Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

Washington celebrates Heroes Night with first triumph of season

Sep 10, 2018

By Doug Brenneman, JOURNAL Sports


Often the back of a player’s jersey will have the team name or the player’s name.

Friday at Case Field in Washington’s high school football game game against the visitors from Iowa City Liberty, the "names" on the back of the Demons’ special jerseys that were black with camouflage on the sleeves were pride, honor, respect, valor, and loyalty. The reason was Heroes Night as numerous organizations like the police and fire departments were honored as well as the military.

The Demons used that impetus to jump out to a 27-0 halftime lead on the way to a 35-19 triumph.

If there is an exciting way to get a team’s first win of the season, the Demons did it in style.

The Demons saw quarterback Luke Turner get a 37-yard-rushing touchdown and three aerial scores to fashion that 27-0 halftime lead.

“It feels great, it's awesome to get the win,” Turner said.

Liberty got a rushing TD from Kaleb Williams on its first drive of the second half, but Cade Hennigan’s second receiving TD of the night and Turner’s fourth passing score gave the home team a 35-6 advantage.

“I think the very last one to Cade was definitely a dagger,” Turner said.

Turner completed 12 of 18 for 210 yards and four TDs with no interceptions and rushed 14 times for 55 yards and another touchdown.

“Going in we wanted to run, but we just did what they gave us, which was the pass,” Turner said. “The receivers did a really good job of finding space and the O-line gave me plenty of time to make something happen.”

That offensive line helped the Demons amass 343 yards of offense.

The first Demon offensive series saw a fumble and a punt after three plays. The second series saw a penalty and an incompletion but a harbinger of the night saw a 16-yard completion to Chase McDole on third-and-14. Then a 7-yard completion was followed by Turner running straight up the middle shedding tacklers, breaking outside for a 37-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 lead with 5 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first quarter.

“I think that (first TD) gave us a lot of confidence,” Turner said. “I really think it helped to get that first score early.”

Wilx Witthoft’s sack forced a punt on Liberty’s next possession.

The Demons marched methodically downfield, picking up two fourth-down conversions on a 65-yard, 17-play drive that ended on a slant pass from the 15 to Chase McDole for a 14-0 lead with 9:26 left in the first half.

Just to show off some versatility, the next drive was one play -- a 78-yard bomb from Turner to Ethan Hunt down the far sideline. With 5:32 left, it was 21-0.

The Demons’ Wyatt Stout recovered a fumble at the Lightning 13 on the ensuing kickoff and Turner found Hennigan open in the middle of the end zone for a 27-0 lead.

Hennigan then added another pass reception to all the other ones on the night, but this one was thrown by the Liberty quarterback. However, a sack ended that Demon possession.

Liberty took the second-half kickoff and gave the ball to Kaleb Wiliams for seven of the 11 plays it took to score a TD for a 27-6 deficit.

The teams exchanged punts before Hennigan scored on a pass reception. It was second-and-6 from the 17 when he snagged the ball in the flat, caught a block, juked a defender, then stretched the ball over the goal line for a TD while being tackled.

“That was the best one,” Turner said of his four aerial TDs. “It was supposed to be a sweep to the right, but I had to improvise. Cade did a really good job of finding space, so that I could get him the ball and after that, he just made a play.”

Turner ran in the conversion for a 35-5 advantage with 1:20 left in the third quarter.

Liberty added two fourth-quarter scores as numerous back-ups saw action for the Demons.

The play that repeatedly got yards for Washington was a run/pass option.

“We saw them crashing down, so we just did what they gave us and that was the pass,” Turbner said. “It worked really well for us.”

Hennigan finished with three receptions for 40 yards. Brady Knutson and Chase McDole had four catches each. Tristin Westphal-Edwards had 15 rushes for 58 yards and led the defense with seven tackles. Trashaun Willis was responsible for six stops and Ben Baughman 5.5 with two solo tackles for loss.

Iowa City Liberty, which got its first-ever varsity win last week, falls to 1-2.

Washington is 1-2 and plays West Liberty for Homecoming Friday.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Sep 23, 2018 19:09

Reflections on Vietnam War memorial

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Sep 21, 2018

Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo Fairfield resident and Vietnam veteran Daniel Cotts displays his hat with military insignia on it while standing by The Wall That Heals, the traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that was in Fairfield Sept. 13-16. His patches indicate that he attained the rank of staff sergeant, E-6. Cotts served in the Army Security Agency during the war, where he monitored communications. Cotts said he knows four soldiers who died and whose names appear on The Wall That Heals.

“We never knew the results of what we did, but we liked to think we saved lives.”

That’s how Fairfield resident Daniel Cotts described his 1.5-year tour of duty in Vietnam. Cotts had a chance to reflect on that time in his life, and those lost to the war, when The Wall That Heals visited Fairfield last week.

