MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Army National Guard Hall of Honor inducted three recipients during a formal ceremony Nov. 6 at Joint Forces Headquarters in Madison.
The new inductees included retired Command Sgt. Maj. John Hauschildt, retired Col. Stephen Mayheu, and retired Brig. Gen. Kenneth Koon.
Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews, Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Army and the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s top officer, said that it is humbling to walk through the Hall of Honor on her way to her office to read about the legacy they left.
“Our hall of honor is full of honorees with incredible service and dedication to the Wisconsin Army National Guard, and today’s inductees are no exception” stated Matthews.
Maj. Matthew Mangerson, the emcee of the ceremony, said that the Hall the Honor program recognizes Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers, and others, who have distinguished themselves through exceptional achievement and devotion to duty.
“They have exemplified the core values of military service in the Army,” stated Mangerson.
Mathews’ remarks reflected on the steadily increasing operations tempo of the National Guard and how these members’ contributions stretched beyond each inductee’s retirement date, playing a role in the Guard’s present and future readiness.
“The foundation set by leaders like you is a major reason why our troops were always ready to take on difficult missions here at home and abroad” stated Mathews.
Hauschildt was inducted into the Hall of Honor posthumously after serving for more than 30 years, during which he was assigned to unit, battalion, brigade and state levels. In 1999, while assigned as the operations sergeant major for the 132nd Support Battalion, Hauschildt was a direct planner and participant in an overseas deployment training mission to Honduras, the Dominican Republic, a mission to Germany and supported four continental United States annual training deployment sites. As the state command sergeant major, he was directly involved with Soldiers and Airmen during the most overseas deployments the state had witnessed since World War II. He belonged to the American Legion and the Wisconsin National Guard Enlisted Association. He continued to work after retiring from the military by providing a vital service to Soldiers and their families through the Veterans Administration. He passed away Dec. 31, 2017 at the age of 62.
Retired Command Sergeant Major Karl Schotter, who accepted the award on behalf of Hauschildt, expressed the pride he felt at being a part of Hauschildt’s life and gratitude for being a part of the organization that Hauschildt helped shape.
“No man alone can make these accomplishments, but it was great to have him at the helm steering the ship,” stated Schotter.
Mayheu served the state and nation for more than 30 years, including duty in Vietnam. He attended St. Norbert College, participating in the ROTC program and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1964. He served on active duty from 1965 to 1968. He joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard in 1973 and served in many positions of increasing responsibility throughout his career. He was also the state marksmanship coordinator, as well as director of information management, and the strength management officer. He is a lifetime member of the Wisconsin National Guard Association and the National Guard Association of the United States. He continues to serve on the Wisconsin National Guard Retiree Council and chaired the council’s premier event, the retiree appreciation day conducted at the Wisconsin Military Academy, from 2013 to 2019.
Col. Stephen A. Mayheu commented that the Guard changed significantly since he first joined.
“When I look at what the Guard is doing today, it is amazing, and I am proud to have been part of the transition,” stated Mayheu.
Koon served in the military for more than 39 years after enlisting in 1977 as a military police officer. Koon was commissioned in 1982 as an infantry officer in the Wisconsin National Guard where he served in a variety of positions. He deployed to Iraq in 2007 and soon after his return was selected as the Wisconsin Army National Guard Chief of Staff. He was promoted to brigadier general in 2013 and assigned as the Assistant Adjutant General for Readiness and Training. Concurrent with this position, he served in a dual-hat assignment as the deputy commanding general – operations for First Army Division West. For much of his career, Koon guided the Army Community of Excellence program where the organization consistently placed in the top tier of states and earned top Army National Guard honors an unprecedented three times. Upon retirement, Koon continued to support Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and families as a facilitator of “Returning Warrior Workshops.”
Continuing his rich legacy of leading the organization even in his retirement, Koon offered advice to the young leaders in the audience before him.
“I do not believe that anyone stands in front of the mirror preparing for the day and mentally decides that they are going to make mistakes,” stated Koon. “I have learned that everyone is doing the best they can, and it is your responsibility to show them what right looks like, clearly articulate expectations, allow creativity and growth, and accept that sometimes when you are trying hard things, do not turn out exactly the way we expect.”
He went on to comment on the value of diversity among teams, the importance of showing appreciation to people in the way that is most meaningful to them, whether it is promotion, prestige, or a quiet thank you said in private. He concluded by offering a piece of advice especially relevant to today’s service members who operate in an unprecedented operational tempo.
“The demands of life can seem endless,” stated Koon. “So remember that life is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Koon, Mayheu, and Hauschildt join just 66 other Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers in joining the ranks of the Wisconsin Army National Guard Hall of Honor.