Monday, May 28, 2012

The Day I Met Master Sargent Harold Omar Steffen

I love history, especially military history.  Few things stir my blood like hearing the tales of heroism that are part-and-parcel with the great traditions of the United States Military.  From the early days of John Paul Jones and George Washington, to Picket's Charge, to D-Day, to the Evacuation of Saigon, to Vietnam, to Desert Shield and Desert Storm, to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  These men and women sacrifice their lives, often even while living, to give us liberty and keep us safe.

So when my wife was given the option to accept the uniform of her deceased grandfather, I jumped at it.  I knew nothing about him, but I knew I wanted that uniform.  It sits now on a silent butler in a closet; I keep meaning to have it professionally cleaned and framed.  We've had it for several years, and I still knew nothing about him.

So, when it came time to decide what to do for Memorial Day, I decided to learn about him.

His name was Harold O Steffen, and he met his wife while in the army stationed in Austria.  He joined up in 1943 and served honorably in World War II and Korea.  Over his 25 years in the US Army, he achieved the rank of Master Sargent, not to mention siring and rearing 4 children.

He retired honorably in 1968, and died still a relatively young man at age 53 in 1982.

I still don't know as much about him as I'd like, but his children didn't keep the best of records.  My wife's aunt has the most stuff- probably including his service awards and ribbons- but she hasn't sent those along to us, yet.

So join me in greeting this minor, but undeniable Hero in the Pantheon of American Heroes.  God speed, Master Sargent Steffen, Rest in Peace.


  1. Allen, saw your link over on Ace asking for an ID on the patch. Here you go:

    When he was in, it was probably still the 972nd Signal Battalion. Hope this helps.

    SGT Dan

  2. nevertheless don't know as much concerning him or her as I would like, yet his / her kids don't keep the better of data. My wife's aunt has the nearly all stuff- probably including
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