Iowa State will add 5 former student names to Gold Star Hall war memorial

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University will honor five former students who died in the Iraq or Vietnam wars during a Veterans Day ceremony on Monday, Nov. 12. The Gold Star Hall ceremony will be at 2:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union's Great Hall. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Gold Star Hall is the "memorial" in the Memorial Union at Iowa State. The university maintains an active memorial in the Union's north entrance, where names of Iowa Staters who died in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq are commemorated on the walls.

Anyone who attended Iowa State as a full-time student and died while on active duty in the U.S. Armed Services in a designated combat area is eligible for inclusion in the Gold Star Hall.

The name Gold Star comes from a World War I tradition, said Kathy Svec, Memorial Union marketing director.

"In World War I, when a family had a son or daughter in the service, they put a card with a blue star in their window. When a life was lost, the blue star was changed to gold," Svec said.

During the public ceremony in the Great Hall, Iowa State's ROTC unit will present the colors, followed by brief remarks by university administrators. The stories of each soldier will be told. The families and close friends will then move to a private ceremony in the Gold Star Hall where the newly engraved names will be unveiled. The Hall will then be re-opened to the public.

"It's so very meaningful for the families to have their loved one remembered in this way," Svec said.

The Vietnam casualties listed below were only recently identified as former ISU students. Those honored this year are:

Lt. Col. Paul J. Finken, Earling

Before graduating from the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, Finken attended Iowa State for a year, from fall 1984 to spring 1985. He died Nov. 2, 2006, in Iraq from an improvised explosive device while he was orienting a replacement officer. He was 40 years old.

Sgt. Thomas W. Carrington, Storm Lake

Carrington attended Iowa State from fall 1966 to winter 1968. He was killed Aug. 12, 1969, in Tay Ninh, Vietnam by small arms fire when an aircraft landing zone came under attack. He had less than two weeks to serve in his tour of duty. He was 20 years old.

Warrant Officer Jerry P. Clark, Davenport

Clark attended Iowa State from fall 1960 to spring 1961. After basic training, he went through flight school, graduating in 1964 as a fixed wing pilot. Then he was shipped to Vietnam. Clark was listed as missing in action on December 15, 1965, after his reconnaissance plane developed engine trouble and crashed. His status was changed to missing/presumed dead in 1973. He was 25 years old.

Sgt. Stephen A. Rushing, Ames

Rushing attended Iowa State from fall 1967 to fall 1968. He entered the Army in 1969, attained the rank of Sergeant in a year and started his tour of duty in Vietnam in May 1970. He died in Binh Dinh province from small arms fire on July 30 that year. He was 20 years old.

Private First Class Rickey E. Swaney, Grand Junction

Swaney attended Iowa State from fall 1965 through winter 1968. He went into the Army in the fall of 1968 and chose not to pursue officer training. He was shipped to Vietnam in May 1969 and died August 14, 1969, near Kontum in a mortar attack. He was 21 years old.

The Memorial Union is located at 2229 Lincoln Way, Ames. Parking is available in an attached ramp. Information about the Union is available online at