cutting wood in his wood pile. He also loved spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. 

Wayne is survived by his wife Alice, his children Shelley (Jim) Campbell of Parkersburg IA, Cecil (Lisa) Brown of Wichita KS, & Mike (Denise) Brown of Waverly; nine grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren; and two sisters, Dixie (Jim) Lynch of Waverly, & Janice (Keith) Berger of Clarksville IA.  

Wayne was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers, Verland, Harold, LaVerne, and Melvin; and one sister, Kathleen Eliason. 

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Steven Craig Darrah

Steven Craig Darrah, age 65, of Waverly, Iowa, died Sunday, November 15, 2020, at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa. 

Steve was born March 14, 1955, in Postville, Iowa, the son of James and Zona (Stevens) Darrah. Steve graduated from Waverly-Shell Rock High School in 1973. He then entered the United States Navy serving from 1973 to 1979. On June 11, 2005, Steve was united in marriage to Dawn Moeller at Centennial Oaks Country Club in Waverly. Around 1980, Steve started working at Crystal Heating and Plumbing. After a number of years he added the Excavation Division to the company. Steve took great pride in being a business owner and community person. He sold his company in 2017 and became semi-retired staying on at Crystal and working (if that’s what you’d call it). 

As a Mason, Steve was a member of Tyrell Masonic Lodge in Waverly where he was also an active member of Eastern Star. Lifelong member of the A.M.V.E.T.S., past President of Waverly Chamber of Commerce, former member of Kiwanis, and also enjoyed giving back to his community by volunteering many hours to WSR Booster Club and Wartburg Athletic Department. 

Steve loved to golf, watch NASCAR (he was a Martin Truex Jr. fan), take drives (never going the same way twice) and all of the volleyball travels. He truly enjoyed family time with the kids and grandkids, especially in his recent retirement years. He and Dawn have a home in Florida which they enjoyed so very much together during the winter months. That was something he always looked forward to. The time spent there was special. Steve simply enjoyed life and having fun.

Steve’s memory is honored by: wife, Dawn Darrah of Waverly; five children, Steven James (Jaime) Darrah of Shell Rock, Ryan (Leah) Kuhrt of Des Moines, Kiersten (Aaron) Foster of Waverly, Lauren (Jarod) Peters of Dysart, and Morgan Kuhrt of Waverly; six grandchildren, Katelin (Nick) Dennie, Ryan Darrah, Jonathan Darrah, Shiloh Darrah, Winston Peters, and Lennox Peters; two great-granddaughters, Hadley and Hazel; two sisters, Sherri (Steve) Dralle of Waverly and Sandi Renner of Waterloo; and sister-in-law, Diane (Gary) Reinhardt of Waverly. Steve was preceded in death by: his parents; father and mother-in-law, Lloyd and Lavonne Moeller; two sons, John Lee and Michael Craig Darrah; and a brother-in-law, Rand E. Renner. 

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Military History – November 2020

Berlin Wall, 1961 – 1989

The Berlin Wall (GermanBerliner Mauer) was a barrier that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), starting on 13 August 1961, the wall completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin until it was opened in November 1989. Its demolition officially began on 13 June 1990 and was completed in 1992. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the “death strip”) that contained anti-vehicle trenches, “fakir beds” and other defenses. The Eastern Bloc claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the “will of the people” in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked East Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period.

The Berlin Wall was officially referred to as the “Anti-Fascist Protective Wall” (GermanAntifaschistischer Schutzwall) by GDR authorities, implying that the NATO countries and West Germany in particular were “fascists” by GDR propaganda. The West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the “Wall of Shame“—a term coined by mayor Willy Brandt—while condemning the Wall’s restriction on freedom of movement. Along with the separate and much longer Inner German border (IGB), which demarcated the border between East and West Germany, it came to symbolize the “Iron Curtain” that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.

Before the Wall’s erection, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and defected from the GDR, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin; from which they could then travel to West Germany and other Western European countries. Between 1961 and 1989, the wall prevented almost all such emigration. During this period, around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the wall, with an estimated death toll ranging from 136 to more than 200 in and around Berlin.

In 1989, a series of radical political changes occurred in the Eastern Bloc, associated with the liberalization of the Eastern Bloc’s authoritarian systems and the erosion of political power in the pro-Soviet governments in nearby Poland and Hungary. After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on 9 November 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, euphoric people and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the wall; the governments later used industrial equipment to remove most of what was left. Contrary to popular belief the wall’s actual demolition did not begin until the summer of 1990 and was not completed until 1992. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on 3 October 1990.


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Military History – October 2020

Operation Linebacker

Operation Linebacker was the codename of a U.S. Seventh Air Force and U.S. Navy Task Force 77 air interdiction campaign conducted against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) from 9 May to 23 October 1972, during the Vietnam War.

Its purpose was to halt or slow the transportation of supplies and materials for the Nguyen Hue Offensive (known in the West as the Easter Offensive), an invasion of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) by forces of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) that had been launched on 30 March. Linebacker was the first continuous bombing effort conducted against North Vietnam since the end of Operation Rolling Thunder in November 1968.

Operation Linebacker, the designation for the new interdiction campaign, would have four objectives: to isolate North Vietnam from its outside sources of supply by destroying railroad bridges and rolling stock in and around Hanoi and northeastward toward the Chinese frontier; the targeting of primary storage areas and marshalling yards; to destroy storage and transshipment points; and finally, to eliminate (or at least damage) the North’s air defense system. With nearly 85 percent of North Vietnam’s imports (which arrived by sea) blocked by Pocket Money, the administration and the Pentagon believed that this would cut its final lines of communication with its socialist allies. The People’s Republic of China alone shipped an average of 22,000 tons of supplies a month over two rail lines and eight major roads that linked it with North Vietnam.

