After enlisting in the U.S. Army in April 1968 and going through basic and advanced training, Schottenhamel served in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg before going overseas. During the Vietnam War, he served in the First Infantry Division. He was transferred to Cambodia in May of 1970.
“There were a lot of bad guys in that place,” Schottenhamel said. “The local Cambodian people, they thought we were liberators.”
He later spent 15 years with the National Guard and 11 years in the Army Reserve.
But he wasn’t done serving the nation. Schottenhamel came home to Glendale, where he joined the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and the American Legion. For 18 years, he has helped plan the Allied Veterans Memorial Parade in Ridgewood and Glendale.
Schottenhamel is proud of his work assisting in the burial of indigent veterans through the VVA. Since 2009, he has helped bury nearly 60 veterans.
“If it wasn’t for us, these people could wind up in potter’s field,” he said. “We give them a proper military burial out in Calverton National Cemetery.
“That’s the brotherhood of service members, we look out for each other,” Schottenhamel added. “We’re here to support each other and make life better for the veterans and for those who are currently serving.”
Another issue that many veterans have faced over the years is the lack of health care. Schottenhamel said though the VA is trying to fix those problems, it’s a tough task.
“Trying to make sure that the help that the veterans need, recovering from their service,” he said, “is there for them in a timely manner, to relieve their suffering and make them whole again.”