From the Echo Press archives, 1973: Carlos man is the last GI to leave South Vietnam

This week in history in Douglas County.

Picture of Rachel Barduson
Rachel Barduson

This Week in 1973 – 50 years ago: Master Sergeant Max Beilke, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Max Beilke, Sr. of Carlos, was the official last American GI to leave South Vietnam Thursday. Before the last group was allowed to board the C-141 transport plane in Saigon, North Vietnamese Col. Bui Tin insisted that he be shown the manifest for the flight. He said it was very important to know who the last man aboard would be. Before Beilke could enter the plane, Bui Tin walked up to him, stuck out his right hand and said, “Peace.” He gave the sergeant a rattan table mat painted with a pagoda scene. Beilke was proud to have the distinction of being the last man to leave. The parents, who live north of the Lake Carlos State Park, didn’t take their eyes off the television set nor their ears away from the radio Thursday so they could keep track of the historic event — and the part their son played in it. “He was in charge of processing the men coming and going, but he never said he would be the very last,” Mrs. Beilke said.

1973, 50 years ago: The Alexandria, Evansville, Villard school districts have joined together in the project, “Runestone Vocational Center” to provide students with a saleable skill upon graduation from high school. Still considered experimental locally, the program is rapidly becoming an integral part of the elective curriculum in many schools in Minnesota. The Runestone Vocational Center has its own program director and representatives from each school. The center is considering leasing a building to house the 156 students registered for the five vocational courses offered. Courses include Auto Mechanics and Services, Health Occupations, Child Care Occupations, Building Trades and Model Office. Glenwood, Parkers Prairie, Osakis and Starbuck districts have expressed interest in the program.

1998, 25 years ago: Construction of Lake Geneva Golf Course and Estates is set to begin this spring. Project Manager Al Beisner announced the real estate closing and developers are set to begin as soon as it warms up. The utilities, roads and sewers should be ready by June 1, and the patio homes (attached town homes) will be built as they are sold. The new golf course is set to open August 1999. The golf course will be designed by Joel Goldstrand of Goldstrand Design in Plymouth. He’s probably best known as the designer of the following courses in the region: The Pines of Brainerd, Grand National, Superior National, St. Croix National, Bunker Hills, and The Links of Northfork.

2013, 10 years ago: A Canadian Pacific train derailed near Parkers Prairie and an estimated 20,000-30,000 gallons of crude oil spilled onto the frozen ground. Fourteen cars derailed, some of them completely off the tracks. Three tankers ruptured and either leaked oil or spilled oil. Because the ground was frozen, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said the ground water is not threatened. Crews were able to control the spill, containing it in a farm field and ditch.

Just for fun, 1933 – 90 years ago: A gasoline pump which will enable a motorist to drive up and say, “Give me a dollars worth of gas,” and which will give him exactly that, is being installed by the Tessmer Oil Company. The pump is the very latest and Alexandria is one of the first towns in Minnesota to have one.


Sports Trivia, 1973 – 50 years ago: JOY has been the theme selected for the annual synchronized water show to be presented at the Central Junior High swimming pool in Alexandria. Swimming to the musical tunes Every Faith will be 30 Aquateens and 10 Junior Aquateens. Directing and supervising the event is Suzie Trumm, assisted by Linda Engler. President of the Aquateens is Julie Tessmer; vice-president is Jeanne Martin and secretary is Renae Maloney.

Rachel Barduson of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist to the Echo Press Opinion page.

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