Standing at the front of the room on Wednesday during a Quilts of Valor presentation in his honor, 92-year-old Marine Corps veteran David Bagley got choked up.
“It was when I saw those two Marines in their dress blues — that’s my uniform,” Bagley said. “It brought back flashes of memories and all the happy times. Like I was just telling someone, you forget the bad stuff, you just remember the good, so I’ll take it at that.”
Gallery: David Bagley Presentation
Considering that Bagley served in the Korean War during a winter that featured piercing, bitter cold temperatures, the quilt will be put to good use.
“I never warmed up after that winter in Korea in 1950, so I’m still cold every day,” said Bagley, who like most of his fellow soldiers suffered frostbite on his extremities.
Quilts of Valor is a nationwide effort established in 2003 to express admiration for veterans and honor their service by covering them with a handmade quilt. The local chapter had a Quilts of Valor presentation during the Community Veterans Day Celebration on Nov. 9 at Philomath Scout Lodge. Dalmon “Ed” Calcote, a 99-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, was celebrated at the event but Bagley was unable to attend.
“I was supposed to be there but I became ill and had to go to the hospital,” Bagley said. “So it sort of faded away and I kind of forgot about it.”
As a result, Bagley said he had no idea about the presentation that had been planned Wednesday, which occurred at the end of the Dementia Warriors meeting at Peace Lutheran Church.
“It was a total surprise; it just flabbergasted me,” he said. “When I realized what it was, I knew that Eric Niemann and my son-in-law had been up to doing the planning for it and it just couldn’t have been better.”
Bagley’s son-in-law — actually, he refers to him as his son because they’ve grown to be so close — is Troy Malos. A Pacific Power employee, Malos routinely volunteers to install the veterans banners that are displayed in downtown Philomath.
The U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Center in Springfield sent a sergeant and corporal to the event to make the quilt presentation. Those in attendance sang the National Anthem to open the event and followed with the Marine Corps Hymn.
Niemann served as the emcee for the event and shared highlights of Bagley’s military background, including his 1950 entry into the Marine Corps with 10 weeks of boot camp in San Diego.
“What was impossible for David to know was that the North Korean Army launched a massive invasion across the 38th parallel just two months later to take over South Korea,” Niemann said. “Existing U.S. forces were quickly surrounded in what was called the Pusan Perimeter. David Bagley would be a part of a massive U.S. counteroffensive.”
Niemann went on to describe Bagley’s participation in the Battle of Incheon (formerly spelled Inchon) under the leadership of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
“David faced the hardships of freezing cold winter conditions while conducting continuous combat operations,” Niemann said. “Many of the U.S. troops were ill-equipped for these frigid conditions. David persevered and overcame and is certainly deserving of a warm quilt.”
Bagley served for 20 years from buck private to captain — his entry in 1950 and exit in 1970. He had wartime tours of duty in both Korea and Vietnam.
Those planning to attend had been told that the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves would be collecting items for its Toys for Tots program — now in its 75th year. Several people brought in toys that made the return trip with them to Springfield.