Meet Our 2016 Scholarship Winners

Brief statements from 12 of our 2016 Scholarship Winners.

Rachel Blaisdell

When I first found out I was selected to be a recipient of the 11th Armored Cavalry's Veterans of Vietnam & Cambodia Colonel Charles Schmidt Leadership scholarship the feeling was surreal. I called my parents right away because I couldn't wait to share the news with my biggest fans. Receiving this scholarship did not only take a huge weight off of my shoulders but it has also has allowed me to go into this college experience stress free. I couldn't believe at first that the same men and women who have served for our country gave back again to help me pay for college. After researching about Charles L. Schmidt, I discovered similarities between us. He was a family orientated man who was remembered by his L-1 company mates as a kind quiet person who was always willing to lend a hand. Although he passed away nine years ago his legacy is a great one and I hope by the end of my time I could be remembered as kindly as he was. Lastly, I would like to thank my father and everyone who made this scholarship possible for me, it was truly a blessing to have received this award.

Rachel Blaisdell is the daughter of John Blaisdell, HHT 3/11, 70-71,

Recipient of the 2016 Col. Charles Schmidt Leadership award.


      Brandy M. Archer

      When I learned I was a recipient of the 2016 11ACVVC scholarship I was elated. I thought how much easier this money was going to make it for my family and me. I would not to have to worry about how I was going to pay for the rest of my education. I would no longer have to feel guilty about using money my husband and I had set aside to support our family. It is not easy being an adult learner.
Your organization is one of the few that allows adults to apply. When I received that beautiful purple folder in the mail, containing my certificate and award letter, I was unprepared for the amount of emotion I felt. This is not some ordinary scholarship, this is an honor. Being chosen to represent The 11
th Armored Cavalry Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia is an overwhelming experience. But knowing this scholarship is dedicated to the memory of a fallen soldier humbles me. I am looking at my six month old son as I type this and I am almost paralyzed with tears. I am excepting this money not just for my family and myself, but for Kenneth E. Wedlow, someone else’s son.
I want to thank my step- father, Wayne L. West, for telling me about this scholarship and finding me worthy enough to receive it. I want to thank the committee for choosing me among the many that applied. I will do my best to uphold the memory of the many soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.                                                                                                             

Brandy M. Archer is the daughter of Wayne West, G trp., 69-70.

KIA dedication in honor of: Kenneth E. Wedlow, , L Troop, (KIA 3/10/70).

1.  Ryan Chesemore

I would like to thank all the members of the 11th ACVVC for this scholarship. The scholarship means so much. It will let me focus on my education and being the best student I can be. I will be studying paramedicine and when I am done, I will be able to serve my community. This is showing my children that you can do anything with your life. You just have to work hard and never give up. Thank you for you scholarship. Thank you for you service.

Ryan Chesemore son of James Chesemore, E Troop 67-68.

KIA dedication in honor of: Roger R. Pangan, K Troop, (KIA 7/21/69).

     Alivia Conn

Receiving this scholarship from the 11th Cav is an incredible honor.  I am thankful to receive this scholarship on behalf of a fallen soldier, but also on behalf of all the men who served.  Not many students my age have a father who served in Viet Nam, but my dad served with dignity and honor and I am so proud to be his daughter.  I am also proud to be a part of the 11th Cav family.  This scholarship will help me pay for college and it is my sincere hope to pay this gift forward once I begin my career in teaching.  Thank you again, I am humbled and honored by the generosity of the 11th Cav.

Alivia Conn is the daughter of Ansel Conn Jr., 919th Eng., 68-69.

KIA dedication in honor of: Larry C. Kyar, L Troop, (KIA 3/28/68).

Kersti Noetzel

Wow! I am so beyond honored to have received this scholarship. My father has always been so involved and proud of his service that I couldn't help but apply, knowing what that would mean to him. My sister, Shannon, also was honored enough to receive this award. Not only is my father proud of her, but I am as well. When we were younger we attended every reunion, every event, and listened to every story my father had to tell. I have every reason to believe that those memories shaped our childhood and now this scholarship will shape our futures. Thank you so much for this honor, it means more to myself and my family than even imaginable.

Kersti Noetzel is the daughter of Alfred Noetzel, F Trp, 66-67.

KIA dedication in honor of: Bruce Ugelstad, B Troop (KIA 10/28/69).

Meredith Pletcher

As for what this scholarship means to me, let me just start off with: a lot. School's importance has always played a huge part in my life, from kindergarten when I was just learning how to read and write to high school where I faced some of my toughest classes. Yet I've always held a passion for it, something that my parents and family have always fanned on. Because of this, college has always been an assumption for my future, though I was also told from a young age that I would have to earn my degree and pay for the whole thing myself. Taking this to heart, I've always pushed myself to work more diligently, strive for good grades, but most importantly a deeper understanding of the subject. 

