Pfc. Langseth to be honored at open house

Pfc. Tommy Langseth, a Brady soldier recently injured in an explosion in Iraq, will be the guest of honor next weekend at a reception that will be part of an open house at the Heart of Texas Historical Musuem. The open house will immediately follow the Independence Day parade that is scheduled to begin Saturday, July 7 at 10 a.m. A two-hour visitation with Pfc. Langseth will be held at the museum following the parade to give friends and community members an opportunity to welcome the injured soldier home as well as see the progress of the museum’s expansion project that is nearing completion. Langseth was transferred to Brooks Army Medical Hospital in San Antonio earlier this week and will be stationed there as an outpatient for several weeks. According to Langseth’s mother, Karen, the doctors have told them there will be no more surgeries scheduled until August in order to allow his body to heal as completely as possible. Until that time, Langseth will be visually impaired due to the surgeries which removed the lenses from his eyes following the explosion that damaged both eyes and portions of his face and upper torso. “Things are a bit frustrating knowing that he is considered legally blind and has to wait until August to schedule the next surgery to repair the damage,” said Mrs. Langseth. “But, we are glad to be in Texas, close to home.” Although not yet completed, the open house for the museum is being held as a precursor to the formal grand opening and dedication that is scheduled for Veterans Day later this year. As part of the early recognition of the expansion project of the local musuem, the new expansion is being featured to give the public a chance to see the progress of the expansion. The expansion is a complete renovation of the old barracks and control tower that was relocated from Curtis Field. Curtis Field served as a training facility for American pilots during World War II, and the new expansion will feature all of the military memorabilia on display in one location. “This expansion is going to be dedicated to the 21 soldiers who lost their lives while training at Curtis Field,” said Bert Striegler, one of the major participants in the oversight of the renovation project. “It sounds terrible that 21 pilots were killed, but that is a really low accident rate. They really must have had a first-class training operation. “There were 10,000 men trained at Curtis Field over a four-and-a-half-year period. Most of those men went to Europe, and according to newspaper articles of that era, 35 percent of those were casualties and never came home. “The whole idea of this project is to save as much of the history of these structures as possible,” Striegler added. “A lot of our young people don’t have any idea what went on during that time and what happened right here in our own backyard.” The World War II vintage control tower building, (constructed in 1940-1941), the Prisoner of War Camp Guard Shack and the Curtis Field Guard Shack have all been moved to their new home behind the Brady museum. ” The historical significance of the control tower building should not be underestimated,” said Striegler. “It was the last and the most significant wooden World War II building at Curtis Field that was still standing.” The Curtis Field Guard Shack sits directly in front of the original control tower building, like it did in the 1940s. A large storage container left on the museum property when it assumed ownership will be used for storage. Plans have been made to paint it olive drab (military colors, of course) and the front of the container will have a 10- foot metal awning on it. The museum also plans to embellish the container with a mural of a D-15 trainer, the type aircraft most used at Curtis Field during that era. “We’re building our own ‘paint-by-number’ kit for it,” Striegler explained. “It’s going to be about 15-feet long and eight feet high.” A six-foot high, chain link fence will enclose the new additions. It will be a pure military compound for all practical purposes, complete with a flagpole in the middle of the grounds.

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