Fitz in the Morning: Troop Salute

Verdian Lee Fitz of the US Navy

Everyone on this show has personal connections to our nation’s military. Most of us have an immediate family member who served, or at least an uncle or a cousin.  One of us, Drew, even served himself. Today I would like to honor one of my own personal relatives who served. Today we salute Verdian Lee Fitz of the United States Navy. Verdian, or “Vern” as he was known was born in 1923 in New Mexico.  He was part of the “Greatest Generation”.  They started out without much of anything other than hope, and from that they built the greatest nation on earth. Just like most of the men in his generation, Vern enlisted in the service to answer the call of WWII. Vern joined the Navy in 1943, just as the war was raging around the world. Very was stationed on the U.S.S. Lauderdale in the South Pacific during the war.  He fought with his shipmates in the Battle of Okinawa.  His ship picked up nearly 3800 survivors of more than 30 sunken ships from that battle. After WWII, Vern continued to serve the nation in the Korean War where he was stationed in Greenland working with radar systems which was brand new, cutting edge technology at the time. After his discharge Vern set up a home in Estes Park, Colorado, and married and had a family. Always an avid history buff, Vern Fitz collected ships logs from WWII along with stories of the war to preserve them for future generations. He remained active in veterans events his entire life, eventually becoming the oldest member of Western Slope VFW Post 3981. Verdian Lee Fitz passed away on November 19th, 2019.  He was 96 years old.