On 10 May Operation Linebacker and Operation Custom Tailor began with large-scale bombing operations against North Vietnam by tactical fighter aircraft of the Seventh Air Force and Task Force 77. Their targets included the railroad switching yards at Yên Viên and the Paul Doumer Bridge, on the northern outskirts of Hanoi.[38] A total of 414 sorties were flown on the first day of the operation, 120 by the Air Force and 294 by the Navy, and they encountered the heaviest single day of air-to-air combat during the Vietnam War, with 11 North Vietnamese MiGs (four MiG-21s and seven MiG-17s) and two U.S. Air Force F-4s shot down. Anti-aircraft artillery and over 100 surface-to-air missile firings also brought down two U.S. Navy aircraft.

By the end of the month, American aircraft had destroyed 13 bridges along the rail lines running from Hanoi to the Chinese border. Another four were destroyed between the capital and Haiphong, including the notorious Thanh Hóa Bridge. Several more bridges were brought down along the rail line leading to the south toward the DMZ. Targets were then switched to petroleum and oil storage and transportation networks and North Vietnamese airfields. There was an immediate impact on the battlefield in South Vietnam. Shelling by PAVN artillery dropped off by one-half between 9 May and 1 June. This slowdown was not due to an immediate shortage of artillery shells, but rather to a desire to conserve ammunition. U.S. intelligence analysts believed that PAVN had enough stockpiled supplies to sustain their campaigns throughout the autumn.

The intensity of the bombing campaign was reflected by the sharp increase in the number of strike and support sorties flown in Southeast Asia as a whole: from 4,237 for all services, including the VNAF, during the month preceding the invasion, to 27,745 flown in support of ARVN forces from the beginning of April to the end of June (20,506 of them flown by the Air Force). B-52s provided an additional 1,000 sorties during the same period. The North was feeling the pressure, admitting in the official PAVN history that “between May and June only 30 percent of supplies called for in our plan actually reached the front-line units.” In total, 41,653 Linebacker I missions dropped 155,548 tons of bombs.

In addition to interdicting the road and rail system of North Vietnam, Linebacker also systematically attacked its air defense system. The North Vietnamese Air Force, with approximately 200 interceptors, strongly contested these attacks throughout the campaign. Navy pilots, employing a mutually supporting “loose deuce” tactical formation and many with TOPGUN training, enjoyed a kill ratio of 6:1 in their favor in May and June, such that after that the North Vietnamese rarely engaged them thereafter. In contrast, the Air Force experienced a 1:1 kill ratio through the first two months of the campaign, as seven of its eventual 24 Linebacker air-to-air losses occurred without any corresponding North Vietnamese loss in a twelve-day period between 24 June and 5 July. Air Force pilots were hampered by use of the outdated “fluid four” tactical formations (a four-plane, two element formation in which only the leader did the shooting and in which the outside wingmen were vulnerable) dictated by service doctrine. Also contributing to the parity was a lack of air combat training against dissimilar aircraft, a deficient early warning system, and ECM pod formations that mandated strict adherence to formation flying. During August, however, the introduction of real-time early warning systems, increased aircrew combat experience, and degraded North Vietnamese ground control interception capabilities reversed the trend to a more favorable 4:1 kill ratio.

Linebacker saw several other “firsts”. On the opening day of the operation, Navy Lieutenant Randall H. Cunningham and his radar intercept officer, Lieutenant (j.g.) William P. Driscoll became the first U.S. air aces of the Vietnam War when they shot down their fifth MiG. On 28 August, the Air Force gained its first ace when Captain Richard S. Ritchie downed his fifth enemy aircraft. Twelve days later, Captain Charles B. DeBellevue (who had been Ritchie’s backseater during four of his five victories) downed two more MiGs, bringing his total to six. On 13 October another weapons officer, Captain Jeffrey S. Feinstein, was credited with his fifth MiG, making him the final Air Force ace.

For more information on Operation Linebacker read the full article on!


Gary “Bix” Wayne Bixler

Gary “Bix” W. Bixler, 71, of Waverly, died Saturday, August 29, 2020, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

   Bix was born December 12, 1948, in Independence, Iowa the son of Leonard and Marjorie (McCray) Bixler. He was raised by Marjorie and Lyle Harris. He graduated from Fort Dodge High School and then entered the United States Army, where he served until his honorable discharge. Upon his return he traveled the country for nearly a year before landing in Waverly. On June 19, 1982, he was united in marriage to Kim Coonradt at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Waverly. He partnered alongside Bob Cousin at Cousin Custom Builders from June 4, 1990 until his retirement on December 5, 2012. After retirement he worked for several area businesses.
   Bix enjoyed the simple things in life; family, a strong group of friends, golf, and cocktail hour, usually in that order but he was known to switch it up from time to time. The 30 years of fishing and vacationing with the family to Hayward, Wisconsin was always a highlight for Bix. His kids and grandkids meant the world to him, he was the greatest “Papa”. In his free time he enjoyed reading and staying active.

   Bix is survived by his wife, Kim of Waverly, two daughters; Katie (Aaron) Creger of Urbandale and Betsy (Matt) Davis of Waverly, one son; Joe (Carrie) Bixler of Charlotte, North Carolina, six grandchildren and one on the way; Elly, Colton, and Crew Creger, Guy and Sloane Davis and Leona and Baby Boy Bixler due in December, and one brother; Scott (Jan) Bixler of Missoula, Montana. He is preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Dale Bixler.

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Military History – September 2020

POW/MIA Recognition Day

In the United States, National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed on the third Friday in September. It honors those who were prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action.

This day was established by an Act of Congress, by the passage of Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act. It is one of six days that the POW/MIA Flag can be flown.

The POW/MIA flag was first recognized by Public Law 101-355 in 1990.