German POW earned freedom, three degrees

May 21, 2014

Col. William Geil has a great memory — though he says it’s hard to forget getting captured by Germans behind enemy lines.

The 89-year-old Squak Mountain resident has seen his fair share of service in a career spanning more than three decades. He served overseas in World War II and two tours in Vietnam. His time in the United States Air Force is only made more impressive by the three degrees he earned outside the military. Still, he plays it humble.

“I don’t like bragging,” Geil said about his time as a prisoner of war. Speaking plainly, he said he didn’t find it anything worth bragging about. “I had a cousin that finished 25 missions, while I finished my time in the war in a prison camp.”

William Geil

William Geil

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Remembering the Forgotten War

August 27, 2013

Local Korean War veteran among 60th anniversary ceremony honorees

By Greg Farrar Ron Howatson, of Issaquah, a Navy Seabee during the Korean War, receives the Albert Larson VFW Post 3436 Veteran of the Year award from post commander David Waggoner during the 2012 Veterans Day ceremony at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center.

By Greg Farrar
Ron Howatson, of Issaquah, a Navy Seabee during the Korean War, receives the Albert Larson VFW Post 3436 Veteran of the Year award from post commander David Waggoner during the 2012 Veterans Day ceremony at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center.

In 1953, the leaders of the United States, China, South Korea and North Korea signed the armistice ending the Korean War. On July 27, 2013, the 60th anniversary of the momentous occasion, the King County Council recognized those who fought in the conflict in the Republic of Korea.

Among them was Ron Howatson, an 81-year-old veteran who served as a Navy “Seabee” at K-6 in Pyongtek, South Korea. “Seabee” comes from the initials CB, for construction battalion, made up from engineer and construction specialists serving in the Navy. According to Howatson, of Issaquah, it seemed like they had the best of everything.

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