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City remembers Vietnam War during 50th anniversary

The 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War begins this month. The community of Hastings will mark that observance as it, too, was impacted when two soldiers from Hastings – Duane Foss and Lawrence Swanson – were killed in action. See more about their lives and service below. Others from Hastings also served.

The Hastings observance began Monday night when the Hastings City Council adopted a proclamation at its regular meeting.

As part of the annual Memorial Day observance, the City of Hastings, Downtown Business Association and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon-Hastings will present an Armed Forces Appreciation and Memorial Day concert at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 28, at the Rotary Pavilion. The 451 United States Army Reserve Band 88th Reserve Command performance will follow the dedication of the Veterans memorial at the Hastings RiverWalk.

The 451st Army Band, often referred to as “one of the best in the Army Reserve,” is based at Fort Snelling.

Initially, the unit played concert tours in cities and towns all across the Midwest. The band’s growing reputation of excellent quality took it much further. In 1982, the 451st became the very first reserve band to replace the band at the United States Military Academy, West Point.

Since that time, the band has traveled considerably to play missions in Anchorage and Fairbanks; Chicago; Heidelberg, Germany; Rome, Italy in 2004 for the 60th anniversary of the Liberation of Italy; and the 100th anniversary of the Army Reserve in Washington, D.C., among many others. Probably its most prestigious mission to date was when it was called upon to represent the 90th Infantry Division at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France in 1994. The 451st was one of 34 U.S. Army Bands asked to participate, but they were the only reserve unit present for the ceremonies. The May 28 concert is free and open to the community.

Throughout June, July and August, there will be exhibits at Pleasant Hill Library, MidCountry Bank, Hastings City Hall and the Hastings American legion Post 47.

A Military Appreciation Day and Amber Alert Motorcycle Run will be held at Dugarel’s Bar June 11.

As part of the annual Hastings Rivertown Days Festival, the Freedom Flight POW-MIA hot air balloon ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. July 15.

Exhibits are also planned later in the summer at the Little Log House Antique Power Show and the Dakota County Fair.

The activities, programs and observances are sponsored by the Hastings American Legion Post 47, Hastings Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1210, and the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Hastings Community.

Duane Foss killed in action in Vietnam

From the Hastings Gazette dated October 19, 1967

Hastings Star Gazette, Duane FossHastings suffered its first casualty in the Vietnam war last Saturday when Lance Corporal Duane Foss, 19-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Foss, Rt. 2, Hastings, was killed in action.

According to the telegram received by his parents Monday evening from the War Department, the young soldier was killed by “fragmentation wounds to the body from hostile artillery fire while in a defensive position.”

Before the arrival of the telegram Lieutenant Robert J. Coulter from the U.S. Marine Corps in Minneapolis has called at the Foss home to break the tragic news to the family.

Funeral arrangements are being held up, pending the arrival of the body, which is being sent home.

The obituary

Duane Foss, one of nine children was born Aug. 24, 1948, to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Foss, nee Anna Leifeld. He attended St. Boniface school and graduated from Hastings High School with the class of 1966.

He enlisted in the Marines and received his basic training at Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he studied the Vietnamese language and took special training in heavy fire arms.

He was then assigned to the M-16 machine gun and left March 30th for Vietnam, where he had served since. The young soldier was killed in the vicinity of Quang Tri, Vietnam, according to the message received.

Surviving besides his parents are one sister, Mrs. Jeffrey (Andrea) Davis of St. Paul, and seven brothers, Kenneth and Jerome of Chicago, Donald, William, Marvin, Dennis, and Raymond of Hastings.

From the Hastings Gazette dated Oct. 26, 1967:

First Hastings Vietnam Casualty-

Full Military Funeral Today For Duane Foss, Lance Cpl.

At ten o’clock today (Thursday) in St. Boniface church here, a full military funeral will be held for Lance Corporal Duane Foss, who was killed in action in Viet Nam.

The body arrived Tuesday evening by plane and was taken to the Caturia Funeral Home where a visitation was held beginning Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. until time for funeral services. Interment will be held in the church cemetery.

Accompanying the body on the long journey was Marine officer Lt. Curtiss Thurman, who remains until the body is laid to rest. Pallbearers and the ceremonial firing squad will be fellow Marines and the Color Guard will be members of the local American Legion.

L/Cpl. Duane Foss, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Foss, Rte 2, entered the service soon after his graduation in 1966 from Hastings High School. He completed basic training at Camp Pendleton and Monterrey, Calif. and left for Vietnam March 30. He was Hastings’ first casualty of the present conflict.

Surviving, besides his parents are one sister and seven brothers, one of the latter Donald, who is presently also in active service.

The sympathy of the community is extended the bereaved family.

