Oelwein mourns the loss of beloved area man, Vietnam veteran - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oelwein mourns the loss of beloved area man, Vietnam veteran

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OELWEIN (KWWL) -

People in the town of Oelwein are remembering a Vietnam veteran who died in a car crash Monday.

67-year-old Dick Zubrod died in a crash on Interstate 380 in Johnson County when the car he was driving was hit head-on by an oncoming truck.

A lovable bad boy and a friend to many, that's how friends describe Dick Zubrod.

He lived his entire life in Oelwein.

His best friend says his death is a big loss for that community.

Friends say he was just a young boy when he decided he didn't like guns.  

A wayward bb to the eye left Zubrod hospitalized, and the incident stuck with him since.

They say Zubrod didn't concern himself with guns -- but was what friends call a bit of a bad boy.

They say he was prone to getting in some fights -- but not with George Bratten.

"We just...got along, he never beat me up!" Bratten said. And so their friendship began.

In 1966, Zubrod and Bratten both received a draft notice for the Vietnam War.

"When he was in boot camp he told them he didn't like guns... so they gave him two machine guns and a helicopter."

Zubrod participated in more than 25 missions over hostile territory -- but he wouldn't tell you that.

"He never talked about it......nothin'."

After two years of service, Zubrod was presented the air medal by direction of the President.  

Still, Bratten says Zubrod remained humble, and silent.  

He says it'll be difficult to not see his best friend every day.

"I miss him."


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