Ron Streckert attended Kiel High School, shown here in a yearbook photo, before attending Chilton High School.
Ron Streckert attended Kiel High School, shown here in a yearbook photo, before attending Chilton High School.
It was quite a long while in the making, but Private First Class Ronald J. Streckert finally has the Bronze Plaque at his gravesite that his fellow veterans feel he deserves, thanks to several people who helped along the way, including a couple of classmates from Kiel High School, Dan Detroye and Jim Mangan.
Streckert actually attended Kiel and Chilton High Schools, and he decided to enlist with the Marines in July 1966. He was sent to Camp Pendleton, California, for basic training, and he continued his education while in the service.
Detroye, a Vietnam veteran, said Streckert was a machine gunner and carried an M-60 when he was stationed in South Vietnam.
According to his obituary, Streckert was fighting with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Division in Quang Nam Province in the Republic of Vietnam when he was hit in the chest by enemy gun fire while on an operation. He died seven hours later at a military hospital in Da Nang. Detroye said Streckert had only been in country a little over four months when he was killed. His death on Dec. 28, 1967, was believed to be the first combat casualty of the Vietnam War from the Chilton area.

Recognition 50 years later
Nearly fifty years later, in the early spring of 2017, Mangan was taking a walk up at Hillside Cemetery in Chilton and he noticed Streckert’s gravestone, but there was no indication of his military service. Mangan, also a Vietnam veteran, contacted Detroye, who is the Adjutant for VFW Post 3153 in Calumet County, and they realized they needed to make things right.
Detroye contacted Bill Krizek, the Veterans Service Officer for Calumet County, to find out if there was a way to get a military marker for Streckert’s grave. Krizek’s job is to assist veterans, their dependents and survivors, in obtaining benefits and services that are available to them through local, state and federal programs. Krizek said he had to notify next of kin in order to get permission to put the plaque down. Since Streckert’s parents, Lillian and George, were no longer living, Krizek contacted his sisters, Patricia and Marcia.
However, Krizek later learned that, even with permission from a family member, because the gravesite was already marked with a headstone put there by his family, Streckert was not eligible for a bronze marker because of rules that were in place with the VA Memorial Program Service at the time. Krizek said the law was changed November 1, 1990, and those that died after that period were eligible for the marker even if they had their own stone monument, noting, “Now every veteran that meets the requirements is eligible for the marker.”
Krizek said because the Federal VA Program would not afford Streckert the marker, they went through Appleton Marble and Granite Works to order one, with the understanding that the Calumet County Veterans Service Office would put $500 towards it and the local VFW would pay the balance.
Detroye said the cost of the plaque alone was $800, with an additional cost of $270 to install it.

Veterans Commission assisted
But Krizek said he had a meeting with the Veterans Commission and they agreed to pay the full $800, and Appleton Marble and Granite Works decided to install it at no cost.
Detroye said the class of ’66 just had its 52nd class reunion, and when they were in the process of putting the reunion together a lot of these things came to light. He said, “Ron was the first one to go, being killed in ’67. The day that Ron was shot, there were twelve in his unit that got killed that day. The following day, seven more died. We actually read his obituary at the class reunion. It was kinda moving.”
Detroye was grateful to Krizek for his help. “I just want to say I think Bill did an outstanding job and I want to thank him for everything he’s done. Without his assistance, this probably would not have happened, although the VFW was prepared to step up and take care of it.” Krizek, who served in the Marines from 1990-94 and has been the Veterans Service Officer for the past 14 years, credited Detroye for spearheading the whole project.
Detroye said Appleton Marble and Granite Works installed the plaque just before Memorial Day this year, adding, “So Jim (Mangan) was a Vietnam veteran and Ron was and I was. I think it’s just something that a veteran would do for another veteran.”