If not for this scholarship and others like it, college could be only a dream, a faint glimmer in the distant horizon of my future. Thanks to the 11th ACVVC, I am able to reach out and grab that glimmer, nurture it, and eventually graduate with a degree that I can use to make the world a better place. This scholarship means that not only can I attend university, but that I can enter the workforce afterwards and make use of the freedom veterans like yourselves have gifted us. I can't impress upon the 11th ACVVC what a difference they've made in my life, not only with this scholarship but the service they provided to our country during a time when doing so wasn't very popular. Thank you so much for the opportunities you've offered me through this scholarship.

Meredith Pletcher is the daughter of Robert Pletcher, F Trp, 70-71.

KIA dedication in honor of: Henry D. McInnis, K Troop, (KIA 5/21/67).

Sara Sichi

I am so honored to be a recipient of an 11th Armored Cavalry’s Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia Scholarship.  This scholarship will bring me one step closer to achieving my goal of obtaining my Master’s Degree in Social Work.  These funds will help me to complete my final two semesters of the graduate program, and I am so very grateful for this assistance.  I would like to thank my father and all other members of the 11th ACVVC for the opportunity to receive this scholarship. Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity.


Sara Sichi is the daughter of John Sichi, L Trp., 70-71

KIA dedication in honor of: Robert S. Raines, F Troop, (KIA 12/2/69).

Emily Vollbrecht

Thank you very much for the generous financial assistance to continue pursuing my dream of becoming a physician! I am honored to accept the 11th Armored Cavalry's Scholarship in memory of Frank Asp. This award will allow me to continue my studies in medicine, with the eventual goal of becoming an Emergency Department physician. 

Emily Vollbrecht is the daughter of Kenneth Vollbrecht, HHT Regt., 70-71

KIA dedication in honor of: Frank Asp, B Troop, (KIA 01/29/68).

Jennifer L. Bender

I would like to thank the members of the 11th Armored Cavalry Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia for helping support my education through your generous scholarship. I am currently in nursing school, and have paid for everything out of pocket while working part time. As the program progresses, we can expect to spend over 40 hours a week on studying, clinical preparation, and at clinical sites. This is in addition to nine hours a week in class and lab. Receiving this scholarship means I can concentrate on my studies, and not worry about paying for books, tuition, and lab equipment. It means I will be able to achieve my goal of becoming a registered nurse, the third generation in my family to do so. However, what makes this scholarship particularly meaningful to me is that I have this opportunity due to my Dad’s military service. Larry Swartz has always provided unconditional love and support, as well as an example of integrity and service. Thanks to him, and the rest of 11th ACVVC’s membership, I will have the opportunity to follow his example and care for my community as a registered nurse, while being a good role model for my own two sons.

Jennifer L. Bender daughter of Lawrence Swartz, F troop, 69-70,

KIA dedication in honor of: Myllin G. Henrich, K Troop (KIA 06/23/70).

Christy "Chris" Burch

Thank you, 11th ACVVC!!  This scholarship makes it possible for me to continue my education at a faster pace.  Without this help I would have to take fewer classes for the year.  I can now take more classes, accomplishing my goal of graduating sooner.  I feel extremely privileged to receive this scholarship and I am truly grateful to all who are involved.  Thanks you so much for helping me to better myself, not just for me but for my family, too.

Christy “Chris” Burch is the daughter of Thomas Patton, How 3/11, 70-71

KIA dedication in honor of: Louie P. Pina, A Troop, (KIA 12/19/67).

Calvin Koch

Thank you Thank you Thank you!    What a wonderful pleasant surprise! It is an honor to accept this scholarship and will lessen the hard ship on my parents.  I look forward to receiving the certificate of the solider to frame, admirer and remember his loss, as I will do my best to make him proud. God bless

Calvin Koch is the son of Paul Koch, HHT Regt., 68-69

KIA dedication in honor of: Allan B. Callaway, D Co., (KIA 02/28/69).

Patrick Rafferty

I am extremely thankful and honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the 11th Armored Cavalry's Veterans of Vietnam & Cambodia scholarship in memory of Jimmy D. West. This scholarship provides an opportunity to continue my studies and further develop one of my passions. I also see this scholarship existence as one more example of the generosity of the amazing veterans that up the 11thACVVC organization. That generosity is something we could all learn from. I've been to at least seven reunions over the last 20+ years with my father, and know how much this organization means to its members, and have personally met so many amazing veterans. I have also seen with my own eyes what a difference it has made in my father's life. I thank the organization, its members for their service, and all of you who made this scholarship possible.

Patrick Rafferty is the son of Michael Rafferty, G Troop, 69-70

KIA dedication in honor of: Jimmy D. West, G Troop, (KIA 07/04/69).