STORM LAKE: Cadets serving the Buena Vista University Army ROTC presented a Veterans Day display remembering a pair of former BVU students from the Carroll area who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroic service in World War II.
The display, detailing the stories of U.S. Army Capt. Darrell Lindsey and U.S. Army Sgt. Ralph G. Neppel, featured their portraits and shadow boxes at BVU’s Center for Diversity & Inclusion. The arrangement served as part of a weeklong series of events during Diversity & Inclusion Week.
“We are honored to have representation for this special Veterans Day event,” said BVU Army ROTC CPT, LG Brendan D. Lind, who serves as an assistant professor of military science at BVU. “The stories of sacrifice and bravery are essential in sharing, especially as they help connect generations of BVU students who answer the call to service for our country.”
BVU Army ROTC Cadets Thomas Bertrand, Drayke Eshelman and Don Phillips II presented the display on Wednesday.
Lindsey and Neppel were two of five Iowans in World War II who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest honor for acts of bravery and heroism.
Lindsey, who grew up at Jefferson, was a BVU student in 1939–40 before enlisting with the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was killed Aug. 9, 1944, when his B-26 bomber was attacked as he led a formation during a raid over an enemy-held bridge in France. After his plane took on enemy fire, Lindsey continued the attack, destroyed the bridge, then ordered his crew to jump. He was killed when the plane burst into flames and crashed to the ground before he could escape.
Neppel, of Carroll, led a machine gun squad in defense of a village in Germany on Dec. 14, 1944, when an enemy tank supported by 20 infantrymen attacked. Despite having one leg severed and the other seriously wounded in the initial attack, Neppel, who had been blown 10 yards from his position, dragged himself back to remount his machine gun and killed the remaining enemy riflemen, forcing the enemy tank to retreat.
Neppel returned home, determined to earn his college degree, which he accomplished in 1952. He went on to work with the Veteran’s Administration and the Governor’s Committee for the Employment of the Handicapped. He died in 1987 following a battle with cancer.
A memorial plaque bearing the names of Neppel and Lindsey is affixed to a rock along the sidewalk connecting the Estelle Siebens Science Center and Siebens Fieldhouse. The memorial was dedicated in June 1993.