By Liz Bowen
In October, Dave Bradford was selected to serve as grand marshal of the annual Etna Veterans’ Parade to be held Nov. 5, 2022.
Unfortunately, the Etna Veterans’ Parade has been cancelled due to a time conflict with the Celebration of Life for local youth, Miles John Isbell, 11, who passed away after a two-year fight with cancer. The entire Scott Valley community has supported and prayed for Miles and his family. Out of respect for the large gathering that will take place at noon on Nov. 5, 2022 at Rancho del Sol, the American Legion Perry Harris Post #260 chose to cancel the parade this year.
But, with Veterans Day approaching on Nov. 11th, it is time to honor Dave Bradford for his military service to the United States of America.
Dave joined the U.S. Army and was sworn-in on his 17th birthday, May 25, 1959, in Oakland, CA. He went on to serve 20 years and three months, including three years in Viet Nam, before returning to Etna with his family.
Basic training for Dave was at Fort Ord in Monterey. From there, he went to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for advanced training in artillery and was then sent to Germany in November 1959. During the next four years, Dave served on a howitzer gun crew and he met his wife, Winnie. They were married in 1962 in Germany.
It was while living back in the U.S. at Fort Lewis, WA. that the Army asked for volunteers to serve on the Rifle and Pistol Team. Dave recalls that “no one volunteered,” so, because he was a new Staff Sergeant, his commanding officer volunteered him! That is where he served for the next 16 years. The team competed in the USA and internationally. Dave admits he is “pretty proud” of the Distinguished Rifleman medal that he won. In fact, Dave won many competitions and earned a place on the President’s top 100 Riflemen list. He also served as gunsmith for the team.
During his first tour in Viet Nam, Dave was wounded and says that he “zigged” when he should have “zagged.” But, he was in for a lengthy seven-month recovery in a military hospital in Hawaii. At the time, Winnie and their two young children, Sandy and Tim, lived in Germany with Winnie’s parents. After Dave recovered and the family was settled back in the United States, Dave served two more tours in Viet Nam. One was with the 1st Battalion 61st Infantry at the DMZ.
Toward the end of his 20 years, Dave said he is grateful that his commanding officer sent him to a police academy, where Dave won first place trophies in academics and rifle shooting graduating second highest in his class.
He and Winnie had planned on moving to Etna for civilian life. Soon after the move, Dave was in the Etna Hardware store, where he learned the city council was looking for a new police chief. Dave was a bit sore and beat-up after an altercation with his Arab horse, when he was interviewed by council member Jack Stacher. Having grown-up riding, Jack just nodded understanding his discomfort. The council hired Dave part-time and then full-time as Etna Police Chief, where he served for the next 18 years until retirement in 1996.
Dave is now retired from more than 20 years with his gunsmith business, but is active in the Mason’s Knights Templar, Lions Club and is serving as the commander of the American Legion Perry Harris Post #260. The Legion officiates at funerals for veterans providing color guard and gun salutes.
Dave and Winnie just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Their son, Tim and wife Dana, live next door and Dave is quite happy that his grown grandsons, Trey and Ty, also live back in Scott Valley.
The parade may be cancelled, but the community is invited to attend the color guard with gun salute services on Veterans Day at four cemeteries in Scott Valley. Dave will be with the American Legion as they begin on Nov. 11, 2022 at the Callahan Cemetery at 9 a.m. The Legion will then honor veterans at the small cemetery on Starr Access Rd outside of Etna at 10 a.m. They will provide another service at the Etna Cemetery at 11 a.m. and finish at noon at the Fort Jones Cemetery.
Be sure to let our military veterans know their service is appreciated!