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Editor’s Corner: A salute to The Madera Tribune’s contribution

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1981 and American Legion Post 11 honor guard post the colors during the Veterans Day Service at Memorial Courthouse Park last year.


These are members and relatives of the Madera Tribune family — that we know about — who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. We thank and salute them during this Veterans Week for their service to our nation and to the Free World.

I am humbled by their almost unbelievable sacrifices to keep us free.

May God forever hold them in the palm of His hand, along with all other Maderans and relatives of Maderans, living and passed on, who served so the rest of us could enjoy life in the greatest nation on earth.

— Charles Doud, editor and publisher

  • Col. Richard Alexander, U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II. (Bomber pilot, shot down three times; before the war, worked for Walt Disney as an illustrator; deceased.)

Lance Cpl. D.J. Becker, U.S. Marine Corps. (Now an independent reporter and photographer for newspaper and television; independent investor, volunteer for Friends of the Madera Animal Shelter; experience as firefighter and emergency medical technician; lives in Madera).

Airman 1st Class William S. Coate, U.S. Air Force (school administrator, teacher, author of books, reporter, columnist; lives in Madera).

  • Lt. Cmdr. Carlton H. Doud, U.S. Navy, World War II. (Longtime grocer and potato broker in Idaho and Washington; active Mason, deceased).

  • Sgt. Leon E. Emo, U.S. Army Engineers, Vietnam War, served in Korea and Vietnam. (Madera auto body shop owner, reporter, feature writer, columnist, author of books; employee of Madera Department of Parks and Community Services; independent Death Valley and Mojave Desert guide; deceased).

  • Sgt. Gabriel Falcon, U.S. Marine Corps, computer warfare, served in the Middle East. (Works in computer technology in Fresno.)

  • Spec. 4 Brian Hill, U.S. Army, clerk-typist, Vietnam era. (Served inKorea. Lives in Union City and drives for a medical transport company.)

  • Seaman Ralph Hill, U.S. Navy, signalman, World War II. (Longtime milkman in Madera before becoming a restaurant chef; deceased.)

  • Spec. 4 Ralph “Rocky” Hill, Jr., U.S. Army, helicopter radioman, Vietnam War. (Worked in manufacturing after the war; deceased.)

  • Seaman Amos S. King, U.S. Navy, served aboard a destroyer. (Deceased.)

  • Staff Sgt. Estelle Kracht, U.S. Marine Corps; among other duties, was pictured on an “Uncle Sam Wants You” recruitment poster. (Spent 30 years as a flight attendant after the war. Deceased).

  • Capt. Herbert E. Kracht, U.S. Army Air Corps; bombardier; World War II. (Owned a restaurant in San Francisco after the war. Deceased.)

  • Airman Harry W.R. Lockhart, Jr., U.S. Air Force. (Worked as grocery store employee in Madera after his service. Deceased.)

  • Cpl. Gordon Nix, U.S. Marine Corps, infantryman. (Worked as a butcher at Frank’s Market in Madera after the war; deceased)

  • Cmdr. Herbert R. Packard, D.D.S., U.S. Navy, World War II and Korea. (Longtime oral surgeon in Walnut Creek and Oakland; active Rotarian, active member of BPOE, officer of several California dental, cancer and oral surgery associations; a founder of Delta Dental insurance company, dental school and hospital lecturer; deceased).

  • Cpl. Michael Santana, U.S. Marine Corps, infantryman. (Works in maintenance for schools in Murrieta, California.)

  • Sgt. E4 Armando Soliz, U.S. Air Force; secutiry police dog handler K9. (Enlisted in 1974; honorable discharge.)

  • Sgt. E5 Theresa Soliz, U.S. Army; psychological operations photographer. (Stationed in Germany; retired after military career.)

  • Lance Cpl. Tommy Soliz, U.S. Marine Corps. (A Company, 1st A MTRAC BN 3rd Marine Division; joined in 1966, killed in action Sept. 6, 1967; earned Navy Cross.)

  • Victor Tahan, M.D., U.S. Navy Submarine Service, World War II (one of the first to work with sonar; was a longtime Madera physician; deceased).

  • Pfc. Richard Valdez, U.S. Army, World War II, antiaircraft artilleryman. (Worked in transportation in San Francisco after the war;deceased.)

  • Sgt. Peter J. Valdez, U.S. Marine Corps. (Now serving in the Far East; was one of those service members honored by a meeting with President Donald Trump during the president’s mission to Southeast Asia; he just reinlisted).

  • Cpl. Vito Valdez, U.S. Marine Corps, military police. (Lives in Madera, where he drives concrete mixers.)

  • Col. Arthur Werner, Jr., U.S. Army. Followed Normandy landing forces after D-Day and was present at the detonation of the first hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll. (Deceased.)

  • Sgt. William D. Whatley, U.S. Army, World War II. (Lives in Atlanta, Ga.; retired chemical engineer and chemical engineering executive; genealogist and writer of articles and books; devout member of the United Methodist Church.)

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