Cotts served in the Army Security Agency from 1965-1969, and was in country from December 1966 to July 1968. ASA performed communications security, which meant trying to listen not only to the enemy’s communications but that of friends as well, to make sure they were not divulging sensitive information. It also attempted to locate where a radio signal was coming from.

Cotts’s job was listening to friendly communication. If someone on the line disclosed an upcoming mission, he relayed that knowledge to his superiors so they could change the plan. However, Cotts felt that ASA’s help was generally disregarded.

“There were too many egos involved,” he said.


Finding allies

Not everyone was so dismissive. Cotts remembers that Gen. William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces, was a big believer in ASA’s mission.

Cotts found another ally in a major in charge of a special forces camp. The unit had gone looking for members of the Viet Cong, a guerrilla group fighting against the South Vietnamese government that the U.S. was supporting. The unit didn’t find any VC at all, and the major was disappointed. Cotts shared the information he had about how the VC might have eluded them, and the major was so impressed that he asked Cotts to brief his men the following day.

At that time, enlistments lasted three years, or four years in the Air Force or Navy. Soldiers could extend their tours of duty in increments of six months, and some chose to do that.

“You wouldn’t want to do that if you were in the infantry,” Cotts said. “Being in the infantry was horrific. I always had some place to sleep, and always had some food. It was nothing like an infantryman. An infantryman was out in the rain, the mud and the bugs. There was no guarantee they were going to get food or ammunition.”


Friends on the wall

Although his role was not a combat role per se, several members of ASA died in Vietnam. In fact, one of its members was among the first to die in Vietnam, and is listed on the first panel of The Wall That Heals, which lists the names of soldiers in the order they died.

Cotts recognizes four names on the wall. One of those was Thomas Grix, a radio operator he worked with for a month. A few months after working together, Grix’s special forces unit was overrun and he was killed. The other American he was with was able to hide. He survived the attack but suffered such trauma that he went mute.

“I ran into that man several months later, and he was being led around by the hand,” Cotts said. “He just checked out.”

Cotts remembers that a similar phenomenon of a soldier going mute happened to a World War I veteran he knew in his hometown of Long Island, New York.

The two Americans were leading a group of Vietnamese who were supposed to conduct sweeps looking for Viet Cong. They were members of a Civilian Irregular Defense Group, devised by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1961 to counter Viet Cong influence in South Vietnam’s central highlands. The U.S. feared that the Viet Cong was making inroads by recruiting ethnic minorities, so the Americans attempted to counter this by recruiting those same people into the CIDGs.

In the area where Cotts and Grix served, the locals enlisted into the CIDG were ethnically Cambodian but Vietnamese by citizenship.

“They were treated like crap by the Vietnamese, so if they got drafted into the Vietnamese Army, they were going to get it rough,” Cotts said. “Or they could work for the Americans, fulfill their military obligation, and be treated a whole lot better.”

However, the CIDGs were not good fighters, whether due to a lack of training or lack of interest in the war. As soon as Grix’s special forces unit made contact with the Viet Cong, the CIDG soldiers ran away, leaving only the two Americans.

Feelings about war

As time wore on, Americans’ attitudes about the war soured, and Cotts said that applied to the enlisted soldiers, too.

“When I was there, we were doing big operations, and thought we might be able to turn it around,” he said. “We felt that, wherever we stood, we were in charge, but whenever we moved away, whoever stood in our place was now in charge. It became obvious to me that we weren’t going to win, and when I came home and said that, I got a lot of grief for it from my family members.”

Cotts said life was not easy for the Vietnamese caught between the two warring factions, with South Vietnam and its principal ally the United States on one end, and the North Vietnamese, Viet Cong guerrillas and their allies the Soviet Union and China on the other.

“For the poor people who lived there, they were getting it from both sides,” he said. “Each side wanted your son to fight for them, and everybody wanted taxes.”

The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong ultimately prevailed by toppling the South Vietnamese government in 1975 and uniting the country into what is now known simply as Vietnam. In 1995, Vietnam released an official estimate of war dead: 2 million civilians in both North and South Vietnam, and 1.1 million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the U.S. military estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington D.C. in 1982. At the time, it contained the names of 57,939 Americans who died during the war. Since then, a few hundred names have been added and it now contains 58,318.


Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Sep 10, 2018 12:20

As a seventeen-year-old teen working at Subway, Sal Giunta was like any other kid trying to figure out which step to take next with his life after graduating from high school. When Giunta walked into the local Army recruiting center in his hometown, he just wanted a free T-shirt. But when he walked out, his curiosity had been piqued and he enlisted in the Army.

Staff Sgt. Giunta's Medal of Honor

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