Veteran has 41 years of meritorious service

Carol Wagner Leader Correspondent

Photo by Carol Wagner Jim Marquardt served 41 years in the military beginning with the Navy and then the Army.

Jim Marquardt served 41 years in the military beginning with the Navy and then the Army. He has received many medals including the Meritorious Service Medal.

He joined the Navy Reserves in January 1963. On June 3 of that year, he graduated from Shawano High School, on June 4 he was sworn in for active duty, and on his 18th birthday, June 5, he left for boot camp. He chose the Navy after an uncle served in that branch.

“It was the thing to do,” Marquardt said. “I was always geared toward the military.”

He was stationed in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War serving from 1963 to 1966. Marquardt was a member of the Air Squadron in Naval communications.

He got out on July 15, 1966, but he was in the Reserves until January 1969. Under the Vietnam GI Bill, Marquardt earned a degree with honors in police science from Fox Valley Technical College.

He was a deputy sheriff in Neopit, Gresham village marshal, a licensed private investigator, and worked undercover at Hillshire in New London along with High Ridge Health Care Center in Racine.

In 1974, he joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard. Marquardt had wanted to go back to the Navy, but they wouldn’t give him his rank back.

He was Active Guard Reserve beginning in 1986. During this time, Marquardt was an engineer in El Salvador rebuilding from Hurricane Mitch.

“The hurricane wiped out the infrastructure,” Marquardt said.

While at the base camp he was a first sergeant and reserves were rotated in every two weeks to help out.

When he returned to the states he was stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Marquardt was a facility manager non-commissioned officer for the reserve centers not only in Alabama, but Georgia and Mississippi. He visited 22 different facilities once each month.

“I made sure the reserve facilities were up to snuff,” Marquardt said.

Marquardt retired from service on June 30, 2005, as an E8 master sergeant.

In 2012, with the Post 911 GI Bill he got a degree with honors in horticulture landscape from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Marquardt worked at Qualheim’s Garden Center and Charlie’s County Market.

Marquardt is a lifetime member of VFW Post 2723 and American Legion Post 117 and is on the honor guard for both.

Marquardt lives in the town of Wescott with his two dogs. He is single now and has two children, one is deceased, and two grandchildren.

Marquardt is over 50 percent service connected disabled. He swims 40 to 50 laps every day Monday through Friday at the Shawano Recreation Center.

Marquardt is also a member of the American Legion Riders Association District 8 and this year got involved with Wreaths Across America. He is spreading the word to get wreaths for the over 5,000 service people buried in Veterans Memorial Cemetery at King.

“Years past, they didn’t get enough donations for all the graves,” he said.

Wreaths are $15, and if you buy two they will donate the third. Dec. 16 is the wreath laying, which corresponds with the same ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

For information, call ALRA at 715-421-4117 or mail a check to ALRA, 1130 S. 13th St., Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494.