Sen. Ernst awards medals to State Center veteran

Curtis Summers fought in Global War on Terror

T-R PHOTO By MIKE DONAHEY
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, far left, is pictured with members of the Curtis Summers family of State Center Saturday at the Gold Star Museum in Johnston. Summers, second from right, fought overseas in the Global War on Terror and his son, third from right, is holding medals presented by Ernst.

T-R PHOTO By MIKE DONAHEY U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, far left, is pictured with members of the Curtis Summers family of State Center Saturday at the Gold Star Museum in Johnston. Summers, second from right, fought overseas in the Global War on Terror and his son, third from right, is holding medals presented by Ernst.

Like his father, Curtis Summers is leaving a legacy to his son.

Summers, 28, of State Center served in the U.S. Army in Iraq and on Saturday was presented a host of medals from a grateful country by U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, herself a veteran.

Surrounded by family, Summers received his medals in the Iowa Gold Star Museum on the grounds of Camp Dodge in Johnston.

Summers served five years with a Engineering Unit, operating heavy equipment.

One of Summers’ jobs was removal of dangerous anti-personal weapons.

“As a very young man, he was charged with great responsibility,” said Ernst. “Curtis, I want to thank you for your service.”

Ernst presented Summers with the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Large (Double), Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service, and Iraq Campaign Medal and Bronze Star Attachment (Single) Medal.

“Curtis’s unit had an important task,” said Ernst. “Engineers clear the way. They are in charge of infrastructure … they are out building. They make possible safe passage for the units that follow.”

Summers, a Hubbard-Radcliffe high school graduate was one of thousands of men and women who fought in the Global War on Terrorism.

“It was nice to receive the awards in front of my family,” Summers said of the event. “When you are stationed overseas, you do not see much of the awards. My father is former military, so it was good for him see his son … kind of grow up … and I can pass this tradition on to my son … this is a great family moment.”

Summers said after the award ceremony sinks in he will resume efforts to start his own business.

Additionally Ernst presented medals to Vietnam veteran Gerald Almburg of Ankeny, Vietnam veteran Robert Hilterbrand of Urbandale, Vietnam veteran John McDonald of Norwalk, and the late World War II veteran Earl Smith of Des Moines. Smith’s medals and ribbons were accepted by his son, Earl Smith, Jr.

The Iowa Gold Star museum is the only federally recognized military museum in Iowa, said Director Bob Holiday.

It offers a chronological view of Iowa’s military history from the Lewis and Clark expedition to present day.

“This museum is for Iowans … we want every Iowan to visit,” Holiday said.

One of the more unique historical items on display at the museum’s entrance is the USS Des Moines ship bell.

The Des Moines, commissioned in 1948, was the Navy’s last all gun heavy cruiser.

For a period it served as the flagship for the 6th fleet. It was decommissioned for reserve in 1961.