Two Kansans killed in Vietnam remembered at Sign Unveiling

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Highway signs honoring two Kansas killed in Vietnam more than four decades ago were unveiled yesterday afternoon at Marysville City Hall.

The signs will designate two bridges in honor of Sgt. Joseph A. Zutterman Jr. and Spc. Michael T. Martin. The bridge west of Marysville on U.S. 36 will be designated the “SGT Joseph A. Zutterman Jr. Memorial Bridge” and the bridge the south side of Marysville on U.S. 77 will be designated the “SP4 Michael T. Martin Memorial Bridge.”

Guest speakers at the ceremony included: Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King; Kansas Rep. Sharon Schwartz; Marshall County Commission Chair Robert Connell; Marysville Mayor Bill Phillipi; Marysville Councilman Tim Ackerman; David Zutterman, Joseph Zutterman’s brother; and Barbara Martin-Thomas, Michael Martin’s sister.

Early in 2011, Councilman Ackerman approached Rep. Schwartz about naming two Marshall County bridges in honor of the two men. During the 2012 legislative session, a bill to so name the bridges was introduced by Rep. Schwartz, passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback on May 17, 2012.

Sgt. Zutterman, a Marysville Marine, was killed April 20, 1968, near DaNang. He was a gunner aboard a helicopter engaged in a search-and-destroy mission. The chopper was hit by hostile fire while on its first rocket run and crashed, killing him and two fellow crew members. A veteran of more than 200 combat missions, the 23-year-old earned the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, 12 Air Medals and the Purple Heart. While serving in Vietnam, Joseph was a member of VMO-2, MAG-16, 1st Marine Air Wing.

Spc. Martin, a 20-year-old native Kansan, was reported missing on Nov. 22, 1970, after he had gone swimming with a friend. A military investigation followed and 15 days later his body was recovered. He was buried on Dec. 15, 1970, in Hanover. He was attached to the 41st Signal Battalion at the MARS Station (Military Affiliate Radio System) with the 86th Maintenance Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade.

Both families worked with the community to raise the money needed to produce the two signs that will be installed on each of the bridges. The signs will be installed later today.

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