By Andrea Davis, sister of Duane Foss

Duane John Foss was born in Hastings, Minnesota on August 24, 1948, the sixth child of Anna and Henry Foss. He eventually was one of nine children; eight boys and one girl, so Duane had plenty of company as he grew up in Hastings, attended St. Boniface grade school and Hastings Senior High.

Duane joined the Marines upon graduation from high school, proudly looking forward to serving his country. He was a young man from a small town who led a sheltered life, so his decision to join the Marines was a big step for him. After his basic training, Duane was shipped to Vietnam. Although concerned about going to Vietnam, he was proud to be a Marine and proud to serve as asked. Unfortunately, his life came quickly to an end on October 14, 1967, when he became a casualty of enemy fire. He was the first serviceman from Hastings to lose his life as a result of the Vietnam conflict. Duane was the first of the Foss children to die, making his death hard to accept, but this has been made easier, knowing that Duane chose to serve and died proudly serving his country as a U.S. Marine!!

Thank you for allowing me to remember fondly the younger brother whom I didn’t think I ever really knew very well. At the age of 51, I still wonder what would have been had he not died so young...

From ‘The Faces Behind the Names’ by Don Ward

Above is a page from the book, “The Faces Behind the Names,” by Don Ward 1996, written by Duane’s sister- Andrea Davis.

Duane is buried in the most northern section of St Boniface Cemetery in Hastings. He is buried alongside his parents – Henry and Anna Foss.

From the 1966 Hastings yearbook I learned that Duane likely wanted to be a farmer like his Dad- He took four years of FFA. As a junior in 1965 he is pictured twice- with his class and in FFA. Both times he has the same sweater on. They either took the pictures the same day or he only had one sweater.

Duane’s unit was G Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Amphibious Force.

His gravestone shows that Duane earned a Purple Heart and a Gold Star.

Lawrence Swanson dies in action

From the Hastings Gazette dated February 15, 1968

Hastings Star Gazette, Lawrence SwansonTwo area serviceman, one from Hastings and the other from Eggleston, were killed in action in Vietnam last week.

L/Cpl. Lawrence H. Swanson, 19-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry M. Swanson, 1616 Spring St, Hastings, was killed while on patrol in Thua Thien, Vietnam.

The Swansons received a telegram from the Department of War Wednesday afternoon informing them their son was killed Wednesday, Feb. 7th.

A 1966 graduate of Hastings high school, L/Cpl. Swanson has a brother, Duane, serving with the U.S. Army in Turkey, and two other brothers, Donald and Leonard, at home.

He is also survived by Mrs. William Lange of Hastings, his paternal grandmother.

Details of the circumstances surrounding his death were not known at press time.

Funeral services are pending with the Ellis Funeral Home of Hastings.

L/Cpl. Swanson’s death is the second Vietnam war casualty for Hastings. L/Cpl. Duane Foss, the 19-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Foss, Rt. 2, Hastings, became the first Hastings casualty when he was killed in action last October.

The remainder of this obituary chronicles the death of Lee Kinney of Eggleston. Lee is buried in the little cemetery next to the church on the south side of highway 61 in Welch before driving into the Cannon River Valley. He was from the family that ran the Kinney Store in Eggleston.

From the Hastings Gazette dated March 7, 1968

Lawrence Swanson, Buried, Killed in Viet Nam Feb. 9

Funeral services for L/Cpl. Lawrence Swanson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry M. Swanson, 1616 Spring St., Hastings, were held 2 p.m. Monday afternoon in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Rev. Alan B. Cheales officiating.

The 19-year-old soldier was killed while on patrol in Thua Thien, Vietnam on Feb. 7th.

Serving as color guards were Cliff Harris, Dayton Robinson, Raymond Knoll Sr., Clarence Knoll, and Frank Loesch from the VFW Post; and Paul Peterson, LuVerne Schaffer, Charles Peterson, Ray Foster, Grant Johnson, Cliff Johnson, Jim Schneider, Ed Stenson, and Luverne Geifer from the American Legion. Other VFW and Legion members not in uniform were also present.

Serving as pall bearers were Jeff Davis, Gary Eddy, Brent Siebold, Francis Reinardy, Rick Baem, and Tim Raths. An honorary escort was formed by fellow Marines from the Twin Cities area.

A 1966 graduate of Hastings high school, L/Cpl. Swanson is survived by a brother, Duane, serving with the U.S. Army in Turkey; and two other brothers Donald and Leonard, both at home. He is also survived by his maternal grandmother, Mrs. William Lange of Hastings.

Lawrence is buried at Lakeside Cemetery on Wilson Street, about two thirds of the way down the road on the left side” (end of obituary).

He is buried alongside his parents – Harry and Ruth Swanson. Harry died in 1986 and Ruth in 2013. Harry was a veteran of World War II and Korea.

Lawrence Swanson (like Duane Foss) graduated from Hastings High School in 1966. He played in several sports including football and track. His unit was B Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, III Marine Amphibious Force. He earned a Purple Heart.

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