In memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss
It was the first time I felt whole since I’d woken up wounded in Landstuhl.
–Major Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, on using a voice-controlled laptop
SFC William Ziegenfuss served 17 years in United States Army, as a medic, and later a nurse. He fought in the Vietnam War from 1968-1969 and was decorated for actions during the Tet offensive. His military decorations included the Vietnam Cross of gallantry with Palm, and the Army commendation medal, which he was awarded three times.
But his military record isn't what made "Bill" special. Bill joined the service in 1967. In 1976, while everyone else was celebrating the U.S. Bicentennial, he found out that he had cancer when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, for which there was no cure. He would later find out that this cancer could only have been caused by his exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam. Always a fighter, he decided to stay in the army, where he could continue to treat soldiers and serve the country he loved so much.
Bill still continued to serve the Army and the military, and continued to help soldiers. But finally in 1985, his medical condition brought him to a point where that was no longer possible. He would continue to fight the cancer for the next 16 years while he worked as a government employee, and he raised a family that would produce a daughter and son who would continue in his footsteps. He left a daughter in the Air Force and a son in the army when he passed away. Today these children carry on his legacy: a daughter raising a family after returning from a deployment to Afghanistan with the United States Air Force; and a son who now serves as a major in the United States Army.
The injuries Bill's son, Major Ziegenfuss, received in Iraq became part of the inspiration for Project Valour-IT and Major Ziegenfuss honors the memory of his father, SFC Ziegenfuss, by his participation.