Howard William Fleeger
Memorial Article Information
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"My Army career started normally enough with jump school and Engineer basic before my assignment in Viet Nam. But my tour was cut short after 4 Ĺ months when the vehicle I was in ran over a land mine. The other two passengers were killed and I was medivaced to Japan. My recovery led to a follow on assignment close to home, and then two tours in Germany where I met my first wife and where my daughter Jennifer was born in 1978.
"After leaving the Army I began my career as an engineer, working for several years in Ohio and then Seattle. A second marriage, to Ann, and our two children, Jonathan and Chelsea, made the 80ís a wonderful time for us all.
"In 1993, I was diagnosed with Parkinsonís disease. The disease presented slowly but by 2000, it became more challenging. Weíve also found out that my exposure to Agent Orange in Viet Nam was linked to the disease. Ann and others will say that West Point and the Army made me a fighter, and itís true that Iíve remained determined not to let Parkinsonís rule my life. I was an early recipient of a deep brain stimulator, and Iím quick to try new medications as they are available.
"I was able to continue as an engineer, inventing and patenting a Ďfloating weir.í So for all of my E-3 classmates who donít even remember Fluid Dynamics, look up US 6997644B2, and weep!
"The challenges have been increasing in recent years, and I am now living with and helped by Ann, even though we divorced in 2003. And, like all Veterans, I am challenged too by working with the VA. Still, I am blessed to have my family with me each day.
"An unintended consequence of these past years is that Iíd fallen out of touch with my West Point company mates, but some of them with too much time on their hands found me. Hearing from them is great therapy, and while Iím not able to make our 45th reunion, I will be there in spirit for certain."
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