Lower School Honors Veteran’s Day At The Kew-Forest School

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In honor of Veteran’s Day, the Lower School at The Kew-Forest School honored two veterans from the community at their assembly last Friday:  Russel Goeller (Brewery-Keenan-Heisser Post 31815 American Legion) and Paul Schottenhamel (Joseph B. Garrity Post #562 American Legion).

Mr. Goeller served in the United States Marine Corps from March 30th, 1987 to August 20th, 1990. He was a Lance Corporal in rank (E-3) and he was an administrative clerk with VMFA-235 which was an air fighter unit, first consisting of F-4 Phantom Jets and transitioned to the F-18 Hornet Fighter Jets. His job was the Unit Diary, which meant his responsibility was to report everything anyone in our unit did to Headquarters, Records and Dispersing. In other words, he made sure people in the unit got paid properly.

While in service, he also served on the unit’s NBC team which stands for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical warfare and clean up team. It was his job to get aid into those who needed it in case of an NBC attack. He earned two meritorious mast awards and was Marine of the Quarter. Now he is County Commander for Kings County American Legion.

Mr. Schottenhamel enlisted in the US Army in 1968 and was selected to attend Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA. In October 1969 he received orders to go to the Republic of Vietnam. There he initially served in combat as a Mechanized Infantry Platoon Leader with the 1st Infantry Division, the “Big Red One”.  In April 1970 Mr. Schottenhamel was reassigned to the famous 1st Cavalry Division, again as a Rifle Platoon Leader.  After conducting combat operations along the Cambodian border for about a month, the 1st Cavalry Division entered Cambodia.  Six weeks later he was wounded in combat and spent 30 days in the hospital. He returned home from Vietnam in October 1970 and completed his service obligation at Fort Benning, GA.

Upon leaving active duty in 1971, he joined the New York Army National Guard.  Over the next 15 years, he served with several infantry units in Jamaica, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. After a total of 29 years of service, Mr. Schottenhamel retired from the military in 1997 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  He has been awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service, and Air Medals, two Army Commendation Medals and the Meritorious Achievement Medal.

Mr. Schottenhamel worked for telephone companies (New York Telephone, NYNEX, Bell Atlantic and Verizon) for 34 years as a switching equipment technician, retiring in 2008.  He is a life member of the Joseph B. Garity Post 562 of the American Legion, where he serves as the Commander and Adjutant.  He is also a life member of Chapter 32 of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

During the assembly, students sang their Alma Mater, “This Land Is Your Land,” “America The Beautiful” and “Thank You, Soldiers.”  Mr. Goeller and Mr. Schottenhamel spoke with students about their experience, showed them medals they had received and answered questions.  The students then presented each veteran with a thank you card for their service.

Special thanks to the veterans for sharing their stories and Ms. Frost, Ms. Anvar, Ms. Rayer and the Hewlett family from The Kew-Forest School for making it all possible.

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