For Immediate Release
Donor Gives to Delta College Veteran’s Loan Fund
(Stockton,CA) – Lodi attorney Victor Goehring knows firsthand what it means to be a veteran, and serve next to fellow Americans who give the ultimate sacrifice. And, he is someone who never forgets. In addition to serving on the Delta College Foundation Board, he recently contributed $ 4,000 to the Delta College Veteran’s Loan Fund and $10,000 for student scholarships to South Fork High School in Garberville, CA. You might ask what motivated him to be generous. This is not his story, but rather the story of Ben Dashiell, a U.S. Infantry Rifleman who was mortally wounded in Okinawa in 1945.
I had known Ben for approximately ten days before his demise. He joined our unit when we had pulled to the rear for rest and recuperation. We had much in common. He was matriculated to start his college education at the University of California, Berkeley, upon his discharge. One difference between us was I had a sister and six brothers while he was an only child. When our unit returned to the front line, Ben was mortally wounded in approximately five minutes into his first attack.
I visited Ben’s parents at Weott, Calif., the first week I returned from the war. I was shocked to learn that he was listed as MIA (Missing in Action). The shock was amplified because I had seen many of our casualties from the attack, both dead and alive, carried to the rear. I was certain Ben was one of them. The attack, and Goehring’s story, is set forth in greater detail in Tom Brokaw’s book An Album of Memories.
Ben’s remains were eventually identified, returned to his parents and buried in a cemetery in Eureka, Calif. The grave serenely overlooks the Pacific Ocean. To this date, I do not know when or where his body was discovered.
My opinion is that Ben’s death was instant, and he probably had no chance to realize what happened when that fatal bullet struck him.
Ben was the only child of Ben and Hazel Dashiell. I prayed for God to comfort his parents, probably more than for any other person.
Ben died using my former rifle which I had exchanged for a small carbine rifle when my position was changed to company radio operator. I have often wondered why he and not me.
After the loss of a comrade in battle, you’re too numb – physically and mentally – to shed tears. Instead, you stare down in complete quietness as though to burn a hold in the ground. That comes later at different times and ways to each surviving soldier. Sixty years after the tragedy, my eyes sometimes get moist when I hear Paul Whitman’s orchestra play “Rhapsody in Blue.” This was the movie played the night I met Ben as he joined our unit.
As you can probably imagine, this is a life-altering experience. It created an indelible image for Goehring. Sixty years later, Goehring’s lasting memory of Ben Dashiell led him to contribute to the Veteran’s Loan Fund at San Joaquin Delta College and to create a student scholarship in his memory. For more information about Delta College, the Delta College Foundation or how you can contribute, contact the Delta College Foundation office at 954-5027 or online at: www.DELTACOLLEGE.edu.
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