Iowa State will honor World War II service members at Gold Star Hall ceremony

Etching new name into Gold Star Hall

Joe Ackerman of Nevada Monument sprays a drop shadow into a newly-etched name on the wall of Gold Star Hall on July 25, 2021. Ackerman has etched many of the names in Gold Star Hall, but William Conrad Ostlund is the first new addition to the walls in years. Photo by Christopher Gannon. Larger image.

AMES, Iowa — Three former Iowa State University students will be recognized for their military service, and their ultimate sacrifice, at the annual Gold Star Hall ceremony.

The ceremony will take place at 3:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. This event is open to the public. Light refreshments will be available following the ceremony.

Photos, memorabilia and the personal stories of three ISU students who served in World War II will be shared at the Gold Star Hall ceremony.

The Gold Star Hall ceremony honors Iowa State students who lost their lives in war. Former students’ names are engraved on the Gold Star Hall walls if they attended Iowa State full-time for one or more semesters and died while in military service in a war zone.

As names become known, they are added to the wall and the service members are honored in Iowa State’s annual Veterans Day observance. The name of one of the service members that will be recognized, William Conrad Ostlund, was added to the Gold Star Hall walls this year.

The family and friends of these three fallen heroes will be in attendance so that they may see the names of their loved ones forever memorialized in Gold Star Hall.

The ceremony will include the stories of each honoree, as well as taped comments from ISU President Wendy Wintersteen, presentation of the colors by members of Iowa State ROTC, singing of the National Anthem and taps played by ISU students.

  • Robert Abram Berwick, Knoxville, studied chemistry at Iowa State from 1940 to 1943. He joined the U.S. Navy in the fall of 1943. Berwick was killed April 11, 1945, off the coast of Okinawa.
  • Donald T. Griswold Jr., Clarinda, studied agronomy at Iowa State from 1936 to 1941. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1941. Griswold was killed June 6, 1942, during the Battle of Midway in the South Pacific.
  • William Conrad Ostlund, Webster City, studied agricultural business at Iowa State from 1936 to 1937. He joined the U.S. Navy in February 1942. Ostlund was presumed dead in June 1944, two months after his ship disappeared.

Today, Gold Star Hall includes the names of the nearly 600 Iowa Staters who died serving in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia and in the Global War on Terrorism.

This ceremony begins a week of events on campus dedicated to honoring veterans:

  • Through Nov. 24: All visitors to the ISU Book Store will have the opportunity to make a donation to support the ISU Veterans Center.
  • Thursday, Nov. 11: All active-duty military and veterans admitted free to Reiman Gardens.
  • Thursday, Nov. 11: Join Army and Air Force ROTC programs for a joint service workout to honor and support our troops. 6 a.m. at Lied Recreation Center.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 9: Lecture: “Uncle Sam Wants Who? Women, Men, and the Meaning of American Selective Service,” by Amy Rutenberg, associate professor of history at Iowa State. 8 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall.
  • Friday, Nov. 12: Virtual panel discussion with ISU military and veteran students. Noon on Zoom (Meeting ID: 989 3783 8123)

To learn more about the ISU Veterans Center, head to their website.